Queensland premier Campbell Newman is still under attack despite saying sorry and reversing some more controversial decisions of his government.
The Newman government has been accused of waging a political war against Queensland’s corruption watchdog to settle old scores from the last state election.
Premier Campbell Newman was referred to the organisation three times in the lead-up to the 2012 poll, only to be cleared just before polling day.
The new Liberal National Party government later overhauled the Crime and Misconduct Commission, before this week restoring the requirement for the bipartisan appointment of the organisation’s chair.
It was one of a number of concessions made after the party’s voter support plummeted in two recent by-elections.
Independent Liz Cunningham, the former chair of the parliamentary committee which oversees the watchdog, says the Newman government is paying the price for doggedly pursuing the organisation.
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 on Wednesday.
“They had some issues to settle, they had some fights to settle and win, and that’s what they’ve gone ahead and done.”
Mr Newman repeatedly accused the former Bligh Labor government of trying to use the watchdog as a political weapon.
Since winning power, the government has overhauled the watchdog, and it now only investigates major corruption, with minor complaints left to ethics units in government departments.
Anonymous complaints have also been banned.
After Monday’s concession, Labor now effectively had the power to veto any appointment to the chair, and wants acting head Ken Levy to be removed immediately.
Mr Newman said Dr 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 said his government was doing its best to listen to the community, and that’s why it had reversed some major policies.
But a ReachTEL poll of 1177 people, released by the Queensland Council of Unions on Wednesday, showed voters unmoved by the government’s backflips.
Mr Newman would not comment on whether he’d come on too strong as a new and inexperienced premier.
He also refused to be drawn on whether he’s changed strategy to avoid any controversial topics.
“What we did two days ago was about demonstrating to people that when we have made the wrong decision, we’re prepared to listen, he said.
“This government is about being a competent government and delivering enhanced frontline services.
“At the end of the day that’s what we are asking people to consider, revitalised health, revitalised education, balanced budget and a plan to take the state forward for the next 30 years.”
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mr Newman’s leadership style wasn’t working, dismissing his government’s new approach.
“They might be boring for a week or two but it will be back to same old, same old,” she said.