Independent MP Peter Wellington says it was inappropriate for Police Commissioner Ian Stewart to publicly show his support for the state government.
Independent MP and professional thorn in the Attorney-General's side, Peter Wellington, says he no longer “trusts” Queensland Police Service leadership.
In a late Tuesday night tirade against the government's amendments to the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act, the so-called "Facebook party legislation", Mr Wellington said he was no longer prepared to trust either the government or a police leadership team standing “in front of cameras saying 'yes, we support the government 100 per cent'.”
Mr Wellington, who is considered to lean to the left side of politics, has never had a strong relationship with the government, but it deteriorated to outright animosity late last year after the government sacked the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee, of which Mr Wellington was a member.
Mr Wellington has since become a staunch defender of those he believes have been wrongly swept up under the government's VLAD legislation, particularly the Yandina Five.
He used the Facebook party legislation debate time to state his wider attitude to the government and police.
“The police service has just gone through a major sacking,” Mr Wellington said in parliament.
“No, no one was sacked. Retrenched? No one was retrenched. So effectively in terms of the leadership team in the police service, many of those important people are on contracts.
“They have commitments they have to honour. Quite frankly when you are on a contract you become a puppet to your employer. No longer are you independent, you become a puppet to the employer because you know that if you do not do what your employer wants you to do, what happens when the contract expires? You will not get an extension.
"So I think our Police Commissioner really has brought into question the independence of our police service with the way he has so adamantly and so clearly got behind this government, just like the CMC acting chairman. That is on the public record.”
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie called for Mr Wellington's “irrelevance” to be struck from the record, but the member for Nicklin continued, saying he believed that “many Queenslanders no longer have confidence in some of the decisions that some of our police make” because of how the VLAD laws have been carried out.
The new amendments, which will apply to gatherings of 12 or more people, defines people “associated” with the event as being either near it, or reasonably suspected by a police officer of “intending to go to the event, whether or not the person was invited to attend the event; or leaving the event”.
Mr Wellington called for a regular review of the laws to ensure they were not being abused.
“We are talking about the discretion of the police officer," he said.
"I repeat for the benefit of members — is near the event and is reasonably suspected by a police officer of either intending to go there or leaving. That is about discretion.
“The reason I believe we need to bring forward the review of this legislation once it is law in Queensland is to make sure that we are able to monitor the activities of our police in Queensland.
“Not all police do the right thing. There are a lot of jolly good police out there who go over and above the call of duty, but by crikey there are some rotten eggs in the basket, just like there are some rotten eggs in a lot of organisations.
“We need to be able to monitor and make sure all police do the right thing with these extensive and new powers that this government is proposing to give to the police service.”
The legislation was passed just
after 10pm on Tuesday.