On Sunday the Queensland opposition issued a 24-hour deadline for the Premier, Peter Beattie, to sack Ms Clark or have the matter referred to the state’s Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC).

Acting opposition leader Jeff Seeney said Monday would provide the first opportunity to refer the matter to the CMC, and that the matter would be followed up then.

The furore has centred on claims Aboriginal activist Murrandoo Yanner and Carpentaria Land Council chief executive Brad Foster had airfares paid for by the minister’s department on a trip to accompany her on meetings with Palm Island residents on December 17th.

Mr Yanner failed to travel on from Townsville to the island, however, Mr Foster completed the journey.

Pressure began to mount after Mr Yanner reportedly alleged that Ms Clark’s senior adviser, Bruce Picard, told Mr Yanner and Mr Foster to say publicly they were required to reimburse the airfares, although they would not have to pay them, according to the Weekend Australian newspaper.

The government is continuing to stand by its position that Mr Yanner and Mr Foster were told the $1775 air tickets would be reimbursed.

The premier has resisted calls from the opposition and the police union to sack Ms Clark.

Speaking to the Nine network, Mr Beattie said the matter was “a storm in a tea cup.”

“The facts of life are that I made it clear when I found out they were going to Palm Island that taxpayers wouldn’t be footing the bill,” Mr Beattie said.

“She’s (Ms Clark) going to pay the airfares herself if they won’t,” the Premier added.

Mr Beattie said he had initially looked into the planning of the trip to Palm Island because he did not agree with Ms Clark’s decision to take Mr Yanner.

“He made a lot of inflammatory remarks that set back black and white relations for a decade and I didn’t think they were very helpful,” Mr Beattie said.

His comment referring to statements made by Mr Yanner calling for physical attacks against police officers following the November 19 death in custody of an Aboriginal man.

The opposition says the scandal surrounding Ms Clark has a ‘compelling similarity’ to the so-called ‘Winegate affair’ of March this year, when a bottle of wine was taken on a government flight to the Lockhart River Aboriginal Community, which operates under an alcohol restriction plan.

“We are talking about the same minister, the same public servants and the same sort of cover-up, and there are enough accusations and enough concerns raised now to ensure the CMC must investigate.

The CMC is already conducting the high profile investigation looking into the circumstances surrounding the Aboriginal death in custody on Palm Island last month which sparked violent rioting targeting police and government buildings.

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