Minister in Mine Approval Bribe Scandal
Sections of the media are suggesting a $2,000 donation from a coal mining company was enough of a bribe for MP Ian Walker to influence the approvals process for a Toowoomba mine expansion last year.
According to The Guardian, Mr Walker accepted a personal $2,000 campaign donation from a director of New Hope Group, owners of Acland mine, in 2012 in the lead up to the State election.
Then in January of last year, Mr Walker invited public comment on the proposed Acland mine expansion during the brief two weeks he acted as State Development Minister.
Both Mr Walker and Premier Campbell Newman have vehemently denied any wrong-doing saying the donation was fully disclosed at the time, and that the MP had no real involvement in the mine’s approval process.
However at the ALP election launch earlier this week, opposition leader, Annastacia Palaszczuk insinuated that the Newman Government was engaged in corrupt dealings with big business.
“We have seen the LNP use its massive majority to change the law so it can receive huge donations from secret donors,” she said.
“We see a massively cashed up LNP raising tens of millions of dollars in secret.
“We have seen the LNP throw open the door again to those carrying brown paper bags.”
“Most Queenslanders never thought that 25 years after the Fitzgerald inquiry and reforms put in place by Wayne Goss that we’d be talking about a Government that has weakened the fight against corruption,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Mr Walker has come under more fire today after it was revealed that his daughter now works as a communications adviser for New Hope Group.
Ian Walker told Guardian Australia in a statement that he notified the office of deputy premier Jeff Seeney when his daughter took the job with New Hope.
“I am scrupulous with any conflict of interest obligations, and comply to the highest standard,” he said.
“Children of politicians have the right to work in the private sector for companies that may deal with the government.
“It’s no secret Alice works at New Hope, which is on her LinkedIn profile.”