Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Queensland ALP campaign rocked by allegations of mates deals

Forestry Plantations Queensland sale complaint alleges secret lobby link to ALP

From left, Andrew Fraser, Mike Kaiser,
and Jim Elder
The letter also claims Mr Elder had contact with Treasurer Andrew Fraser in the lead-up to the sale and Mr Elder received a "success fee" paid over a period of time.

The allegations conflict with comments made by Mr Fraser in May 2010 who told Parliament that the government was unaware of any involvement of Mr Elder.

Mr Elder yesterday said he did have contact with the Government about the FPQ sale "in the early days" before the formal bid process began. However, he said he then worked for Hancock as a "strategic adviser" which meant he was not required to list Hancock as a client on the lobbyist register. 

"The CMC can come and see me mate but we didn't lobby on behalf of (Hancock)," Mr Elder said.In a statement, a spokesman for Mr Fraser said the treasurer "never met, spoke or otherwise dealt with Mr Elder at all during the transaction". "Nor was he aware of any involvement of Mr Elder in any capacity," he said. Mr Fraser's spokesman said the sale of FPQ's 35,000ha of freehold land as a 99-year-lease was overseen at all times by a probity adviser.

Integrity Commissioner David Solomon confirmed he had received the complaint and that Mr Elder had never listed Hancock as a client. "However, I don't have any investigative powers that would allow me to check the allegations any further," he said.

A spokeswoman for the CMC also confirmed receiving the complaint. She said the watchdog was assessing the whistleblower's allegations before deciding whether to launch a formal investigation.
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