Many Crikey readers no doubt will have heard all sorts of curious rumours since former Queensland tourism minister Merri Rose was charged with attempting to blackmail Premier Peter Beattie last October.
Rose was yesterday sentenced to 18 months in jail, suspended after three months.
The court was told Merri threatened to expose very damaging information about a person if Beattie did not give her a lucrative job with Tourism Queensland.
The identity of the person and the details of the threat have been suppressed by the court. Judge Patsy Wolfe, however, has said the threat related to the personal aspects of somebody’s life, not the public aspects.
Queensland opposition leader Jeff Seeney has said “I think we need to know the evidence on which the former minister was jailed.”
Shadow Attorney General Mark Mr McArdle has said it was unprecedented in recent Queensland political history for a matter of such significant public importance to be suppressed under a “veil of secrecy”.
“In spite of the damage the Fitzgerald Inquiry did to certain political parties in Queensland, all of its hearings were held in the public spotlight,” Mr McArdle said.
Premier Peter Beattie says the opposition is being mischievous. He says “They know that every single piece of information has been sent to the CMC and if there was further action to be taken then the CMC, which has proven its independence, would be doing so.”
His comments – and the suppression order – will keep the rumour mill spinning around.