Pay rises and political donations gets MPs talking

BLEARY-EYED MPs suffering from little sleep after a debate that lasted until 3am Friday morning, MPs gathered again only hours later to continue fierce debate; this time on pay rises and political donations.

The first piece of legislation introduced in Queensland Parliament was scrapping the LNP's changes to political donation laws on Friday morning.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath introduced the bill to lower the declared political donation threshold from $12,800 - which the LNP Government altered last term - back down to $1000. This would mean all political donations valued $1000 or more would need to be declared.

In a glimpse of what is to come during the next three years, the first bill's introduction went down to a narrow vote, with 42 LNP members voting against and 44 Labor members voting for the changes going to a committee.

The two Katter Australian Party MPs sided with Labor, taking the vote to 46.

Ms D'Ath said changing the threshold was what Queensland wanted, expected and deserved.

"Disclosure is key to transparency and transparency is the key to accountability," she said.

Ms D'Ath said the bill should be referred to the legal affairs and community safety committee, which would be required to report back to MPs on May 1.

But this short deadline did not sit well with the LNP.

Mermaid Beach MP Ray Stevens said Labor MPs "ranted" and "wailed" during the last term about legislation being pushed through too quickly. He said these changes to political donations were being pushed through for "political purposes".

But Ms D'Ath returned a fiery response, saying they should already be familiar with the bill "because it's what existed before you amended it".

Other bills to change legislation were not greatly opposed.

Overturning the Queensland Independent Remuneration Tribunal's decision to increase MP salaries by 2.58% was the second piece of legislation discussed but was forwarded to a parliament committee without opposition. The committee will report back to Parliament in May.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad also moved to make the Queensland Reconstruction Authority permanent and for a date to be fixed for Queensland heavy vehicles to abide by a national law.

The bills have been referred to parliamentary committees to be scrutinised.

- APN NEWSDESK



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