Matters uncovered by ICAC in NSW may not be investigated in Queensland under proposed changes to its corruption watchdog, the opposition says.
On the day NSW’s corruption watchdog claimed the scalp of its premier, changes are afoot to “water down” Queensland’s equivalent.
The Newman government wants to curtail anonymous tip-offs and remove bipartisan support in electing the heads of the state’s Crime and Misconduct Commission.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the government is deliberately trying to muzzle the watchdog.
“The LNP want to water it down, and I think what we’ve seen in New South Wales are matters that may not be investigated here in Queensland,” she said.
“There is nothing more fundamental than making sure we have a fearless corruption watchdog in Queensland, that can examine anything at anytime, that has the full (bipartisan) support.”
The commission was set up after the landmark Fitzgerald inquiry into police corruption, and supporters argue its independence is paramount in a state that has no upper house.
A public hearing into a proposed overhaul was held at state parliament on Wednesday, with its current and former heads concerned about the changes.
Political analyst from Griffith University Paul Williams says it’s bad timing.
“It does send the wrong message,” Dr Williams told AAP.
“I think there is cause of some concern, but not panic when governments tinker with corruption watchdogs.
“While no one is saying yet that it is going to be the lapdog of the government, certainly these sorts of changes may make Queenslanders wonder what’s happening.”