Premier cleared of political extortion claims made by KAP

Premier cleared of extortion claims made by KAP


Politics
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Robbie Katter has lost the political brawl between Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

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The corruption watchdog has cleared the Premier of extortion – but says she may have exposed herself to the prospect of bribery charges.

The corruption watchdog has cleared the Premier of extortion – but says she may have exposed herself to the prospect of bribery charges.

Robbie Katter has lost the political brawl against Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The corruption watchdog has cleared the Premier of extortion – but says she may have exposed herself to the prospect of bribery charges. 

Traeger MP Robbie Katter referred the Premier to the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission following her decision to strip the KAP of four staff.

It came after state KAP MPs refused to denounce federal Senator Fraser Anning for using the Nazi-associated phrase "final solution" during his first parliamentary speech.

The CCC released their decision on Thursday and concluded the Premier had the right to allocate and withdraw staffing resources from the KAP.

They found there were no grounds to suspect extortion or interference with political liberty by the government or LNP.

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They did however say they Premier may have exposed herself to an offence against section 60 - bribery of a member of 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 section 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 CCC said in their statement. 

The CCC said there was no reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution and the Queensland Parliament was the appropriate entity to deal with the complaint against Ms Palaszczuk.

The CCC also said it was of the view that the process to decide resourcing for ministers and other MPs should be determined by an entity independent of the government of the day, and recommended the Parliament consider the matter.

Mr Katter was initially confident the Premier would be in breach of the Criminal Code.

“Queenslanders are rightly appalled to see political power wielded as a weapon to shut down opposing views,” Mr Katter said. 

“The Premier tried to use the threat of withdrawing resources to get us to behave a certain way in Parliament. We wouldn’t, so she removed them.

“It seems like a pretty clear case of using threats to influence the free will of a Member of Parliament.”

Ms Palaszczuk said the decision to withdraw funding for KAP staff comes in the wake of KAP Senator Fraser Anning’s maiden speech in Federal Parliament last month, in which he talked about the “final solution”.

“Yes, we have the right to free speech in our parliaments but that free speech is not free of consequence nor is it free of responsibility,” Ms Palaszczuk said 

“So, because his party will not denounce him, I denounce his party and I withdraw the additional staff I granted to the Katter’s Australian Party.

“That party tolerates the intolerable and defends the indefensible and I will not be a part of it.”

The North West Star

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