Speech to Council on Transparency, 27 February

Thanks, Madam Chair. I rise to speak on clause A, the membership of the Oversight of Consultancy Committee. The Leader of the Opposition is dead right; this is a ghost committee. This is even more secret than CBIC, Madam Chair. At least its annual report is tabled in this place. Ratepayers don’t get to see it, but at least it is tabled for Councillors to have access to. We’re supposed to just stand here or sit here and believe what Councillor MURPHY just said, that it does great work.

It has no Minutes; it reports to no one, Madam Chairman; there is no transparency whatsoever with this Committee. We’re told that they don’t initiate anything, but how would we know? How would anyone know? We don’t know that as Councillors, let alone the ratepayers of Brisbane whose money they are making decisions with, Madam Chair.

This Committee is stacked with two majority Councillors. Councillor MURPHY said it’s always been the Councillors in the majority. That’s not true. He realised, he remembered, half-way through saying that, that in the period from 2004-08, there was a Councillor from the majority and a Councillor from the minority, Madam Chair. That was open and transparent. But as soon as the LNP gets its majority in this place—and Councillor MURPHY has just reminded everyone how the LNP uses its massive majority to silence debate, to put up the iron curtain, Madam Chair, to shut out any light into the operations of this Council, Madam Chair. It’s a disgrace. We don’t even know what the dollar figure is for the amount of consultancies that this Committee oversees. How many do they do a week, a month, a year, Madam Chair? We have absolutely no idea.

Now, Madam Chair, without imputing motive on anyone, and on Committee members here—and listen to what I say very carefully: these types of committees, Madam Chair, without proper transparency, can lead to corruption. That’s how serious this is, Madam Chair. These types of committees with no oversight—this is the largest Council in Australia; it is a $3 billion budget—and we’re expected to just accept the argument of one of the former members of that Committee, just to trust him, Madam Chair. That’s not good enough.

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