Labor delivers on integrity commitments

Published Monday, 09 March, 2015 at 04:21 PM


Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Labor Government will begin advertising for a new Chair of the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) by the end of this week.

The Premier said the new process was part of Labor’s sweeping integrity and accountability agenda, with legislation to be introduced in the first sitting week of the new Parliament.

This delivers on the Premier’s commitment that accountability and transparency reform would be front and centre of the Government’s agenda.

Key commitments include:

-       Advertising for a new CCC Chair

-       Legislation to lower the political donation threshold from $12,800 back to $1,000 (including for period from 21 Nov 2013)

-       Restoring six-monthly reporting requirements

-       Abolishing voter ID requirements 

-       Investigating the possibility of real-time disclosure of political donations

“Campbell Newman, Lawrence Springborg and the LNP went to extraordinary lengths to tear down Queensland’s integrity and accountability framework, and Queenslanders punished them for it,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“No-one is more committed to good, honest Government than me.

“I took a stand on behalf of Queenslanders at the last election and made a promise to them that Labor would restore the independence to the state’s corruption watchdog and reverse the LNP’s secret political donation laws.

“Today I deliver on those commitments.”

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said an international search would begin for a new Chair of the CCC.

“Queensland needs a strong, independent Chair of the CCC. I don’t believe that having a hand-picked Chair act in the role for over two years has been appropriate,” Ms D’Ath said.

“Under a Labor Government, the CCC will be beholden to no-one and be given real investigative teeth. Queensland’s corruption watchdog should be nothing less.”

The Premier also confirmed that the Government would introduce legislation in the first sitting week of Parliament to return the political donation threshold to $1,000.

“The LNP lifted the disclosure threshold to make it possible for someone to donate $12,800 to a Member of Parliament or a Minister – and not have to declare it to anyone.

“The only motive behind that was to remove reporting requirements for the majority of political donors, ensuring the vast bulk of political donations would stay in the shadows.

“I think Queenslanders deserve to know who is making significant donations to political parties and how much they are donating.

“Our legislation will return the threshold to $1,000, and it will be also capture the period going back to 21 November 2013, when the LNP’s legislation came into effect.

“At my direction, Labor in Opposition continued to report donations above $1,000. I gave everyone fair warning that we would introduce this legislation should we win Government, and that is what I intend to do.”

The Government’s reforms will also include provisions to seek to develop a real-time donation disclosure system.

“I think this is a really exciting step forward when it comes to integrity and accountability issues.

“There will be significant logistical challenges to tackle before this system, but the amendments we will introduce will provide the mechanism to pursue real-time disclosure.

“We want to get this right because it will ensure Queensland is at the forefront of open and transparent government.”

As part of Labor’s commitment to an open and accessible democratic process, the Government will remove the retrograde voter ID provisions that were introduce by Jarrod Bleijie and Campbell Newman.

“This Government is delivering on its clear commitment to remove these extreme provisions that do not appear in any other Australian state, territory or federal jurisdictions.”

Ms D’Ath said now-Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg was yet to disown his role in supporting the LNP’s secret donation laws.

“At this point we can only assume the LNP still supports hiding massive donations and keeping Queenslanders in the dark,” Ms D’Ath said.

“Similarly, we can assume Mr Springborg and the LNP still support their changes to the corruption watchdog that wound back Fitzgerald Inquiry reforms.

“These changes were pushed through by the former LNP Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and voters made their views known on his arrogance and incompetence on January 31.

“Every LNP Member at the time voted for these anti-democratic provisions so the real test for Mr Springborg and his team will be whether or not they listen to the clear message that Queenslanders sent. 

“We still don’t know if the LNP stands by its changes. It is up to Mr Springborg to explain his position.”

Parliament resumes on March 24.