To: Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart & Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie MP

STOP THE SPONSORSHIP OF THE QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE BY SANTOS

Dear Police Commissioner Ian Stewart and Premier/Attorney-General,

The sponsorship of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) by Santos is an unacceptable erosion of public confidence in our State’s law enforcement agency.

The QPS exists to preserve peace and good order in Queensland, and to administer the law fairly and efficiently. Santos is a large oil and gas company which operates in Queensland, and is thus subject to Queensland and Australian law. The sponsorship deal is a continuation of the QPS’s “Stay On Track Outback” road safety project which aims to protect tourists with caravans on remote roads in outback Queensland. Santos has contributed $40,000 to the project, and Queensland Police Vehicles now proudly display the blue Santos logo.

The sponsorship of the QPS vehicles by Santos is of concern because police routinely oversee anti-coal seam gas demonstrations and other mining protests in Queensland, including democratic demonstrations against Santos. Such conflicts of interest have the ability to 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. These include the right to freedom of association, the right to freedom of assembly, and the right to equality before the law. The QPS exists to serve the public interest of all Queenslanders, not the private interests of corporate stakeholders.

In order to preserve the neutrality of the Queensland Police Service, we therefore demand that the QPS:

• Terminate the Santos sponsorship agreement;

• Remove of the Santos logo from Police Vehicles:

• Create a public register of police sponsorship agreements; and

• Adopt a sponsorship policy which is transparent, accountable and  directed at preventing corruption and the perception of corruption.

Why is this important?

The independence of the Australian police is fundamental to our democracy and our human rights. 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. 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. Therefore, all private sponsorship of the QPS by Santos must end immediately.