Queenslanders are being kept in the dark over how Annastacia Palaszczuk has used her private email account.
Queenslanders are being kept in the dark over how Annastacia Palaszczuk has used her private email account.

State in dark over Premier’s private email account use

Queenslanders are being kept in the dark over how Annastacia Palaszczuk has used her private email account, after the corruption watchdog revealed some emails linked to the account appeared to be public records.

The Premier yesterday would not release "less than 20" emails related to stacia1@bigpond.com that the Crime and Corruption Commission assessed while probing Transport Minister Mark Bailey's mangocube account.

It comes after a Right to Information application by The Courier-Mail for any potential emails between the two accounts didn't identify any documents to which the "RTI Act provides a right of access".

That included a purported 2015 email - tabled by the LNP in Budget Estimates last year - that was sent from the mangocube account to stacia1@bigpond.com.

The email 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".

The email was deemed by the RTI office at the Department of Premier and Cabinet to relate to a "party-political matter" rather than the affairs of an agency, and therefore wasn't captured by RTI laws.

Asked yesterday if she would release the less than 20 emails that the CCC referred to during last year's Estimates, Ms Palaszczuk would not say.

Instead, a spokesman for Ms Palaszczuk said the matter had been subject to the same RTI process that all other RTI applications are subjected to.

"Decisions are made by independent RTI officers," he said.

In a statement yesterday, a CCC spokesman said a "small number" of the emails "appear to be public records", but insisted it was not appropriate for the watchdog to release the emails.

"The CCC have been advised that Minister Bailey has ensured that they have been retained and stored appropriately," he said.

"It is not the CCC's role to determine if these emails are public records. That is a decision for the agency responsible for them.

"Releasing emails that may be a public record is a decision for the agency responsible for those emails."

When questioned about the email account at a press conference on Tuesday, the Premier said she did not have any concerns.

"It's all gone through the CCC," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"It happened like five years ago. The (Cabinet) handbook has been updated."

The Premier told parliament in 2017 that she had not used her private email account for official purposes.

She also denied that the purported mangocube email sent to the stacia1@bigpond.com account that was tabled by the LNP in Estimates last year was work related.

In a decision letter for The Courier-Mail's RTI, the RTI office at the Department of Premier and Cabinet said searches for documents had been conducted by the Premier and her office.

"No documents, to which the RTI Act provides a right of access, were identified," the letter said.

The Cabinet handbook was officially amended in 2018, banning the use of private emails for ministerial purposes.

Originally published as State in dark over Premier's private email account use


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