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Beattie defends actions in Palm Is stoush

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 25 February 2005

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie is continuing to defend his actions over the Palm Island bribery allegations.

Mr Beattie has admitted he offered to waive an $800,000 debt if the local council came to the opening of a Police Citizens Youth Club.

But he says the offer was part of a package of benefits in exchange for "improved performance" and was not a bribe.

The Opposition says the Premier wanted good publicity.

But Mr Beattie has told Southern Cross radio there was no personal benefit to him in the council attending the launch.

"From the point of view of me there there was no mileage in this, you know your listeners, if they saw me standing next to the council on Palm Island that's a negative for me politically," he said.

"I mean after the riot and the burning of the police station that doesn't do me any good."

Meanwhile the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties says young lawyers may be put off taking on unpopular cases if parliamentary attacks on their established colleagues go unanswered.

The council wants Premier Peter Beattie referred to State Parliament's Ethics Committee after he criticised Palm Island Council lawyer Andrew Boe in the House.

Acting President Terry O'Gorman says it sets a very bad example to emerging lawyers.

"I think it has chilling repercussions for the legal profession when an ethically high standard lawyer such as Mr Boe should have his reputation absolutely trashed in Parliament by a Premier who's got all of his facts wrong," he said.

Mr O'Gorman says lawyers should not be vilified for doing their job.

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