Ethics committee resumes probe
THE Queensland Parliament has resumed its Ethics Committee inquiry into whether Rainbow Beach businessman Scott Elms attempted to improperly influence Gympie MP David Gibson by bribing or threatening him.
This followed suspension of a Queensland Police investigation into Mr Elms earlier this year after Mr Gibson's nervous breakdown made further police investigations impossible.
Mr Gibson's breakdown followed the release by Mr Elms of information on Mr Gibson's criminal past.
It was the release of this information which prompted Mr Gibson's announcement that he was suffering a nervous breakdown and had decided not to contest the upcoming state election.
The two men had fallen out over differences believed to be connected with Mr Elms' support for the controversial Rainbow Shores Stage 2 development, which was struck down in court.
Mr Elms did not approve of Rainbow Beach planning options prepared by Mr Gibson as part of a public consultation process involving residents and business interests.
Speaker of Parliament Fiona Simpson told MPs last week the Ethics Committee had suspended its inquiry into "a matter of privilege" related to "an alleged attempt to improperly influence the conduct of a member" pending a report on the outcome of police investigations.
But after police investigations ceased, the Ethics Committee had decided there was no longer any impediment to resuming its investigation. Committee chair Michael Crandon confirmed the inquiry involved Mr Gibson and "an alleged attempt by Mr Scott Elms to improperly influence (him) by way of a bribe or a threat".
Miss Simpson also made this clear on May 6, when she referred a complaint from Premier Campbell Newman to the Ethics Committee.
She told Parliament the complaint related to "an alleged attempt to threaten or intimidate the Member for Gympie... by bribes or threats" on a matter "likely to impair a member's independence in the performance of their duty".