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Palaszczuk finds letter from Qld lawyer 'intimidating'

Qld Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk
Qld Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk Max Fleet

QUEENSLAND opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk wants a letter from stood-down Transport Department director-general Michael Caltabiano's lawyer, which she claims "intimidates and threatens" her, referred to the parliamentary ethics committee.

Ms Palaszczuk tabled the letter from lawyer Adrian Braithwaite which asked her to stop claiming Mr Caltabiano misled a budget estimates hearing about his links to departmental liaison officer Ben Gommers and his previous work history.

Mr Caltabiano has stood aside as Transport and Main Roads director-general while the ethics committee investigates the comments he made.

Mr Gommers is the son of Arts Minister Ros Bates, whose absence from parliament this week on sick leave has resulted in accusations she was avoiding Question Time.

Queensland Speaker Fiona Simpson asked Ms Palaszczuk to put her case in writing agrueing why the letter constituted a serious contempt of the assembly and violated her privileges as an MP.

Mr Braithwaite, in his letter, said the allegations against Mr Caltabiano were "vigorously rejected".

"Mr Caltabiano is confident that once a proper consideration of all materials is undertaken, any such assertions will be established as unsustainable," he said.

"We are instructed to insist you not repeat any such allegation or statements in any forum and further that you inform and instruct your colleagues likewise."

Ms Palaszczuk told Queensland Parliament she believed the letter constituted a prima facie case of contempt of the parliament.

"I will not be silenced. As Leader of the Opposition, I will not be threatened or intimidated when seeking to keep this government accountable," she said.

"Never in my time in this House, to my knowledge, has a director-general sent a letter of this kind to a member of parliament.

"This is a matter of serious contempt.

"No member of parliament should be intimidated or threatened by the actions of a legal firm."

Topics:  Annastacia Palaszczuk labor lawyer letter lnp michael caltabiano queensland government


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