Premier’s secret emails revealed for the first time

Annastacia Palaszczuk made mention of her own director-general in an email she sent from her private account to Cabinet minister Mark Bailey, according to new documents revealed by the state's corruption watchdog.

The contents of the emails exchanged between the pair's private accounts can be revealed for the first time, after they were quietly released.

They reveal the Premier made mention of her director-general in an email from one of her private accounts to Mr Bailey in January, 2016.

And they also include correspondence from Mr Bailey to Ms Palaszczuk in May 2015 where he promises he "won't use your private email often".

Crime and Corruption Commission chair Alan MacSporran has also claimed several Cabinet ministers had private email addresses that "communicated" with Mr Bailey's private account.

The CCC has released four emails between Ms Palaszczuk and Mr Bailey to the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee, which were then publicly released by the committee.

It includes one from January 2016 where Mr Bailey said there had been "much discussion and debate" about autonomous and electric vehicles.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made mention of her director-general in an email from one of her private accounts to Mr Bailey in January, 2016. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made mention of her director-general in an email from one of her private accounts to Mr Bailey in January, 2016. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

The email included an attached article about the issue.

"It reminds me of when Jim Soorley came to the BCC caucus in '95 with a Harvard Business Review article on how the internet would change everything," he wrote in reference to the former Brisbane lord mayor.

"I also just had an extended chat with Stirling who is on the same wave length on the public transport side so we'll work together well on this.

"I've asked my DG to start putting together how and what an AV strategy for Qld would look like as we need to be in this space this year I would strongly suggest. Very consistent of course with our political narrative as well."

That same day, Ms Palaszczuk responded from one of her private email accounts, saying: "Very interesting."

"When I was mon there ... Was some work done on ev ports. Dave Stewart can talk to Neil," she wrote, in reference to her department's director-general, Mr Stewart.

In another email to Ms Palaszczuk in May 2015, Mr Bailey promised her he would not use her private email "often" as he sent her a YouTube link about a Tesla battery storage announcement.

Palaszczuk Government Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: Kevin Farmer
Palaszczuk Government Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: Kevin Farmer

The fourth email, from April 2015, was one that had already been unveiled by the LNP in Budget Estimates, in which Mr Bailey discusses Paul Simshauser before his appointment as director-general of energy and water and whether his ideological perspective is "contra to ours and contra to our platform".

There were no further emails where Ms Palaszczuk responded to Mr Bailey.

In his letter to the PCCC chair, Mr MacSporran said several ministers had been identified using private emails that "communicated" with Mr Bailey's private account - as part of the CCC's prior investigation into his email usage, which finished in 2017.

Steven Miles at Parliament. Pic Annette Dew
Steven Miles at Parliament. Pic Annette Dew

 

Former deputy premier Jackie Trad. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Former deputy premier Jackie Trad. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

They include Deputy Premier Steven Miles, Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman, Health Minister Yvette D'Ath, Energy Minister Mick de Brenni, and the now-Speaker Curtis Pitt.

Mr MacSporran claimed former treasurer Jackie Trad had also used a private email to "correspond" with Mr Bailey.

He claimed the email address had not been "revealed" in the archivist's 2017 report into Mr Bailey's account.

Ms Trad said she understood all of the emails had been provided to the CCC and the State Archivist.

"It is also my understanding that the email/s referred to were not relevant to the Archivist's report because they were political in nature," she said. "The email address referred to by the CCC is an active email account and should the CCC require information in relation to this address, I will be more than happy to assist, as I have done on previous occasions."

There is no suggestion by Mr MacSporran that the ministers used their private accounts for official purposes.

Ms Palaszczuk told parliament in 2017 that she had never used a private email account for official purposes. And she recently tabled advice from the Solicitor-General that the four emails were deemed not to be public records.

A spokesman said the matters were investigated and the CCC found no impropriety.

Mr Bailey also said the emails had been examined by the CCC in 2017 as well as by the Solicitor General.

Alan MacSporran QC, CCC Chairperson. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Alan MacSporran QC, CCC Chairperson. Photographer: Liam Kidston

"The Solicitor General's advice … was tabled in Parliament last week," he said.

Attorney-General Ms Fentiman said the matters had been thoroughly investigated by the CCC, while a spokeswoman for the Deputy Premier, Mr Miles, said the matter had been investigated by the CCC, no wrongdoing had been found and the investigation had been closed in 2017.

A spokesman for Mr Pitt said: "The CCC has looked into this matter and determined that no further investigation is warranted."

Mr de Brenni said: "These matters were investigated by the CCC. It found no wrongdoing. The investigation was closed in 2017."

Ms D'Ath said: "The CCC has already dealt with this matter and I use my official email for official business."

Originally published as Premier's secret emails revealed for the first time


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