It will be very interesting today in the Qld parliament, when history is made with disgraced politician Gordon Nuttall appearing from court to address the house…He is a lying thieving conniving corrupt criminal who was caught out. Now he may be about to spill the beans on others.
UPDATE 4.30 pm 12/05/11 FOUND GUILTY IN PARLIAMENT
STATE Parliament has found Gordon Nuttall guilty of contempt charges and fined him $82,000.
Mr Nuttall was this afternoon handed a $2000 fine for each of the 41 instances of contempt, which relate to corrupt payments he received from Queensland businessmen.
Summing up this afternoon’s debate, Leader of the House Judy Spence said Mr Nuttall “didn’t give us any evidence to want a lesser judgment”.
She said handing down the maximum fine recognised “the seriousness of this crime”.
Earlier, Premier Anna Bligh dismissed Mr Nuttall’s appeals for leniency on the grounds he could not afford the fine or that he had already been convicted in the courts..
“I listened hard to hear a sense of remorse or regret,” she told State Parliament this afternoon as she seconded a motion that he be given the full $82,000 fine.
Ms Bligh said Mr Nuttall spent half the time of his speech levelling allegations against the DPP and the CMC but that he provided no evidence to back up his claims and had not made any official complaint.
Ms Bligh said she had initially defended Mr Nuttall publicly as a “decent and honest person” and that he had used elaborate schemes to hide his deceit.
“I join the Leader of the House in how I felt betrayed by actions of Mr Nuttall,” she said.
Mr Nuttall has referenced the biblical story of Daniel in the lion’s den, Al Capone and even Breaker Morant in an emotional address to Parliament.
And the disgraced former minister ended with a reference to the biblical quote “judge not lest ye be judged”.
Nuttall took the floor in Queensland Parliament to defend contempt charges, making history as the first convicted criminal to do so.
Wearing a suit with a red tie and blue shirt, he looked gaunt and sombre as he prepared to speak.
The former Health Minister was jailed in 2009 for 36 counts of receiving secret commissions from businessmen while a minister in the Beattie government.
He is set to face the bar of parliament at midday (AEST), when he will be given 45 minutes to argue why he should not be fined $82,000 for not disclosing the payments under parliamentary rules.
Nuttall will wear a suit and will not be handcuffed when he addresses the House, his barrister John Rivett said.
Mr Beattie said Nuttall would seek revenge for the allegations levelled against him that had led to his imprisonment.
“The first words Nuttall should utter to the assembled members are an apology for his disgraceful criminal behaviour and betrayal of his oath of office to the people of Queensland,” Mr Beattie told The Courier-Mail.
“Nothing Nuttall can say to Parliament will remove the permanent stain on his name for his corruption that includes five convictions for perjury. In my view, because of Nuttall’s betrayal of his ministerial duty, both his criminal sentence and Parliamentary penalties are far too light.”
“Nuttall refuses to accept the consequences of his corrupt behaviour.
“Nuttall is out for revenge because I referred allegations relating to him to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
“The subsequent investigation was widened by the CMC and led to his conviction and imprisonment. I gave evidence against him in court. It is little wonder Nuttall’s motive is to seek revenge.
“Let me deal with Nuttall’s lies.” Mr Beattie said.
“Lie number one: two ministers were the “voice at the Cabinet table” for a hotel group.
“I ran a very centralised cabinet process. Nothing went to cabinet without my approval or support.
Cabinet would not have been improperly influenced by a hotel group. Hotels were consulted along with the club industry when changes were considered to the Liquor Act or poker machine laws. After cabinet, any decision pertaining to the hotel industry was publicly announced.”
“Lie number 2: Former Minister Bob Gibbs and I were improperly enticed to quit Parliament.
“The details of Bob Gibbs’ appointment as Trade Commissioner to LA were released at the time of his appointment and subjected to media scrutiny. All questions were satisfactorily answered then. There was no sweetheart deal with Gibbs who indicated to me he was retiring from Parliament. Subsequently I offered him the LA position to use his skills for Queensland.
“There was no CJC investigation of the Gibbs appointment at the time because it was in accordance with the law.
“After my retirement as Premier I was offered a number of board appointments. I subsequently declined those appointments after Gary Crook, the Integrity Commissioner advised in a detailed opinion that a period of time needed to elapse before I accepted such positions. Subsequently Anna Bligh offered me the LA Trade Commissioner role.
“Lie 3. Nuttall alleges that a formal selection processes were improperly aborted to appoint a high-ranking public servant who was “on side” with Labor.
“I sacked the Director General of Health while Nuttall was Minister over the tragedies at Bundaberg hospital. Nuttall was very bitter about this and my decision to move him from health and eventually out of the ministry. The appointment of Ushi Schriber as the DG of the Health Department was done properly.”
Mr Beattie said no “sane person” would now believe one word Nuttall said given he is a convicted perjurer.
“In my view, because of Nuttall’s betrayal of his ministerial duty, both his criminal sentence and parliamentary penalties are far too light,” Mr Beattie said.
Mr Beattie said Nuttall had no credibility left.
“Why would any sane person now believe one word that is said by this convicted perjurer?” he said.
Mr Beattie said he had explained his position on Nuttall’s allegations in a letter to the head of Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission, Martin Moynihan QC, written before he left for Latin America on April 28.
Nuttall’s barrister says the disgraced former minister never intended tape recordings of him making allegations against former and current Labor MPs to be made public.
John Rivett said this morning Nuttall is grateful that LNP MP Rob Messenger had taken up his fight, tabling recording of conversations between the pair in state parliament, however
“I think he’s grateful for Rob’s support,’’ Mr Rivett said.
“I don’t think Gordon really realise that the tape he allowed Rob to tape would be played in parliament. That wasn’t agreed to by Mr Nuttall.’’
Mr Rivett said Mr Nuttall would find it humiliating fronting parliament after once being a member.
He told morning radio Mr Nuttall will appear before the bar wearing a suit. He will not be handcuffed.
Mr Nuttall has been working on today’s speech for a couple of months.
Speaker John Mickel has told radio that at the conclusion of the speech, Nuttall will be taken by the parliament’s sergeant at arms to the custodial officers who will be just outside the doors of the chamber.
After he leaves, the house will determine if he is guilty of the 41 contempt charges and if so, what is the penalty.
Mr Mickel said it’s an emotional day for him as he went to the same school as Nuttall and has known him since he was a young man