Parliament house is supposed to be the people’s building, but coal seam gas opponents have found themselves banned in Queensland.
An anti-coal seam gas group has been banned from using a room in parliament house for what it says was a democratic debate on mining.
The Lock the Gate Alliance had exhibited a “pattern of behaviour” in recent months that led to the ban, a spokesman for the Clerk of the Parliament’s office told AAP.
It was a “rarity” for events to be cancelled in such a manner, the spokesman said.
In mid-August, Lock the Gate “tabled” an anti-mining people’s bill in the chamber of Queensland’s long-abolished upper house, which focused on the common rights and wealth of Queenslanders.
“I give notice that the bill will be debated in this parliament on October 28th this year,” spokesman Vicki Perrin announced in the empty chamber.
That debate was to happen in parliament’s Undumbi room to coincide with a sitting of parliament.
The group planned to invite Premier Campbell Newman and Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney, but the man who was to host it, Independent MP Peter Wellington, has been told the booking will not be permitted.
“I believe it reflects badly on the government,” Mr Wellington told AAP.
He said he was prepared to take responsibility for the guests and their conduct.
Mr Wellington said the debate could have easily been shut down if it broke parliamentary procedure.
“That wasn’t even allowed to happen in this instance and I think that’s disgraceful.”
In a letter to Mr Wellington, Speaker Fiona Simpson said Lock the Gate had contravened the Parliamentary Service By-law 2013.
Their August 14 venture into the empty chamber took place after they booked a tour under a different name and conspired to distract a parliamentary officer, Ms Simpson wrote.
“(Members of the group) exhibited behaviour on the parliamentary precinct that is inconsistent with the dignity of the parliament.”
The stunt had also prompted tighter procedures relating to the use of cameras during public tours, after the group filmed the event and uploaded it online.
Lock the Gate spokesman Drew Hutton said the ban was a desperate attempt by the government to prevent light being shone on the unfairness of the current political system.
“Queensland has no upper house to review this government’s unfair and dodgy dealings,” he said.
“One of the things we are pushing for with the People’s Bill is the return of the house of review to maintain checks and balances, so obviously absent.”
Lock the Gate’s campaign co-ordinator, Kate Dennehy, said the group would organise a different venue and still invite senior LNP members.
She said they had organised the debate to coincide with a sitting of parliament and feared it would no longer be as convenient for government MPs to attend.