LNP broke the law in sacking PCMC, says MP and expert
THE Newman Government had acted outside its authority in sacking the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee, Nicklin Independent Peter Wellington said yesterday.
He has written to the Speaker, Member for Maroochydore Fiona Simpson, asking her to rule that the government resolution on November 21 to sack the committee was not lawful.
Mr Wellington contends that section 300 of the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001, under which the PCMC committee was enacted, makes no provision for the government of the day to sack it.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie rejected Mr Wellington's claims.
"I suggest the Member for Nicklin read the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 again,'' he said.
However, QUT lecturer in law John Pyke believes the government has got it wrong.
He said resolutions of the house took second ranking to statutes signed by the Governor.
"I have no doubt that when this resolution was passed, not a single person in the house including the Speaker, leader of the house, the Attorney-General or his shadow actually thought to check," he said.
"In the end, it will make no difference, but it will be a slightly humbling process.''
The act only provides that the committee must consist of four members appointed by the government and three by the leader of the opposition.
The PCMC committee is the only instrument of government that continues even after an election is called.
Its members retain their positions until they die, resign, are beaten at an election or have their nomination revoked by the leader who appointed them.
"As you are aware, a mere resolution of the house cannot override a provision of an act passed by the house and given assent by her Majesty's representative. I submit therefore that the resolution, being contrary to section 300, was totally ineffective."
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk this week re-nominated three non-government appointments to the committee - Mr Wellington and Labor's Jacki Trad and Jo-ann Miller.
Mr Wellington has called on Ms Simpson to rule that if the government wishes to change the identity of its four nominees on the committee, it must do it according to the proper procedure under the Crime and Misconduct Act.
Mr Bleijie said the government had had no choice but to act and clear the committee of further possible bias.
"Mr Wellington was one of the members that corrupted and tainted the PCMC by passing judgment on a man before all the evidence was heard,'' he said.
"He violated the principles of fair and natural justice just to score cheap political points."