The Prime Minister’s bill on the Olympics protects elected officials from disclosure of a conflict of interest in addition to controversial secret laws.
Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Olympic planning bill has come under more criticism, with watchdog signaling ‘corruption risks’ of allowing federal MPs to be exempt from conflict reviews of interest.
The Premier of Queensland had previously been reprimanded for including secrecy laws to ensure the confidentiality of documents relating to the Olympics.
The Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games Arrangements Bill was introduced last month in Parliament to begin planning for the 2032 Games. It described how the functioning of the committee would be protected from the right to access to the information.
The committee will be responsible for managing billions of dollars to oversee thousands of athletes, accommodation and various events, including the opening and closing ceremonies.
Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) boss Alan MacSporran also pointed out the “corruption risks” presented by elected officials who are drafted into the board of directors to plan the Games without being required to disclose conflicts of interest.
He said the decision-making process was vulnerable to corruption given the power to approve and intervene on major infrastructure decisions.
“The CCC does not consider such an exception for this matter to be necessary or desirable,” he said in a submission to the bill.
âIf a conflict arises between the duties of an elected official and his role as director of the company, it must be declared and managed.
âA perceived or actual conflict may not, in itself, compel the manager to decline to participate in the discussion and voting on the issue, but that does not mean that the conflict should not be declared and addressed. “
The Queensland government has also faced backlash for its proposed right to information law amendments to protect the Olympic agreements from public disclosure.
Related documents which âinclude information of a confidential nature that has been disclosed in confidenceâ will be kept confidential, the explanatory notes to the bill point out.
“This clause is justified in view of the sensitive nature of some of the documents that will be developed in the performance of the functions of the company, such as confidential business information relating to the local marketing program of the company,” said the government.
He also noted that similar provisions have been included for the planning committee in the run-up to the 2000 Games in Sydney.
But state Information Commissioner Rachael Rangihaeata said the clause was “inconsistent” with a 2008 report that called for limiting exclusions to the right to information law as a result of an independent panel chaired by Dr David Solomon.
This was also supported in 2017 by a review report from the former attorney general.
“In the Solomon Report, the panel specifically opposes the inclusion of exclusions to allay concerns about disclosure when exemptions or the public interest test can easily protect sensitive information,” Rangihaeata wrote in the statement. submission.
âExclusions are used sparingly in the RTI Act given the impact of such a provision, and as noted in the review report, the RTI Act has a sufficient legislative framework to protect sensitive documents, including confidential business information. “
The Information Commissioner also rejected the precedence of the Sydney 2000 Games Planning Committee, initially established in the early 1990s.
âA right to information law that strikes an appropriate balance between the right of access and the limitation of that right of access for reasons of public interest is essential both for a strong and accountable government and for an informed community, âRangihaeata continued.
âThis is clearly reflected in the reservations about the scope of the exclusions and exemptions by the above reviews. “
Submissions remain open and the committee’s investigation of the bill is continuing.