Independent Qld MP Liz Cunningham says the Newman government’s changes to the state’s corruption watchdog were about winning political fights.
The Newman government’s changes to Queensland’s corruption watchdog were about winning a political fight, not improving accountability, independent MP Liz Cunningham says.
Ms Cunningham says the Newman government is paying the price for doggedly pursing a battle that began during the last election campaign.
She says she’s not sure the government even considered accountability when it made changes to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC), now known as the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).
“They had battles with the CMC from the last election that they were determined to address, whether they addressed it rightly or wrongly,” the member for Gladstone told ABC radio.
“They proceeded to make some fairly sweeping changes to the CMC, now the CCC.
“They had some issues to settle, they had some fights to settle and win, and that’s what they’ve gone ahead and done.”
Premier Campbell Newman repeatedly accused the Bligh Labor government during the 2012 election campaign that delivered him government of trying to use the watchdog as a political weapon.
Since winning power, the government has overhauled the organisation and it now investigates only major corruption, with minor complaints left to ethics units in departments. Anonymous complaints have also been banned.
But in the wake of the LNP’s crushing defeat at the Stafford by-election, Mr Newman this week overturned one of the most controversial reforms.
He’s restored bipartisan approval for the chairmanship of the watchdog, saying it’s clear the community wasn’t happy with the decision to abandon that.
Earlier, Mr Newman said his government was doing its best to listen to the community, and that’s why it had reversed some major policies this week.
Mr Newman said the CCC’s acting chairman, Ken Levy, could reapply for his position, if he wanted to.
“It’s up to Dr Levy whether he applies nor not,” he said, adding a panel would be set up to evaluate candidates.
Mr Newman repeated his pledge to run again in Ashgrove, despite several political commentators saying he would lose his seat but the LNP would win, leaving it scrambling for a new leader.
Ms Cunningham was chairwoman of the parliamentary committee that oversaw the corruption watchdog when it was sacked for alleged bias against Dr Levy.