‘Unfettered power’: Bid to rein in CHO fails

The Greens have attempted to establish a new committee chaired by either a crossbencher or opposition MP that would scrutinise COVID-19 decisions made by Queensland's chief health officer.

But the move was quashed last night in Parliament when the House voted against the proposed amendment.

Greens Member for Maiwar Michael Berkman said the COVID-19 Oversight Committee would give MPs the opportunity to ask questions about the Government's health response.

He had wanted it to be modelled on the parliamentary crime and corruption committee, including three opposition MPs, one crossbench MP and three government MPs, and have the power to conduct hearings with the chief health officer on decisions such as border closures and other restrictions.


Michael Berkman
Michael Berkman


Jeannette Young
Jeannette Young


Mr Berkman said Queensland's frontline workers, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young and the Government deserved credit for a good public health response so far.

But he said there had clearly been some decisions made on the basis of politics rather than health advice.

"A parliamentary COVID-19 oversight committee with a non-government chair would give MPs the opportunity to ask questions about the Government's health response, and scrutinise decisions made by the chief health officer under emergency COVID-19 legislation," Mr Berkman said.

"Right now there is no opportunity for this type of hearing with the CHO, who has almost unfettered power with no parliamentary oversight...

"People deserve to know the reasoning and evidence behind decisions that affect their lives, including during a pandemic."

However a Government spokesman said Dr Young's advice had kept Queenslanders safe and she had ­explained her decisions.





Originally published as 'Unfettered power': Bid to rein in CHO fails