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Palaszczuk government ‘urgently’ rushes amendment to avoid CHO double-dipping on pension fund

The Palaszczuk government has been blasted as “chaotic” after it was forced to rush an amendment through parliament to ensure top doctor Jeannette Young can’t double-dip on her public service pension.

The chief health officer will step down from her role in the coming days before being sworn in as the state’s governor next week.

Dr Young would have been able to line her pockets with the defined benefits scheme through the Queensland public service as the state’s top doctor, as well as the pension handed to former governors.

The oversight forced Leader of the House Yvette D’Ath to “urgently” tack on an amendment to an existing bill scheduled to pass through parliament on Tuesday evening, which relates to the merging of two state-owned superannuation funds, Sunsuper and QSuper.

This invoked a furious response from rivals, with Manager of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie launching a tirade at the state government for guillotining debate and questioning the productivity of the third-term administration.

Premier Presser
Camera IconDr Young will be sworn in as governor on Monday. Jono Searle / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

The Palaszczuk government has introduced 20 pieces of legislation in 2021, compared to 37 last year and 56 in its first year in power in 2015.

“We have seen a lack of agenda and when they do introduce legislation, it is so chaotic,” Mr Bleijie told reporters.

“We are literally debating a superannuation bill that they have to make urgent amendments to and guillotine the debate and have it done by tonight to ensure the incoming governor has a choice of which pension to accept.

“We understand; we don’t want double-dipping and so forth, so I completely get that and support that, but the reality is, how long have they known for? It is chaotic; they should have their house in order.”

The Manger of Opposition Business blasted the Palaszczuk government for its lack of legislation, while Greens MP Amy MacMahon accused it of continually gagging debate.

“Like so many other details in the way this government runs, they cut corners, have no interest in debate and do the absolute minimum to support transparency,” she told parliament on Tuesday afternoon.

Covid Update Presser
Camera IconThe Palaszczuk government said it has passed major legislation while in power. John Gass / NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

“We’ve got a few hours to debate this bill today because of an administrative error to do with the incoming Governor’s pension,” the Member for South Brisbane said, before sarcastically adding “big democracy vibes from the government”.

Ms MacMahon said the legislation itself had been rushed through the inquiry stage in six weeks, which meant stakeholders weren’t given the opportunity to voice their concern and provide advice.

“They (the government) got a grand total of nine submissions in the compressed timeline, with one supplementary, on a bill that will affect the retirement benefits of two million people,” she said.

In response to criticism of the government’s productivity, Ms D’Ath insisted it was “substance not quantity that matters”, referencing major legislation including the passing of voluntary assisted dying laws this year which blocked out an entire sitting week.

“We are very proud of the legislation the Palaszczuk government has brought in and passed through this parliament since we came into office in 2015,” she said.

“Not least of course our donation laws, our electoral laws and we passed, very early on, the termination of pregnancy (legislation).

“This week we will see the introduction of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games organising committee structure – a very important piece of legislation to set the groundwork for what is to come over the next 11 years in preparation for the Brisbane 2032 games.”

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