The odds on the election outcome strongly favour
In the campaign so far Mr Newman has made much of his five point action plan to get Queensland back on track.
The fifth pillar is to "Restore accountability in government: Ministers will be accountable for their Departments and our decisions will be open and transparent." Ironically Mr Newman has found himself on the back foot early in the campaign concerning donor deals and personal and family interests.
The published detail of policy linked to the goal of "restoring accountability" refers to two subsidiary priorities - to give Queensland communities a choice on local Council de‑amalgamation, and to address planning issues including restoring the Coordinator General's power and authority regarding major projects. The only mention of transparency in the detailed list of 71 LNP commitments is to put the cost of the carbon "tax" in big print on electricity bills sent to customers. This report has Mr Newman showing some interest, when questioned, in speedy disclosure of donations to political parties.
But it all seems pretty thin given the headline status of the commitment.
You might expect the LNP would have something to say about such things as open government and the Right to Information Act, whistleblower protection, lobbying and other integrity issues. Or at least something to indicate that a new government would leave alone those Bligh government initiatives that generally seem to be marked improvements on what went before. Perhaps it is still to come. There was nothing more on the subject in the campaign launch speech, or at least the summary. The text is hard to find.
Michael McKinnon FOI Editor for the Seven Network described the decision to exempt the BCC committee as a disgrace, adding with rhetorical flourish:
"Less than a year old, Queensland's bright new world of open government has been stabbed in the back in a sordid deal between two of the state's most powerful politicians. Take a bow, Anna Bligh and Campbell Newman."The lord mayor was quoted as saying the change was necessary because the council was a large organisation, and full and frank advice to council members from staff could not be guaranteed because of fears of media coverage as a result of RTI disclosures. Hmm..
Neither exemption provision is replicated in legislation anywhere else in the country. All except the six independents in parliament voted in favour of the amendments. An online poll at the time by the Brisbane Times registered 90% against.
Information briefing incoming MinisterIt would be nice to see something on integrity and open and transparent government from the "can do" team before 24 March. Advances in the direction of more may be out of the question. But a commitment to simply leave well alone, at least would be reassuring.
"Information is exempt information for 10 years after the appointment of a Minister for a department if the information is brought into existence by the department to brief an incoming Minister about the department."