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Queenslanders 'comfortable' with lobbyists, says acting Premier

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Acting Premier Steven Miles says Queenslanders are “relatively comfortable” with how lobbying rules are working in the state.

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Miles professed to be unfazed about the potential influence of political lobbyists amid growing scrutiny of the practice.

Crime and Corruption Commission chair Alan MacSporran told a budget estimates hearing on Monday he intends to focus on lobbying of the government “for quite some time”.

He also called for “transparent safeguards” against corruption and misconduct.

Miles said the state already had strong lobbying laws and the government fully supported a potential revamp of the office of the integrity commissioner next year.

However, he claimed voters were comfortable with the current safeguards against lobbying.

“Other than you, no one else has raised it with me so it suggests to me that the Queensland community is relatively comfortable with how these laws and arrangements are operating,” he told reporters.

“That’s not something that came up when I was door-knocking during the election campaign. It’s not something that people stopped in the shopping centres to talk to me about.

“They’re concerned about their jobs and what the government is doing to support jobs in their state, and that’s the kinds of thing that we’re here talking about today.”

The influence of lobbyists, consultants and donors in politics has become a prominent issue in Queensland in recent months.

MacSporran felt the need to urge the Labor government to be vigilant against “the temptations” that could confront them just last week.

“There may be an expectation among some individuals or private sector corporations that they are entitled to special treatment,” he said in a statement.

His warning came a month after consultant and former Labor MP Mike Kaiser was appointed as acting director-general of the Department of Resources.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and other government ministers have been grilled about integrity issues in budget estimates.

She refused to confirm whether she used her private email for government business before she banned the practice in 2018.

The presence of lobbyists Evan Moorehead and Cameron Milner in the government executive building during the October election campaign also raised eyebrows.

The opposition Liberal National Party has doggedly pursued the government over the matter.

However, the LNP attracted closer scrutiny over its own links with donors during the October election campaign.

The ABC reported that then-opposition leader Deb Frecklington had been a guest at a series of fundraising dinners, which property developers had attended.

It is illegal for property developers to make political donations in Queensland.

The state’s electoral commission last week applied for a ruling on whether businessman Clive Palmer was a property developer after he donated more $2 million to his own political party.

MacSporran warned candidates about integrity during the election campaign.

He said the CCC was monitoring donations, especially potential donations from property developers, amid growing evidence that the lines between politicians and private sector were blurring.

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