Update 12.40pm:  PREMIER Campbell Newman yesterday denied misleading Parliament after The Morning Bulletin revealed Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson had tried to persuade him to save Terry Hill's job.

Mr Johnson and Gladstone Independent MP Liz Cunningham petitioned Mr Newman after the Transport and Main Roads Fitzroy regional director's contract was not renewed in June.

Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne yesterday asked the Premier to clarify his response to Mr Byrne's question asked during an estimates hearing last month: "you are saying to us that neither you nor anybody associated with your staff have had any conversations whatsoever associated with the position of regional director of Main Roads in Rockhampton?"

Replying to the question in estimates, Mr Newman said: "I have had no conversations with anyone about the appointment of anybody other than Mr Caltabiano within that department".

Mr Newman yesterday told Parliament he had no conversations with anyone in that department.

"I say again today that I had no conversations with anybody within the department about the appointment of a regional director of Main Roads in Rockhampton," Mr Newman said.

"In relation to the conversations that have been recorded in the media about members, they were making representations which I wanted to have nothing to do with because I was not going to interfere."

HOW IT HAPPENED

May 24: Mayor Margaret Strelow invites Robert Schwarten to cut ribbon at Gracemere overpass opening.

June 7: Cr Strelow calls Premier's office after being told by Terry Hill that he was sacked.

July 16: Premier tells estimates: "I have had no conversations with anyone about the appointment of anybody other than Mr Caltabiano within that department".

August 6: Premier's spokesperson says: "As the Premier noted during estimates, the only appointment within that department that he has been involved with is the appointment of Mr Caltabiano".

August 7: Premier tells Parliament he didn't have any conversations with anyone in the department.

But Mr Byrne told The Bulletin yesterday that Mr Newman had been playing "word games".

"What we do have finally is an admission from the Premier that he has taken representations about the issue," he said.

"There is more to the story and I intend to establish what that is."

 

UPDATE 3.40PM: PREMIER Campbell Newman has denied misleading parliament after The Morning Bulletin today revealed Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson had tried to persuade him to save Terry Hill's job.

Mr Johnson and Gladstone Independent MP Liz Cunningham petitioned Mr Newman after the Transport and Main Roads Fitzroy regional director's contract was not renewed in June.

Bill Byrne.
Bill Byrne.

Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne asked the Premier about his response to Mr Byrne's question "you are saying to us that neither you nor anybody associated with your staff have had any conversations whatsoever associated with the position of regional director of Main Roads in Rockhampton?" during an estimates hearing last month.

 

At estimates Mr Newman replied, "I have had no conversations with anyone about the appointment of anybody other than Mr Caltabiano within that department".

Mr Newman today responded that he had told parliament he had no conversations with anyone in that department.

Read tomorrow's paper for the full story.

Campbell Newman at the PCYC in Rockhampton announcing a boot camp program. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Campbell Newman at the PCYC in Rockhampton announcing a boot camp program. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK240313sboot1

9am: MAYOR Margaret Strelow tried to contact Premier Campbell Newman in an attempt to save Terry Hill's job, but the call was never returned.

The long-time Transport and Main Roads Fitzroy regional director told Cr Strelow he had been sacked, according to an internal State Government email released under Right to Information.

The distressed Mayor told a staff member in the Premier's office that Mr Hill had told her he had lost his job because Labor stalwart Robert Schwarten had cut a ribbon at the $50million Gracemere overpass opening on May 24.

The email, dated June 7, shows Cr Strelow tried to contact the Premier to explain she had invited Mr Schwarten to cut the ribbon.

Gladstone Independent MP Liz Cunningham, and Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson, from within the LNP's own ranks, also tried to persuade Mr Newman to intervene in the removal of Mr Hill.

Ms Cunningham also contacted Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson.

She said both men offered a "general acknowledgement" for her request for a review.

Mr Johnson said he tried, but couldn't exercise his "persuasive powers" with Mr Newman.

He praised Mr Hill's high calibre as a professional, and a friend.

During an estimates hearing last month Mr Newman was questioned by Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne about any conversations he had relating to "the position of regional director of Main Roads in Rockhampton".

Mr Newman replied, "I have had no conversations with anyone about the appointment of anybody other than Mr Caltabiano within that department".

When The Morning Bulletin rang the Premier's office yesterday to clarify that answer relating to the discussions he had with Mr Johnson and Ms Cunningham about Mr Hill's job, a spokesman for the Premier said: "as the Premier noted during estimates, the only appointment within that department that he has been involved with is the appointment of Mr Caltabiano".

The spokesman also said that Cr Strelow's call was not returned because it was not appropriate for Mr Newman to intervene in a departmental matter.

The moment Cr Margaret Strelow called for former mayor Brad Carter and former local member Robert Schwarten to help with cutting the ribbon of the new overpass. Photo: Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
The moment Cr Margaret Strelow called for former mayor Brad Carter and former local member Robert Schwarten to help with cutting the ribbon of the new overpass. Photo: Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK140613opening1

 

The department has told The Morning Bulletin that it had decided to go in a new direction when not renewing Mr Hill's contract.

However, a source within the department said Mr Hill's contract had already been renewed before he was asked to resign.

Both Ms Cunningham and Mr Johnson refused to comment on the reason for Mr Hill's contract not being renewed.

When asked yesterday if he tried to save Mr Hill's job, Keppel MP Bruce Young said it was a matter for the department's director-general.

Mirani MP Ted Malone said he had nothing against Mr Hill, but would not comment further.

Mr Byrne is expecting more to be revealed on the issue since the Opposition received the internal email about Cr Strelow from their RTI request.

"I'm not convinced that all the facts of this matter have been put on the public record despite numerous opportunities for the information to be provided," he said. "I have an expectation that we will eventually receive all the information connected to the selection process. The director-general has committed to provide that information."

The Morning Bulletin was unable to contact Mr Hill.