Queensland government backflips on plans to gag journalists reporting on corruption allegations against candidates in upcoming election
- The Queensland government has backflipped on plans to gag journalists
- Under proposed changes, complaints about election candidates would be secret
- Breaching the law could land a person in jail for up to six months
The Queensland government has backflipped on plans to prevent the publication of corruption allegations against candidates ahead of elections following a furious public backlash.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath introduced the amendments to parliament on Thursday, citing a report tabled by the Crime and Corruption Commission early in July.
Under the proposed changes, complaints about electoral candidates to the CCC would be kept under wraps until investigations became official, or three months had lapsed since the watchdog had been notified.
The Queensland government has backflipped on plans to prevent the publication of corruption allegations against candidates ahead of elections following a furious public backlash. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is pictured
Breaching the law could land a person in jail for up to six months, or face thousands of dollars in fines.
The changes would have also allowed a candidate or the watchdog to seek an injunction to prevent further publication of allegations during the lead-up to elections.
However, in a brief statement on Friday the Queensland government dropped the proposal, citing time constraints.
‘Given the limited time for the parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee to consider the law changes the CCC seeks… the bill introduced yesterday in state parliament is withdrawn,’ Ms D’Ath said.
The backflip comes after criticism from unions and the Liberal National opposition, who accused the government of trying to silence whistleblowers before the October state election.
‘This is another attempt by Annastacia Palaszczuk to cover up her government’s appalling integrity record and silence whistleblowers,’ shadow attorney-general David Janetzki said.
It comes after the LNP referred former Queensland treasurer Jackie Trad again to the CCC in July, under allegations the former minister interfered with the independent hiring process for the role of under treasurer in 2019.
Ms Trad was referred to the commission in 2019 over an investment property, and again last year over her involvement in the selection of a school principal in her South Brisbane seat.
She repeatedly denied wrongdoing but stepped down from her cabinet responsibilities in May.