Labor MPs back Clive Palmer’s inquiry into Newman Government
- The Courier-Mail
- August 29, 2014
In an unprecedented development, Labor has agreed to back a wide-ranging probe that will trawl over alleged rorting of federal grants, corruption and human rights abuses by the Queensland Government.
The move would allow a committee stacked with Labor and PUP-aligned senators to travel Queensland seeking evidence from Mr Newman’s critics that would be covered by parliamentary privilege.
The planned inquiry would investigate whether the Newman Government has spent federal money on advertising, such as for its “Strong Choices” campaign and whether it breached other funding rules.
Wide-ranging terms of reference target the state’s administration of prisons, appointment of judges and potential breaches of human rights obligations by allowing “detention without trial”.
The Federal Government believes Mr Newman could direct all Queensland Government officials to refuse to participate and could ignore any recommendations of the inquiry.
But the Liberal National Party is worried the inquiry would help PUP campaign against Mr Newman’s Government in the lead up to the state election.
PUP Queensland Senator Glenn Lazarus tried to bring on a vote on the inquiry yesterday but was denied by the Government – a tactic that simply delays the vote until there has been a full debate on the inquiry. The debate and vote could happen on October 2 or later.
Labor previously held out on supporting the inquiry, which could set a precedent for other federal probes into state governments.
But Labor Senator Joe Ludwig has signalled the Opposition will now support the inquiry.
“As a principle, Labor rarely blocks a senator’s ability to inquire into issues where there are resources available,” Senator Ludwig’s spokesman told The Courier-Mail.
“The Newman Government has made savage cuts in health and education, including sacking 14,000 Queenslanders.”
If the Greens join Labor in backing the inquiry, PUP will have the numbers to set up the unprecedented probe by one parliament into another government.
Greens Queensland Senator Larissa Waters said the terms of reference of the inquiry may have to change and her party would not decide its position until they were finalised.
Mr Newman dismissed it as a stunt.
“I’m focused on getting the Queensland economy going and revitalising frontline services … and I think the whole of Australia knows now where (Clive) Palmer is coming from,” he said.