Queensland’s Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has stood down from ministerial duties over a probe into the appointment of a Brisbane principal.
The Crime and Corruption Commission is investigating the recruitment and selection process for the principal of the Inner City South Secondary College in her South Brisbane seat.
Ms Trad was told on Friday that the matter had progressed from an assessment to an investigation, and says she will stand down from ministerial duties.
“I will co-operate fully with this investigation. It will provide me with the opportunity to set the record straight,” Ms Trad said on Saturday.
“Let me be clear, no applicant to the principal position was known to me in any capacity – personal, political or professional.
“Further I have never expressed a view to anyone on who should fill that role.”
Opposition education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie complained to the CCC in December that Ms Trad interfered in the hunt for the principal at the new school.
A foundation principal role was publicised in January and a five-person panel was set up to select a candidate.
An order of merit was established through that initial recruitment process, with the department setting up a meeting with Ms Trad and the highest-ranked candidate.
The panel signed off on the appointment, but new modelling then showed Inner City South Secondary would be bigger and require an executive principal, so no job offer was made.
The position was advertised again, and the department once again arranged for Ms Trad to meet a candidate before they were then hired.
However, Mr Bleijie says it was inappropriate, and referred allegations Ms Trad interfered to the CCC.
In a statement, the CCC said the probe was in the public interest and further comment would be inappropriate.
“It is important to note all allegations should be treated as unsubstantiated until a final outcome is reached,” the CCC said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was informed of Ms Trad’s decision to stand aside on Friday night.
“I accept that her decision is the correct course of action. I will be assuming her ministerial duties until further notice,” the Premier said.
It’s the second time the deputy premier has faced CCC scrutiny in the past 12 months after she purchased a house near the state government’s flagship Cross River Rail project.
Queensland’s corruption watchdog looked into the purchase but found no evidence to support a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct.
But it did recommend changes to the way conflicts of interest are dealt with, including criminal penalties if MPs fail to declare such conflicts and don’t update their register of interests.
“Jackie Trad has to be held accountable, not by standing down but by Annastacia Palaszczuk sacking her,” Mr Bleijie said on Saturday.
“How many chances does she get?”
Ms Trad refused to take questions but said she would still contest her seat of South Brisbane in the October state election.