Queensland Arts Minister Ros Bates has fired her top bureaucrat, deputy director general Shane Rowlands, blaming her for a speech she plagiarised from a Labor opponent. But Bates was in the chamber when the speech she copied was first read out.

Rowlands has taken the fall for a speech that Bates delivered to Queensland Parliament on May 17, in which she recycled whole paragraphs of a speech from the former Labor arts minister Rachel Nolan.