An overhaul of Queensland’s crime and corruption watchdog will include a name change and removing bipartisan support for appointments.
The Newman government wants to give itself unfettered power to select the heads of Queensland’s corruption watchdog.
Under sweeping changes introduced by Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie on Wednesday afternoon, bipartisan support will no longer be needed to appoint the chair, chief executive officer and other commissioners.
The opposition says the government wants to weaken the Crime and Misconduct Commission, which will erode public confidence.
It will be renamed Crime and Corruption Commission and will focus on targeting the “Mr Bigs”.
Minor allegations of misconduct will instead be dealt with by government departments in a bid to stop the watchdog from being used as a political football.
And public officials will no longer be bound to report suspicion of misconduct, with the threshold raised to reasonable suspicion.
Mr Bleijie says it will be a new era for the organisation, originally set up after the landmark Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption.
“The CMC is hamstrung by its own governance structure and the high number of malicious, baseless or minor complaints,” he said.
Under the reforms, the watchdog’s leadership will be split – a chairman and a chief executive officer.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says LNP figures have told her that acting chairman Ken Levy will move into the CEO’s role.
Labor has previously questioned Dr Levy’s independence and called on him to resign.
“This is completely and utterly unacceptable,” she said.
“If the government goes down this track we will be opposing his bill lock stock and barrel.
“Both of these positions must have the bipartisan support of the government and the opposition. We will accept nothing less.”
Premier Campbell Newman wouldn’t say if Dr Levy would be put forward for the CEO’s role.
“Already the opposition are playing Nostradamus and I’m afraid they already got it very, very wrong on some matters,” he said.
A select parliamentary committee is investigating whether Dr Levy misled the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee over contact he had with the government before he wrote an opinion piece supporting the LNP’s anti-bikie laws.
Mr Bleijie’s reforms come after two reports into the organisation in 2013.
While one focused on the shredding and unlawful release of hundreds of pages of documents from the Fitzgerald inquiry, the majority of recommendations being pursued came from former high court judge Ian Callinan’s review.
The bill has been referred to a committee, which is due to report on April 30.
The opposition’s Jackie Trad was critical of the short time frame.
“It fundamentally reflects that this is a government that is completely and utterly drunk on its power and is incapable in acting in any way than sheer arrogance,” she said.