The Queensland Parliament should establish a Select Committee to oversee the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s response to the devastating impacts of coronavirus.
LNP Manager of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie today called on Annastacia Palaszczuk to support the LNP’s call for a Select Committee similar to one that has been established in New Zealand.
“The Select Committee will oversee the response by the Palaszczuk Labor Government to this unfolding COVID-19 pandemic and be chaired by LNP Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington,” Mr Bleijie said.
“It’s absolutely crucial that the government is held to account during these unprecedented times.
“The LNP believes this plan is an important way to scrutinise Labor’s decision-making process.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision to cancel Queensland Parliament means no scrutiny, no debate and no accountability.
“The Parliament has a key democratic function to hold the government to account.
“It is particularly important in Queensland because of the unicameral parliament.
“A healthy democracy relies on accountability and a Select Committee will present the opportunity to analyse, scrutinise and question the government’s priorities and plans for Queenslanders.
“The community expects all sides of the Parliament to come together and work constructively during this health and economic crisis.
“We must save lives, livelihoods and jobs.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk has a chance to show leadership and immediately adopt the LNP’s proposal for a Select Committee.
“We all have a role to play during this crisis, because we’re all in this together.”
1. New Zealand
While the NZ Parliament is adjourned, a select committee represented by all parties and chaired by the Opposition Leader will operate remotely by Zoom.
The Committee has full powers to require people and documents to be presented. These powers are not normally granted to other NZ Parliamentary except their Privileges Committee (NZ’s version of Queensland’s Ethics Committee).
The terms of reference of the Committee are:
That the House establish an Epidemic Response Committee to consider and report to the House on any matter relating to the Government's management of the COVID-19 epidemic, and that—
(a)the committee have the power to send for persons, papers and records:
(b)the committee be chaired by the Leader of the Opposition:
(c)in addition to the chairperson, the committee consist of 10 members to be nominated in writing by parties to the Speaker as follows: New Zealand National four, New Zealand Labour three, New Zealand First one, Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand one, and ACT New Zealand one:
(d)a member nominated to represent a party may be permanently replaced by another member of that party, by that party's leader or whip notifying the Speaker in writing:
(e)the committee have the authority to meet at any time while the House is sitting, except during oral questions, during any evening on a day on which there has been a sitting of the House, on a Friday in a week in which there has been a sitting of the House, and outside the Wellington region during a sitting of the House, despite Standing Orders 191, 193, and 194(1) and (3).
It should also be noted that as the Committee is meeting remotely and via video link, that all its actions are live-streamed. Again, this fosters transparency in the process.