Liberal Party conflict of interest as rotten as NSW Labor

The Liberal Party’s heavyweight and former treasurer, Peter Costello, has been found both auditing the Queensland Government’s finances, while apparently owning a business that lobbies state corporations of the Queensland Liberal National Government that stand to benefit from state asset privatisation.

Costello along with two of his former Liberal Party parliamentary staffers, owns Epstein Costello Gazard (ECG) Advisory Solutions, a private lobby group registered as the lobbyist for SP AusNet, Primary Health Care, ASG Group and Serco Asia Pacific.

At the same time, according to a conflict of interest complaint to Queensland’s anti-corruption watchdog, The Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC), Costello was also engaged as chairman to oversee the audit of Campbell Newman’s LNP Government’s finances.

Not surprisingly, Costello’s audit handed down recommendations to sell or outsource many of the state’s assets and services.

Under the Campbell Newman’s LNP reign, this complaint lodged with the CMC – which included an 85-page dossier of company searches, invitations to Liberal National Party fund-raisers and details from official lobbyist registers – links Costello’s roles as a co-owner of ECG, that company’s lobbying work, and Costello’s close relationship with Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls.

How can Costello’s audit have been ”independent”?

How can there not have been a serious conflict of interest by Costello?


Yet Queensland’s internal anti-corruption watchdog, The Crime and Misconduct Commission, claims it does not have the powers to investigate this complaint against Costello.  The CMC’s director of Integrity Services, Dianne McFarlane,  claims that it won’t investigate Costello’s conflict of interest because even though Costello’s chairmanship oversaw the function of public audit, Costello was outsourced and is technically not a Queensland public servant. She would say that if she wants to keep her public service job.

“‘We do not consider Mr Costello an ‘appointment holder’,” under the act,” wrote Dianne McFarlane, director of Integrity Services at the CMC, in a letter to the complainant.  ”Based on available information, a complaint of alleged official misconduct against Peter Costello, falls outside the CMC’s jurisdiction … the matter is closed.”

It smells like another Bruce Flegg Liberal Corporate Mates Deal.

In 2012 Liberal Housing and Public Works Minister in Queensland, Bruce Flegg, was forced to resign amid allegations he had misled parliament over the extent of contact he had with his lobbyist son, Jonathan.

Liberal's Bruce Flegg quitsQueensland Housing and Public Works Minister Bruce Flegg walked

Who can forget Queensland Labor’s Gordon Nuttall?   While Minister for Industrial Relations corrupting received secret commissions of $60,000 from WorkCover Queensland director Harold Shand, then as Minister for Primary Industries corruptly received $300,000 from his mining magnate Labor mate.

Gordon NuttallGordon Nuttall got 7 years.

Who can forget Developer George Herscu?

Developer George HerscuGeorge Herscuis carted off for 5 years in jail in 1990 for bribing Queensland National Party minister Russ Hinze.

Who can forget the National Party’s Minister for Everything in Queensland, Russ Hinze?

In February 1988, Hinze resigned in disgrace from the Queensland Parliament after allegations were made against him in the Fitzgerald Inquiry conducted into corruption.

Russ Hinze“Never hold an inquiry unless you know what the outcome will be.”


NSW Labor is competing with Queensland Liberal Nationals for corporate deal making.

LibLab deal making is all very underhand and rotten.

NSW Labor PartyLabor’s Eddie Obeid