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Friday, February 13, 2015

Will Queensland's Palaszczuk lead a return to integrity?

Professor AJ Brown of Griffith University writing at The Conversation looks at the issues in Queensland as the new Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk takes office having committed to “restore integrity and accountability” and forge a path of “consultation and consensus, rather than the division of the past three years”.

Update: In announcing her ministry on 15 February no mention of specific responsibility for integrity and accountability issues. Presumably they're with Attorney General d'Ath. Good sign though that they appear in the first sentence of the Premier's first media statement:
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says her new Cabinet will be focussed on job creation, listening to Queenslanders and acting on their concerns, while restoring integrity and accountability to government in Queensland.
Update on the Update: Even better - The Mandarin reports the one assistant minister Stirling Hinchliffe "will work on integrity and accountability issues for the Premier while also serving as leader of the house."

During the campaign Labor promises included
  • Committing to the Fitzgerald Principles for good governance.
  • Reforming political donations rules, including restoring a lower $1000 disclosure threshold.
  • Holding an inquiry by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) into the “links, if any, between donations to political parties and the awarding of tenders, contracts and approvals”.
  • Upgrading and advertising the chairmanship of the CCC, held on an “acting basis” by former bureaucrat Dr Ken Levy in what Labor brands an “abuse” of the position.
Ms Palaszczuk went further in a letter of intent to win the support of Independent Peter Wellington.  

Not mentioned but waiting for the incoming government also is a dusty file marked "Review of Right to Information and Information Privacy Acts 2013" a review launched by the Attorney General in August that year but which sank from sight after submissions on a discussion paper closed. Neither the review report nor submissions have been published.
Action didn't match the talk in 2013 about Open Government.

A short sharp review against best practice information access standards in 2015 should be part of the Palaszczuk plan.

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