Queensland’s outgoing state archivist says public records laws aren’t keeping up with technology amid an email scandal involving the premier.
Mike Summerell unexpectedly left his position last week amid a battle over four private emails sent from Transport Minister Mark Bailey to Annastacia Palaszczuk.
The emails from 2015 and 2016 remain confidential, but one that has been released shows Mr Bailey asked the premier about a public service job applicant’s political leanings before the man was hired.
Mr Summerell says the emails should be retained as public records, but the premier’s office has refused to release them.
The final Queensland State Archives annual report warns that laws haven’t kept up with advancing communication technologies.
He warns of increasing incidents of “failures in recordkeeping, some with tragic consequences”.
“New communication technologies are creating new challenges for public authorities, the volume of public records in particular being created is a significant challenge,” Mr Summerell wrote.
“There is a risk that the Act is inadequate to meet these challenges.
“There is an increasing risk that key public records that should be made and preserved for the benefit of current and future generations may be lost, or worse, never created at all.”
The premier has received legal advice from the solicitor-general stating the emails are not a public record.
The Liberal National Party also made a Right To Information application to access emails.
An RTI officer initially approved their request, but it was blocked by a “third party” before it could occur.
“The disputed documents cannot be provided to you until the third party’s review rights under the RTI Act, are exhausted,” said the official response seen by AAP.
Ms Palaszczuk told parliament in 2017 that she had never used her private email accounts for official business.
But she also admits she received an email from Mr Bailey asking about Paul Simshauser’s political leanings before his appointment as director-general of energy and water in 2015.
Both used their private email accounts at the time, a practice which the premier banned in 2018.
The Crime and Corruption Commission has also examined some of the emails, but found no evidence of any corrupt activity.