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Australia One Nation MP apologises for letting guests go through MPs' desks

04:40  23 october  2019
04:40  23 october  2019 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

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One Nation MP for Mirani Stephen Andrew brought a group of 14 people to the Parliament building on the evening of Saturday, October 19. Mr Pitt did not specify which desks were accessed by Mr Andrew’s guests , but promised to notify individual MPs privately. MPs can keep a range of items in

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a person wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: One Nation MP for Mirani Steve Andrew with wife Donna.© Supplied One Nation MP for Mirani Steve Andrew with wife Donna.

Queensland Parliament is sometimes called “the People’s House” but one MP found out the hard way the risks of actually inviting people in.

One Nation MP for Mirani Stephen Andrew brought a group of people to the Parliament building for an informal tour on Saturday, October 19.

During their visit, Mr Andrew's guests visited the floor of Parliament itself, and were seen on security footage opening compartments under the personal desks of MPs and rummaging inside.

Speaker Curtis Pitt raised the issue in Parliament on Wednesday, saying the behaviour was not acceptable, and called on Mr Andrew to apologise immediately.

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“Passholders who sign in and accompany guests are responsible for the behaviour of those guests in the precinct,” Mr Pitt said.

“Passholders must ensure they do not go in areas they are not permitted … or attempt to access the private papers of members.”

Mr Pitt said it was not the first time he had had to write to Mr Andrew about the conduct of his guests in the parliamentary precinct, which was “disappointing”, and as a result he would strip him of his privilege to invite visitors to Parliament for six months.

Mr Andrew issued an unreserved apology immediately after the matter was raised by Mr Pitt, and later clarified he did not condone their actions.

“It was a dark evening, there was nothing actually looked at; the flipping of the lids did occur but no paperwork was seen,” he said.

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Queensland One Nation MP Stephen Andrew has apologised in state parliament for his the behaviour of his guests . Mirani MP Stephen Andrew told the parliament he was unreservedly sorry after a group he was supervising went through the desk compartments of other MPs .

“I did ask those people to stop [their behaviour] and I took them straight away from the house.”

Mr Pitt did not specify which desks were accessed by Mr Andrew’s guests, but promised to notify individual MPs privately.

MPs can keep a range of items in their desks on the parliamentary floor, including documents and notes relating to their portfolios as well as internal party memos and talking points.

The issue of parliamentary security has become more important in the past few years, because of the perceived increased risk of terror attacks, as well as activist action.

Last year a large group of people smuggled black confetti into parliament’s public gallery, which is on a balcony directly over the main chamber.

The protesters threw the confetti directly onto MPs from above, sparking concerns about what could have happened if the substance being thrown was more substantial.

Former independent MP Rob Pyne was referred to the ethics committee for inviting to Parliament as his guest a man accused of stalking Labor member for Keppel, Brittany Lauga.

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