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Pandemic polling stays secret as Labor fights off push for transparency

Politics

The Palaszczuk Government has used its numbers in State Parliament to keep documents secret amid calls for greater openness and accountability.

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The Liberal National Party moved that parliament compel the government to release Ipsos polling, which the government spent $528,000 on but refused to release in full under Right to Information laws.

“Despite the Premier claiming decisions were only made on the health advice, she is keeping Queenslanders in the dark and is refusing to release either the health advice or the very expensive polling,” Opposition integrity spokeswoman Fiona Simpson told parliament.

“If key COVID decisions are not being made on the polling, there is no reason not to release it.”

The Greens – who launched a separate bid to put the pandemic response under greater scrutiny – sided with the LNP and other cross-benchers but the motion was easily defeated.

The most senior minister to speak against the motion, Transport Minister Mark Bailey, pointed to high case numbers overseas, particularly in areas with low vaccination coverage.

“We are still in the middle of a global pandemic and people’s lives are still on the line,” Bailey said.

“Our vaccination rate is just over 30 per cent. I say to people in this debate: let’s get the silly politics out of it and get onto the policy.”

New Labor MP Lance McCallum spoke against the motion even as his electorate was being notified of potential exposure sites from an infected truck driver crossing the border from NSW.

It comes as the government extends the emergency provisions of the pandemic and overhauls hotel quarantine arrangements.

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