Former treasurer wins battle to hide corruption report

Rex Martinich |

The Supreme Court has dismissed a CCC bid to release a report into allegations against Jackie Trad.
The Supreme Court has dismissed a CCC bid to release a report into allegations against Jackie Trad.

Queensland’s former deputy premier Jackie Trad has accused the state’s anti-corruption watchdog of unlawful conduct after she won a court battle to keep secret its report into allegations against her.

The Supreme Court in Brisbane on Tuesday ordered Ms Trad’s application against the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission be dismissed after all parties accepted the state’s law as it stands would not allow the report’s release.

Ms Trad, who was also Queensland’s former treasurer, took legal action to stop the CCC releasing a report on allegations she intervened in the recruitment of a senior public servant.

The CCC launched the probe in 2020 after Ms Trad was accused of overruling an independent selection panel to ensure her own pick, Frankie Carroll, was installed as under-treasurer in 2019.

Ms Trad welcomed the court’s “clear and emphatic” decision and accused the CCC of acting unlawfully.

“The CCC’s unlawful conduct has had a significant impact on my political career and my family over the past three years,” Ms Trad said in a statement released after Tuesday’s hearing.

The CCC’s announcement of an investigation into Ms Trad prompted her resignation as a minister in 2020.

In her statement, Ms Trad thanked her family and friends for their support during her court case against the CCC.

“This matter has brought into question the way in which the CCC understands and administers its responsibilities according to the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 and my experience is not the only one,” she said.

Ms Trad’s barrister, Angus Scott KC, told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that all parties had now consented to end the matter after another former Queensland public official set a High Court precedent last month.

“(The proposed order) concedes that the CCC does not have power to make public the report, the subject of these proceedings, in light of the High Court’s decision in Carne,” Mr Scott said.

The High Court ruled last month that a CCC report on allegations against former public trustee Peter Carne was not subject to parliamentary privilege and could not be released.

The Clerk of Parliament for the Speaker of Queensland’s Legislative Assembly was also a party to the Trad case.

The CCC also agreed to a proposal to pay Ms Trad’s costs.

Justice Martin Burns ordered that the files related to the case would not be made public.

However, he did agree with the CCC’s barrister, Peter Dunning KC, that the agreement between the parties be made public in the interests of open justice and historical record.

The CCC declined to comment in response to the Supreme Court’s decision.

CCC chairman Bruce Barbour called for changes to the state’s laws after the High Court ruling in September so it could continue to release reports in the public interest.

The opposition also called for changes to keep the public informed about anti-corruption efforts.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament last month the government was considering the High Court decision.