Queensland’s attorney-general has expressed respect for corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald while wishing new Chief Justice Tim Carmody well.
Queensland’s attorney-general insists he respects corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald, who claims members of the Newman government have threatened to attack him in the media.
Mr Fitzgerald, a retired Supreme Court judge who chaired a landmark 1980s corruption inquiry, released a statement on Saturday alleging threats were made last week “from within the government” to campaign against him if he kept criticising its controversial chief justice appointment.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says the government just needs to get on with its job.
“The government’s always had a lot of respect for Mr Fitzgerald,” he told reporters in Brisbane on Sunday.
Mr Fitzgerald’s latest statement came a day after all 25 existing Supreme Court justices stayed away from Chief Justice Tim Carmody’s public welcoming ceremony.
New Supreme Court Justice Peter Flanagan, who was also being welcomed, was the only judge who attended the ceremony on Friday.
Judge Carmody was on the verge of tears as he addressed his family during the event in Brisbane’s largest ceremonial court.
“I am sorry that my appointment has caused you distress,” he said.
Mr Bleijie declined on Sunday to comment on the absence of the Supreme Court judges.
“There’s been a lot of commentary about the welcoming ceremony,” he said.
“I wish Mr Carmody all the best for the future.
“He’ll get on with his job.”
Mr Fitzgerald also criticised News Corp Australia’s The Courier-Mail for conspiring with the government to “distract attention from Carmody’s unsuitability and its inability to justify his appointment by attacking the other judges and other critics”.
Bar Association of Queensland president Shane Doyle QC said Saturday’s edition of the paper “disparages the whole of the judiciary” with its headline “Our unjust judges”.
Conservative columnist Des Houghton’s opinion piece also featured a graphic describing Mr Fitzgerald as “irritant of the week”.
A News Corp Australia spokesman declined to comment on either Mr Fitzgerald or the Bar Association’s assertion.
Critics say Justice Carmody is inexperienced, having never previously served on the Supreme Court, and is too close to the Liberal National government.