Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke hard at work, from home, during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Contributed.
Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke hard at work, from home, during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Contributed.

Rocky MP cleared by Ethics Committee

MEMBER for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke and five other MPs have been cleared of any wrongdoing by a Queensland Parliament Ethics Committee which investigated contempt of parliament concerns.

The matter was referred to the committee in February after it was alleged Mr O’Rourke, Mackay MP Julianne Gilbert, Cooper MP Kate Jones, McConnel MP Grace Grace, Bulimba MP Di Farmer and Mount Ommaney MP Jessica Pugh failed to maintain accurate statements of interest on the Queensland Parliament’s register of members’ interests.

It was alleged the MPs had failed to delete their membership of the National Union of Workers (NUW), and then failed to add their subsequent membership of the United Workers Union (UWU) within the one month time frame required by the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001.

The committee concluded that while there was a breach of the requirements of Standing Orders, this breach was “inadvertent” and was not a contempt of parliament.

The committee recommended the matter be dismissed because it was “trivial”.

“The committee finds that the removal of the NUW membership, and addition of the UWU membership to the Register, where applicable, was not carried out within the required one month time frame.

“However... the failure to update the Register was inadvertent, with no evidence of corruption or deceit by any of the Members. The committee does not consider it appropriate that inadvertent errors... should result in a serious finding of contempt of Parliament.

“Therefore, the committee finds that while there was a technical breach of the requirements... the breach was trivial and does not require further attention.”