An inquiry into political donations in Queensland doesn’t need to investigate the influence of union donors, the Labor government says.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad says the purpose of the inquiry, which the government wants the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) to lead, is to consider links between donations and the awarding of government contracts.
She says the probe is aimed at the former Liberal National Party government.
However, Ms Trad claims union donations are unlikely to be examined because governments do not award tenders and contracts to trade unions.
“How many government decisions are made that are actually about giving unions tenders? It doesn’t happen,” she said.
“It’s about the donations to the political party of the day that’s governing and decisions made by that government in relation to awarding tenders and to spend government money.”
The deputy premier admitted unions lobbied governments, like business and environmental groups, but it was all above board and part of any healthy democracy.
While Ms Trad brushed off the need to examine union donations, she listed specific matters involving LNP she wanted investigated.
Those include the LNP’s approval of the expansion of the Acland coal mine and retrospective legal changes advantaging LNP donors Karreman Quarries and Sibelco.
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said overlooking unions was hypocritical and proved the inquiry was “an absolute witch-hunt”.
“They’re imposing one set of standards on the LNP and a totally different set of standards on themselves,” he said.
Mr Springborg said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was repeating the same mistake as Anna Bligh during the 2012 election when tried to incriminate LNP leader Campbell Newman by referring him to the then Crime and Misconduct Commission.
The opposition leader said Labor’s actions only diminished the integrity of the watchdog at the time, and Ms Palaszczuk was repeating history.
“She is politicising the Crime and Corruption Commission in Queensland, this is completely wrong and she should move away from that immediately,” he said.