Nuttall told ‘the jig is up’: court

Security camera footage captured the moment former Queensland government minister Gordon Nuttall was told the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) knew everything and “the jig was up”, a court has heard.

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Nuttall, 57, pleaded not guilty to five perjury charges and five counts of official corruption in the Brisbane District Court on the first day of his trial.

He has also been charged with five alternative charges of corruptly receiving or soliciting valuable consideration to influence favour in relation to principal affairs or business.

The crown alleges that between October 1998 and April 2006, a financially troubled Nuttall corruptly received about $150,000 in payments from plumber-turned-businessman Brendan McKennariey.

Crown prosecutor Ross Martin, SC, told the court today that a security camera had caught silent footage of a meeting between the duo at the Ferny Hills Tavern after Mr McKennariey had been interviewed by the CMC in 2006.

“McKennariey is telling (Nuttall) ‘the jig is up’,” Mr Martin said. “Nuttall is a figure of absolute dejection, a giveaway of a man who has resigned to his fate.

“You will see him hold his head in his hands, fold his arms, and so on.

Nuttall was despondent.” In his evidence, Mr McKennariey said he had been a member of the Australian Labor Party from 1972 until 1999, resigning due to an incident with another Labor minister Robert Schwarten.

Despite this, he said he remained “good mates” with Nuttall, with the two attending each other’s children’s birthday parties.

He said Nuttall had initially approached him in 1998 saying he was having financial difficulties with his home financier over a $300,000 loan.

“I said I could help with the interest ($28,000) to get them off your back,” Mr McKennariey said.

“To give him some breathing space.” Mr Martin told the court that while Nuttall had not been charged for that particular transaction, it set the scene for things to come.

The court was told that in 2001, when Nuttall was industrial relations minister, Mr McKennariey was given work through a program to help indigenous people in workplace health and safety.

Mr McKennariey paid Nuttall about $11,000 for that “unsuccessful” venture, the court heard. However, when Nuttall was health minister in 2004, Mr Martin alleged he used his ministerial influence to get Mr McKennariey work in a lucrative $2.1 million scheme to assess hospital waste water.

He alleged Nuttall received about $130,000 over five payments from Mr McKennariey in relation to that scheme.

The five counts of perjury relate to Nuttall allegedly giving false testimonies to a CMC hearing on September 28, 2006.

The trial, before Judge Kerry O’Brien, continues.