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Qld Lib MP found in contempt of parliament

Brisbane [AAP]

A Liberal National Party MP found guilty of disclosing secret parliamentary committee business and then misleading Queensland parliament about it will lose more than $10,000 in pay.

Parliaments ethics committee on Wednesday tabled a report finding Warrego MP Ann Leahy made unauthorised disclosures about Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Commission (PCCC) committee business while she was a member and then misled the committee when questioned about it.

The ethics committee has recommended, for her contempt of parliament, Ms Leahy not serve again on the PCCC this parliamentary term and be banned from serving on any parliamentary committee for six months.

‘The committee notes that this recommendation if accepted will involve a financial impost on the member in terms of foregoing the additional salary component payable to members who undertake committee duties,’ ethics committee acting chair Di Farmer said.

MPs that serve on parliamentary committees are paid an extra $23,430 a year on top of their $151,425 base salary.

It means Ms Leahy is on track to lose $11,715 if the recommendation to ban her for six months is adopted.

The committee also recommended Speaker Peter Wellington admonish Ms Leahy in parliament to ‘appropriately address the gravity of the conduct in deliberately misleading both the PCCC and the ethics committee’. The last time an MP was admonished by the Speaker in parliament was in 1999.

The ethics committee investigation found Ms Leahy last year sent other PCCC members an email about former police minister Jo-Ann Miller leaving secret committee documents in a safe she then gained possession of.

However, Ms Leahy also sent the email to premier Annastacia Palaszczuks office, which constituted an unauthorised breach of committee business.

The committee also discovered Ms Leahy had opposition leader Lawrence Springborgs chief-of-staff, Jake Smith, help draft the email, which she was also not allowed to do.

Although the committee found the unauthorised disclosures were minor breaches, Ms Leahy then misled both the PCCC and ethics committee when omitting Mr Smith’s involvement in the email during questioning.

The committee also investigated the fact secret committee business was leaked to the media, but was unable to determine who was at fault.

 


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