Queensland’s Labor government has been accused of running a “protection racket” after the state archivist was blocked from appearing at budget estimate hearings to answer questions about stood down minister Mark Bailey.
The Crime and Corruption Commission last week found that Mr Bailey may have breached the official records act when he deleted his personal yahoo email account used for some ministerial business.
Mr Bailey has been stood aside as minister while the State Archivist Mike Summerell investigates the matter further.
Opposition MP Verity Barton tried to add Mr Summerell to estimates proceedings twice on Tuesday, but was thwarted both times.
Ms Barton accused the government of protecting the energy and main roads minister.
“This whole process is a farce,” Ms Barton said.
“The whole point of estimates is to be transparent and accountable and this government is running a protection racket.”
Fellow Opposition MP Tarnya Smith expressed frustration later on Tuesday when she asked Digital Economy Minister Leeanne Enoch and her Director-General Jamie Merrick a series of questions about the state archivist’s inquiry, but was then told only Mr Summerell could answer.
“If the state archivist had been allowed to come along today we might have been able to get through some of these questions,” Ms Smith said.
Ms Enoch clarified that Mr Summerell was never going to appear at the hearings for procedural reasons.
“The state archivist is neither a direct report or a CEO of a related entity, and according to standing orders… the state archivist is not listed as a person who can be directly questioned anyway,” Ms Enoch said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the list of people appearing at estimates had been finalised several weeks ago
“That’s a matter for the committee, the witness list is set, I think, from memory, about a month out,” she said earlier on Tuesday.