Renowned corruption fighter says Liberal National party has embarked on ‘destructive’ first term, undermining the judiciary and interfering in the electoral system.
Tony Fitzgerald, seen here in 2010, says the first term of Queensland’s LNP government has proved the need for ‘adequate checks and balances’. Photograph: Steve Gray/AAP
Queensland’s ruling Liberal National Party is abusing its power through its huge, unchecked majority, the state’s best known corruption fighter says.
Tony Fitzgerald, who headed the Fitzgerald inquiry into police corruption in the 1980s, has launched a scathing attack on the LNP government after several controversies.
Fitzgerald said he was reluctant to comment on the ongoing “Queensland saga” but released a short statement saying he did not expect voters to tolerate “destructive populism of an irresponsible government for long” and wanted to regain his anonymity and privacy in retirement.
“The LNP’s first term in office has confirmed the critical importance of adequate checks and balances,” he said in the statement.
“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, counterproductive and sometimes invalid” criminal laws.
Fitzgerald has already criticised the state’s controversial anti-bikie legislation.
He 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.
“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.”
Fitzgerald also blamed News Corp publications such as the Courier-Mail for helping the LNP outside parliament.
“News Corporation publications, which dominate the local print media, consistently publish biased reports which favour the government,” he said.