Controversial Qld Olympic laws ticked off

·2-min read

Controversial Olympic laws shielding federal politicians from scrutiny in Queensland have been ticked off by a state parliamentary committee.

The Economics and Governance Committee says the laws should be passed despite a number of concerns about transparency and accountability.

Under the bill, federal MPs and senators on the Olympic organising committee would be exempt from scrutiny by Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission.

CCC chair Alan MacSporran has warned the exemption is too broad and could have unintended consequences "given the absence of an equivalent Commonwealth integrity body".

The parliamentary committee says it's unclear why federal politicians should be held to a different standard of accountability than other board members.

"Very strong justification would be required to warrant such a provision, and to date, no such reasoning has been provided," the committee's report said.

It recommended that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk find out why the clause is necessary from the federal government and report back to parliament.

However, the committee stopped short of calling for the Australian Olympic Committee or the International Olympic Committee to explain the controversial accountability clause.

The bill would shield documents "communicated in confidence" by or for the AOC or IOC, from Right to Information applications.

The government has said the exemption only relates to documents involving the AOC and IOC, in matters such as sponsorships, and was consistent with laws for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.

Information Commissioner Rachael Rangihaeata said in a submission that the clause was inconsistent with the 2008 Solomon report, which said any RTI exemptions should be limited and "clearly justified".

The parliamentary committee said removing the clause would better reflect the transparency and accountability "community members expect".

However, it stopped short of calling for any action to be taken to make the IOC further explain why the clause was necessary.

"Ultimately, given the limited scope of the exemption proposed in this instance, it is unlikely to lead to any difference in outcomes for access to information than would otherwise be the case," the report said.

"However, the committee would welcome any willingness on the part of the AOC and IOC to reconsider their position as to the necessity of the exemption, and the strong message that would be sent by its removal from the legislation, placing the public interest squarely at the forefront."

The committee recommended the government engage with the AOC and IOC to ensure the need for confidentiality was balanced with the right to information of public interest.

Liberal National Party committee members Ray Stevens, Michael Crandon and Dan Purdie expressed reservations about the conflict of interest and RTI clauses.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting