Trad’s back with ghost of a scandal

 

JACKIE Trad has awoken the ghosts of last year's integrity scandal that plagued the Palaszczuk Government with an extraordinary speech that left colleagues bewildered.

Almost a year after her Woolloongabba property saga erupted, the former deputy premier and treasurer returned to the spotlight to speak to integrity legislation inspired by a corruption assessment of her embarrassing failure.

And she further stunned colleagues when she addressed the scandal during an exclusive interview with Sky News last night.

WATCH THE FULL SKY INTERVIEW IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE

The foray back into public view comes nearly six weeks after the South Brisbane MP resigned from Cabinet due to another corruption probe - this time an investigation by the state's corruption watchdog into the recruitment of the new Inner City South State Secondary College principal.

Speaking in support of the laws passed last night, which were drawn up after her failure to disclose the property purchase, Ms Trad told the House her husband Damien Van Brunschot had been "demonised".

"It has been misconstrued in the media that my husband neglected to tell me about the house, which is why I failed to disclose it," she told parliament.

"But let me make this really clear - Damien divested his interests, he took the money and he made an investment decision and I was not part of that decision.

 

Queensland Labor Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad during her speech on Thursday. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Queensland Labor Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad during her speech on Thursday. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

 

"But of course he told me after he had purchased the house that he had purchased it so any failure to disclose formally within the time frame was not his fault, it was my fault and I have apologised repeatedly for that."

Last July, The Courier-Mail revealed Ms Trad had failed to declare the $695,000 Woolloongabba home.

She referred herself to the Crime and Corruption Commission.

The CCC found there was no evidence of corrupt conduct but recommended sweeping changes, including introducing a criminal offence for when a Cabinet member did not declare a conflict of ­interest.

 

The Woolloongabba home bought by Jackie Trad’s husband.
The Woolloongabba home bought by Jackie Trad’s husband.

 

Ms Trad did not speak to issues yesterday about whether she informed Cabinet about the property purchase near a newly planned Cross River Rail train station, which she had ministerial responsibility for.

She pointed out late declarations "are common in this place".

The South Brisbane MP said she was six weeks late in formally finalising the declaration of the property, but had provided information verbally and in written form to the Clerk that she had not signed "form three".

"This was a six week lag," she said.

"And again I apologise to the House.

"But as the CCC found, there was not only no corruption, but there was no evidence of dishonesty.

"There was absolutely no evidence of dishonesty because I did not act in a dishonest way."

Ms Trad insisted the Woolloongabba house was "never a secret".

"In fact after the boarding house fire in West End in May last year, a number of residents were made homeless," she said.

"This property was made available to them rent free - a whole family - to live there until they could find enough means to get back on their feet and find another property for themselves.

"So can I say this was never a secret.

"And for those opposite to paint this in the way that they have I think goes to what their real motivation is and that is mudslinging."

Ms Trad said the LNP should think about the implications of the CCC's recommendations for their own MPs.

"I think the Attorney-General has presented to this House a fair balance in relation to these issues," Ms Trad said.

"There must be intention, there must be deceit and there must be dishonesty."

She told Sky News she was the underdog to win the seat of South Brisbane, because the LNP was preferencing the Greens.

But if she won her seat and the Palaszczuk Government was returned, she would not rule out another stint in Cabinet.

"That's up to the premier and caucus,'' she said.

Originally published as Trad's back with ghost of a scandal


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