Uproar as four Bills rushed through State Parliament

The Bligh government was today accused of gagging debate after voting that four Bills be urgently passed through Parliament.

Leader of the House Judy Spence provoked uproar in the chamber when she moved that four current Bills be marked as urgent, setting a severe time limit on debate for each Bill.

She moved that all four Bills be completed by Thursday night.

Leader of Opposition Business Jeff Seeney said he had not seen such an extraordinary motion in his 12 years in parliament.

“Every Queenslander should realise the significance of it,” Mr Seeney said.

“Tomorrow night we could see a situation where four pieces of legislation are put to vote in this parliament at once, three of which may not have even been considered at all.”

The four Bills cover transport, building legislation, water distribution and the new racing Bill.

The Opposition was particularly concerned about the Racing Amendment Bill, which has caused controversy through the racing industry.

The Bill establishes one control body to manage the three separate levels of racing, including thoroughbred, greyhound and harness racing,

The Bill has come under fire from the industry because of the control the government will have over racing club assets.

Independent member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham said she’d had a lot of representations from people concerned about the restructuring of racing.

“I feel that that particular Bill, and perhaps the others as well, need full and frank debate. This guillotine motion will not allow that,” Mrs Cunningham said.

Ms Spence said she was disappointed in the LNP’s reaction, and thought the parliament could debate more responsibly.

“I think if we could sit down like mature people and discuss how much time we should allocate to each piece of legislation then there would be some certainty for everyone in this chamber,” Ms Spence said.

When a division was called independents joined the LNP Opposition to vote against the motion, which was carried 47-37.

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