Media Release: Lawyers question police independence following Santos sponsorship of Queensland police
Lawyers in Queensland have joined the debate about the sponsorship of Queensland Police by private corporations such as Santos.
“The independence of the Australian police is fundamental to our democracy and our human rights” said Nathan Kennedy, lawyer and President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR). “The sponsorship of the State’s Police Force by Santos is an unacceptable conflict of interest. This embarrassing state of affairs has received widespread citizen criticism for good reason”.
“The Queensland Police Service (QPS) is a public sector executive agency charged with protecting and serving the public. The QPS wields significant power over people’s ability to enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms. How it is funded and who has influence – or even perceived influence – over its actions, is a fundamental democratic and civil rights issue” Mr Kennedy said.
The QPS announced in 2012 and again in June 2015 that it would be partnering with Santos and others for the ‘Stay on Track Outback’ campaign. Santos has reportedly already given $40,000 to the campaign.
“Such conflicts of interest undermine public confidence in the QPS to uphold the law in a neutral and impartial manner, particularly where essential human rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are involved such as the right to freedom of association, the right to freedom of assembly, and the right to equality before the law” said Mr Kennedy.
Nathan Kennedy, President, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
Michelle Maloney, National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance