Thirty years ago Tony Fitzgerald shone a spotlight on a corrupt culture that had somehow, astonishingly, flourished in plain sight of those at the highest levels of the police service and government.
It was a toxic culture that blurred the lines between politicians and police.
A rotten culture whose currency was brown paper bags filled with cash.
A criminal culture that left honest cops on the outer.
The Fitzgerald Inquiry’s forensic dismemberment of the criminal network of influence that had infected Queensland heralded a new beginning.
The Fitzgerald Inquiry was a watershed in the state’s history that ushered in a new era of accountability and oversight that has resulted in the Queensland Police Service now being held in high regard by the Queensland community.
The existence today of the Crime and Corruption Commission is a direct legacy of the Fitzgerald reforms.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said the Fitzgerald Inquiry taught us important lessons about transparency and ethical behaviour, ones that we must never forget.
“Those dark days pre-Fitzgerald are a cautionary tale of how easily human foibles can lead to corrupt behaviour.
“That’s why the existence of bodies like the Crime and Corruption Commission and the oversight it brings is so important to us all as a community,” the Minister said.
To this day the government continues to take steps to enhance transparency and accountability.
The rollout of body worn cameras to police has established a new level of accountability when it comes to interactions between police and the public.
The government, in agreement with the police union, and with oversight by the Crime and Corruption Commission, has set up the framework for a new police discipline system.
The number of complaints against police in the last financial year was the lowest for many, many years.
But most importantly, any complaint against a police officer is investigated by the appropriate body and with oversight by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
Further, in November 2018, the Queensland Police Service established Juniper, a program that gives current and former QPS employees the confidence and confidentiality to report issues of workplace bullying, unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour.
Minister Ryan said all of these reforms were a continuation of the legacy of Tony Fitzgerald.
“Queensland owes corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald an enormous debt.
“He changed our state forever.
“And he changed our state for the better.
“The very least we can do to repay Tony Fitzgerald is remain ever vigilant and remember the lessons of the past,” the Police Minister said.
Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services
The Honourable Mark Ryan