Bates's inaccuracy a mistake 'anyone could have made'
Arts Minister Ros Bates. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
The inaccuracy of Arts and IT Minister Ros Bates's tabled lobbyist document is "regrettable", Speaker Fiona Simpson has decided, but not necessarily a deliberate move to mislead Parliament.
Ms Bates tabled her register in October last year, but later amended it to include meetings with Liberal Party power broker Santo Santoro and members of his consulting firm.
When amending the register, Ms Bates told Parliament that a staffer had made an error that "anyone could have made", and left out a page.
Deputy opposition leader Tim Mulherin wrote to Ms Simpson in November to allege Ms Bates had deliberately misled the house and should be referred to the parliamentary ethics committee.
But ahead of question time on Thursday, where the opposition once again peppered Ms Bates with questions about her lobbying connections and travel arrangements, Ms Simpson, in her role as Speaker of the House, said tabling an incorrect document was not contempt of Parliament – unless the person intended to mislead.
Ms Simpson said that in this case, there was no evidence that Ms Bates had intended to mislead the house and said she would not refer the matter to the ethics committee.
Thursday's question time resembled Wednesday's in that Ms Bates was once again the target of an opposition attack.
Ms Bates was asked seven questions by the opposition on issues ranging from lobbying connections, meetings with LNP life member, former Brisbane lord mayor and lobbyist Sallyanne Atkinson and her travel arrangements.
Ms Bates maintained she had followed the rule of the law in reporting her contacts with registered lobbyists, but that her meeting with Ms Atkinson was personal.
"She congratulated me on my appointment," Ms Bates told Parliament about the April 12 meeting.
"I have had no conversation with anybody, particularly Sallyanne, about board appointments."