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Parliament’s top official warns corruption safeguards ‘fatally weakened’ in Qld

Sean Parnell reports in InQueensland (10.5.21) about warnings that Queensland’s integrity and accountability safeguards have been weakened and undermined over time.

‘The Clerk of the Queensland Parliament, Neil Laurie, has delivered a sobering critique of governments, the media, stakeholder groups, parliament, and anti-corruption efforts.

‘Laurie, who has been clerk for over 18 years, does not often speak out on issues but when he does people listen. In recounting Queensland’s history of corruption, he has warned that “some of the wider safeguards that existed prior to and immediately after the Fitzgerald inquiry and report have now been fatally weakened”.

‘He made the comments to a parliamentary committee reviewing the Crime and Corruption Commission. To Laurie, the lack of other safeguards creates risks, bolsters the need for the CCC, and should compel the government and parliament to make the CCC even stronger.

‘… Laurie suggested the corruption watchdog would benefit from broader expertise – “the bottom line is that the CCC is now dominated by lawyers, a situation that was not contemplated by the Fitzgerald vision” – and would benefit from greater transparency, partly to be kept accountable itself.’

Qld premier rejects integrity probe push

Marty Silk reports in the Canberra Times (28.1.22) on mounting pressure upon Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to act on integrity concerns in the wakes of high profile resignations from Queensland’s accountability agencies.

‘Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has rejected calls for a royal commission into her government’s integrity, saying Queensland already has a “very robust system” of checks and balances.

‘Liberal National Party and the Katter’s Australian Party want a probe after the controversial departures of three watchdogs.

‘Integrity Commissioner Nikola Stepanov and Crime and Corruption (CCC) chairman Alan MacSporran have resigned in the past week, while former state archivist Mike Summerell says he was forced out in March.

‘Dr Stepanov, who finishes her role in June, and Mr Summerell have both complained of “interference” in their roles.

‘… The premier rejected the request, saying Queensland already has an independent agency dedicated to probing corruption.

‘Ms Palaszczuk said all public servants, officials and politicians had a legal obligation to report graft allegations to the CCC.’

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