Mayor, Premier lock heads over donor ban
WHETHER or not developers would be banned from donating to candidates or political parties before the next state election is expected to be made clearer today.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk favours equally applying at state level all 31 recommendation of the Crime and Corruption Commission Belcarra Inquiry into the 2016 local government elections, identifying the donation ban and conflict of interest provisions as key.
The issue was discussed during Cabinet talks yesterday and later in the day was debated by the full caucus of the party.
"I will have more to say about this tomorrow," Ms Palaszczuk said yesterday.
If the intent was for the necessary legislation to be tested and passed during the term of the current parliament it would push the date of the next election into 2018 with the government guaranteed supply through to May.
New legislation generally goes through a six to eight week joint parliamentary committee stage before being returned to the House for a vote.
Do you support a ban on developer donations?
This poll ended on 17 October 2017.
Yes, it will help keep local elections fair.
No, it will just drive the donations underground.
Yes, but it shouldn't be brought in for state government as well.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Sunshine Coast Council mayor and Local Government Association of Queensland president Mark Jamieson meanwhile has maintained his criticism of the donation ban claiming the CCC had admitted there was little research based evidence to show they influenced a council's decision making.
Cr Jamieson said any perception that political donations bought influence could be eased if Queensland councillors were obliged to treat donations over $500 to their campaign as a material personal interest, thereby ensuring they left council meetings if their donors' business was being discussed.
"A simple change to the Local Government Act is all that is needed to deal with this issue, not an undemocratic ban on one category of political donations,'' he said.
"The CCC has acknowledged there is little research to back up the notion that donations from developers and others lead to corruption and heard evidence to that effect from expert witnesses at the Belcarra hearings."
Cr Jamieson said University of Southern Queensland law Professor Anthony Gray told the CCC: "...contrary to what some people might believe without having done research,... there is actually very little evidence of links between money being donated and that particular individual or that particular organisation being given favours". (Operation Belcarra report, p77)
He claimed the proposed reforms would boost the power of unions and lobby groups and would add to the already considerable costs councils incur in dealing with issues such as industrial relations matters and "other demands and requests".
Parliament will sit for three days this week from today.
A minimum 26-day period is required between the calling of an election and when it is held, meaning the earliest an election could be held would be November 11 which would be unlikely given the significance of the date leaving just November 18 and 25 before the start of school holidays.
If an election was called after the scheduled second October sitting scheduled for the 24th, 25th and 26th the only available date this year would be November 25.
As well as changes to the donation laws the government has committed to introducing this term its Building Industry Fairness bill to address security of payment for subcontractors.
The joint party committee was due to report next week making the second October sitting the first chance to bring the final legislation before parliament.