In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Everyone makes mistakes and the coverage of my time as the local member certainly had a few errors, but by-in-large most of the media outlets were fair. The two exceptions were Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp outlets, the Cairns Post and the Courier Mail.
The most obvious example the Newscorp bias was what is what I referred to as the ‘stalker beat up’. The Cairns Post and the Courier Mail led with front page articles accusing me of having let a stalker into Parliament House to stalk a pregnant MP. That is going to be a bad look in anyone’s language.
On Tuesday 5th of September I had a call from the reception at Parliament House that a Mr Khalesirad would like to see me. Prior to Tuesday 5th of September I had never met Mr Khalesirad. There was no appointment in my diary to meet with Mr Khalesirad, but I made time for him, as I would have for anyone.
Parliamentary Security had earlier admitted Mr Khalesirad into the public gallery without question, and I had no second thoughts about signing him into the annex to meet with me.
None of all the guests I have had to Parliament house have been more well behaved than Mr Khalsirad. I found his behaviour to be exemplary.
Parliamentary Security freely admitted Mr Khalesirad into the public gallery without question, prior to his being signed in to the annex by me, over two hours later. Like myself, security were not on notice to refuse admission.
Khalesirad – Lauga backstory
Mr. Khalesirad had been a critic of the government, in a part time role as a citizen blogger. On a number of occasions Mr. Khalesirad raised serious concerns regarding Hutchinson Builders and Mr. and Mrs. Lauga.
There was a backlash against Mr. Khalesirad, who had been called many things by the ALP including:
• A ‘stalker’ by the member for Keppel and her ALP Parliamentary colleagues.
• A ‘dirty little grub’ by former ALP Minister Rob Schwarten
Let’s examine what the truth is here.
As soon as my meeting with Mr. Khalesirad had concluded, the ALP wrote to the Speaker saying I had let Khasilerad in to Parliament specifically to “intimidate the Member for Keppel, Brittany Lauga.” They also leaked their letter to the media before I had a clue what was going on.
At no time during the meeting on 5th September was I approached about the Member for Keppel’s concerns. At no time on 5th September was Mr Khalesirad asked to leave the Parliamentary Precinct.
Rather than contacting me with concerns regarding Mr Khalesirad’s presence (enabling a quick response) there was a letter written to The Speaker and contact made with the media. The first person to contact me in person to discuss this matter was Anthony Templeton from the Courier Mail, who (unlike myself) had been well briefed on the Khalesirad/Lauga allegations. The politics of all this was played out (very publicly) with myself the clear loser. The next days front page was a condemnation of me for allowing a “Stalker” into Parliament house recently.
My response was to accuse the Palaszczuk Government of a ‘set up’ to avoid exposing Ms Lauga to further scrutiny. I also pointed out that Mr. Khalesirad was let into Parliament’s public gallery by security over two hours before I even knew he was visiting.
No politicians like scrutiny and we often would prefer our critics go away. However we sign up to the job knowing the criticism that we are exposing ourselves too. There is a clear agenda here to turn the focus away from Ms. Lauga and place it on Mr Khalesirad, to make Mr Khalesirad the issue. My innocent involvement allowed the ALP to get two for the price of one in making their opponents ‘the news’”.
The ALP did not want to discuss the Lauga’s dealings with Hutchinsons builders or her failure to provide proper disclosure pursuant to section 15(4) Integrity Services Act (correspondence from the Qld Integrity Commissioner attached). Lauga claims her affairs regarding the overrun of her matrimonial home were all cleared and disclosed to the Parliament.
This was nothing more than a political stunt by the ALP. They focused on petty political game playing, in a bid to remove the spotlight from their own face. Ask yourself, “If you were in fear of your life from a stalker and discovered that he was in the building would you ring the police or security OR write a letter to the speaker and contact the media. The pen may be mightier than the sword but I’d prefer the police if the situation was so dire. The only conclusion one can make is that this was all an ALP political set up.
The Premier called an election just prior to Mr Khalesirad’s legal team cross examining Ms. Lauga’s evidence in the District Court. That is something the ALP was keen to avoid! After all, it would emerge that Mr Khalesirad was a former Young Queenslander of the Year and not a modern day Charles Manson.
The Truth Too Late
In December 2017 the court threw out the unlawful stalking charges against political blogger Petros Khalesirad. Rockhampton Magistrate Cameron Press said the weight of evidence was not strong enough to prove a stalking charge and said Mr Khalesirad had no case to answer. “I cannot conclude that a reasonable jury even taking the evidence at its highest could find that the charge was proved beyond reasonable doubt,” he said. In court, Mr Khalesirad’s lawyers argued the charges were concocted to pressure him into dropping an investigation of fraud allegations against Ms Lauga’s husband. “Democracy’s an important thing in Australia under a representative government,” Mr Khalesirad said outside court. “I think we have a right to ask questions about government decisions, indeed policy decisions, about members of parliament. I think it’s everyone’s obligation to do that.” Much of the court hearings centred around an incident involving Ms Lauga’s husband, which Mr Khalesirad was investigating.
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