BREAKING: Key Minister to stand aside amidst email probe
UPDATE: A KEY member of the Queensland Government will stand aside amidst an invesitgation into his use of a private email account.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the move via statement this evening.
"I met with Mark Bailey tonight and I have asked him to stand aside as Minister pending the outcome of the State Archivist investigation into his deactivation of his personal email account," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has stated "as the only conduct the CCC considers raises a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct relates to the treatment of public records, the CCC has referred the matter to the State Archivist for investigation."
"Mr Bailey has assured me he will fully cooperate with the State Archivist's investigation.
"The acting arrangements for Mr Bailey's portfolio responsibilities will be announced tomorrow.
"The CCC has also stated that it "identified during its review of the emails a number of other ministers using private email accounts. No corrupt conduct was identified."
"The Department of Premier and Cabinet has been directed, in accordance with the CCC's recommendation, to develop "further explicit and formal advice to Ministers regarding the requirement that they use their ministerial email address for all ministerial businesses".
EARLIER: THE state's corruption watchdog has found sufficient evidence to "raise a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct" in relation to Energy Minister Mark Bailey's private email account use and his temporary deletion of the Yahoo account.
The Crime and Corruption Commission released a statement this afternoon indicating emails contained within Mr Bailey's account had been deemed to be public records.
It has asked the State Archivist to further investigate.
"In reviewing the emails, the CCC did not identify any evidence to support allegations Minister Bailey had used his personal email account to engage in negotiations with the Electrical Trades Union that would amount to corrupt conduct," it found.
"However, the CCC considers there is sufficient evidence to raise a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct relating to the potential destruction of public records by the Minister as this may be an offence under the Public Records Act 2002.
"As the only conduct the CCC considers raises a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct relates to the treatment of public records, the CCC has referred the matter to the State Archivist for investigation.
"Noting the level of public interest, the CCC has determined to monitor the way the matter is investigated pursuant to sections 46(2)(b) and 48(1)(c)(i) of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001.
"If necessary the CCC may assume responsibility for the investigation in the future."
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls called for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to stand Mr Bailey down following the CCC's findings.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk has no choice but to stand down Energy Minister Mark Bailey tonight," he said in a statement.
"The Crime and Corruption Commission has made it clear that the deleting of his private email account shows 'there is sufficient evidence to raise a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct'.
"The Premier must finally act decisively and stand this Minister down. It is now an issue of the Premier's leadership.
"If Annastacia Palaszczuk is serious about accountability and transparency, she has one last chance to show some guts and leadership tonight.
"The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."
The CCC also found a number of other ministers had been using private email accounts but said no corrupt conduct had been identified.
"The use by a minister of a private email account for ministerial purposes is not of itself corrupt conduct. The types of emails, their content, conduct and decisions relating to such emails and how the emails are treated if they are public records needs to be considered to determine whether it is corrupt conduct," it said.
"The CCC is of the view the use of a personal email account for ministerial purposes is in breach of both the Queensland Ministerial Handbook and the Ministerial Information Security Policy. As these breaches are not criminal offences, they are not in the CCC's jurisdiction.
"The CCC considers the use of private email addresses by any Member of Parliament or public servant for official business lacks transparency and is a corruption risk.
"The CCC takes this opportunity to remind elected officials and the heads of public sector agencies in Queensland of the inherent corruption risks of using private emails for official business."