CMC concludes no official misconduct by Newman in assessment of three BCC-related matters — 16.03.2012
The Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) has today finalised its assessment of three separate matters concerning the Brisbane City Council.
In all matters, the CMC has established there is currently no evidence of official misconduct on the part of Campbell Newman in relation to the allegations raised while he was Lord Mayor of Brisbane.
On that basis, the CMC will not be conducting any investigation in relation to Mr Newman.
The three matters are:
- On 3 February 2012, the Brisbane City Council referred to the CMC allegations concerning impropriety on the part of Mr Newman surrounding a property transaction entered into between the Council and Mirvac Group in relation to land at Tennyson.
- On 29 February 2012, the CMC decided that it should undertake an assessment of matters which had become the subject of public debate relating to alleged donations by a developer to the Liberal National Party’s Forward Brisbane Leadership fund (in January 2011) ahead of Brisbane City Council approval for a Woolloongabba development.
- On 8 March 2012, the Brisbane City Council referred to the CMC allegations that Mr Newman had knowledge of the activities of two Council staff, employed in the Office of the Lord Mayor in 2005-2006, who allegedly inappropriately established a private company and used undue influence on other Council employees in relation to development applications.
In the first matter, the CMC’s assessment has concluded that there is no evidence of official misconduct against Mr Newman particularly given no significant decisions occurred in the commercial history of the property transaction between the Brisbane City Council and Mirvac during his time as Lord Mayor.
However, the CMC is of the view that the matter should be referred to the Queensland Ombudsman to inquire further into the issue of whether there is any evidence of administrative deficiency on the part of the Council (after Mr Newman’s term as Lord Mayor).
In the second matter, the CMC’s assessment has determined that based on available information, there is no evidence of official misconduct against Mr Newman. In particular, the CMC notes that a review of Brisbane City Council records (including an audio recording of the relevant Council meeting) shows Mr Newman was not present when a critical vote was taken in Council that approved the Woolloongabba development.
With respect to this matter, on 15 March 2012, the Premier Anna Bligh referred to the CMC material which suggested that a company associated with the property developer had an office in a building owned by interests associated with Mr Newman.
The CMC has concluded that this information does not add anything further to its assessment of the matter.
Associates of Mr Newman have publicly indicated that the premises referred to were leased to an accountancy firm, and that the relevant company was one of many which used that firm’s address for the purposes of formally reporting a registered address or principal place of business.
The CMC’s inquiries have confirmed that the premises were indeed used as an accountancy firm. The CMC is of the view that this renders any link between Mr Newman and the property developer tenuous at best.
While the CMC has determined there is no evidence of official misconduct against Mr Newman in this matter, it has decided to commence a misconduct investigation into the circumstances of the alleged developer donations.
It is not appropriate for the CMC to comment further while the investigation is under way. Nor will it confirm or deny the identity of any person of interest.
In the third matter, the CMC’s assessment has concluded that, whatever might be the position with respect to the two Brisbane City Council staff, there is no evidence of misconduct against Mr Newman and it is unlikely that a full investigation will produce any such evidence. The Council has already dealt with the conduct of the two officers. In these circumstances, the CMC has determined to take no further action.
Further, in October last year, the CMC assessed a separate complaint against Mr Newman which alleged he may have failed to disclose certain financial and non-financial interests, as required by legislation, while he was Lord Mayor. The CMC concluded Mr Newman did not breach any disclosure requirements and, therefore, decided to take no further action with relation to the matter.
The CMC’s decision in all matters has been made unanimously by the Commission (the Chairperson and four Commissioners).