Queensland police minister Jo-Ann Miller’s phone call to a man making criminal allegations against a Labor MP has raised jurisdictional issues between police and the corruption watchdog.
Ms Miller has admitted to calling her Labor friend Bruce McLean – who has made harassment and forgery allegations against his former employer, first term Pumicestone MP Rick Williams.
The police minister insisted the call, which premier Annastacia Palaszczuk labelled an “error of judgment” on Thursday, was merely a welfare check on a constituent in her Bundamba electorate.
It was referred to both Queensland Police and the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) by opposition police spokesman Jarrod Bleijie on Thursday afternoon.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart has sought jurisdictional advice from the CCC, saying any investigation would be based on the facts.
“I think it appropriate that the CCC make a decision around jurisdiction in the first instance,” he told reporters on Friday.
Mr Stewart declined to comment on whether the timing of Ms Miller’s phone call on Wednesday morning – which happened after the allegations were made public and before any police involvement – could be key to any probe.
A string of allegations against Mr Williams were also being considered by a police assessment team.
“We will also look at whether that has to be referred to the CCC in terms of their jurisdiction as opposed to ours,” Mr Stewart said.
He said the police jurisdiction specifically covered criminal investigations, “but if there are other matters that is potentially a matter for the CCC”.
“I’m hoping the assessment phase will be very quick.”
The Courier-Mail this week reported a string of untested allegations against Mr Williams, including claims he tried to hire someone to have his ex-wife’s boyfriend “done over”, sexually harassed a teenager and engaged in business impropriety.
Mr Stewart said the situation was not unprecedented as it came amid an ongoing police investigation into domestic violence allegations against Cook MP Billy Gordon.
“That matter is being handled by a small team and we will have an outcome to that fairly shortly,” he said.
Mr Gordon quit the Labor party in April over unpaid child support, his undisclosed criminal history and domestic violence allegations made by a former partner – leaving the government to rely on cross-bench support for their hold on power.