Queensland’s deputy premier says the LNP government is far more accountable than the previous Labor government.
The Newman government has achieved a level of accountability that’s light years away from the era that spawned the Fitzgerald inquiry, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says.
Mr Seeney this month met Tony Fitzgerald, who oversaw Queensland’s historic corruption inquiry in the 1980s, over his enduring accountability concerns.
Mr Seeney sought the meeting after Mr Fitzgerald accused the government of flaunting its disdain for democracy and good governance by attacking the judiciary, judicial independence, and forcing controversial reforms on the state’s corruption watchdog.
On Wednesday, the deputy premier said he never expected the meeting to change Mr Fitzgerald’s views. But he said the government had a good record on accountability.
“I’m very, very confident that our government has attained a level of accountability that is much greater than the previous Labor government, and light years removed from the time that Tony Fitzgerald was involved more intimately with politics,” Mr Seeney told reporters in Cairns.
He declined to comment specifically on a recent report in The Courier-Mail, which quoted unnamed senior government sources, as saying Mr Fitzgerald was positioning himself as the opposition and “flying the flag for the Labor Party”.
“I don’t think there’s any value in making any comments about that sort of stuff,” Mr Seeney said.
“I was very happy to meet with Tony Fitzgerald to talk through the issues. Both of us had no expectations that we would agree … but we were mature enough to have a discussion and talk through the issues.”
After the July 7 meeting, Mr Fitzgerald released a statement saying his views remained unchanged.
And last week – after Premier Campbell Newman and Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie met senior judges to try to heal a rift with the judiciary – he called the peace overtures insincere.
Mr Fitzgerald said it was a staged reconciliation, done for political reasons, and it was clear the government didn’t really regret its actions or intend to change its behaviour.