Flegg ‘vindicated’ by $775k Qld court win

Posted February 14th, 2019 by admin and filed in 杭州夜生活
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Former Queensland minister Bruce Flegg has had the last word in his bitter falling out with media adviser Graeme Hallett who’s been ordered to make a hefty defamation payout.


But it’s a bitter-sweet victory for the retired politician, who maintains his ex-staffer’s misconduct claims caused irreparable damage to his career.

The Supreme Court in Queensland ordered Mr Hallett pay Dr Flegg $775,000 in damages for defaming the then-housing minister at a press conference and in a radio interview in November, 2012.

Mr Hallett, a Liberal Party veteran, had been sacked a day earlier after an unexplained absence.

He claimed his boss had omitted contacts with his lobbyist son on the official register, opening him to a charge of misleading a parliamentary committee.

The allegations were widely reported, and Dr Flegg resigned from cabinet the next day.

His career never recovered.

“You can hardly have a stronger vindication in a civil suit than this,” Dr Flegg, 61, said outside court on Thursday.

“Unfortunately for me, much of the damage that was done by weeks of reporting of facts that have now shown to be lies can’t really be undone.”

Justice Peter Lyons found very limited support for claims the lobbyists’ register was inaccurate, that Mr Hallett had defamed his former boss and that he had done so out of malice.

“Although the defendant may have had some genuine concern that the lobbyists’ register was not accurate, a more significant motivation was a desire to damage the plaintiff’s reputation,” Justice Lyons said in published reasons.

Dr Flegg said Mr Hallett had been offered to pay a settlement worth “about one per cent” of the damages awarded on Thursday in exchange for an apology but he had refused.

Mr Hallett declined to comment when contacted by AAP.

Dr Flegg was dumped before this year’s election and did not recontest his long-held Brisbane seat of Moggill.

He was dropped despite being cleared of lying to the state’s corruption watchdog about a deal to parachute former premier Campbell Newman into his seat.

However, revelations he secretly recorded internal party discussions hindered his pre-selection bid against Christian Rowan.

Dr Flegg said the “massively expensive” lawsuit was not about money but about clearing his name and that of his family.

“Even though I’m out of politics – I’m a suburban GP – it was that important to me to correct the record about my integrity that I never had a moment’s doubt that I would pursue this case,” he said.

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