Secretive Trad investigation had been running six months before it became public

Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission boss has revealed the secret investigation into then-Treasurer Jackie Trad had been running for almost six months before it was made public in May when the Deputy Premier was called to testify in a private hearing.

Jun 19, 2020, updated Jun 19, 2020
Former Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad. (Photo: AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Former Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad. (Photo: AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Trad stood aside and then resigned from Cabinet in May, ostensibly after being notified the CCC’s assessment of allegations she interfered in a school appointment had become a formal investigation.

However, CCC chairman Alan MacSporran today told a parliamentary committee the assessment had in fact become an investigation in December last year, only a month after the complaint was received.

That meant the second most senior member of the Palaszczuk Government was secretly under investigation throughout two state by-election campaigns and the early stages of the pandemic response. In that time, the CCC endured criticism of the delay finalising assessments, and how such issues are reported – long-running issues that even the oversight committee has raised.

But today, MacSporran said it was a deliberate strategy not to flag any of the CCC’s approaches in the investigation, partly because it would be “unfair” to suggest someone had a case to answer even if they did.

He appeared to suggest the investigation may not have been made public in May had Trad not done so herself.

“As soon as we wished to speak with the Deputy Premier and have her examined in a hearing it was an investigation which she then was required under her obligations, I imagine, to tell the Premier,” MacSporran said.

Trad, who was also Treasurer, has denied wrongdoing and said she resigned so as not to become a distraction to the work of the government. The allegations revolve around the appointment of a school principal in her electorate and her communication with departmental officials.

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MacSporran said the investigation was complex and had only recently been finalised. He said a report would be released within weeks.

MacSporran suggested the committee was, in confidential sessions, aware of the investigation much earlier than the public. He speculated Trad would have realised before she received official confirmation.

“I’m sure she would have suspected, given the length of time it was taking, that we were doing more than simply assessing it,” MacSporran said.

Trad, who was not in a position to comment today, will re-contest her seat of South Brisbane at the October 31 election. In parliament on Thursday, she again apologised for a previous conflict of interest controversy that came to the attention of the CCC.

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