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PUP Senate hearing descends into screaming match

Glenn Lazarus.. chairing inquiry
Glenn Lazarus.. chairing inquiry Pamela Frost

GLENN Lazarus has defended the Senate inquiry into the Queensland Government despite a screaming match dominating the first hour of Friday's session.

The inquiry, sitting in Brisbane for the first time, heard from Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney and Queensland Council of Unions officer John Martin.

An already fiery morning session exploded when Mr Martin admitted he was standing as a Labor candidate at the next Queensland election.

Liberal Senator Barry O'Sullivan said Mr Martin's status showed how "farcical" the inquiry had become.

"We're midway through a testimony, given to this committee, of what is meant to be an independent witness who had something to offer, we find out that they're a candidate for the Australian Labor Party," he said.

"This is an absolute sham. This is a complete sham."

However, Mr Martin said he wasn't acting as a Labor member and said his candidacy was a matter of public record.

Liberal senator Ian Macdonald objected to Mr Lazarus' chairing of the meeting, claiming he was biased against the Liberal representatives.

"With respect you were known as the brick with eyes. You've shown yourself to be a one eyed brick," he said.

Despite the drama Mr Lazarus said the inquest was going will and Ms Kearney and Mr Martin were able to express their concerns.

Mr Lazarus refused to answer questions from a Courier Mail journalist about the inquiry.

The testimony of Darling Downs anti-coal seam gas campaigner Heather Brown-Pascoe was held in private.

- APN NEWSDESK

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