Parliament missing in action as LNP cries foul
THE Queensland Parliament could hold virtual sittings by next month after proposing laws to allow MPs to call in via video-link during the coronavirus crisis.
The amendments were announced after an "arrogant" Annastacia Palaszczuk was accused of treating democracy as an inconvenience, with a range of new government-imposed rules for tomorrow's sitting curtailing the questioning of ministers and the debate of legislation.
Manager of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie launched a broadside against the Premier after almost two-thirds of the state's 93 MPs were told not to turn up and the LNP was asked to submit a list of ministers it intended to grill in Question Time.
Parliament will officially sit under its quorum - the minimum number allowed of 16 MPs - but, unofficially, the Government wants just six to eight MPs in the chamber at any time, The Courier-Mail can reveal.
The Premier will take questions to ministers not in attendance, and other ministers will file into the chamber ahead of pre-organised questioning, to allow numbers to be kept low.
"The Premier is basically just treating Parliament like her personal plaything," Mr Bleijie said. "I understand the Government has a job to do, but it's important the people of Queensland see democracy being done.
"The Premier is arrogantly thumbing her nose to accountability in Parliament."
Speaker Curtis Pitt last night announced he wouldn't travel from Cairns, and nor would Townsville-based Deputy Speaker Scott Stewart.
"Members of parliament must do what they ask of Queenslanders and not travel," he said in the statement, in which he also announced amendments to allow for virtual sittings would be tagged on to emergency COVID-19 legislation to pass in a marathon one-day session.
It can be revealed next week's scheduled sitting won't proceed, with plans to sit for three days in May to mirror federal parliament.
Mr Bleijie said the Opposition would abide by social-distancing rules, but would not be telling its MPs they could not travel to Brisbane.
He said the Government should not be dictating who could speak on legislation, or who could come to work to represent their constituents, and parliament should sit on Thursday.
Originally published as Parliament missing in action as LNP cries foul