Queensland’s embattled Crime and Misconduct Commission chairman Dr Ken Levy says he is not influenced by the views of the government.
Embattled Queensland crime watchdog chief Dr Ken Levy has come out fighting, defending his independence and saying he won’t step down despite questions over his political impartiality.
The acting chairman of the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) used a press conference on Friday to defend his decision to write a newspaper op-ed supporting the Campbell Newman government’s controversial bikie crackdown.
He also tried to sidestep controversy over a meeting he had failed to disclose with the head of the government’s media unit, Lee Anderson, before the opinion piece appeared in Brisbane’s Courier-Mail.
He says the meeting discussed “an administrative matter” and that opposition MPs who criticised him were not completely objective and focused on certain aspects “quite excessively”.
A defiant Dr Levy told reporters: “I have not and will not, in discharging my responsibilities, be swayed by the views of the government of the day or indeed by political considerations more generally.”
However, Dr Levy confirmed he did not intend to seek the chairman’s job on a permanent basis when his second six-month contract in the role ends.
LNP members and non-government MPs are accusing each other of playing politics over the saga.
The government used its massive majority on Thursday to replace the members of Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (PCMC) that had been investigating Dr Levy, accusing it of bias.
It now holds four of the seven spots on a committee previously dominated by opposition and independent MPs.
Earlier this week, the committee decided to release evidence undermining what Dr Levy had said about his contact with the government before he had written the article.
He said on Friday he had no regrets about penning the piece.
“My opinion piece … is all about the fact that the 99 per cent of people who are not politicians or lawyers or judges were not included in all that debate that was going on at the time,” he said.
Premier Newman says he was surprised when he saw the newspaper article.
“Nobody from the government, nobody from my team (were) asked to write an opinion piece for the Courier-Mail. Nobody helped him write it, nobody had knowledge he was producing an opinion piece,” he told Fairfax Radio.
Dumped PCMC chairwoman Liz Cunningham fears the mass sacking means any committee that falls foul of the government risks the chop.
“Those investigating or reporting on a matter contrary to what the government wants should be very concerned,” the independent MP told AAP.
However, Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says the former PCMC members won’t necessarily be sacked from other committees.
“That is a matter for the opposition and the independents,” Mr Bleijie told AAP.
“They will need to search their consciences as to whether they can leave their politics at the committee doors.”