CLEARED: Former Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten.
CLEARED: Former Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten. Allan Reinikka ROK061118aschwart

Schwarten cleared of wrongdoing by corruption commission

FORMER Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Mr Schwarten, speaking from Russia yesterday during his European vacation, told The Morning Bulletin that he had been advised by the CCC that allegations made against him under parliamentary privilege had no foundation and that no criminal or other charges could, or would, be laid from them.

In February, Shadow Housing Minister Michael Hart accused the former Queensland Housing Minister of accepting undeclared favours and gifts from Geoff Murphy, whose company JM Kelly received hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts.

Mr Schwarten had strongly denied the allegations.

Today the long-serving former ALP Rockhampton MP said he was delighted and vindicated by the outcome.

"This slaps down the monstrous lies made by LNP frontbencher Michael Hart which were refuted via direct evidence from the contractor who actually did the painting (of Mr Schwarten's beachside home) that Mr Hart claimed was done by JM Kelly," Mr Schwarten said.

"Mr Hart ignored that statutory evidence that was sent to the parliament.

"His continued attack whilst in possession of evidence proving him wrong was backed by LNP leader Ms Frecklington at the time."

 

LABOR STALWART: Robert Schwarten always strongly denied the accusations made against him.
LABOR STALWART: Robert Schwarten always strongly denied the accusations made against him. Contributed

Mr Schwarten said he had self-referred to the CCC following consultation with the Integrity Commission and stood aside from his position on the Queensland Building and Construction Commission pending the outcome of the inquiry.

"While I am delighted and vindicated by the outcome, no-one should be drawing parallels with any other inquiries into sitting or other former members," Mr Schwarten said.

"Mine was a self-referral and the moment it was accepted I stood aside from my duties.

"As far as I know the CCC has not confirmed any other inquiries so any comparisons of my case to others have no relevance."

Mr Schwarten said the real focus should be on Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, a lawyer herself, whom he appealed to asking her to examine the evidence that he had forwarded on.

"I said then and I say now, I never took a dollar in any job I held in my working life that I didn't earn.

"Mr Hart's claims made under the protection of parliament were nothing short of contrived lies.

"I will have more to say about that when I return from an overseas holiday which was planned many months ago."

Mr Schwarten said he wished to thank those who publicly supported him.

"I also point out that those who tried to kick JM Kelly when they were down by claiming they had bribed me have ended up with more egg on their face than a victim of a poultry farm explosion," he said.

"This was a monstrous lie from start to finish.

"No evidence was found because not one claim had any basis in fact and I will be looking at further action against Mr Hart in the context of the law which the Newman government reinstated regarding lying to parliament.

"I thank the CCC for its thorough investigation and will resume my duties as a director of the QBCC when I return."

Neither Ms Frecklington nor Mr Hart responded directly to Mr Schwarten's comments yesterday and the LNP issued a one-line statement.

"The CCC hasn't advised the outcome of its assessment of a complaint against Mr Schwarten," an LNP spokesperson said.

The CCC did not respond to requests for information yesterday from The Morning Bulletin.



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