Leanne Donaldson resigns as Minister over unpaid bills
What we know
- Ms Donaldson quits Cabinet but remains Bundaberg MP
- Ms Donaldson owed $7893 in overdue rates to Bundaberg Regional Council.
- Ms Donaldson failed to make monthly repayments on her Wide Bay Australia - now known as Auswide Bank - mortgage and by April 22, 2014, was in arrears by $1419.03.
- Burnett MP Stephen Bennett calls on Ms Donaldson to resign.
- Ms Donaldson earns an annual salary of $321,713.
Should Leanne Donaldson resign as Bundaberg MP?
This poll ended on 05 November 2016.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
LEANNE Donaldson will speak to the media at 1pm.
UPDATE: Thursday 9PM
LEANNE Donaldson has been forced to quit her role as Agriculture and Fisheries Minister after revealing she had driven her unregistered car.
Ms Donaldson fell on her sword after she had earlier told Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad that she had no more outstanding debts.
She then realised her vehicle registration had not been paid by its due date last week and had since driven the car.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had earlier warned the embattled MP that there were "no more chances".
"This morning I met the Premier and Deputy Premier to discuss the issue of my unpaid property rates and was asked to advise if there were any other issues of which they should be aware," Ms Donaldson said in a statement this evening.
"Following question time I became aware that my vehicle registration had not been paid by the due date last week and I took immediate steps to rectify this issue.
"However, last week I had driven the vehicle on the day after the registration had expired.
"Clearly, this does not meet the high standards set by the Premier for all members of the government.
"I therefore informed the Premier tonight of my decision to resign as a minister."
It completes a tumultuous day for Ms Donaldson, who has vowed to remain Member for Bundaberg, despite calls for her to step down from that role too.
"I have enjoyed my time as minister and look forward to supporting the good work of the government for the people of our state," she said.
"This Government is achieving so many good things for Queensland.
"I will continue to serve my community and will continue to stand up for the people of Bundaberg."
LEANNE Donaldson has resigned from Cabinet.
Ms Donaldson announced her resignation as Agriculture and Fisheries Minister in Parliament tonight after revealing she had failed to pay her car registration by the due date last week and had since driven it unregistered.
EMBATTLED Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson has admitted the Queensland branch of the ALP settled the account with Bundaberg Regional Council yesterday and she will repay the party next week.
"Due to personal circumstances, I was unable to immediately pay the bill myself," she said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk issued a stern warning to Ms Donaldson this morning saying it was time to "get on with the job".
"The Deputy Premier and I have made it very clear to the minister this morning that there will be no more chances," she said.
MEMBER for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson has spoken in Parliament addressing her situation regarding overdue rates.
She has offered a sincere apology for not paying her rates and insisted there was no deliberate attempt to avoid paying them.
She has also apologised for not listing her mortgage account on her Register of Member's Interests.
Below is her speech:
"Yesterday I advised the House that the rates on my family home had been in arrears and that the amount owing to the Bundaberg Regional Council had been paid.
I further advise the house that there has been no deliberate attempt to avoid paying the rates on my home.
I apologise to Council for this oversight in not settling the account earlier.
I apologise too to the people of Bundaberg. On this matter, I have not met the expectations I set for myself as your representative.
I have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again and that future bills are paid promptly.
There is no excuse for this and I offer none.
Instead, I offer my sincere apologies for letting you down.
Mr Speaker, yesterday I became aware that, while I listed a bank savings accounts, I inadvertently omitted listing my mortgage account on my Register of Member's Interests.
This was not a deliberate omission and I apologise for this error.
As soon as this matter was brought to my attention I moved to rectify my records. I wrote a letter of explanation to the Clerk and submitted an update of Member's interest form.
Mr Speaker, in 2014, as a single mother and, at the time looking for work and eventually only working part-time, I fell behind in some of my mortgage payments.
The non-payment was for a relatively small amount and the debt was settled quickly.
This was a very difficult time for me and my family.
I know what it is like to do it tough.
It is why I wanted to be part of a Government that is putting the interests of everyday Queenslanders first.
That's why I strive every day to deliver for the people of Bundaberg and Queensland.
I again unreservedly apologise to the House".
The only honourable thing to do is resign - Stephen Bennett
MEMBER for Burnett Stephen Bennett has launched a scathing attack on Leanne Donaldson calling for her immediate resignation following the revelations she had not paid her rates for three years.
Mr Benett said The Australian investigation, which found Ms Donaldson's mortgage had fallen into arrears and a three-year-debt to Bundaberg Regional Council showed Ms Donaldson was unfit to for her position.
"The rumours have been circulating for more than two years," Mr Bennett said
"We never thought it was appropriate for this to be pursued by me.
"I'm somewhat glad that due diligence and investigation revealed the true character and nature of the Bundaberg MP."
Mr Bennett said Ms Donaldson's position was untenable.
"The only honourable thing to do is resign," he said.
FURTHER investigations by The Australian reveal the Member for Bundaberg was also taken to court in 2014 after allegedly failing to keep up with her mortgage repayments.
District Court documents allege she failed to make monthly repayments on her Wide Bay Australia - now known as Auswide Bank - mortgage and by April 22, 2014, was in arrears by $1419.03.
That money was meant to be paid 12 days earlier.
She was sent a default notice demanding payment within 35 days or warning Auswide would take possession of the home and sue for the cash owed.
The Wide Bay lawsuit was discontinued in September 2014.
Ms Donaldson has made it clear she was, at no stage, at risk of being declared bankrupt.
Under state law, Ms Donaldson would be forced to leave her seat if she had declared bankruptcy.
A person is a disqualified from being a member of Queensland parliament if the person:
- has a undischarged bankrupt under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cwlth), or a corresponding law of another jurisdiction; or
- has executed a deed of arrangement as debtor under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cwlth), part X, or a corresponding law of another jurisdiction, and the terms of the deed have not been fully complied with; or
- has creditors who have accepted a composition under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cwlth), part X, or a corresponding law of another jurisdiction, and a final payment has not been made under that composition
I have taken steps to ensure rates notices will be paid promptly in future - Leanne Donaldson
LEANNE Donaldson has been forced to pay back $7893 in overdue rates to stop her home from being put up for sale by Bundaberg Regional Council.
The Australian reports the debt was more than three years old.
At an ordinary meeting of council today, councillors voted to start a sale process on the home to recover the overdue funds.
The matter was a confidential item at today's meeting and was discussed behind closed doors.
In Parliament today the Member for Bundaberg and Agriculture Minister said she had repaid the money.
"I would like to advise the House that rate arrears owed to Bundaberg Regional Council in respect of my family home have been paid today," she said.
"I have taken steps to ensure rates notices will be paid promptly in future."
Ms Donaldson apologised for not paying her rates.
"There has been no deliberate attempt to avoid paying the rates on my family home," she said in a written statement.
"The outstanding amount advised by Bundaberg Regional Council has been paid today and I apologise to the council for not settling the account earlier.
"The Premier has been advised and I made an explanatory statement to the House."
Ms Donaldson also said she had a mortgage non-payment for a "relatively small" amount but said the debt had been "settled quickly".
"At no stage have I been at risk of being declared bankrupt," she said, in the statement.
A spokesman for Ms Donaldson told the Australian she was not considering stepping down.