Gordon Nuttall

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The Honourable Gordon Nuttall
Member of the Queensland Parliament for Sandgate
In office
1992 – September 2006
Succeeded by Vicky Darling
Queensland Minister for Industrial Relations
In office
22 February 2001 – 12 February 2004
Premier Peter Beattie
Succeeded by John Mickel
Queensland Minister for Health
In office
12 February 2004 – 28 July 2005
Premier Peter Beattie
Succeeded by Stephen Robertson
Queensland Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries
In office
28 July 2005 – 7 December 2005
Premier Peter Beattie
Personal details
Political party Australian Labor Party

Gordon Richard Nuttall (born 13 June 1953) is a former Australian politician who represented Sandgate in the Queensland Parliament from 1992 to 2006. He was a member of the Labor Party and served as a minister in the Beattie Ministry from 2001 to 2005. In 2009 he was found guilty of corruptly receiving secret commissions during his time in office and jailed for seven years.[1][2][3][4] In 2010, he was found guilty of five charges of official corruption and five charges of perjury and, ultimately, jailed for an additional seven years.[5] He is serving the longest jail term for corruption handed to a Commonwealth politician.[6]

Political career[edit]

Nuttall won the seat of Sandgate at the 1992 state election as the Labor candidate, succeeding the retiring former Labor Opposition leader, Nev Warburton. He was previously an organiser for the Electrical Trades Union.[7]

He served in the Beattie Ministry as:

  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier with special responsibilities for Multicultural Affairs (29 June 1998 – 17 February 2001);
  • Minister for Industrial Relations (22 February 2001 – 12 February 2004);
  • Minister for Health (12 February 2004 – 28 July 2005); and
  • Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries (28 July 2005 – 7 December 2005).[7]

In 2004 he attempted to become Deputy Premier with a plan to overthrow the then Premier, Peter Beattie. However, a leadership challenge received no support from then Deputy Premier Anna Bligh, whom Nuttall proposed as the new Premier. Ms Bligh later said, "I didn't see it as any serious proposition that would have received any support from my colleagues and it didn't receive any support from myself."[8][9]

In July 2005, he resigned as Minister for Health following media exposure of problems at Bundaberg Base Hospital. In June 2010, following a number of investigations, the hospital's director of surgery, Jayant Patel, was convicted and jailed for seven years on three counts of manslaughter and one count of grievous bodily harm to patients in his care.[10] Nuttall blamed the system he had inherited as well as the administrators at the hospital for the situation which had arisen, but ultimately stepped-down from the health portfolio. Premier Peter Beattie opted to take over the portfolio himself, relocating Nuttall to the primary industries and fisheries portfolio.[7][11]

In August 2005, Nuttall stepped aside from the Ministry while the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) investigated claims he had given a false answer to a Parliamentary estimates committee regarding his prior knowledge of problems with overseas-trained doctors. The Commission reported back in December 2005, recommending the Attorney-General prosecute Nuttall under section 57 of the Criminal Code.[12] The prosecution was not proceeded with; the government decided to revoke the relevant section of the Criminal Code so Parliament could deal with such matters itself under contempt of parliament provisions.[13]

Nuttall resigned from the Ministry on 7 December 2005 and retired from Parliament at the September 2006 election.[7] He resigned from the Labor Party on 12 December 2006 before he was referred to the party's Disputes Tribunal, which could have expelled him.[14]

Corruption investigation[edit]

Initial charges and imprisonment[edit]

In 2006 the CMC also began an investigation into a series of loans Nuttall received from Queensland mining magnate Ken Talbot.[15] On 19 January 2007, the CMC charged Nuttall with 35 counts of corruptly receiving payments totalling almost $300,000 from Talbot between 2002 and 2005.[16][17] Nuttall was later charged with receiving a further secret commission of $60,000 in 2002 from businessman and WorkCover Queensland director Harold Shand.[18][19] Talbot and Shand were also charged over the alleged secret commissions.

Nuttall was committed to stand trial in December 2008.[20] In June 2009, he pleaded not guilty to all charges before the District Court.[21] On 15 July 2009, a jury convicted him on all 36 charges, and on 17 July he was sentenced to seven years' jail with a non-parole period of two and a half years.[1][2][22]

Ten years earlier, on 12 May 1998, Nuttall said of his benefactor, Talbot, in Parliament,

I now turn my attention to ... one Mr Ken Talbot, the chairman of Sunrise Mining (Queensland) Pty Ltd. Mr Talbot has an interesting track record. He is a former senior employee of Bond Coal, lead by one Alan Bond, who, of course, is currently serving a jail term for white collar fraud. Honourable members do not need to be reminded of the very close and personal links that existed between the now disgraced Mr Bond and his close associates, of whom Mr Talbot was one, and the corrupt National Party Government that was thrown out of office in 1989. Nor do honourable members need reminding of the days of deals done in brown paper bags between corrupt National Party figures and shady businesspeople of the ilk of Mr Talbot and Mr Bond.[23][24]

On 14 August 2009, Nuttall lodged an appeal against his July 2009 conviction and sentence.[25] On 12 February 2010, his appeal against conviction and sentence was heard in the Supreme Court of Queensland. On 23 March 2010, his appeal against conviction was dismissed, and his application for leave to appeal against sentence was refused.[26]

In August 2010, the charges against Talbot were dropped due to his death in a light plane accident. In 2011, Shand was convicted of paying Nuttall a secret commission and sentenced to 15 months jail.[27]

Further convictions and appearance before bar of parliament[edit]

On 16 July 2009, the CMC recommended 10 new charges relating to alleged secret cash payments to Nuttall totalling $152,700 from businessman Brendan McKennariey, between December 2001 and April 2006, regarding a government-funded project subcontracted to McKennariey. Nuttall was also charged with five counts of perjury relating to his evidence at a CMC closed hearing.[28][29]

On 11 October 2010, in the Brisbane District Court, Nuttall pleaded not guilty to five charges of official corruption, five alternate charges of receiving secret commissions and five counts of perjury.[30][31][32][33][34] On 12 October 2010, McKennariey gave evidence for the Crown.[35][36][37] On 27 October 2010, a jury found Nuttall guilty of five charges of official corruption and five charges of perjury.[38][39] On 16 December 2010, he was sentenced to a further five years imprisonment.[40] On 17 January 2011, the Queensland Government announced it would appeal the "inadequacy" of the sentence.[41] The appeal was heard in the Queensland Court of Appeal on 10 May 2011.[42][43] On 7 June 2011, the appeal was upheld and an extra two years jail was handed down, extending his non-parole period to July 2015.[44][45]

On 12 May 2011, Nuttall was brought before the bar of parliament to answer 41 charges of contempt of parliament for non-disclosure, as a member of parliament, of pecuniary interests totalling $368,866.55. Parliament found him to have been contemptuous and fined him $82,000.[46][47][48]

Confiscations of property[edit]

On 24 September 2009, the CMC commenced actions in the Supreme Court of Queensland under Queensland's Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002 to seize a property owned by Nuttall at Woodgate, near Bundaberg, having already initiated action to seize another property at Sandgate.[49][50] On 12 July 2010, the Supreme Court ordered Nuttall to repay $454,000 deemed to be "proceeds of crime" to the state of Queensland and was also ordered him to pay the Government's legal costs of $42,000.[51][52][53]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Nuttall found guilty of corruption". ABC News. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Nuttall jailed for 7 years". ABC News. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  3. ^ Jury finds Nuttall guilty of corruption – Sydney Morning Herald (AAP) – (27 October 2010) – Retrieved 27 October 2010
  4. ^ Gordon Nuttall: From MP to inmate – ABC Online (27 October 2010) – Retrieved 27 October 2010
  5. ^ Nuttall gets two more years jailThe Sydney Morning Herald – Christine Flatley – (7 June 2011) -. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  6. ^ More jail time for corrupt government minister Gordon Nuttall The Courier Mail (16 December 2010) – Mark Oberhardt -. Retrieved 30 January 2011
  7. ^ a b c d "Gordon Nuttall". Queensland Parliamentary Library. 2005. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  8. ^ "How Gordon Nuttall plotted to topple the Premier". adelaidenow.com.au. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "Nuttall planned 'overthrow of Beattie'". smh.com.au – Sydney Morning Herald. 11 December 2006. Retrieved 10 July 2010. 
  10. ^ Patel jailed for 7 years – Australian Broadcasting Corporation – 2 July 2010 – (access date – 31 July 2010)
  11. ^ "Patel scandal fells an ailing minister". Sydney Morning Herald. 23 July 2005. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "Allegations concerning the Honourable Gordon Nuttall MP: Report of a CMC Investigation". Crime and Misconduct Commission Queensland. December 2005. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  13. ^ "MPs cleared to lie in parliament". The Age (Melbourne). 26 May 2006. Retrieved 22 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Nuttall jumps ship before being pushed". ABC News. 12 December 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  15. ^ .Doc released by court – Transcript of (part of) Nuttall's CMC interrogation.
  16. ^ "Former Minister and Queensland businessman face charges". Crime and Misconduct Commission Queensland. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  17. ^ "CMC charges Nuttall". ABC News. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  18. ^ "Former minister and lawyer face charges". Crime and Misconduct Commission Queensland. 4 December 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  19. ^ Viellaris, Renee (5 December 2007). "Top bureaucrat in Nuttall corruption probe". The Australian. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  20. ^ "Gordon Nuttall committed to stand trial on further corruption charge". The Australian. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  21. ^ Jason Rawlins (29 June 2009). "Nuttall corruption trial underway". ABC News. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  22. ^ "Former minister guilty of corruption". The Australian. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  23. ^ Qld Govt MP under investigation for corruption – ABC – The World Today – Donna Field (10 November 2006) – Retrieved 12 October 2010
  24. ^ Queensland Parliament – Record of Proceedings (Hansard) – (12 May 1998) – page 1011
  25. ^ Nuttall appeals jail sentence – The Courier Mail – Mark Oberhardt (14 August 2009)
  26. ^ Supreme Court's written judgment
  27. ^ "Shand jailed over Nuttall payment". ABC News. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  28. ^ Osborne, Paul; Dunlevy, Gabrielle (25 August 2009). "Gordon Nuttall to face 10 extra charges". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  29. ^ "Nuttall faces more corruption charges". ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 25 August 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  30. ^ "Nuttall pleads not guilty to corruption". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 11 October 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  31. ^ "Nuttall pleads not guilty". ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 11 October 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  32. ^ Oberhardt, Mark (11 October 2010). "Court hears of Nuttall payment deal". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  33. ^ Bentley, Amelia (11 October 2010). "Nuttall's 'game of nods and winks'". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  34. ^ "Footy trip cash paid Nuttall, court told". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  35. ^ Purtell, Meg (12 October 2010). "Corruption trial told Nuttall, McKennariey shared profits". ABC News Online. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  36. ^ Oberhardt, Mark (12 October 2010). "Brendan McKennariey tells court Gordon Nuttall to pocket a third of profits from his dept project". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  37. ^ Bentley, Amelia (12 October 2010). "Scrawled calculation points to Nuttall corruption: Prosecutors". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 12 October 2010. 
  38. ^ Jury finds Nuttall guilty of corruptionSydney Morning Herald (AAP) – (27 October 2010) – Retrieved 27 October 2010
  39. ^ Gordon Nuttall: From MP to inmateAustralian Broadcasting Corporation (27 October 2010) – Retrieved 27 October 2010
  40. ^ Nuttall's sentence increased to 12 years Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Siobhan Barry (16 December 2010) -. Retrieved 16 December 2010
  41. ^ Nuttall on notice as A-G appeals penalty The Courier Mail (18 January 2011) – Anna Caldwell -. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  42. ^ 'Narcissist' Nuttall should be jailed for longer: court Australian Broadcasting Corporation – (10 May 2011) -. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  43. ^ Attorney General's appeal aims to increase Gordon Nuttall's sentence The Courier Mail – Mark Oberhardt – (10 May 2011) -. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  44. ^ Nuttall gets more jail time after appeal – Jason Rawlins – Australian Broadcasting Corporation (7 June 2011) -. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  45. ^ Supreme Court of Queensland – R v Nuttall; ex parte A-G (Qld) (2011) QCA 120 – (Delivered 7 June 2011) -. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  46. ^ Hansard – Queensland Parliament (Record of Proceedings) (12 May 2011) -. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  47. ^ Disgraced minister sorry, sort of – Kym Agius – The Age (13 May 2011). Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  48. ^ Parliament votes to fine Nuttall Australian Broadcasting Corporation (13 May 2011). Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  49. ^ Recovering the Proceeds of Crime – Fact Sheet – Crime and Misconduct Commission (2005)
  50. ^ 'CMC lodges court action against Nuttall' ABC Online – (25 September 2009)
  51. ^ 'Gordon Nuttall ordered to repay corrupt money' The Australian -(12 July 2010)
  52. ^ 'Nuttall ordered to pay nearly $500,000' – ABC Online – Jason Rawlins and Melinda Howells (13 July 2010)
  53. ^ 'Nuttall ordered to repay corrupt money' – smh.com.au – Sydney Morning Herald – Christine Flatley (12 July 2010)