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You are here: Home News and media CCC media releases CCC finalises assessment of complaint by Mr Robbie Katter MP - 27 September 2018
You are here: Home News and media CCC media releases CCC finalises assessment of complaint by Mr Robbie Katter MP - 27 September 2018
You are here: Home News and media CCC media releases CCC finalises assessment of complaint by Mr Robbie Katter MP - 27 September 2018

CCC finalises assessment of complaint by Mr Robbie Katter MP - 27 September 2018

The CCC has completed its assessment of the complaint by Mr Robbie Katter MP.

Having regard to the principles for performing its corruption functions, the CCC considers that the Legislative Assembly (Parliament) is the appropriate entity to deal with the complaint.

The complaint involves allegations about the process concerning the removal of staffing resources from Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) announced by the Premier on 2 September 2018. The CCC was asked to investigate—

1. Whether the Premier had breached —

(a)     Criminal Code offences of bribery of a Member of Parliament (s. 60); interfering with a political right (s. 78); and extortion (s. 415); or

(b)     Parliamentary privilege conferred on State KAP members or Senate Privilege conferred upon Senator Fraser Anning; and

2. Members of the LNP, in particular the Member for Warrego, Ann Leahy MP, the Member for Nanango, Deb Frecklington MP and the Member for Everton, Tim Mander MP concerning the termination of staffing resources for the KAP. The complaint alleged that comments made inside and outside Parliament might amount to unduly influencing the conduct of KAP members in relation to the exercise of their duties as Members of Parliament.

The CCC has considered the relevant records of parliamentary proceedings (Hansard), associated media statements and media reports and also correspondence between the Premier and Mr Robbie Katter MP.

Corrupt conduct as it relates to parliamentarians is limited to conduct that would amount to a criminal offence.

The Government has the right to allocate and withdraw the relevant staffing resources from the KAP.

The information available provides no grounds to suspect that anything said or done inside or outside Parliament by the Premier or members of the LNP involves an offence against ss. 78 or 415 of the Criminal Code. There are no grounds to suspect that members of the LNP committed an offence against s. 60 of the Criminal Code.

The information available, if proved, may involve an offence against s. 60 regarding the answer given by the Premier to a Question without Notice by the Member for Warrego on 22 August 2018. The Premier’s answer allegedly contained an implied threat to withdraw KAP staffing resources with the intent to influence KAP parliamentary members in their vote and opinion upon a question arising in the Legislative Assembly.

The Premier’s answer could be admitted in proceedings against her to the extent necessary to prosecute an offence against s. 60. However, the CCC does not consider that s. 60 is intended to apply to statements made openly during parliamentary proceedings conducted under the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001 and apparently in compliance with the Standing Rules and Orders of the Legislative Assembly. Generally, those proceedings may not be impeached outside Parliament.

Even though the answer given by the Premier during question time might be considered to be entirely inappropriate and to have exposed her to the prospect of facing a charge of bribery under s. 60 of the Criminal Code, the fact remains that there was no objection from anyone present during the parliamentary debate, and no censure from the Speaker. The motion being debated was ultimately passed by the vote of an overwhelming majority of Parliamentarians. All of these proceedings were conducted openly in Parliament, and were proceedings to which the public had real-time access.

In considering whether an investigation should be commenced, and/or a prosecution launched, the CCC has had regard to the guidelines issued by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions which refer to the requirement for there to be not only a prima facie case but a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution. Given the above considerations, the CCC has concluded that there would be no reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution.

Therefore, having regard to the principles for performing the CCC’s corruption functions, the CCC is of the view that Parliament is the appropriate entity to decide the propriety of its own proceedings. Unless the Parliament resolves otherwise, the CCC does not consider that there is any prospect of a successful prosecution. Accordingly, the complaint against the Premier is appropriate for the Parliament to deal with.

Any alleged breach of parliamentary privilege not involving a criminal offence may only be dealt with by the respective parliament or the Senate of Australia. The CCC has no jurisdiction and is unable to take any action in relation to these concerns.

The CCC acknowledges that the government of the day has authority to determine appropriate resourcing for Ministerial and other office holders.

However, following the assessment, the CCC is of the view the process to decide an appropriate level of resourcing for all Members of Parliament should be determined by an entity independent of the government of the day. This would serve the public interest by ensuring an objective and consistent assessment of the duties of Members of Parliament. The CCC recommends the Parliament should consider this further.

ENDS

Press Conference Details:
Where: CCC – Level 2, 515 St Pauls Terrace Fortitude Valley Qld
When: 12.30pm - Media are asked to arrive earlier to ensure appropriate time for set up.
Who: CCC Chairperson Alan MacSporran QC
Contact: [email protected] or 07 3360 6000

Last updated: 28 September 2018
For all media enquiries, please contact:

[email protected] or
07 3360 6000

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