Corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald says his meeting with Queensland’s deputy premier has not allayed his concerns, including over a new chief justice.
Corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald says a meeting with Queensland’s deputy premier has done nothing to allay his concerns about the Liberal National Party government.
Mr Fitzgerald, who led the state’s historic corruption inquiry in the 1980s, says he met on Monday with Jeff Seeney.
“I’m pleased that I was able to discuss matters directly with the deputy premier yesterday. However, my views remain completely unchanged,” he said in a brief statement on Tuesday.
“If political egos do not prevent it from doing so, the government has time to correct many of its worst mistakes.”
He continued to take aim at the government’s decision to appoint Tim Carmody as the state’s new chief justice.
Mr Carmody is being sworn in on Tuesday, in a private ceremony, as opposition to his promotion continues among senior members of the legal fraternity.
“Unfortunately, if its totally unsuitable choice is sworn in as Chief Justice, the damage to the courts and the independence of the judiciary will be irreversible.”
Mr Seeney sought the meeting after Mr Fitzgerald launched yet another public attack on the LNP government.
The deputy premier said he wanted a chance to explain that he shared Mr Fitzgerald’s concerns “that Queensland should not go back to the 1970s” and was committed to open and accountable government and a robust anti-corruption landscape.
The meeting was sought after Mr Fitzgerald last month said he didn’t expect voters to tolerate “destructive populism of an irresponsible government for long”.
It was the latest in a long line of public attacks by the corruption fighter.
“The LNP’s first term in office has confirmed the critical importance of adequate checks and balances,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“The government has already flaunted its disdain for democracy and good governance by attacks on the judiciary and judicial independence, emasculation of the state’s anti-corruption commission and interference with the electoral system.”
He also accused the government of pursuing self-interest, favouring its supporters and passing “irrational, counter-productive and sometimes invalid” criminal laws.
Mr Fitzgerald said Queensland was extremely vulnerable to the misuse and abuse of power, given a lack of constitutional limits on the state’s single house of parliament.
Without an effective parliamentary opposition, the checks and balances needed for democracy were missing, Mr Fitzgerald said.
“Queensland’s future is a matter for its voters,” he said.
“At the next state election, they will simply need to decide which party will do the least long-term damage.”
AAP has sought comment from Mr Seeney about Mr Fitzgerald’s latest statement.
Mr Seeney has previously said the Newman government has done much to improve transparency and accountability.
He cited the reforms to the corruption watchdog, alongside the publication of ministerial diaries, and an enduring commitment to the parliamentary committee system that acts as kind of upper house in Queensland.
Mr Seeney said the meeting with Mr Fitzgerald was friendly and frank, and ranged over a number of topics.
But as the conversation was private, he would not be giving further details.
“It’s obvious we share a commitment to good government in Queensland,” he said in a statement.
“Suffice to say, I came away with much better understanding of Mr Fitzgerald’s views and shared some of my own, which demonstrate our government’s commitment to openness and accountability.”