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Law Reform · Healthy Communities

Political and industry job revolving door must stop

22 November, 2017

There’s still time for Queensland voters to get commitments from candidates to end corruption that arises from major political party donations ahead of the state election, says EDO Qld.

The call comes off the back of the community legal centre for the environment’s  event at QUT last night, where people from across Southeast Queensland turned out to hear what measures candidates would commit to just days out from the Queensland election.

Candidates from ALP, LNP, The Greens, One Nation, Bob Katter Party and Cameron Murray, independent responded to the request for party measures to reduce the negative impacts of donations, including developer donations*. Experts including UQ law professor Graeme Orr, who said best practice for this issue was in Canada, also spoke at the event.

CEO Jo-Anne Bragg said: “The response from the community was unanimous --  the revolving door of political and senior industry jobs must end. To do that we need restrictions on Queensland parliamentarians, ministerial staff and public sector executives such that they are prevented from engaging as lobbyists or providing advice to relevant industry for four years after leaving these positions. Confining that rule to third party registered lobbyists is too narrow.

“A major community concern raised was windfall gains to industry, such as the increase in land value when the planning schemes are changed and land is re-zoned.. To reduce the incentive to unethical behaviour we need a betterment tax on windfalls..”

Ms Bragg said between Operation Belcarra showing serious failings in transparency and accountability in local governments & elections; the Four Corners investigation ‘All that Glitters’ uncovering serious allegations of developer donations influencing Gold Coast decision makers; and the notable influence of the resource industry on politics & decision making – democratic, accountable governance was under serious threat in Queensland.

“Now more than ever people across the state are worried that decisions that affect your community or environment are swayed by political donations or conflicts of interest. And they have every right to be worried, just as they have every right to a response from politicians before they cast their votes on Saturday.

“Politicians must come to the party and work with the community on how can we avoid conflicts of interest in decision making and increase transparency and accountability of our politicians and government.”

Ms Bragg said EDO Qld had sent policies we think need to be implemented to improve accountability and reduce corruption in Queensland, see here. *The full responses from candidates can be read here

Authorised by Jo Bragg, CEO of Environmental Defenders Office Queensland, 8/205 Montague Rd, West End, QLD 4101.

*EDO Qld promotes changes to law and policy which protect the environment and advance sustainable development. EDO Qld does not support, promote or oppose any particular political party or candidate. EDO Qld respects the democratic right of all citizens to run for elected office in their own time.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

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