A former statesman who admitted he once participated in election fraud will become the new head of the resources regulator.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed Mike Kaiser will be the next acting director-general of the State Department of Natural Resources and Mines starting in January 2021.
Paid up to $412K
Kaiser’s contract will initially be for a three-month term that is widely expected to become permanent. QMEB understands the new recruit could be paid up to $412,000 a year according to the department’s latest annual report.
Kaiser resigned as state member for Woodridge in 2001 after serving in the role for less than a year due to widespread allegations that he was involved in vote-rigging back when he was a student.
The Labor Party member ended his political career after openly admitting at the Shepherdson inquiry into electoral fraud that he signed a false voter enrolment form back in 1986, when he was still an electrical engineering and economics student at the University of Queensland.
The Labor Party eventually hired the disgraced politician as assistant national secretary leading up to the 2004 state election, chief of staff to former New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma, and chief of staff to former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh in 2007.
Two years later he became corporate affairs executive at NBN Co before moving up to head of quality. His latest known position was corporate affairs partner at multinational financial firm KPMG where he reportedly advised the current Palaszczuk government on the worldwide pandemic.
‘Highly paid consulting gig’
Liberal shadow finance minister Jarrod Bleijie accused the premier of throwing Kaiser and a “lifeline with a highly paid consulting gig.”
“Kaiser is the second Shepherdson figure to return to the Queensland government,” Bleijie said according to In Queensland.
“Admitted electoral fraudster David Barbagallo was, until recently, the premier’s chief of staff.”
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Palaszczuk defended her decision to pick Kaiser and said she has high expectations of him and more than 20 other directors-general.
“We have got a big job ahead of us and I expect everyone to roll up their sleeves and get on with our COVID recovery,” she said in a public statement.