Claims of “covering up” the number of Commonwealth Games tickets handed out to TAFE Queensland staff and board members could land Minister Shannon Fentiman in front of the parliamentary ethics committee.
Fentiman is being accused of “deliberately misusing” parliamentary procedures to avoid scrutiny, with the Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP) calling for an ethics probe into the case.
Last month, the LNP requested a breakdown of recipients of 2,148 Commonwealth Games tickets purchased by TAFE Queensland, an industry-relevant training provider, into the categories of board members, executives and staff, as well as TAFE clients, guests, volunteers and others.
According to the Canberra Times, TAFE chief executive Mary Campbell said that the cost of the tickets purchased was $230,641 at estimates hearings on August 2.
However, Fentiman pointed the LNP to the Embracing 2018 website for the total number of tickets, stating that any further breakdown “would require an unnecessary diversion of resources from the provision of training.”
The Embracing 2018 table showed that TAFE Queensland’s allocation of Commonwealth Games tickets was “excluded” from the main list. A different list itemised the number of tickets by event assigned to TAFE Queensland without disclosing whether those tickets were given to staff and board members, clients, guests, volunteers or others.
LNP shadow minister Fiona Simpson said Fentiman’s response “made a mockery” of parliamentary rules.
“It is clear that data relating to the categorisation of ticket recipients exists,” she said. “The existence of this information demonstrates that (Ms Fentiman) has deliberately made no effort to attempt to answer the straightforward request for a breakdown of recipients.
“This latest cover-up only adds to (previous) revelations of Minister Fentiman’s use of a private email account for ministerial businesses.
“Shannon Fentiman’s actions continue to demonstrate a complete disregard (for) the Premier’s request for transparent, accountable and ethical behaviour.”
Simpson wrote to the Speaker on Thursday to ask that the minister be referred to the ethics committee, or counselled.