Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Fraser Barton and Marty Silk

Qld govt rejects third integrity complaint

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles has dismissed claims a former top public servant's integrity concerns about a recruitment process were ignored.

Former acting legal services commissioner Bob Brittan is the third past or present independent official to raise concerns about the government's integrity culture. He follows similar queries from Integrity Commissioner Nikola Stepanov and former state archivist Mike Summerell.

Mr Brittan said he was rebuffed by then-attorney-general Yvette D'Ath after raising concerns about legal professionals being involved in the selection process for a new legal services commissioner in 2019.

Mr Miles said Mr Britton's concerns weren't ignored, but considered at the time by Ms D'Ath.

"The then-attorney-general considered that matter very closely," he told reporters on Friday.

"She sought the advice of the integrity commissioner, and resolved that those important institutions should be involved in the recruitment process."

Mr Miles said it was common practice for the attorney-general to consult with the legal profession on statutory appointments, such as judges.

Mr Brittan said he was concerned that legal professionals were involved in vetting applicants to head the legal watchdog, saying he had advice to the contrary.

"It's the same principles that flow through as to a lack of integrity in respect of following due process and public interest that has to be a problem with this government, the way that they're conducting themselves," Mr Brittan told News Corp Australia on Friday.

His claims come after Dr Stepanov announced she would resign as integrity commissioner later this year, citing concerns about political interference in her role.

She believes the Department of Premier and Cabinet referred her to a "parliamentary committee" last year in a bid to remove her.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has denied Dr Stepanov's claims, but said she couldn't reveal why the integrity commissioner had been referred.

The Crime and Corruption Commission is investigating Dr Stepanov's claim that the Public Service Commission last year confiscated a laptop from her office and wiped it without her knowledge or permission.

The laptop probe is running at the same time as a formal inquiry into the CCC structure and functions after its botched investigation into Logan Council.

Former state archivist Mr Summerell, who left his role in March, has also made a series of allegations about interference in his record-keeping role.

He claims Housing and Public Works Department officials forced him to change an annual report to "make the government look good".

Mr Summerell alleges interference in his investigation into the missing resignation letter of Ms Palaszczuk's former chief of staff David Barbagallo as well.

When asked about the allegations on Thursday, the premier said Mr Summerell left his role "some time ago" and hadn't raised some of his issues previously.

The Liberal National Party, Katter's Australian Party and the Greens are calling for a broad inquiry into state government integrity, but Ms Palaszczuk is resisting their calls.

"When governments are more obsessed with keeping information from getting into the public, they're less interested in fixing the systems that are letting you down," LNP leader David Crisafulli said on Friday.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.