THE man who presided over Queensland's historic
corruption inquiry has launched a scathing attack on the Newman
government's bikie and sex offender laws.
Tony Fitzgerald QC has warned Queenslanders not to be duped by
laws he views as dangerous.
This month, the government gave itself the power to bypass the
courts and keep some sex offenders in jail indefinitely.
Parliament also passed new laws that mean judges must now impose
two sentences on criminal bikie gang members who commit a serious
crime - one for the crime itself and another for being part of a
declared criminal gang.
Mr Fitzgerald says Queenslanders should understand the gravity of
the laws, which he warns are likely to fail.
New laws will fail, Fitzgerald says
"History teaches us that claims that repressive laws will reduce
serious crime are usually hollow and that laws which erode
individual freedom and expand a state's power over its citizens are
fraught with peril," he writes in an opinion piece in The
He says parliament could chose to enact any law.
But parliamentarians "don't have a 'mandate' to give effect to
prejudices and ill-informed opinions, ignore ethics and conventions
or attack fundamental values such as personal freedom or essential
institutions such as the judiciary".
Mr Fitzgerald says both sets of laws are populist and suggests
they exploit the fears of less-educated Queenslanders.
He cites Wikipedia's definition for a demagogue, saying it
provides an uncomfortable insight into modern politics.
"A demagogue ... is a political leader in a democracy who appeals
to the emotions, fears, prejudices, and ignorance of the
less-educated citizens in order to gain power and promote political
Mr Fitzgerald is also scathing about how the government has
handled concern about its laws.
Last week, Premier Campbell Newman called critics of the sex
offender laws "apologists" for pedophiles.
"It is extremely arrogant and socially destructive for
politicians to slander citizens who disagree with their 'political
solution' or to denigrate the judicial branch of government and its
generally conservative judges, who must make sometimes unpopular
decisions in accordance with the law and available evidence and
their oath of office," Mr Fitzgerald writes.
"And it is incomprehensible that any rational Queenslander who is
even remotely aware of the state's recent history could for a moment
consider reintroducing political interference into the
administration of criminal justice, even to the point of making
decisions about incarceration."
Mr Fitzgerald said he wrote the piece as a private citizen who
was not aligned with any political party.
"I am a private citizen who has noticed that more problems are
solved by thoughtful discussion than political grandstanding and
personal abuse," he said.
The premier's office declined to directly address Mr Fitzgerald's
A spokesman for Mr Newman said the government was simply
delivering on its plan to make Queensland safe.
- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/queensland-laws-on-bikie-gangs-and-sex-offenders-will-fail-tony-fitzgerald/story-e6frgczx-1226748089355#sthash.sNKVnMFQ.dpuf