Corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald says government sources warned him about continuing media attacks over his criticism of the state’s top judge.
Retired judge Tony Fitzgerald says members of the Newman government have threatened to keep attacking him in the media over his criticism of Queensland’s new chief justice.
Mr Fitzgerald, who investigated police corruption as head of the historic Fitzgerald inquiry in the 1980s, says the threats were made this week from “within the government”.
He is one of many senior legal figures who have publicly criticised Tim Carmody’s elevation to the top judicial position.
Critics say Justice Carmody, the former chief magistrate, is inexperienced and too close to the Liberal National government.
Mr Fitzgerald, a former Federal Court and Supreme Court judge, says the government and News Corporation have launched a “sustained attack” on the independence of the judiciary and have “combined forces” to defend Justice Carmody’s appointment.
“(The government’s) strategy, in conjunction with its News Corporation ally, is to distract attention from Carmody’s unsuitability and its inability to justify his appointment by attacking the other judges and other critics,” Mr Fitzgerald said in a statement on Saturday.
“As one of the critics … I knew that the personal attacks would occur and know that they will continue, not only from past personal experience but because I was threatened with precisely what is occurring from within the government earlier in the week.”
Mr Fitzgerald has recently been highly critical of the Newman government’s laws targeting sex offenders and bikies, as well as changes to the state’s anti-corruption body.
On Saturday, News Corporation columnist Des Houghton labelled Mr Fitzgerald “irritant of the week” and The Courier-Mail’s front page last week said Mr Fitzgerald had gone from corruption buster to political commentator.
A spokesman for Premier Campbell Newman said the premier had spoken publicly about why Justice Carmody would be an “outstanding” chief justice.
“This government is totally focused on its strong plan to make Queensland the safest place in Australia to live, work, and raise a family,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Comment has been sought from The Courier-Mail and News Corporation.