News

Pressure mounts on Flegg to be dumped over 'dishonesty'

Bruce Flegg at the swearing in of Cabinet Ministers with Premier Campbell Newman.
Bruce Flegg at the swearing in of Cabinet Ministers with Premier Campbell Newman. Greg Miller

THE Newman Government is fighting calls to sack senior minister Bruce Flegg after a dumped staffer alleged gross inaccuracies and deliberate dishonesty in the government's ranks.

Life-long Liberal Party member Graeme Hallett was sacked as Housing and Public Works Minister Mr Flegg's press adviser on Monday but refused to leave quietly.

Mr Hallett, a former Howard government staffer, called a press conference the next day to accuse Dr Flegg of being unfit to be a LNP minister.

Mr Hallett said Dr Flegg mislead parliament during an Estimates Committee hearing last month when he tabled a lobbyist register which showed he had been in contact with his son, Jonathon Flegg in his capacity as a government relations lobbyist at Brisbane firm Rowland, only twice between April and October.

Brandishing a detailed list Jonathon compiled of contact between himself and his father, Mr Hallett alleged the figure was more towards 35.

"...(the tabled document) is grossly inaccurate and misleading and fails to indicate a number of events or contacts or indeed as the Premier says 'recording all encounters with registered lobbyists'," he said.

"The public, if they are to have any confidence in the fabric of institutions like this, they have to know that what is provided is accurate, true and correct and not held back in terms of full disclosure and accountability."

Mr Hallett claimed he tried to convince Dr Flegg to correct the record and approached the Premier's Department.

Dr Flegg told Parliament on Tuesday he had not seen the lobbyist register before the Estimates hearing, believed it was correct and trusted his senior staffers to compile it.

"I will be taking advice from the Integrity Commissioner. If my order - that is, that our lobbyists register is to be exactly right - has not been followed, I will take the appropriate action to have that corrected," he said.

Dr Flegg questioned why his "disgruntled ex-staffer" did not take his concerns to the police or Crime and Misconduct Commission.

In a string of additional damaging claims, Mr Hallett said Dr Flegg entered false diary notes putting him in his electorate when he was really working at a doctor's surgery in Morayfield, near Caboolture.

Mr Hallett said he was also forced to lie to a journalist about Dr Flegg issuing a directive to his office not to consult with his lobbyist son.

"I am ashamed to admit it that was a lie and that never happened," he said.

Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk called for Dr Flegg to be sacked or resign.

"It is time the Premier stood up, took control and showed some leadership and either asked for the resignation of Bruce Flegg or sacks the Minister today," she said.

LNP federal candidate for the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher, Mal Brough, was also dragged into the controversy with Mr Hallett revealing Mr Brough met with Dr Flegg and a well-known Queensland property developer regarding aboriginal housing on Cape York.

But Mr Brough refuted the assertion of any wrong-doing on his part and said he was not paid to introduce the developer to Dr Flegg and his bureaucrats and therefore was not a lobbyist whose visits needed to be reported.

As Dr Flegg defended his contact with his son, which he claimed were mostly personal emails, Jonathon was suspended.

His lobbying firm, Rowland, issued a statement on Tuesday revealing Jonathon had been suspended for contravening employment conditions which forbade him from contacting his father's department on behalf of his clients.

Allegations and Response

Minister Bruce Flegg mislead Parliament about how often he was in contact with his lobbyist son.

- Dr Flegg said a majority of the emails were personal and he would consult with Integrity Commissioner if there was a need to amend register.

Dr Flegg made false diary entires about being in his electorate when he was actually working at a medical practice in Morayfield.

- "On those occasions because of my workload and commitments as a minister, I went up and transitioned elderly, terminally ill and chronically ill patients to other practitioners and I withdrew from the doctors roster all together," Dr Flegg said.

Dr Flegg's chief of staff, Fraser Stephen, approved a false statement to media that Dr Flegg banned his office from contact with his lobbyist son

- No response yet.

Mal Brough and property developer met with Dr Flegg regarding housing in aboriginal community on Cape York

- "Mr Brough has enormous knowledge in the area of indigenous housing and no pecuniary interest whatsoever in the product or the meeting that took place," Dr Flegg said.

Topics:  bruce flegg



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