Pyne drops dirt files
Queensland MP Rob Pyne has used parliamentary privilege to release a ‘dirt file’ on the state’s councils.
Mr Pyne has released documents on several occasions in the past, and twice this week.
In the latest allegations Mr Pyne detailed a Queensland Ombudsman’s investigation into Ipswich City Council’s handling of a multimillion-dollar contract, in which the names of complainants and the targets of their complaints were redacted.
The Ombudsman’s report from February this year says the Ipswich City Council awarded a $12 million contract after “poor probity and evaluation practices”, which may have amounted to unreasonable administrative action.
Another document accused some candidates in the upcoming Ipswich mayoral by-election of claiming to be independent while actually being funded by a union.
A third document raised allegations of bullying and financial mismanagement at the Cook Shire Council.
“Staff fear for their jobs and suffer retribution – those who speak up or question are sacked or suspended for months,” the document claims.
Earlier this week, Mr Pyne yesterday made allegations against three Queensland councils, including claims of shady meetings between one mayor and federal government ministers and former premiers.
One of the documents alleges that a mayor wined and dined a former state premier in a private room of a restaurant.
The tabled documents allege that the same mayor carried three mobile phones to avoid having phone records appear in by Right to Information requests.
“Setting aside the inappropriate use of council resources, the mayor's visits to massage parlours and mistresses and other inappropriate secretive business meetings on some occasions, the mayor made no attempt to hide or cover his inappropriate behaviour especially once alcohol had become involved,” the documents read.
The documents make claims about overseas council-funded junkets and allegations of salacious affairs between staffers.
Mr Pyne raised allegations that one mayor had been on “many trips overseas”, including France, England, China, New Zealand, Taiwan and the USA.
“These trips were funded by council and/or council’s businesses. The mayor was dropped and collected from the airport at all hours in the council mayoral vehicle,” the documents state.
The allegations include claims that one Queensland mayor would make personal phone calls to the office of federal government ministers to fast-track the processing of visas for “young Asian women”.
The documents were heavily redacted due to Speaker Peter Wellington’s concerns about their possible effect on a pending court case.
Mr Pyne has rejected suggestions he should have forwarded the allegations to the state’s Crime and Corruption Commission.
Mr Pyne said he did not have faith in the CCC’s handling of complaints.
“If they were up to it we wouldn’t have these cases regularly coming forward,” he said.
Mr Pyne said a steady stream of similar complaints is coming to his office, and will be presented in parliament.
Local Government Association of Queensland chief Greg Hallam said Mr Pyne’s motives were “not pure”.
“He has a lot of form in this area,” he said.
“I’m not sure what his Cairns constituents make of all the time he spends on councils south of his own electorate.”