Wednesday, January 07, 2015

How it works in Queensland

You're a big businessman. For years you've been illegally mining a public riverbed, and the government has threatened to prosecute you. What do you do about it?

In Queensland, you get a Minister to change the law:

Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney caught government officials off guard when he ordered a last-minute law change that prevented the possible prosecution of a major LNP donor for what senior bureaucrats deemed illegal river quarrying.

Emails, briefing notes and other correspondence between senior officials and Department of Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps show no discussion about a change to the law before Mr Seeney ordered the amendment to the Water Act in early April.

The retrospective law change allowed Karreman Quarries to continue to extract millions of dollars worth of sand and gravel from the bed of the Upper Brisbane River at Harlin, north-west of Brisbane.

Karreman Quarries gave $50,000 to the Queensland LNP in 2011-12, putting it among the party's top dozen donors. It gave $25,000 to the LNP the previous year.

There is a name for Ministers changing laws for donors: its called "bribery". And this seems to be a clear example of it, and how donations corrupt the political system. its also a clear example of just how different Australian politics is from our own, and how they need to clean their act up.