Role of Qld Parliament in public finance – upcoming ASPG event on 14 June 21

Thanks to the Queensland chapter of the Australasian Study of Parliament Group (ASPG) for inviting me to be a panel member at its upcoming event The role of Parliament in public finance on 14 June at Parliament House, Brisbane. My fellow panel members will be former state transport and finance minister (in the Bligh government) Rachel Nolan and UQ Economics Associate Professor Begona Dominguez. The topic of discussion for the evening will be:

…the role of the Queensland Parliament in overseeing government financial performance. Is scrutiny of the state budget a process of careful consideration, or a rubber stamp?

Regular QEW readers will be unsurprised that I’m leaning toward the rubber stamp view. The government always just does what it wants as it has the numbers in the Queensland Legislative Assembly and there’s no upper house which could act as a genuine house of review. There’s also little point members of the public sending submissions into parliamentary inquiries because the government has usually decided what it wants to do, and at best you’ll get a weak response back from the relevant department with dull talking points, similar to Queensland Treasury’s response to my critique of the government’s pointless Queensland Future Fund last year (see my submission).

I really welcome the invitation from the ASPG as it will allow me to reiterate and expand on the points I made in my 2018 book Beautiful One Day, Broke the Next regarding Queensland’s woeful parliamentary committee process. Assuming you’re not a member of the ASPG, it would cost you $10 to attend the event at Parliament House on 14 June, and you can book via Eventbrite.

Finally, today I was alerted to the fact that Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick directed a few barbs my way in Parliament back in March (hat tip to Joe Branigan), and hopefully I’ll get the chance to address his comments on 14 June. While quoting me approvingly on one issue, the Treasurer thought it emphasised his point to depict me (incorrectly, I should note) as an LNP adviser. The Hansard for Tuesday 9 March 2021 on page 319 quotes the state Treasurer as saying:

…the LNP’s chief economist, Gene Tunny—the man who literally wrote the book on asset sales…

The first part of the Queensland Treasurer’s statement is total BS, as I’m not an LNP member, nor do I work for the Opposition, and I try my best to be non-partisan and objective. Regarding the second part of the Treasurer’s statement, assuming he’s talking about Beautiful One Day, Broke the Next, I’ll take it as a compliment, and indeed may even consider it as a testimonial to include on the back cover of a second edition of the book I’ll need to get around to writing one day. Since 2018, enough has certainly happened in Queensland to warrant a second edition!

Here I am speaking with 612 ABC Brisbane’s Steve Austin on the first day of Parliament for the newly elected Palaszczuk Government in early 2015. The temporary broadcast studio was set up in the chamber of Queensland’s defunct upper house, the Legislative Council. The ASPG event on 14 June 2021 will be held in this chamber.

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