Queensland Announces Integrity and Accountability Reforms

Today the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced the introduction of several new integrity and accountability laws.

The Integrity Bill 2009 will outlaw success fees, expand the role of the State Integrity Commission, enable the Crime and Misconduct Commission to investigate Government Owned Corporations, and give members of the public direct on-line access to Government Ministers.

The reform is based on a two-tier approach which will see the new laws in place by the end of the year with further and more expansive reforms due for completion by mid-2010.

The reforms announced today include:

  • Banning the payment of success fees to lobbyists
  • An expansion and enhancement of the role of Queensland’s Integrity Commissioner including oversight of the Queensland Register of Lobbyists and making the Commissioner an officer of Parliament with the ability to provide advice to all MPs
  • An overhaul of political donations and campaign funding if the Commonwealth does not act by July 2010 – introducing a cap on political donations of $1000
  • Amending the Crime and Misconduct Act to ensure all Government Owned Corporations can be investigated by the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC)
  • Enshrining the lobbyists code and its requirements in legislation
  • A formal referral to the CMC requesting it conduct an independent review of current police discipline and misconduct processes
  • A requirement that newly appointed public service officers and ministerial staff disclose whether they have worked as lobbyists in the past two years
  • A reform of the Whistleblowers Protection Act
  • The establishment of an Ethical Standards Branch within the Public Service Commission to assist all Queensland Public Service employees – including Senior Executive staff and agency heads – by providing independent advice on public sector ethics issues

The Premier also announced a new on-line resource called ‘People’s Question Time’, which will open the internet to give members of the public regular and direct on-line access to herself and Government Ministers from next year.

The Press Release is available here.