Why Trad saga is far from over for besieged government

THERE'S nothing quite like a quick trip to the Governor's palatial Paddington digs to help governments give voters the impression that they're starting afresh from a scandal.

Everyone dresses up for the occasion, pays homage to the many formalities and then smiles for the cameras when it's over.

No questions please. We're all very busy and important people now.

The Palaszczuk Government indulged in this great tradition yesterday as Steven Miles, Cameron Dick and Kate Jones were sworn in to the new titles that will festoon their business cards.

The subliminal message was pervading.

 

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and former treasurer Jackie Trad pictured last year. Picture: AAP /Glenn Hunt
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and former treasurer Jackie Trad pictured last year. Picture: AAP /Glenn Hunt

 

Jackie Trad's troubles are over, she's no longer a minister and the Government is getting on with governing.

However, while it was all good manufactured fodder for the TV news, the downfall of Trad and the carving up of her old portfolio does not draw the curtain down on this controversy as neatly as the Government would have ­people believe.

For a start, the Crime and Corruption Commission is now formally investigating ­allegations that Trad interfered in the independent process to recruit the principal for the new high school in her electorate.

As that probe unfolds, there are implications for Trad and her bid to retain South Brisbane, a seat Labor dearly needs to hold at the October 31 state election.

Beyond the feisty former deputy premier's plight, there are other parts of the Government's side of this story that remain unexplained or simply don't make sense.

Did Education Minister Grace Grace really play a ­Sergeant Schultz-style role and know nothing about the meetings that her senior ­bureaucrats organised between Trad and potential principal candidates? It seems incongruous, if that's the case.

Department of Education director-general Tony Cook has insisted that the initial meeting was organised at the behest of his organisation and was just an informal discussion between the then-treasurer and the then-preferred candidate for the job.

But who precisely made the call that Trad should meet with the candidate? And why did it happen when it's never happened before?

Mr Cook has explained that the principal position was upgraded after new demographic data emerged about the size of the school and that's the reason why the lead candidate missed out and the selection process restarted after her meeting with Trad.

But why would the department start the process of hiring a principal for Queensland's most expensive-ever school if it hadn't confirmed the number of ­students? And why does the date of the latest demographic data show that it was obtained in the same month that the first panel began the hiring process?

Trad's ministerial demise may seem like the end of this scandal story. But between the tales of a know-nothing minister and some mysterious decision-making, the ­epilogue might end up being just as interesting.

Originally published as Why Trad saga is far from over for besieged government



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