Palaszczuk: State’s crime and misconduct watchdog is fine
ALLOWING a parliamentary committee to veto people appointed to run Queensland's crime and misconduct watchdog is a pointless exercise, the Queensland Opposition says.
The Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee, which gave the green light on Wednesday to a host of LNP-proposed changes, has recommended removing bipartisan support for appointments to the new Crime and Corruption Commission and moving to the NSW system.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption, which has netted some big scalps in recent months including now former NSW premier Barry O'Farrell, and the Australian Crime Commission have a similar veto system to the one the legal affairs committee has suggested.
Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said that bipartisan support meant the CMC chair maintained public confidence and independence.
She said the LNP controlled the numbers on the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee and therefore controlled the chair appointment.
"Frankly I don't care what NSW does, it has worked well in Queensland, why would we change it?" she said.
The bipartisan support removal evoked the most backlash for the hearing last month with Tony Fitzgerald, who in 1987 headed up the biggest investigation of corruption in Queensland, and former CMC chair Ross Martin among those speaking out against the move.
They and other legal experts suggested the move would cast doubt on CMC activities and could result in the watchdog becoming little more than a government puppet.
Premier Campbell Newman defended the proposed changes, saying his government could be trusted to get things right.
Mr Newman told 4BC radio there were probably more changes and tweaks they might make, insisting it would aid the state's corruption watchdog efficiency.
"If you don't like the government then vote them out," Mr Newman told critics of the government's plans.
Mr Newman said his government would consider the veto system.
"I think if it's good enough for ICAC and the Australian Crime Commission surely, those bodies have worked fine, they've worked well," he said.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie in March flagged other changes such as employing a CEO, requiring statutory declarations from anyone making a complaint as well as changing the focus from examining the misconduct of public servants to that of organised crime.
He said on Thursday he believed the recommendation for the PCMC to have veto powers for the new CCC appointment had merit and he would consider the recommendation.
Mr Bleijie said he believed the current requirement for bipartisan support, which the LNP plans to ditch, opened the issue up to politicisation.