Tony Fitzgerald Warns Of Abuse Of Power In Queensland

Tony Fitzgerald, the man who led the inquiry into corruption in Queensland’s Bjelke-Petersen government in the 1980s, has issued a statement warning against the abuse of power and describing Queensland today as “effectively a single-party State”.

FitzgeraldFitzgerald, a former judge of the Federal Court of Australia, said the first term of Campbell Newman’s government has seen attacks on the judiciary and judicial independence, emasculation of the anti-corruption commission, and interference with the electoral system.

The Liberal National Party government has “confirmed the critical importance of adequate checks and balances”, Fitzgerald says.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry of the 1980s contributed to the resignation of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the jailing of Police Commissioner Terry Lewis, and the resignation and jailing of several Cabinet ministers.

Text of statement issued by Tony Fitzgerald.

Statement from Tony Fitzgerald

Queensland is extremely vulnerable to the misuse and abuse of power. There are almost no constitututional limits on the power of the State’s single house of parliament. Unless there is an effective parliamentary opposition to advocate alternative policies, criticise government errors, denounce excesses of power and reflect, inform and influence public opinion, the checks and balances needed for democracy are entirely missing. [Read more…]


Barry O’Farrell Resigns After Handwritten Thank-You Note For Wine Is Tendered At ICAC

The Liberal Premier of New South Wales, Barry O’Farrell has resigned, after a handwritten thank-you note for a 1959 bottle of Grange was tendered at ICAC.

The thank-you note was handed to ICAC this morning by Nick Di Girolamo, the chief executive of Australian Water Holdings. Yesterday, O’Farrell denied receiving the gift or phoning Di Girolamo to thank him.

O'Farrell

Thank-you note

O’Farrell described his behaviour as a “massive failure of memory”. [Read more…]


NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell Denies Receiving $2979 Bottle Of Grange; Bruising Encounter With Media After ICAC Appearance

The New South Wales Liberal Premier, Barry O’Farrell, has denied receiving a $2979 bottle of Grange from Australian Water Holdings in what has been described as an attempt to butter him up over a public-private partnership proposal.

O'Farrell

Appearing at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), O’Farrell said he could not recall a phone call on April 20, 2011 to the then chief executive of Australian Water Holdings (AWH), Nick Di Girolamo. He denied receiving the wine or calling to thank Di Girolamo. [Read more…]


Assistant Treasurer Senator Arthur Sinodinos Stands Aside Over ICAC Investigations

The Assistant Treasurer, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, has stood aside from the Abbott ministry pending investigations by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Sinodinos

Sinodinos announced his decision just before Question Time in the Senate. [Read more…]


Ari On The Road: Corruption And Questionable Electoral Practices

by Ari Sharp

Today Ari reports from the Online Cafe in Eilat, Israel, the ‘Surfers Paradise of the Middle East’.

SharpIt is strange that in a country where politics in very often a matter of life and death that the smaller, more domestic issues often dominate the electoral discourse.

In the last week of campaigning, the story of terror, occupation, violence and peace has run a distant third to two other stories.

The first one revolves around serious allegations of corruption and bribery in the Likud (conservative, led by PM Ariel Sharon) primary elections held in November. Already the scandal has claimed one scalp, with now-former minister Nomi Blumenthal being sacked during the week after she exercised her right to silence in police investigations in the matter. [Read more…]