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Queensland political donations inquiry stalled by PCCC stalemate

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The Palaszczuk government is still waiting on one piece of its parliamentary puzzle to be put in place before it pushes ahead with its commitment to hold an inquiry into political donations.

Annastacia Palaszczuk promised independent MP Peter Wellington her government would instigate a Royal Commission-style inquiry into donations to political parties and candidates in order to win his support in Labor's bid to form government.

In the second half of last year the government re-committed to holding an inquiry, which they said they wanted the Crime and Corruption Commission, with its compulsion powers, to hold after Alan MacSporran was named chair.

One year on from the Newman Government election loss, Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said Labor was still committed to the inquiry.  But she said before the inquiry could move forward the the CCC parliamentary oversight committee, which has been bogged down in a mire of infighting and political point scoring for the better part of a year, needed to appoint a permanent chair.

While the government can not direct the independent CCC to hold an inquiry, the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee can.

But the PCCC has been unable to do much of anything for the past year, with its bipartisan members caught up in fighting over who the Chair should be.


Labor committed to having a non-government PCCC chair - a powerful position, given its deciding vote in cases of deadlock - while in Opposition.

The LNP put forward Jeff Seeney for the role.  The government said it would support any nomination other than Mr Seeney.

The two sides have been at an impasse ever since, with neither willing to budge.

Ms D'Ath used fulfilling the promise her leader made just over a year ago as another excuse to call the committee to order.

"I don't want to delay this inquiry in any way, but I do need stability in the PCCC and I believe it is extremely important, and I have said this all along, about having all of those permanent positions filled in the CCC," Ms D'Ath said.

"What we have said is one of the options, because we know the government can't direct the CCC - certainly the CCC of its own initiative can chose to investigate matters - but there is the ability potentially to put a referral with the PCCC, but we need the PCCC to, quite honestly, be doing their job.

"What I have seen so far is the PCCC not necessarily wanting to deal with matters because they haven't sorted out their chair.  That isn't good enough.  As far as I am concerned, the PCCC should sort themselves out, this is ridiculous."

But other than some stern words, Ms D'Ath said she would not interfere.

"I am not going back to the way the previous government behaved - you know, if we don't like the PCCC, we just sack them all and find ways to go around them," she said.

"My primary aim is to follow a proper process, not necessarily find ways around the process because I don't like what is happening."

That's despite the government finding a way around the PCCC deadlock when appointing Mr MacSporran as the corruption watchdog boss.  Needing bipartisan support, Katter Party MP Robbie Katter was reportedly subbed in to help pass the appointment, giving the government a way around the spirit of the rules, if not the letter.

While the civil war wages on, Labor MP Peter Russo remains acting chair of the PCCC.

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