Where and how should the public expect negotiations between fossil fuel industries and governments be carried out?
What kind of relationships should exist between fossil fuel corporations and the politicians and public servants who are part of the decision-making process that those corporations seek to influence?
Should reasonable details of those negotiations be recorded and take place in government offices, during office hours? Should lobbying by industry and companies be available for public scrutiny?
When a government awards a licence to dig up and sell fossil fuels, those decisions represent the transfer of assets from public to private hands worth billions of dollars.
With that in mind, you might expect the answers to all those questions to reflect the highest levels of accountability and transparency.
But in Queensland, Australia’s biggest exporter of coal, this accountability and transparency appears to be lacking.
The Australia Institute has published a report – Too close for comfort: How the coal and gas industry get their way in Queensland - detailing the complex interactions between the coal and gas industries in Queensland and the state’s previous governments.
The report, researched and written by me and paid for by the institute, explores some of the close relationships between lobbyists, politicians, public servants and fossil fuel industry executives.