One Nation national secretary Jim Savage has attacked the appointment of former politicians to plum taxpayer funded roles as Queensland Labor Party figures cash in on lucrative board jobs.The Australian can reveal that since taking office last year, the Palaszczuk government has appointed at least 26 Labor Party figures and supporters to government-owned corporations, health boards and other bureaucratic appointments.
In addition, the minority government has appointed former Liberal National Party MPs as part of a long-held process, which Mr Savage said “pisses off” voters.
“I think (these appointments) piss people off. Especially when people are struggling, and ex-politicians, many of them on massive pensions, get handed taxpayer funded roles,” he said.
“These (fees) are more than what a lot of people earn. I don’t believe that just because you’re an ex-politician who retired or was kicked out precludes you from earning an income.
“But, what a coincidence, when you hear some of these people get appointed to these roles.”
Former Labor Brisbane Lord Mayor Jim Soorley pocketed $73,000 package as chairman of government owned corporation CS Energy. Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie (appointed to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation) and former senior ministers Terry Mackenroth (QSuper) and Steve Bredhauer (Trade and Investment Queensland) are expected to receive between $45,000 and $50,000.
Last week, former Labor ministers Mike Reynolds and Paul Lucas were appointed to the boards of Port of Townsville and Powerlink.
Former state ALP president and union boss Dick Williams was earlier this month appointed chairman of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, alongside former Public Works and Housing Minister Robert Schwarten, named as a director.
Liberal National Party leader Tim Nicholls, who as part of the Newman government was also accused of hiring party apparatchiks, said Ms Palaszczuk had “continually broken her election promise to make merit-based appointments”.
“Instead she has decided to appoint former Labor mates and union hacks to taxpayer-funded positions,” Mr Nicholls said.
“It is time Annastacia Palaszczuk put the interests of hard-working Queenslanders ahead of the interests of her own and that of her party.
“Queenslanders deserve better than a government that is only interested in appointing their Labor mates and union hacks to cushy and highly-paid positions.”
Mr Nicholls, who in response to the rise of One Nation has increased his visibility in regional battlegrounds, yesterday declared the major political parties needed to offer voters “real policies and actions that will make people’s lives better”.
A spokesman for Ms Palaszczuk said the government selected members of committees and boards “based on merit and what contribution those appointments can make to the benefit of Queensland”.
“We want the best people working for Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk’s spokesman said.
“That is why we have appointed former National Party minister Vaughan Johnson as a Wild Dog Commissioner.
“He is doing a fantastic job in helping revive the sheep and wool industry by ensuring the government helps landholders protect flocks from the devastating threat of wild dogs.
“The government has also reappointed former Coalition government health ministers Mike Horan and Terry White to chair health and hospital service boards.”
In defence of major parties appointing former politicians, Ms Palaszczuk’s spokesman said “people should not be disqualified from making a contribution because they’ve served in cabinet”.
“Several of these appointments are former cabinet ministers — on both sides.
“These people have a proven track record of administration at the highest level on behalf of Queenslanders, including overseeing significant budgets,” the spokesman said.