The speaker of Queensland Parliament has referred Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to the powerful ethics committee over her decision to strip a minor party of resources.
Ms Palaszczuk stripped the resources from Katter’s Australia Party’s three Queensland MPs after they refused to denounce federal Senator Fraser Anning for using the Nazi-associated phrase “final solution” during his first speech in federal parliament.
KAP Qld leader Robbie Katter referred the premier to the Crime and Corruption Commission, claiming she had broken the law by using the extra resources as leverage.
The corruption watchdog ruled last month the premier technically breached the law through her actions but left it up to the parliament to decide how to proceed.
Labor speaker Curtis Pitt late on Friday afternoon announced he would refer the premier to the ethics committee for possible contempt of parliament.
Mr Pitt said he did not believe there was any criminal basis to proceed, and the ethics committee was best placed to consider the matter.
“The lawfulness of a decision to withdraw the KAP resources cannot itself be questioned. It was always within the Premier’s power to withdraw those resources,” Mr Pitt said in a statement.
“The question in this matter is whether that power was used in an improper manner.”
The premier’s office said on Friday she would not be commenting on the issue as it was before a parliamentary committee.
Five LNP MPs, including Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and Deputy Tim Mander, were also referred by KAP to the CCC for calling for the premier to strip the resources.
The watchdog found they had no case to answer, and the LNP then turned on the Labor premier, calling for a parliamentary committee to be set up to decide whether to prosecute her.
Following the referral on Friday Ms Frecklington said “the premier’s reputation is in tatters.”
“Today’s decision means that the LNP will be unable to question the Premier about this matter next week or establish a select committee to investigate her conduct,” she said in a statement.
In delivering his findings on the case, CCC head Alan MacSporran said there is a need to set up an independent body to allocate party resources to avoid similar situations in the future.