Premier launches legal battle with Robbie Katter
LAWYERS for Annastacia Palaszczuk and Katter Party State Leader Robbie Katter have issued duelling legal letters as the brawl over the Premier's decision to take away the Katter Party's extra staff continues to escalate.
Ms Palaszczuk's lawyers are demanding an apology from Mr Katter over comments he made last week off the back of legal advice he obtained alleging she may have broken the law by removing the party's extra staff because the state MPs refused to denounce controversial Queensland Senator Fraser Anning's final solution speech.
Senator Anning was a member of the KAP at the time but has since been dumped by the party.
But Mr Katter is refusing to say sorry, insisting he has nothing to apologise for.
Instead, his lawyers have asked Ms Palaszczuk to apologise for some of her comments during the saga.
"I've received a letter from the Premier's lawyers demanding I apologise for comments I've made in relation to allegations the Premier has broken the law," Mr Katter told The Courier-Mail.
"The Premier claims I've defamed her and as far as I can tell she's willing to sue me if I don't apologise."
"I want to make it clear that I'm not going to apologise."
The KAP obtained its own legal advice after initially complained to the Crime and Corruption Commission last year.
The CCC found the premier's demands that KAP denounce Senator Anning or lose the staff could be considered "entirely inappropriate and to have exposed her to the prospect of facing a charge of bribery under s. 60 of the Criminal Code".
But the watchdog decided against pursuing Ms Palaszczuk after weighing up the public interest and the likelihood of success. It also said that is did not consider that "s.60 is intended to apply to statements made openly during parliamentary proceedings"
It left it to the Parliament to decide with the matter currently before the Ethics Committee.
The legal advice from barrister Nick Ferrett to the KAP stated that Ms Palaszczuk may have broken the law.
Mr Katter released the advice last week and called for Ms Palaszczuk to stand down.
Lawyers for Ms Palaszczuk then fired off a letter to Mr Katter demanding he apologise by 5pm today or potentially face defamation proceedings for the comments he made following the release of his legal advice.
"We are instructed to write to you to demand you apologise for your publication of remarks on 1 April clearly defamatory of our client," the letter from the Premier's lawyer states.
You have every right to refer a complaint about any person's conduct, including that of our client, to a relevant public authority and to publicly identify you have done so.
"You have no right, however, to publish to the media and the public at large untruths about her and to defame our client's character as part of that process."
Mr Katter's lawyers have written back to Ms Palaszczuk arguing his comments and media statements were factual.
"For these reasons our client does not believe any apology is due to yours and does not propose to make one," the letter states.
Lawyers for the KAP further allege in their response: "These matters apart we also seek to raise with you the defamatory conduct of your client".
They argue the Premier made comments suggesting the KAP MPs held anti-Semitic and racist views, among others.
It requests an apology from the Premier by 4pm on April 16.