Complaints raised over "highly political" letter

Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie
Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie

COMPLAINTS have been raised about a public servant distributing a "highly political" letter about the controversial firefighters workers compensation bill.

The letter, written by Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson, details the Labor policy, how it affects rural firefighters and seeks to clarify the difference to the LNP policy.

Opposition police spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said he had received a complaint that the letter had been sent to stakeholders from a local representative of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, a government department.

"Given Labor's proposed legislation has not been passed by the Parliament, it is not considered government policy and therefore highly inappropriate for Ms Donaldson's letter to be distributed to stakeholders by the department," Mr Bleijie said.

"This behaviour goes against the fundamentals of protecting an independent and apolitical public service."

Mr Bleijie went so far as to call for Police and Emergency Services Minister Jo-Ann Miller's resignation over the event.

"For a minister to politicise the department in this way is a complete and utter disgrace," he said.

Mr Bleijie questioned if a similar letter from the LNP would have been sent out in the same way.

Staff at Ms Miller's office did not comment on the record but made it clear that the minister was not even aware of the letter until contacted by the NewsMail.

A spokesman from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) confirmed that QFES commissioner Katarina Carroll wanted to make it clear QFES received no direction from the minister regarding the letter.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said she had been fielding concerns about the policy and had sought to clarify its contents with rural firefighters, as the consultation period was ending.

Ms Donaldson said she was asked by a local QFES representative to write the letter for them to distribute to members, and that she believed they had checked with their supervisor if it were okay to do so.

"There was not a directive by the minister," Ms Donaldson said.

"I have not even had any conversations with Jo-Ann Miller or her office about this."

Ms Donaldson also said the letter was never sent to any government department for "approval".

"Knowing all the information, I was just clarifying the bill," she said.

Topics:  bundaberg politics

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