Thursday, February 13, 2014


AAP September 28, 2011

Campbell Newman
CONTROVERSY: Campbell Newman at home with his wife Lisa. Pic Jamie Hanson Source: The Courier-Mail
QUEENSLAND'S would-be premier says he didn't know about a pitch for up to $30 million a year in disaster recovery expertise by a company set up by his wife's family. 
Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman also says neither he nor his wife Lisa received any financial benefit from the operations of the company, headed by Mrs Newman's brother Seb Monsour.

Mrs Newman was secretary of the company - initially known as Invictus Solutions and now trading as Majella Global Technologies Asia Pacific - for its first three weeks.

The company was registered on January 21, a day after it offered its services to the Bligh Labor government, The Australian newspaper reported.

The company made an unsolicited pitch for up to $30 million a year from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority to provide disaster recovery expertise after the January floods.

Majella has not won any work with the authority, the paper reported.

Mr Newman, whose financial interests have come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, has previously said neither he nor his wife had any financial interest in the company.

In a fresh statement to the paper, Mr Newman said he had no knowledge of the $30 million a year pitch and that he and his wife had no financial interest in the venture.

"This was a proposal put to the Labor state government by Seb Monsour that I had no knowledge of and took place while I was Lord Mayor of Brisbane," he said.

"I am not a state government decision-maker nor am I an elected member; therefore there is no conflict of interest.

"I can categorically state that Lisa and myself have not received any financial benefit and will not in the future receive any financial benefit from the operations of Frank and Seb Monsour's company."

After Mrs Newman resigned as secretary of her brother's company, she remained a director of its shareholder, Frank Monsour Family Investments, a family trust headed by her father.

She's no longer a director of that trust but is still a potential beneficiary, a fact she has disclosed, an LNP spokeswoman told AAP on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Mr Newman was forced to defend his wife's role in her brother's company at a time when he was still Brisbane Lord Mayor and was yet to take over the LNP leadership.

He accused Labor of trying to smear him by suggesting he'd somehow tried to profit from Queensland's flood disaster.

Soon afterwards, Mr Newman bowed to pressure and revealed the LNP was paying him $12,000 a month, or $144,000 per year, to lead the party to the election from outside parliament.

That revelation handed Labor more fuel.

Mr Newman had said he was being paid less than a backbencher, which carries a base salary of $134,000.

Mr Newman is currently on leave.

Opposition deputy leader Tim Nicholls said on Wednesday the attacks on Mr Newman weren't helping Labor.
Nor are they helping openness, transparency, honesty and fairness. Nicholls is protecting Newman. There is no choice in politics.

He pointed to a Newspoll, published in The Australian on Wednesday, showing Premier Anna Bligh is facing a landslide defeat.

Labor's primary vote has slumped to almost half that of the LNP, and Mr Newman's LNP now leads Labor 61 per cent to 39 per cent after preferences.

The poll also shows Mr Newman is ahead of Ms Bligh in the preferred premier stakes, 48 per cent to 34. But his dissatisfaction rating has risen five points to 27 per cent.

"This desperate mud-slinging that's been going on for the last couple of weeks is not having an impact," Mr Nicholls told ABC Radio on Wednesday.


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