Media | State News

State News - July 2019

Queensland competes for economic wooden spoon

29th July 2019

The once mighty Sunshine State continues to lag behind the rest of the country, as the full extent of the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s anti-jobs and high-taxing agenda is laid bare.

LNP Deputy Leader and Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander said the latest State of the States report revealed a shocking state of affairs for all Queenslanders.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk has steered Queensland down a path of uncertainty, higher taxes, more debt, less infrastructure and the worst unemployment rate in mainland Australia,” Mr Mander said.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government has no plan to create new jobs and can’t be trusted to fix the economy.

“Queensland has the highest trend jobless rate in 26 months, with employment growth less than half of New South Wales and Victoria.

“The report also found retail spending is depressed in Queensland because Annastacia Palaszczuk has killed off confidence.

“This is also being felt in the construction industry, with work collapsing by more than 20% compared to Queensland’s decade long average.

“What is also of grave concern is house building has fallen by a massive 23% and housing finance has slumped by 14%.

“Queensland’s weak economy is also responsible for 2.3% decline in house prices.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk and her dodgy Treasurer Jackie Trad should be ashamed of this report.

“Queensland was once an economic powerhouse but now we’re getting outdone by New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk has slugged Queenslanders with ten new or high taxes, business confidence has sunk, the health system is in crisis and cost of living pressures have skyrocketed.

“You can’t tax your way to growth.

“Only the LNP has an economic blueprint to create jobs, build congestion-busting infrastructure and we won’t introduce a single new tax.”

Jackie Trad must be sacked: Statement from LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander

29th July 2019

“Annastacia Palaszczuk’s integrity crisis has deepened even further today with this latest revelation about Jackie Trad.

“It’s been revealed that Jackie Trad failed to declare a government-owned energy company CS Energy, which she is responsible for, employs a law firm which she and her husband have a major financial stake.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk should order Jackie Trad to publicly release the Integrity Commissioner’s advice she received in relation to her clear conflict over CS Energy.

“Jackie Trad directly benefits from the work her husband’s law firm performs for a government business she is in charge of.

“For well over a week, Annastacia Palaszczuk has failed the leadership test and refused to sack Jackie Trad.

“Enough is enough – Jackie Trad’s got to go.

“It is unacceptable that Palaszczuk Labor Government Ministers are using their positions to line their own pockets.

“Jackie Trad continues to abuse her position and thinks she is above the rules.

“Jackie Trad has no respect for the integrity framework or for Queenslanders.

“Jackie Trad has lost all integrity.”

Labor fails to meet own KPIs for racing

25th July 2019

Queensland’s racing industry has been dealt another blow after it was revealed the Palaszczuk Labor Government would not meet its own racing Key Performance Indicators by 2020.

LNP Shadow Minister for Racing John-Paul Langbroek, said the racing industry was struggling under a Palaszczuk Labor Government that taxes the industry but fails to deliver vital infrastructure projects.

“Labor’s own 2017/18 Racing Queensland Annual Report promised vital infrastructure projects such as night racing on the Gold Coast and new or replacement greyhound and harness racing tracks by 2020,” he said.

“With less than 5 months left of 2019, it was made clear at Estimates that these much-needed projects would not be delivered anytime soon, let alone on time.

“To add insult to injury, under Labor there was a $30.2 million dollar underspend in racing infrastructure in the 2018/19 financial year, despite the fact that there is a long list of projects that the racing industry has been crying out for some time.

“This is a tell-tale sign that Labor has failed when it comes to racing.”

Mr Langbroek said Labor’s failure to meet its own KPIs is a kick in the guts for an industry that is already suffering under a Government that is treating it like a cash cow.

“Labor does not support racing,” he said.

“While Labor has been at the helm, we have seen unprecedented strikes, a major owner and breeder withdraw from Queensland Racing, and major issues with integrity and safety have arisen.

“The Estimates hearing proved what we all know to be true - Labor could not care less about racing.”

Jackie Trad’s house scandal deepens

23rd July 2019

Jackie Trad’s integrity crisis has deepened again following revelations she contacted the head of the Crime and Corruption Commission after her massive conflict of interest was referred.

LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander grilled Jackie Trad during Estimates on her purchase of a house near the Cross River Rail project, which she failed to declare.

“Personally phoning the head of the corruption watchdog proves Jackie Trad simply cannot be trusted to do the right thing,” Mr Mander said.

“LNP Leader Deb Frecklington referred Jackie Trad’s failure to declare her Woolloongabba property to the CCC on Thursday.

“Contacting the head of the corruption watchdog over the weekend, after a complaint had been made against her, is outrageous.

“It is deeply alarming Jackie Trad is putting in calls to investigators when she is the subject of the complaint.

“Jackie Trad should not be interfering with the investigation in any way.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk must show some leadership and immediately sack Jackie Trad.”

Mr Mander said the Treasurer also refused to answer questions about her purchase of the Woolloongabba property and why she failed to declare it.

“Queenslanders deserve to know if the Treasurer abused her position and used confidential government information for personal gain,” Mr Mander said.

“Today was an opportunity for Jackie Trad to come clean on what she knew and why she didn’t declare the property, and she failed.

“Jackie Trad is supposed to serve Queenslanders, but she only serves herself.

“Rules are rules and no one is above them – not even Jackie Trad.

“Jackie Trad’s mess is her own making. Buying the property and failing to declare it is a blatant breach of integrity rules.”

Government grant awarded to Premier’s chief-of-staff

23rd July 2019

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has been hit with a second integrity scandal after it was revealed the Premier’s right-hand man owns a company which received a $267,500 government grant.

Annastacia Palaszczuk’s chief-of-staff, David Barbagallo, is a director of Fortress Capstone Pty Ltd and one of its major shareholders.

The company received the grant from the Advance Queensland Business Development Fund to support the growth of CruiseTraka – a social media app for cruise ship passengers.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said there was a clear conflict of interest in a company owned by the most powerful man in the Palaszczuk Labor Government applying for and receiving a six-figure State Government grant.

“First we had the Deputy Premier buying up property near Cross River Rail without declaring it,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Now we have a company owned by the Premier’s chief-of-staff receiving a cheque for $267,500 from the Queensland Treasury.

“This grant does not pass the pub test. It doesn’t pass any integrity test.

“Queenslanders have a right to know why the Palaszczuk Labor Government wrote a six-figure cheque for David Barbagallo’s business.

“What integrity tests were applied – if any – and what happened to the money?”

Mr Barbagallo, who jointly owns 29.5 per cent of Fortress Capstone with his wife, became Annastacia Palaszczuk’s chief-of-staff in May 2017.

The Palaszczuk Labor Government claims that Advance Queensland grants are made to support ‘cutting-edge research, or innovative ideas, products and services’ which lead to ‘the creation of high-value, knowledge-based and skilled jobs now and into the future’.

Unlike many other Advance Queensland grant recipients, CruiseTraka’s funding was not announced to the media.

Despite being a social media company, CruiseTraka’s Facebook page has not been updated for two-and-a-half years.

It is not known how many people CruiseTraka employs, where they are employed or how many new jobs were created as a result of its Advance Queensland grant.

“These integrity questions go right into the Premier’s office,” Ms Frecklington said.

“There are a stack of questions for Annastacia Palaszczuk to answer.

“Queenslanders deserve to know what has gone on – and how their money was spent.”


Premier must sack Jackie Trad: Media statement from LNP Leader Deb Frecklington

22nd July 2019

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s integrity crisis is growing by the day.

“The Premier needs to finally show some leadership and immediately sack Jackie Trad.

“The Premier must also release the Integrity Commissioner’s advice, which she received on Friday.

“Jackie Trad’s decision to stand down as head of the Cross River Rail project is further proof of her massive conflict of interest.

“Incredibly, Jackie Trad is backtracking on her promise to sell the undeclared house.

“She is breaking the promise to release the advice and breaking the promise to sell the house.

“Jackie Trad’s decision to refer herself to the CCC is a smokescreen to dodge questions during Estimates.

“It is no coincidence this move came less than 24 hours before Jackie Trad was due to be grilled in Parliament.

“I had already referred Jackie Trad to the CCC four days ago because of this blatant breach of integrity rules.

“Jackie Trad never declared her Woolloongabba property and she should never have bought it in the first place.”

Beer tax slugs Queensland-owned businesses

22nd July 2019

Popular regional craft breweries have been hit with up to a 10-fold hike in a State Government tax, threatening their viability and pushing up beer prices in a move described as “devastating and unAustralian”.

Shadow Minister for Small Business Fiona Simpson has called on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to dump the huge hike for craft breweries in their emergency services management levy, which came into effect from July 1.

Ms Simpson said the levy hike for small breweries was a cruel blow for the popular industry, causing operators unfair financial pressure with no justification or consultation beforehand from the State Government.

“The high-taxing Palaszczuk Labor Government can’t keep its hands out of people’s pockets and now they’re even going after their beer,” Ms Simpson said.

“They’ve got an unquenchable thirst for spending other people’s money and burdening small busines.

“They’re trying to blame councils, but it is the State Government that sets the rate and it is the State Government that has gazetted a brand new regulation to change the group under which craft breweries are charged the levy

“They just didn’t bother to come clean and tell anyone before they slugged them and now they’re trying to blame shift instead of fix the problem.

“The regulation clearly shows micro-breweries have been shifted from Group 3 to Group 7, increasing their state levy charges up to 10 fold - but no one consulted with the craft brewing industry beforehand.”

Craft brewers in urban areas will see their State Government emergency management levy rise from $527.80 a year to $5224.20 this year.*

However brewers in all areas will see a massive increase in their previous emergency management levy.


Miners deliver damning verdict on Labor

22nd July 2019

Resources industry leaders have slammed the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s anti-mining policies in the latest Queensland Resources Council State of the Sector report.

Executives said uncertain and/or poor state regulation was the number one problem facing the industry in Queensland in the March quarter survey.

It was the most negative result ever recorded in the industry survey and came amid the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s attempt to scupper the Carmichael coal project.

By contrast, the QRC report heaped praise on the LNP’s plan to freeze resources royalties for 10 years, with 85 per cent of CEOs saying stable royalties would help more projects get off the ground.

“The mining industry thinks Labor is anti-regions, anti-resources and anti-jobs – and they’re right,” LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government was given a record low score because the industry has had enough of being used and abused by anti-mining Ministers.

“Regulations have been used to unfairly tie up mining projects and destroy new jobs.

“I’m pleased that industry leaders overwhelmingly back the LNP’s plan to freeze royalties.

“Royalty certainty means more jobs for Queenslanders.”

Liberal National Party Shadow Minister for Mines Dale Last said that it was extremely frustrating to see one hand being tied behind the resource industry’s back.

“The resource industry is vital to rural and regional Queensland economies,” said Mr Last.

“Imagine what our resource industry could achieve without Labor’s anti-mining, anti-jobs and anti-regions agenda.

“The LNP has a plan to grow Queensland’s vitally important resource sector unlike Labor who are ideologically opposed to job creating mining.”

Integrity advice on Trad property breach must be released today

19th July 2019

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has called on the Premier to publicly release today advice from the Integrity Commissioner into Jackie Trad’s property scandal.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk has failed a crucial leadership test by refusing to act on Deputy Premier Jackie Trad’s failure to declare all property she owns,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Jackie Trad has been caught out breaking the disclosure rules, including on a property that will benefit from the Cross River Rail project.

“There are serious concerns Labor’s Treasurer is using confidential government information to line her own pockets.

“Jackie Trad has access to confidential commercial information and a full investigation is needed to uncover if the Treasurer has used it for personal gain.

“It’s a clear breach of the rules and it’s an integrity crisis.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk should order that the advice from the Integrity Commissioner is released to the public immediately.

“Labor’s cover-up of this integrity scandal must end immediately.”

LNP Deputy Leader Tim Mander slammed Annastacia Palaszczuk for having double standards.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk said she wouldn’t subject local governments to different rules than the State Government, yet if Jackie Trad was a local councillor she could be guilty of an integrity offence and suspended for four years,” Mr Mander said.

“Failing to declare the ownership of a property that will benefit from a government infrastructure project is a clear breach of the local government integrity reforms.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to explain why her Treasurer and Deputy Premier is held to a lower standard than a local councillor.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk has no credibility or integrity after failing to act on Jackie Trad’s blatant breach of the rules.”

Labor’s shocking unemployment record gets worse

18th July 2019

New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today show Queensland’s unemployment rate has increased.

LNP Deputy Leader and Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander said Queensland has the second worst unemployment rate in the country.

“The job numbers released today are outrageous and shows Labor isn’t working,” Mr Mander said.

“In June, seasonally adjusted unemployment increased from 6.2% to 6.5%, at the same time Labor dropped new taxes on the Queensland economy.

“8200 people lost their jobs in just one month and the unemployment queue is now more than 174,000.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk has introduced nine new or higher job-destroying taxes since the last election and business confidence is in freefall.

“You can’t trust the Palaszczuk Labor Government to create jobs.

“Queensland still has one of the worst unemployment rates in the country and Annastacia Palaszczuk has no plan to fix it.

“Only the LNP has an economic plan to create jobs, build the congestion busting infrastructure a growing state needs and support our regions.

“Labor thinks they can tax their way to growth.

“LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has ruled out introducing any new taxes if elected Premier next year, but Annastacia Palaszczuk can’t give the same guarantee to Queenslanders.

“When Labor run out of money, they come after yours.

“Under Labor all you get is higher taxes, more debt, less jobs and less infrastructure.”


Strong voice needed to tell Reef recovery story

18th July 2019

The ongoing debate about the health of the Great Barrier Reef is undermining the Far North’s once mighty tourism industry.

LNP Shadow Environment Minister David Crisafulli said he had spent the past 24 hours diving off Cairns to draw attention to the fact the reef remained a world class destination.

“The Palaszczuk Government has been prepared to sit back and allow our reputation to be trashed by people seeking to use damage to sections of the reef to peddle a climate change agenda,” Mr Crisafulli said.

“I have seen first-hand the rejuvenation of parts of the reef decimated by cyclone and coral bleaching.

“This doesn’t mean for one second we don’t need to do more to protect the reef from run-off, deal with crown of thorns or be part of the solution to our warming waters.

“But when tourists are steering clear of this magnificent wonder of the world, we need to call out the mistruths.”

Mr Crisafulli said confidence was at record lows and it was clear it had reached crisis point.

“I’ve spoken to operators who’ve told me about the worst economic conditions since the pilot strike three decades ago,” he said.

“But the Palaszczuk Government isn’t prepared to stand up to the knockers for fear of offending their green masters in Brisbane.

“The reef has copped all Mother Nature has thrown at it and large parts are recovering well.

“We need to do all we can to step up our protection of it at the same time as ramping up the promotion of its beauty.”


Fisheries unfair quota reform causing chaos

17th July 2019

The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s changes to the state’s Fisheries Regulations is causing angst up and down the coast, with the changes forcing hundreds of family-owned commercial fishers out of the industry.

LNP Shadow Minister for Fisheries Tony Perrett called for a halt to the regulation changes after it became clear Labor was no longer listening to industry.

“Under the proposed changes listed in the released discussion paper, quota changes to certain fisheries species will see allowable take reduced to well below business viability for many fishers,” Mr Perrett said.

“Generational fishing businesses and jobs are being whipped away due to Labor arbitrarily squeezing them out, by reducing their quota to unsustainable levels.

“All these changes are being imposed on fishers without a cent of compensation.

“To make matters worse, the Palaszczuk Labor Government hasn’t completed modelling on the impact the reduction in available Queensland fisheries will have on local and domestic seafood supply.

“It doesn’t take a genius to realise if there is less available local seafood to meet demand then imports from overseas will increase.

“Put simply, there will be less Queensland seafood and more imports in your local supermarket.

“While the LNP want to make it easier for consumers to identify and purchase Queensland seafood through clearer labelling laws, Labor is in the process of dismantling and destroying our once proud commercial fishing fleet”.

Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) CEO Eric Perez joined the LNP in calling for a halt to the misguided regulation changes putting fishers’ livelihoods on the line.

“Quota changes have not been developed in full consultation with industry and do not represent best practice in terms of fisheries management,” Mr Perez said.

“Industry were asked to provide feedback on how to manage our fisheries and quota was not supported by most commercial fishers.

“Yet this industry finds itself on the verge of more poorly developed fisheries policy”.

Ambulance ramping skyrockets at hospitals across Queensland

16th July 2019

Analysis of ambulance ramping statistics over 18 months lays bare the worsening crisis in Queensland emergency departments on Annastacia Palaszczuk’s watch.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said ambulance ramping had skyrocketed at hospitals across the state since the November 2017 election.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk promised better local health services at the last state election but has failed to deliver,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Instead, we see patients lined up in hospital corridors on stretchers.

“It’s clear ambulance ramping has skyrocketed under Labor, which is impacting patient care.

“These aren’t just numbers in a spreadsheet – it’s your mum or your brother or your close family friend.”

Ambulance ramping refers to the number of patients waiting longer than 30 minutes to be admitted to emergency care and transferred from ambulance stretcher.

Ms Frecklington said the statewide ambulance ramping rate had jumped to 25 per cent since November 2017 under Labor.

“Our dedicated nurses, doctors and paramedics are doing their best, but they need more help on the frontline,” she said.

“Queenslanders deserve a world-class public health system that the Palaszczuk Labor Government isn’t delivering.

“Labor Health Minister Steven Miles is out of his depth, not across his brief, and Annastacia Palaszczuk should sack him immediately.”


The latest state-wide ambulance ramping statistics for May:

This is now 18 months since the last state election – November 2017 to May 2019.

Comparison of ambulance ramping across state from November 2017 to May 2019:

  • Statewide has increased from 20% to 25%
  • Cairns has increased from 14% to 27%
  • Rockhampton has increased from 11% to 26%
  • GCUH has increased from 29% to 42%
  • Robina has increased from 32% to 37%
  •  Mackay has increased from 13% to 19%
  • Caboolture has increased from 22% to 26%
  • Redcliffe has increased from 17% to 24%
  • Logan has increased from 35% to 41%
  • PA Hospital has increased from 17% to 31%
  • Gympie has increased from 10% to 18%
  • Ipswich has increased from 21% to 26%
  • SCUH has increased from 24% to 34%

*Historical data is not kept on the department’s website.

LNP exposes massive cut in mine inspections

16th July 2019

New figures obtained by the LNP show that the Palaszczuk Labor Government has slashed the number of mine inspections in Queensland by more than 500 a year.

The answer to an Opposition question-on-notice released today (attached) shows that the number of inspections has fallen year-on-year from 1781 in 2015-16 to just 1241 in 2017-8.

There have been six deaths in Queensland mines and quarries in the last 12 months.

LNP leader Deb Frecklington said Labor’s cuts were putting mineworkers in danger.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government is putting the lives of mineworkers on the line,” Ms Frecklington said.

“There can be no justification for the massive reduction in mining inspections implemented by Labor.

“The mining safety regime in Queensland is now clearly in crisis.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s neglect of safety is unforgivable.

“These alarming figures underline the need for Annastacia Palaszczuk to call an immediate Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety in Queensland.”

The damning figures follow revelations that the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s mining safety and health advisory committee had failed to meet because its membership did not meet Labor’s gender-balance requirements.

Shadow Minister for Natural Resources Dale Last said only an open and independent inquiry could provide the answers and path forward that the industry needs.

“The reduction in investigations proves that we need an open and independent Parliamentary Inquiry into mine safety because the Palaszczuk Government has clearly dropped the ball,” Mr Last said.

“This is an industry that contributes billions of dollars to the Queensland economy and billions to the State Government’s coffers.

“If these reductions are due to cost-cutting then we need to get to the bottom of it and do the right thing by the hard-working men and women in the resources industry.”

Burning questions remain over Labor bushfire mismanagement

16th July 2019

The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s review into the devastating bushfires that tore through parts of Queensland last year fails to investigate key disaster prevention concerns.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said the review failed to investigate whether Labor’s mismanagement of fuel loads and fire breaks on state-controlled land worsened the bushfires.

“We know our emergency service workers did an amazing job - that was never in doubt,” Ms Frecklington said.

“The report fails to look at whether Labor prepared the state properly before the fortnight of fires devastated Queensland communities.

“We know there were nearly 1000 less Hazard Reduction Burns conducted and attended by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service in 2018 compared to 2015.

“The report was all about Labor saving face rather than saving communities from bushfires.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Lachlan Millar said it was unacceptable the report failed to make any recommendations despite many submissions on the mismanagement of state-controlled land and issues with getting fire permits approved.

“Rather than taking responsibility for slashing Hazard Reduction Burns, the Palaszczuk Labor Government blamed our farmers for the fuelling the bushfires,” Mr Millar said.

“Blaming farmers for being confused about backburning rights while ignoring Labor’s own mismanagement of state-controlled land and national parks is a new low.

“Queenslanders deserved answers to crucial questions about how the bushfires caused so much damage.

“Landholders have been very open and frank with us and the government over how policy settings should be overhauled.

“Only the LNP is listening and only the LNP will hold government agencies to account on land management practices and fire mitigation activities.”

Deb’s plan to get the Galilee going

9th July 2019

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has reiterated her plan to create jobs, boost investment and unlock the full potential of the Galilee Basin, during a trip to Central Queensland today.

Ms Frecklington said Annastacia Palaszczuk has turned her back on the region thanks to her anti-resources, anti-regions and anti-jobs agenda.

“The resources industry has been held to ransom by the Palaszczuk Labor Government,” Ms Frecklington said.

“The LNP’s ‘Boost the Basin’ plan will create thousands of new jobs across Central and North Queensland.

“We will also deliver a 10-year freeze on mining royalties and overhaul Labor’s appalling approval process.

“Adani didn’t go through approvals for the Carmichael coalmine project, it was an obstacle course.

“$50 billion worth of Galilee Basin projects, which will create 15,000 new jobs have stalled because of Labor.

“Central Queensland plays a crucial role for the entire state.

“I guarantee that all Queenslanders will reap the benefits of the Galilee Basin through new roads, hospitals and schools.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk has no plan for Queensland other than tax, tax and more tax.

“When Labor run out of money, they come after yours.

“Queenslanders have been slugged with nine new or higher taxes under the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

“I’ve consistently said an LNP Government I lead will not introduce any new taxes.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk refuses to do the same, which is why you can’t afford Labor or trust them to create new jobs.”

LNP calls for Parliamentary Select committee to investigate Mining deaths

8th July 2019

LNP leader Deb Frecklington today announced she would move for an independent Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate mining safety in light of the spate of recent deaths.

“This committee needs to be set up as soon as possible. One death is way too many but to have four in six months means action needs to be taken,” Ms Frecklington said.

“We need to establish a parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of the Queensland Government's mine safety regime.

"The Palaszczuk Labor Government admitted this morning that an advisory committee on Mining Safety was dissolved last year because the board didn’t have the right gender requirements. That needs to be investigated along with reports the mines budget has been cut and why we have gone from two chief inspectors to one.

"It's crucial Queensland learns lessons from these tragedies to ensure our mines are safe.

“It is critical this is a truly bipartisan committee with 3 members of the government, 3 LNP members and a member of the crossbench.”

LNP Shadow Minister for Mines Dale Last said the committee should literally travel to the coal face.

“This committee should travel to mining communities and hear first-hand from those at the coal face,” Mr Last said.

“We need to hear the stories of regional Queenslanders employed in the coal mining industry and their views about the health and safety systems in Queensland.

“Everyone should come home safely from their place of work.”

The committee will be asked to consider the following:

  • (a) Resourcing and operations of the mine safety inspectorate, including the inspectors in regional Queensland.
  • (b) review the legislative framework to ensure it is the most effective in world to protect mine workers.
  • (c) why did the Palaszczuk Government dissolve a Mining Safety Advisory Committee due to the Government’s policy about gender representation and what impact this has had on Queensland mine safety.
  • (d) the circumstances that have led to 6 fatalities in Queensland mines in the last 6 months.
  • (e) the stories of regional Queenslanders employed in the coal mining industry and their views about the health and safety systems in Queensland.

LNP guarantees rape defence review if Labor fails to act

8th July 2019

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington is determined to punish rapists and deliver justice for sexual assault survivors by closing an archaic legal loophole allowing offenders to walk free.

A future LNP Government would refer the state’s rape laws to the Queensland Law Reform Commission seeking a major overhaul of the “mistake of fact” defence in Queensland.

Ms Frecklington said action was needed now and called on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to support the LNP’s plan and refer the laws immediately.

“It defies belief offenders continue to rely on legal loopholes to get away with brutal crimes while the Palaszczuk Labor Government delays law reforms,” Ms Frecklington said.

“Victims are denied justice and more potential victims in the community are at risk when rapists walk free.

“Enough is enough, sexual predators must be held accountable.

“Queensland has the most outdated consent laws in the country and it’s time to act.

“I want to protect vulnerable women from sexual violence.

“It shouldn’t take a State Election to bring consent laws into line with community expectations, but if the Labor Attorney-General doesn’t refer the law then the LNP will.”

Ms Frecklington said the LNP’s plan to refer the laws to the Commission reflected calls by the Queensland Women's Legal Service, Bond University law Professor Jonathan Crowe, advocate Bri Lee and retired Supreme Court Justice Roslyn Atkinson.

The current laws allow defendants to rely on the "mistake of fact" defence to argue that they reasonably and honestly but mistakenly believed the complainant consented to sexual intercourse.

The issue with the defence is that it has been used in cases where:

  • the accused was so intoxicated they “thought” the victim was consenting
  • the victim was so intoxicated that they were comatose and legally incapable of giving consent
  • the accused reasonably believed the victim wanted sex because of their social behaviours e.g. she was flirting with the accused and allowed the perpetrator to touch her breasts.

The defence may also be used in cases where a victim ‘freezes’, which is a recognised as a common psychological response to a violent attack.

LNP Shadow Attorney General David Janetzki said too often rapists were sentenced but then had the conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal.

“In practice, the “mistake of fact” defence is setting an alarming precedent and denying victims justice,” Mr Janetzki said.

“There have been many cases involving violent, calculated, repeat sexual offenders who relied on this defence, either at trial or on appeal, to avoid punishment.

“Good laws are balanced laws, but the “mistake of fact” is skewed in the perpetrator’s favour.

“It’s inexcusable Labor has failed to act and review these laws.

“The LNP knows more needs to be done to protect victims of rape and if Labor doesn’t act, we will take this policy to the people of Queensland at the 2020 election.”

Mr Janetzki said Tasmania had a model for legislative reform in this area that could be considered.

In Tasmania, a mistaken belief by the accused as to the existence of consent is not honest or reasonable if the accused –

  • was in a state of self-induced intoxication and the mistake was not one which the accused would have made if not intoxicated; or
  • was reckless as to whether or not the complainant consented; or
  • did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to him or her at the time of the offence, to ascertain that the complainant was consenting to the act.

Victoria has introduced similar laws while the New South Wales Attorney-General referred the sexual consent laws for review to the New South Wales Law Reform Commission last year.