All government MPs on a corruption watchdog failed to show up for a meeting where they should have voted on whether to release costs related to the former deputy prime minister’s legal action Jackie Trad.
The Parliamentary Committee on Crime and Corruption (PCCC) was due to meet on Thursday on whether to make public the bill initiated by the Commission on Crime and Corruption (CCC) in a legal action brought by Mrs Trad.
Ms. Trad sued the Supreme Court to have a CCC report withheld from the public.
It is unclear whether the report makes any findings against Ms. Trad.
Taxpayers are funding all or part of Ms. Trad’s legal costs, but the details of these and the CCC’s legal bill remain under wraps.
In a move the committee chairman described as ‘extraordinary’, the four Labor MPs apologized ahead of the PCCC meeting and failed to show up, meaning a quorum could not be reached and that the meeting could not take place.
PCCC chairman Jon Krause, a member of the LNP, told reporters it was “disappointing that members of the government did not see fit to stand for Integrity Matters in Queensland”.
Last month, Labor members of the committee last month blocked an attempt to reveal the legal costs incurred by the CCC in relation to Ms Trad’s legal action.
The watchdog has provided its parliamentary oversight committee with details of its bills so far, but members of the Labor committee have opposed its publication as the case is pending.
That meeting has been rescheduled for today, with Mr Krause saying he ‘would have consulted with other members of the committee on a new meeting time’.
“These are matters both of the public agenda but also of the private meeting which had to be dealt with in committee, important matters, and it is disappointing that they could not show it today “, did he declare.
“It’s an extraordinary decision.”
He said the CCC did not indicate that information about legal costs should be withheld from the public.
“I’m trying to improve the committee process and having information withheld in committee that the CCC in this case clearly said should be made public could be considered an abuse of process, an abuse of the majority government in committees.
“What you have just seen here is emblematic of the government controlling all the committees of parliament.”
The committee is made up of seven members – four Labor MPs and three LNP MPs, including the chairman.
When asked why she was unable to attend the meeting, Labor MP and committee member Jonty Bush said she had other appointments.
“The reality is that we had other appointments this morning and it was announced last night,” she said.
“It’s been a very busy week for us, unfortunately as you will understand. Very happy to work with the committee, of course, and to work with them to organize future dates and move the work forward.”
MPs who serve on parliamentary committees currently receive an additional salary of $25,118 per year, bringing their total annual salary to $191,074.
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