It’s hard to believe that this was an election year, but this has to be the most politically damaging mining scandal in history.
The Australian National University’s Dr Richard Tuckett says that’s why it’s been so hard to get any concrete information on whether any of the more than 500 people arrested for the alleged fraud at the Palmer United Party (PUP) mine in the Hunter Valley will face trial.
“The public, including the media, will have to wait until after the election for any kind of indictment to come out and I think we should expect to hear more about that,” he says.
The Palmer United party (PUG) is an independent political party that’s been on the back foot of recent developments in the mining industry.
But Dr Tucketts says there is still time for the mining lobby to get out ahead of the scandal and to keep the pressure on the police.
He says it would be “disastrous” for the industry and the state if any of its workers were charged with criminal offences.
And he says the charges could be overturned if the police were satisfied the allegations were false.
A criminal complaint against a number of Palmer United members was unsealed by Queensland Supreme Court last month, but police have refused to release any details of the alleged offences.
Mr Tuckets has called on the Queensland Police Service to release all information they have about the alleged criminal allegations, which include allegations that some workers at the mine have falsified the number of hours they worked.
We need to know whether these charges are true, and what evidence they have against those accused of the offences, he says, adding that the police should also release their investigations report into the alleged incidents.
Mr Tinketts says the police and the Palmer Party need to come together to resolve the matter, and he wants the media to be informed about the police investigation.
You don’t know the extent of the fraud, so the public should be able to have access to that information, he said.
In the meantime, Dr Tinkett says the public has a right to know about any criminal charges.
Dr Tucket is the Director of the Law and Economics Institute at the University of Queensland.
Topics:mining-industry,law-crime-and-justice,corruption,perth-6000,australiaContact Dr Tingle