‘I know right from wrong’: Labor stalwart’s Trad burn
ONE of Queensland Labor's most venerated stalwarts has taken a thinly veiled swipe at beleaguered Treasurer Jackie Trad for failing to stand aside after being referred to the state's corruption watchdog.
It comes as The Courier-Mail can confirm that the Crime and Corruption Commission has told the Government that it will make the announcement on Friday, forcing Ms Palaszczuk to address her deputy's integrity crisis before leaving for Olympic discussions in Europe.
Robert Schwarten, who served as a senior minister in the Beattie and Bligh governments, has contrasted his own decision to stand aside from his ministerial role to Ms Trad's decision to remain.
The long-serving former member for Rockhampton and housing mnister was accused last year of taking kickbacks, including the painting of his beachside bungalow, from a controversial builder that won government contracts.
He has strongly denied the allegations.
Asked about the integrity crisis engulfing the State Government, Mr Schwarten told The Courier-Mail that he believed the path he had taken was the appropriate one.
"I self-referred in January 2019 and stood aside from my position as a Queensland Building and Construction Commission director voluntary," he said.
"I have taken no role in that position nor had any conversation or any contact with the minister about this.
"I have advised the chair from time to time that my status of remaining under investigation remains unchanged.
"I know right from wrong, and I will leave it at that."
The comments come as the spectacle of the ongoing integrity crisis continues to overshadow this week's Townsville sitting of parliament, which the Government had hoped would supercharge its message to the regions in the run up to next year's state poll.
Instead, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has spent the past two days flip flopping on who will be left in charge of the state from Saturday, when she leaves for an Olympic mission to Switzerland and France.
On Monday, the Premier and her Cabinet pointed to the convention that leaves the Deputy in charge, despite a CCC decision looming over Ms Trad that could be delivered any day.
Yesterday Ms Trad suggested she might not definitely fill the role, and hours later Ms Palaszczuk confirmed she had a plan B.
"I will be making further statements on Friday if there has not been a decision by the CCC," she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said she hadn't sought advice over how she might act if the CCC decided not to launch an investigation but found Ms Trad had breached the ministerial handbook.
"Once the outcome of the CCC is known, I will take action," she said.
"I will be making quick decisions once that - I'm not going to pre-empt that, I don't know what it says - but I will be very quick in my response once that is handed down."
Ms Trad has refused demands to step aside during the CCC's assessment while Ms Palaszczuk has rejected calls to sack her deputy for failing to properly disclose her purchase of an investment property near her $7 billion Cross River Rail project.
The powerful Left faction leader has been accused of failing to recuse herself from Cabinet decisions that would have impacted the investment and multiple breaches of the ministerial code of conduct, which were considered sacking offences under previous Queensland administrations.
In her first press conference in a month, Ms Trad yesterday said there was "a void" regarding her side of the story that she would fill after the CCC's decision.
"I certainly will want to put my side of this whole saga, if I can put it this way," she said.
"I think it's important.
"It has attracted a lot of public commentary, fuelled by the LNP and I think it's only important, and particularly for the sake of my family, that I have an opportunity to tell my side of the story."
Meanwhile, Mr Schwarten's comments echo those of another pre-eminent Labor figure, former premier Peter Beattie who last month sideswiped the Palaszczuk administration with comments about how "honesty in government matters".
It is understood Mr Schwarten and Mr Beattie's comments are shared by a bevy of influential Labor figures, including some sitting members.