More time wasted on scrapped media gag laws

 

A taxpayer-funded committee will waste its time compiling a report about controversial laws which would have gagged journalists despite the State Government rushing to scrap them.

The Palaszczuk Government was forced into an embarrassing backflip late last week, withdrawing the Bill just 20 hours after it was introduced.

But The Courier-Mail can reveal because the Crime and Corruption Amendment Bill was not officially withdrawn in the House, the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee is still required to produce a report and table it, which is parliamentary procedure once legislation is introduced.

The Bill will also need to be officially withdrawn in the House.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during a press conference in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk during a press conference in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk insisted the issue was off the table in the days following the fallout, which saw right-to-know campaigners slam the laws that threatened journalists with jail if they reported corruption allegations levelled against local or state government candidates - that had been referred to the CCC - during election periods.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath issued a media statement last Friday saying the Bill needed to be withdrawn in light of the limited time for the parliamentary committee to consider the changes.

This came after she moved to declare the Bill "urgent" the day before in a bid to get it passed before the looming October election.

The Premier has insisted the scrapped Bill had been a recommendation from the CCC however accepted there were concerns with it.

Manager of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie claimed, "The chaos and dysfunction in the Queensland Government with their legislative reform agenda is a clear case of why we need to change the government in Queensland."

Manager of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie. Picture: Liam Kidston
Manager of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie. Picture: Liam Kidston

"If you can't govern yourselves, you can't govern Queensland," he said.

But Ms D'Ath hit back claiming, "This is the sort of childish, petty stunt we've come to expect from an LNP desperate to cover up its own lack of policies and their dangerous stance on opening Queensland's borders."

"The simple fact is, the Bill is being withdrawn," she said.

The committee is due to report back by September 2, with the last sitting week of parliament for 2020 scheduled to begin on September 8.

Originally published as More time wasted on scrapped media gag laws


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