Premier Campbell Newman attends the AgForce CQ Regional Meeting with the farmer's of the local area to express their concerns.
Premier Campbell Newman attends the AgForce CQ Regional Meeting with the farmer's of the local area to express their concerns. Brenda Strong

Can Do doesn't have a butler but he reckons Kevin Rudd does

DOES Queensland's Premier have a butler on hand?

Does Australia's leader have a staffer devoted to carrying around his cushion?

Did a Queensland MP really need to spend $633.60 to erect two flags?

These were the crucial, big-issue questions poised during Queensland's Parliamentary estimates hearings on Tuesday.

The estimates period is usually a time reserved for parliamentary committees to grill ministers, the Premier and top bureaucrats on the State Budget.

But a few fleeting moments of distraction drove the proceedings away from the task at hand.

Premier Campbell Newman was quizzed on whether one of his advisers was actually his butler.

Mr Newman confirmed this unnamed staffer did carry out preparation tasks like other employees throughout government.

"On every occasion there has been people there that do such things as make sure formal meetings are set up, the room is ready to go, that tea and coffee and biscuits are provided, that if there is a meal that is being served that it is procured and provided and cleaned-up and that is the function of this individual," he said.

"I simply say this is a normal thing that you would see in any office or indeed any business in this nation at a senior level."

In fact, Mr Newman explained, it was Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who had a butler-like arrangement.

"When I go to Kevin Rudd's office I notice someone has a cushion they carry around for him. I certainly don't do that," he said.

"I can confirm the current Prime Minister, for the moment, has a gentleman carrying a cushion around for the

Prime Minister - that seems very much to be the nature of a butler."

Visiting the saleyards at Rockhampton on Tuesday, Mr Rudd referred to Barry "butler" McKenzie - a cylinder back pillow.

A media officer tossed the cushion to Mr Rudd and he introduced to surrounding media as Barry "the butler" McKenzie.

"(It's) because I've got a crook back mate," he said. "I think if it's not under my arm , it's being carried by one of my staff."

Five of Mr Rudd's staff put up their hands when he asked them who had carried Barry.

The questioning during Estimates about the policy and finances took another interesting turn when Mr Newman was quizzed about flag poles.

Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk referred to an invoice that showed Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates spent $633 on two flag poles for her office.

But how is one meant to fly Australia's flag and the flag of our traditional owners, Mr Newman asked.



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