A FORMER judge who presided over Queensland’s historic corruption inquiry during the 1970s has launched a scathing attack on the State Government’s new bikie and sex offender laws.
In an opinion piece published in the Brisbane media today Tony Fitzgerald warned Queenslanders not to be duped by laws he views as dangerous.
“Although free societies provide opportunities which criminals can exploit, in totalitarian states the worst criminals are commonly those in power,” he said.
“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.
“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 cited 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 motives,” he said.
“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.”
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government should “sit up and take notice” of comments made by a person who is widely viewed in the highest of regards.
“Tony Fitzgerald has released an opinion piece which I think many Queenslanders would agree about,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“He has talked about the problems of political interference and said very clearly he does not want Queensland to return back to the dark days of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen Government.
“Mr Fitzgerald has rightly defended members of the judiciary from the personal attacks launched against them by the Premier himself and his Attorney-General.
“Once again Mr Fitzgerald has identified a breach of the separation of powers by the Newman Government, just as he did at the time of his inquiry,” she said.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said earlier Mr Fitzgerald was entitled to his opinion