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'I must take all responsibility'

David Gibson emerges from his office to address reporters in Gympie yesterday.
David Gibson emerges from his office to address reporters in Gympie yesterday. Renee Pilcher

PREMIER Campbell Newman yesterday appeared to turn the knife as he responded to disquiet over Gympie MP David Gibson's resignation from Cabinet.

Mr Gibson told reporters yesterday he had resigned as Police Minister after being caught driving unlicenced.

But, like thousands of Queenslanders convicted of that offence after failing to pay traffic fines, he claimed he had never been notified of the suspension of his licence.

He joined a throng of drivers convicted every week in courts that reject their claims to have committed the offence unwittingly.

Many say they are victims of bad administration within the Beattie government's revenue-collection creation, the State Penalties Enforcement Registry.

Yesterday, Mr Newman appeared to believe registry claims that Mr Gibson would have received at least five letters warning him about the 2011 fine.

Mr Gibson said he had received one notification of a speeding offence last year and had forgotten to pay the fine.

He said he accepted the need for high standards.

Now one of Queensland's shortest-serving ministers, Gympie MP David Gibson yesterday read a prepared statement about his resignation as Police Minister.

He admitted he had unwittingly driven while his licence was suspended for an unpaid fine.

At a hastily arranged media conference at his Channon St office, Mr Gibson indicated he would not answer any questions and asked reporters to respect his and his family's privacy.

The statement read: "Last night, as you're aware, I resigned as the Minister for Police and Community Safety.

"I made this decision voluntarily because I had made a mistake that I felt caused me to fall short of the standard that the new LNP Government was requiring from police ministers.

"Whilst there has been a lot of speculation in the media about the details of this mistake, it is really very simple.

"In May last year, I received a speeding fine which I forgot to pay. I make no excuses for this. I am human and the payment of this fine was simply overlooked.

"I have since learned that my failure to pay this fine resulted in an automatic three-month suspension of my driver's licence in November last year by SPER.

"I am advised by SPER that documentation regarding this fine was sent to both my current and previous addresses.

"Whilst I cannot comment on what SPER did or did not send, I can say unequivocally that at no time did I receive any notification that my licence was suspended or about to be suspended for not paying the fine.

"This lack of knowledge meant that for a period of time I was driving whilst my licence was suspended, a fact that I have only now discovered.

"After being told of the facts and realising my mistake, I immediately paid the outstanding fine and did what I felt was the right thing to do in offering my resignation.

"The LNP was elected to provide Queenslanders with a government of higher standards.

"For years we have seen previous Labor ministers fail to take responsibility for their actions or their departments.

"I believe our government is better than that and I support our Premier in his desire to expect that from his ministers.

"Many have said today in the media and social media that a system that can suspend licences in this manner is flawed.

"That is a matter for the appropriate ministers.

"However, from my perspective, I forgot to pay a traffic fine and I must take responsibility for this.

"Be assured that I will continue to work for the people of Gympie and Queensland in my role as the Member for Gympie.

"I am determined to be part of a government that restores accountability and transparency back to Queensland and I hope my actions have demonstrated this.

"I look forward to whatever the future holds."

Gympie Times

Topics:  cabinet, campbell newman, david gibson, resignation


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