Documents have revealed the Liberal National Party considered scrapping the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games while in office in 2012, despite denying these claims earlier this year.
The correspondence between Commonwealth Games CEO Mark Peters and Mullins Lawyers partner John Mullins show the then Campbell Newman Government considered the repercussions if they broke their contract, and cancelled the Games or moved them away from the Gold Coast to Brisbane.
Queensland Labor has already accused the LNP of trying to cancel the Games, earlier this year.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
In May, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk used her parliamentary privilege to say she had heard rumours about the then Premier Newman considering cancelling the Games.
“I have heard rumours which I would like clarified, and perhaps the member for Currumbin may be able to help us here, that the former Premier Campbell Newman and the Member for Currumbin were looking at axing the Commonwealth Games,” she said.
“That is a rumour that has been circulating.”
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said she had “no idea” about those rumours while Currumbin MP and former Commonwealth Games Minister Jann Stuckey called them allegations a “smokescreen”.
MyGC can now reveal the documents which detail the correspondence.
It shows taxpayers would be forced to fork out millions of dollars in compensation to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) if the Games were scrapped.
“The damages would be the unpaid amounts the CGF and an amount equal to the cost of hosting the Games elsewhere to a similar standard” the legal advice states.
“I imagine those damages would be similar to the cost of hosting the Games on the Gold Coast.”
The advice also warns any decision to pull of the Games would do “immeasurable damage to the standing of the State of Queensland and the Gold Coast as Host City for any international event.”
Ms Frecklington, who was first elected in 2012, while this correspondence occurred 16 October 2011, and said if these conversations took place she didn’t know.
From 2012 to 2015, Ms Stuckey was the Commonwealth Games Minister and said “if those discussions took place, I certainly wasn’t part of them”.
Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones said the LNP had questions to answer as to why they lied to the people of Queensland about the legal advice sought under the Newman Government.
“The LNP want to continue to lie to the people of Queensland but frankly, it’s not good enough,” Ms Jones said in a statement to MyGC.
“Deb Frecklington and Jann Stuckey both went on-the-record at the time, openly denying the legal advice existed – today proves that they were lying through their teeth.”
“Deb and her mates were more than willing to enjoy the Games but now we find out they were trying to kill the event from the very start.”