'Deserve better': Uproar over Queensland's Olympic Games 'trickery'

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Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured here at a Parliamentary Friends of the Olympic and Paralympic Movement event.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks at a Parliamentary Friends of the Olympic and Paralympic Movement event. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images for the AOC)

The Queensland government has come under fire over proposed laws which could prevent documents relating to the 2032 Olympics from ever being publicly released.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk tabled laws in parliament on Wednesday to set up the organising committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG).

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The panel will oversee the sports program, accommodation for athletes and officials, and cultural and sporting events such as the torch relay and opening and closing ceremonies.

However the laws protect organising committee emails and documents which are "of a confidential nature that was communicated in confidence" from being accessed under Right to Information applications.

Liberal National Party integrity spokeswoman Fiona Simpson pointed out that the broad definition could prevent all Olympic and Paralympics documents from being released.

"The legislation states that all documents relating to the Games are not subject to the Right to Information Act," she said in a statement on Thursday.

"This is political trickery at its worst.

"It means all aspects of Queensland preparing for the Games cannot be scrutinised."

However the government later hit back, saying the exemption only relates to documents involving the AOC and IOC, in matters such as sponsorships, and is consistent with laws passed in NSW for the Sydney 2000 Games.

"All RTI applications will be assessed by the usual process," a government spokesperson told AAP.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said he supported keeping documents about security arrangements, or any others, confidential.

"I obviously support keeping those documents which are relevant to producing the best possible Olympic games, the best games I'm sure Brisbane in Queensland will produce, I'm supportive of those arrangements," he told reporters.

Queensland sets up Olympics organising committee

The laws state there will be 14 members on the committee, with at least half required to be women and one must be Indigenous.

The prime minister and premier will each appoint five independent directors, one of which will be the committee president, and make four personal selections each.

The laws also ensure Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates gets a spot on the committee after he retires from his current role next year.

The AOC will be allowed to nominate either its serving president or "honorary life president", a special AOC role created earlier this year and set to be filled by Mr Coates, for a seat.

The premier has also announced Kurt Fearnley will be the Paralympic athlete representative on the committee.

Annastacia Palaszczuk and John Coates, pictured here at a press conference for the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.
Annastacia Palaszczuk and John Coates at a press conference for the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

The 13-time Olympic medallist, who will serve alongside Olympic athlete representative and swimmer Bronte Barratt, says the Games are great opportunity for Australians, especially those with a disability.

"The societal change that these Games can bring to Australians over the next decade, including the millions within our disability community, will be one of the biggest motivating factors for me as part of this process," Fearnley said in a statement.

"Whether they are physical, social, educational, economic or all of the above, the benefits of these Games can set us up for generations to come. It's an incredible opportunity that I'm so excited to be part of."

Ms Palaszcuk said the next 11 years would pass quickly and setting up the organising committee was a crucial step.

"Since the beginning of this process I have said that I want every Queenslander to share the pride of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games," she said.

"These games belong to all of us."

with AAP

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