Campbell Newman $525,000 payout leak investigated by crime commission

Investigation of alleged leak of confidential information sparked by former attorney general Jarrod Bleijie

Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission has launched an investigation into a Guardian journalist’s sources surrounding disclosures about a costly defamation settlement involving the former premier Campbell Newman.

Guardian Australia revealed in May that taxpayers had paid out more than $500,000 to settle a defamation suit over comments by Newman and the former attorney general Jarrod Bleijie about bikies’ lawyers.

The suit was brought by solicitors Chris and Daniel Hannay and led to a $525,000 payout. Both Bleijie and Newman declined to publicly apologise, which could have reduced the amount taxpayers were required to pay.

It has now emerged that Bleijie asked the commission to launch an investigation into the disclosure of information. He told state parliament on Tuesday the commission had agreed to investigate.

A letter from the commission’s director, Kylee Rumble, to Bleijie said: “I write to advise that the CCC has finalised its assessment of your complaint and has determined to undertake an investigation into the alleged leak of confidential information.”

The disclosures about Newman and Bleijie’s settlement have drawn intense public debate. The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has flagged a review of indemnity guidelines following the revelations.

A spokesman for the Crime and Corruption Commission said: “The Crime and Corruption Commission can confirm that it has completed its assessment of complaints received in relation to the alleged leaking of confidential information relating to a settlement of a defamation case against the former premier and former attorney general.

“Upon completion of this assessment, the CCC has commenced an investigation into the matter that was raised in parliament today by the shadow minister for employment, industrial relations, skills and training and fair trading.

While the matter remains under investigation, the CCC will make no further comment.

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Paul Farrell

The GuardianTramp

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