Queensland's premier has accused the Liberal National Party of sinking to a new low in politics by alleging a conflict of interest over the Adani coal mine.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has pledged to veto a major federal infrastructure loan to mining giant Adani after it emerged her partner worked on the application for the loan.
In an election bombshell, the premier denied a conflict of interest over the controversial $1 billion project and said her government would have no future role in the assessment of the loan for the Carmichael mine.
Ms Palaszczuk accused LNP senators in Canberra of a "smear campaign" and "circulating rumours" about her partner Shaun Drabsch, who works for PriceWaterhouse Coopers.
She revealed Mr Dabsch, in his capacity as infrastructure advisory director for PWC, worked on Adani's application for a loan under the Commonwealth's Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.
At a snap press conference on Friday afternoon, the premier announced she has written to the integrity commissioner to get advice over the "rumours and innuendo".
She said her chief-of-staff David Barbagallo advised her of the rumours on Tuesday night and labelled the LNP senators' moves as "a new low in Australian politics".
"I am told they planned to use this during the election campaign to impugn my character and suggest something untoward," the premier told reporters.
Ms Palaszczuk insisted there had been nothing untoward and she had not known about her partner's involvement as part of PWC's work to secure a loan from the NAIF for the Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin.
"I have done everything by the book, my partner Shaun has done everything by the book," adding she was unaware of his work.
To rule out any suggestion of a conflict of interest, Ms Palaszczuk is now moving to exercise her "veto" power over the loan, to ensure it doesn't go ahead.
"My government has had no role to date in the federal government's NAIF loan assessment process for Adani. Now we will have no role in the future," she said.
"To activate my decision I propose to write to the prime minister to notify him that my government will exercise its "veto" to not support the NAIF loan and to remove doubt about any perception of conflict."
But because the government is currently in caretaker mode she would need LNP Leader Tim Nicholls' endorsement as opposition leader to do so, and she's calling on him to give her that endorsement.
She's also called on Mr Nicholls to reveal what he knew about the rumours and whether he intended to exploit them.
Mr Nicholls was in a plane returning to Brisbane when Ms palaszczuk held her media conference and released a statement after he landed saying he knew nothing about the rumours.
"If, as the premier claims, all necessary conflict of interest measures are correct and above board, why has she put thousands of jobs at risk with this extraordinary backflip?" Mr Nicholls said.
"Given that NAIF loans are an independent federal process and state governments have a constitutional role to pass through the loan, what's the problem?"
"The premier should honour her word and pass through the Adani loan if the independent NAIF makes such a decision."
Greens Candidate for South Brisbane Amy McMahon said the revelations showed Queensland politics was "rotten to the core".
"If Labor were serious they'd revoke the mining licence and Adani's $300 million tax break," Ms McMahon said.
It's an explosive ending to what had been a fairly sedate first week of the election campaign ahead of the November 25 poll.
In fact the biggest criticism Labor or the LNP could muster for each other earlier on Friday was that they lacked policy creativity.
But the premier said Mr Nicholls had stolen existing, funded Labor policies.
Mr Nicholls in turn claimed it was Labor who was out of ideas after Ms Palaszczuk three times this week "unveiled" extensions to existing programs as major campaign announcements.
Both leaders found common ground in criticising the Greens proposal to introduce four new public holidays, with Mr Nicholls describing it as "loopy" and Ms Palaszczuk saying the election was "about jobs, not holidays".