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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Queensland election: the meaning of silence?

Queenslanders vote on Saturday- millions of words and thousands of photo opportunities over the last four weeks. But I can't find a word, issue or concern about openness, transparency and accountability on the ALP or LNP campaign websites. (Weren't the activities of lobbyists an issue for example just before the election was called?) Meanwhile the draft Right to Information Bill. sits quietly on the table.Did David Solomon's report and the Government response remove the issue completely from the top order?

As to privacy, there has been a draft Information Privacy Bill ( for the public sector) also sitting on the table, unremarked in the campaign. "Those photos" didn't seem to provoke a wider debate about this topic either.

(Update: it's not much but a reader has sent me this extract from a long interview with LNP leader Springborg by Craig Johnstone in the Courier Mail on 18 March, which I couldn't find on the CM website:

"On Freedom of Information, he says he supports the view that information to do with government should be routinely "pushed out" rather than held back. "Last time in parliament I tabled every single item of Opposition expenditure right down to the milk receipts," he said. "My challenge is to Bligh to do the same sort of thing, get the information out there and the thrill of the chase actually goes."

Well, then, how about revealing the invitation list of the $20,000-a-head dinner Springborg hosted in the middle of the campaign? "Well, no, and the reason that we are not going to have the invitation list is quite simple. The Labor Party actually goes after people that support our side of politics," he said. But if it were Bligh at that dinner, wouldn't he be screaming for the invitation list? "I haven't made a call for Anna Bligh to expose the people that she may have had dinners with during the course of this election campaign and there have probably been heaps of them," Springborg said.

"People will have the chance to be able to judge us in government and the people we might deal with. We deal with a whole range of people who come to us from time to time and might want to talk about policy things. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are expecting particular special deals."

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