Qld integrity commissioner resigns
The Premier says she didn’t ask the head of Queensland’s corruption watchdog to step down, a day after his shock resignation following a damning parliamentary committee inquiry and a string of failed court cases.
Crime and Corruption Commission chairman Alan MacSporran QC will officially finish in the role on Friday, with the potential for an overhaul of the CCC hanging over his successor.
The calls for Mr MacSporran to resign had intensified in recent days.
At a press conference on Wednesday, where she delivered the day’s COVID-19 case tally, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was asked: “Did you ask Alan MacSporran to stand aside?”
Her answer: “No.”
This was followed by: “Do you think you dragged out the situation by not commenting publicly about the [Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee report]?”
Her answer: “No, because it’s a very serious report, and I said very clearly that our Cabinet will be considering that before Parliament returns.”
Cabinet will next week discuss recommendations of the parliamentary committee’s review of the CCC’s actions in the failed prosecution of seven Logan councillors.
The recommendations include a review of the CCC’s ability to appoint the chair, commissioners or other senior officers for fixed terms, and that the fixed-term length should be reduced from 10 to seven years.
The review also suggested the PCCC be afforded greater input into the hiring of the CCC’s chairs and commissioners. The LNP Opposition has long demanded the appointments have bipartisan support.
Speaking further about Mr MacSporran’s resignation, Ms Palaszczuk said the public could have confidence in the state’s corruption watchdog.
She acknowledged the PCCC report was critical of the CCC and said her government was giving its contents and recommendations “careful consideration”.
“The government’s response is due in March, so we’re well within our time frames. But this is, you know, a serious matter,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The Attorney-General will begin the recruitment process for a replacement.
“There is a recommendation as part of the PCCC to have a structural review into the CCC, and cabinet will be giving that careful consideration.
“Cabinet will be carefully considering the [PCCC] report before Parliament goes back, and I’ve given that guarantee to the people of Queensland.”
Mr MacSporran announced his resignation on Tuesday afternoon in a statement on the CCC website. He acknowledged he had lost the support of the parliamentary committee that oversees the CCC.
“Despite a career spanning in excess of 40 years, where my honesty and integrity have never been questioned, it is clear to me that the relationship between myself and the PCCC has broken down irretrievably. This saddens me deeply,” he said.
State Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the Premier didn’t understand how damaging the criticism had been for the CCC and Queensland’s reputation.
“We have now had two resignations of the key crime-fighting and oversight bodies in this state. Something is drastically wrong with integrity and accountability in Queensland,” he said.
“For two months, we have been consistently saying the position of the CCC chair is untenable, and that is not a reflection on the individual, that’s just having absorbed the magnitude of the report, which shows the culture and structure of the place needs a complete overhaul.”
Last Thursday, charges against former Moreton Bay mayor Allan Sutherland, laid by the CCC in December 2019, were dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions in Brisbane Magistrates Court.
An ongoing PCCC inquiry into the unsuccessful prosecution of seven Logan councillors had previously criticised the actions of Mr MacSporran and the CCC.
By Toby Crockford
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