Queensland Greens MPs Amy MacMahon and Michael Berkman say they will not apologise after Parliament moved last-minute motions to find both MPs in contempt of Parliament tonight and evict MacMahon from the precinct.
“I’m not going to apologise for trying to make multinational gas corporations and the big banks fund cost-of-living relief for Queenslanders. I was elected to get in here and fight tooth and nail for everyday Queenslanders, and that’s exactly what I’ve done.
“Our broken political system penalises anyone who dares to stand up to the big corporations, and genuinely fight for everyday Queenslanders.
“Politicians consistently show nothing but contempt for everyday people, so why should we respect them and their rules?
“Last year, gas companies in Australia made almost $40 billion in profits from soaring energy prices and the war in Ukraine, and Queenslanders got next to nothing.
“Higher gas royalties could have given Queenslanders a much-needed boost to pay school fees, to get their car serviced or finally go to the dentist.
“I’ll be spending the day that I’m banned from parliament with people doing it tough, volunteering with a fantastic local food bank, Community Friends, and holding a free BBQ for my constituents and meeting with renters and people doing it tough.”
“I will not apologise for telling the truth about this Labor State Government proudly locking up more children while underfunding schools, housing and community services.
“This is about my comments during debate on a bill that suspended the Human Rights Act to imprison more children for longer periods, including children as young as 10 years old.
“Since then, the Queensland Government has overridden the Act again to allow children to be held in adult prisons and police watch houses, and to suspend their human rights protections while they are there.
“These major party politicians treat their jobs like some juvenile game, but we’re in here talking about people’s actual lives. The Greens will never apologise for that.”
At 6:30pm on Tuesday 14 November, Labor Leader of the House, Yvette D’Ath, moved that MacMahon be found in contempt for introducing a Bill to raise revenue from increased gas royalties for a $500 cost-of-living payment to Queenslanders. MacMahon was subsequently banned from the Parliamentary precinct for the following sitting day (15 November).
Following MacMahon’s ejection from the house, D’Ath also moved that Berkman be found in contempt for his failure to apologise for saying the Government was “proudly locking up children” during the debate on the Strengthening Community Safety Bill. Berkman has also refused to apologise and has been referred back to the ethics committee to determine what penalty he will face.
MacMahon has announced that she will be spending the day of suspension from Parliament with her community volunteering with local food bank, Community Friends, and organising her office to host a free dinner for vulnerable constituents.
MacMahon was referred to the Ethics Committee by the speaker for introducing a Bill that would have increased gas royalties for one year and fund a $500 cost-of-living payment for all Queenslanders.
The Speaker also referred Berkman to the Ethics Committee for failing to follow the Speaker’s direction to withdraw his interjection, made during debate on the Strengthening Community Safety Bill 2023, as follows:
Mrs D’ATH: … What is really important is not just the time they spend in detention but what we do to support them through the process while they are in detention and those wrap around supports as they leave detention as well. That is what we need to be doing. That is what this government is doing— investing in those diversionary programs and those supports.
Mr Berkman: While proudly locking up more children!
Mrs D’ATH: It was the Palaszczuk government—
Mr Berkman: Proudly!
Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Maiwar, you are warned under the standing orders. Your interjections are not being taken. I asked you to cease them. You are now warned under the standing orders.
Minister D’Ath raised a point of order that she took “personal offence” from Berkman’s comments, and asked that he withdraw. Instead, Berkman silently left the chamber.