‘Missing’ mail in Trad paper trail

AN INQUIRY will be sought into claims that official documents relating to discussions between former deputy premier Jackie Trad and a senior Education department official may be missing.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington will today write to the state archivist, asking him to investigate the ­existence of emails after two similar Right to Information (RTI) requests for messages between Ms Trad and stood-aside deputy director-general Jeff Hunt returned different results.

But Ms Trad said that there are no missing documents, and has accused the Opposition of mudslinging in "another desperate attempt by a desperate Opposition to grab a headline".

 

 

Former Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Former Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

 

Ms Frecklington's request comes amid an investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission into the appointment of the Inner City South Secondary College principal, which prompted Ms Trad to resign as deputy premier and saw Mr Hunt stood aside.

Ms Trad has denied any wrongdoing in speaking with two candidates before an ­appointment was made.

The Opposition will today call on the State Government to release correspondence between Ms Trad and Mr Hunt after another raft of RTI documents was blocked because they could "reasonably be expected to prejudice the investigation" by the CCC into the principal ­appointment. 

An Opposition request to Treasury for "any SMS or messages" between Ms Trad and Mr Hunt "including but not limited to text messages and encrypted message services" from January 1 to July 1 last year returned five documents. A similar request to the Education department returned 27 documents. The vast bulk of those have not been released after the department's RTI officer determined "the disclosure of communications between two individuals who are either subject to, or are connected with a current investigation … could reasonably be expected to prejudice the investigation".

Ms Frecklington has questioned the discrepancies between the numbers of documents uncovered in each search, while Ms Trad accused her of not understanding the RTI Act.

"(Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk could release these documents, but instead she continues to cover up Jackie Trad's behaviour," Ms Frecklington said.

"The LNP will be writing to the State Archivist asking for a full investigation into these missing … emails.

"Enough is enough, it is time to restore accountability and integrity."

Ms Trad said that she had no role in the RTI decisions and there were no missing documents.

"The documents released are as a result of decisions made by independent RTI ­officials based on the application of the RTI laws," she said.

"These allegations appear to be a basic misunderstanding of the RTI Act.

"It's deeply concerning that a former assistant minister to premier Campbell Newman can get it so wrong.

"It's disappointing that in the week when the devastation of the coronavirus shutdown on Queensland jobs and businesses has been made clear, the LNP would prefer to talk about text ­messages rather than our economic recovery."

Originally published as 'Missing' mail in Trad paper trail


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