Oct 23, 2008

Life a misery for the staff of Ronan Lee MP

New claims have emerged of mistreatment of electorate office staff by several other Queensland Labor MPs which have been ignored by the Queensland ALP and Queensland Parliament, writes Bernard Keane.

While Australian Story glossed over bullying by Merri Rose during her stint in the Beattie Government, new claims have emerged of mistreatment of electorate office staff by several other Queensland Labor MPs, including by newly-defected Greens MP Ronan Lee, which have been ignored by the Queensland ALP and Queensland Parliament.

A number of former electorate office staff have approached Crikey to give their accounts of the misery they endured at the hands of Labor MPs wholly out of their depth or turned egomaniacs by their ascension to Parliament.

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17 thoughts on “Life a misery for the staff of Ronan Lee MP

  1. JG

    So if the police had to protect a court witness because the MP was trying to interfere with that witness – who covered it up? The parliament, the police minister, the premier or the MP? This is more than a scandal its a crisis! Queensland’s back to the era of Joh B or didn’t it move on?

  2. Joe

    This is typical of anyone who crosses the ALP, suddenly all the dirt comes out. If you saw the Australian Story on Mary Rose I think they played down the real story, how the ALP ditches those who cross them, and hangs them out to dry.

    Good journalism would find dirt like this across the QLD ALP before the member leaves the ALP, when you now have to question the motives of the complainers.

    I don’t think Conservative member’s staff are so under the thumb as the ALP staffers are. The ALP gets people in with promises of jobs so they toe the line, as show in the Mary Rose case. What a shock the ALP got staff for Lee from a temp agency and not from the party for once.

  3. John Gurr

    Joe…you’ve highlighted many failings from a skewed parliamentary administration to an amateur production from our so-called serious media. Both are devoid of astute professional operators as they limp along on dumbed-down and untrained personel unable to accomplish their purpose. It possibly suits a bunch of mediocre parliamentary performers locked in for life pensions in biased governance. As for the ABC its up to the Corporation to figure out what happened there. Put the two together it offers little hope for Australians looking to a well-oiled, tranparent democracy.

  4. Mirek

    Thanks, Crikey for broaching an apparent taboo subject, certainly for the mainstream media. It appears that the new Queensland PM, Bligh`s policy is to continue Beatty`s cover-up, ignore or attack-the-victim agenda. There can be little doubt that this is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg, and similar abuses of workers` rights occur in other States and federally. The main point is that staff have no recourse for their complaints, that other employees have in other sections of the economy. It is high time for a system reform including an ombudsman, and the formation of a parliamentary workers` union. What about that, ACTU?

  5. Julia

    Questions should also be asked about the treatment of the staff of one other MP. Since she came to office in the 2006 state election three staff members have left due to verbal abuse.

  6. Peta

    Oh please, if Crikey was going to print an article that was unsubstantiated then Lee could sue. Clearly there are people prepared to go on the record otherwise no sane editor would print, esp after the fiasco with Stephen Maybe being sued by a Victorian politician. It’s too small to cope if a decent law suit was bought against it. If it is incorrect, then let Lee sue. It isn’t like MP’s are short of a quid. I’m sure the Greens could rustle up some pro-bono lawyers among their followers.

    Use some logic, Sam. You’re implying something about the reporters motivation but clearly you don’t have anyone willing to put it on the record because you won’t say what it is. Crikey on the other hand are clearly willing to put their money where their mouth is. Their job is to report on all politics in Oz; and they frequently report on the grubby inside stories in all the state parliaments. Does this mean that they shouldn’t report on Troy Buswell, or the long line of misdemeanour’s in the NSW’s ALP? It’s pretty demeaning from a Qlder’s perspective that ppl seem to argue that keane, as a Canberra reporter shouldn’t report on a ‘backwater’ like Qld. Anyone with any knowledge of politics in Australia knows how important COAG is at the moment, and how important state govts are as a result. This story says as much about the ALP Govt in Qld as it does Lee.

    It seems to me the person with the motivation is the Green’s supporter who has just discover, courtesy of Crikey, that all that glitters is not gold.

    Besides, the ALP obviously didn’t leak this as it is hardly been in their best interests, judging from the anti-Bligh spin in the story. All of this occurred under their watch, so why would they want it to come out? It’s a failure of duty on their part and doesn’t speak well about the Labor Party’s view of industrial fairness for the workers under their control.

  7. W. Goldberg

    Parliamentary service in Queensland sounds like a stint on a southern US of A cotton farm circa the slavery era! The weather in the deep north might be sunny one day and perfect the next but the labor market close to government sounds like its in real strife. Staff used like boxes of tissues and human rights yesterday’s hearing the hired help at the disposal of MPs is certainly getting the rough end of the pineapple. So what happened during the former Premier’s watch? He reckons he revolutionized a ‘rocks and crops economy’ but he left it struggling with civil rights. Maybe while his moonlighting in the city of angels he can trade himself up for a John Quincy Adams. I hear he’s been sprung over there in LA whistling that old Beach Boys number ‘Cotton Fields Back Home”. Next time he’s here we should ask him for a rendition.

  8. JG

    Sam…what a stupid comment. A handful of ‘former staff who are also ALP members”. He was a labor MP who lost interest in that party’s policies (!!) and of course the witnesses would likely have been (note past tense) party sympathisers if they were working in his office. Tthey’re expected if not ordered to be. That’s the flaming problem with these jobs. They’re dressed up as parliamentary positions for party abuse. Any journo with a conscience whose approached by desperate individuals done over by an MP isn’t going to analyse the weather when there’s a ghastly sick tale to tell. Why would Keane have an axe to grind – he’s well removed from backwater politics but as I say – he’s got a conscience. Missing on Ronan and too many screwballs in the Qld parliament

  9. Elise

    The people involved in all of this need to ask for an Inquiry or contact Slater and Gordon to do a class action case. Wouldn’t the Qld parliament qualify as a key employer? I thought Nochoices was voted out in the last election. Unbelievable stuff.

  10. David Lowe

    Electorate staff technically report to the Speaker, you should get in touch with Mike Reynolds; but don’t be surprised at the response – Malcolm Weatherup of the Townsville Bulletin refers to him as Captain Snooze.

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