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You are here: Home News and media CMC media releases Media releases — 17 July 2009 – 30 June 2010 CMC Chairperson's public statement on the CMC's Review of the Queensland Police Service's Palm Island Review — 17.06.2010
You are here: Home News and media CMC media releases Media releases — 17 July 2009 – 30 June 2010 CMC Chairperson's public statement on the CMC's Review of the Queensland Police Service's Palm Island Review — 17.06.2010
You are here: Home News and media CMC media releases Media releases — 17 July 2009 – 30 June 2010 CMC Chairperson's public statement on the CMC's Review of the Queensland Police Service's Palm Island Review — 17.06.2010

CMC Chairperson's public statement on the CMC's Review of the Queensland Police Service's Palm Island Review — 17.06.2010

State Parliament
Palm Island review
Mr Martin Moynihan
17 June 2010

Good morning everyone.

All Queenslanders are entitled to have confidence in our Police Service whether they are in Brisbane or Palm Island.

Public trust is based on the integrity of the Queensland Police Service and depends on its members acting impartially and competently.

Without integrity the police service is lost.

We are entitled to expect that police officers will be supervised and brought to account if they don’t act in accordance with the service’s high standards when dealing with all Queenslanders.

Neither the original police investigation into the death in custody of Mulrunji on Palm Island nor the QPS internal review team acted professionally.

This lack of professionalism and sub-standard actions of these officers impacted badly on Palm Island’s tragic history and its people.

If the officers investigating Mulrunji’s death had complied with QPS policies and procedures history could have been different.

We would not be where we are now if the QPS review of the original investigation had adhered to high ethical standards. Their failings compounded the failings of the original investigation.

The CMC has found that the initial police investigation and the internal police review were seriously flawed.

They were characterised by double-standards and an unwillingness to publicly acknowledge failings on the part of the police.

Both reports indicate that there is a belief within the QPS that the best way to protect its reputation is to hide its shortcomings.

The flawed Palm Island Review was a product of this environment.

The Police Commissioner is accountable. He supported the police review process, including the spirit and intent of its findings.

The Police Commissioner has responsibility by law for the proper administration and function of the police service.

The Police Commissioner must now rid the service of the closed, self-protecting culture which is manifesting in this case.

It erodes public confidence, debilitates the morale of good officers and unfairly tarnishes them.

The Commissioner must take tough and decisive action.

The only way the police service can promote public confidence, protect its reputation and maintain high ethical standards is to expose and address any shortcomings – not ignore them.

There can be no compromise here.

The issues we have exposed are not limited to this case. We have seen similar problems arise in other CMC investigations into police.

I am not suggesting that we are returning to the Fitzgerald Inquiry days of systemic corruption.

The Queensland Police Service has come a long way since those dark days. Significant police reforms have led to a different and better organisation.

But unless decisive leadership action by the Commissioner and all senior members is taken now, the reputation of the QPS will be and will remain severely damaged.

The Police Commissioner must draw a line in the sand and hold his officers to higher standards.

Understandably, many people have been adversely affected over the past five years since the Palm Island death in custody, particularly the Doomadgee family and the Palm Island people. This should never happen again.

Thank you for your patience, assistance and trust.

I understand it has been a difficult and drawn out process for the family and the Palm Island community.

Our report should have been released before now. My predecessor has acknowledged and apologised for this. I endorse his remarks. However, some causes of the delay were out of the CMC’s control.

The report’s delay does not imply that the CMC didn’t understand the importance of the issue. Quite the contrary — we believe this report to be significant and have taken time to do justice to the complexity of the evidence.

There is insufficient evidence to support the laying of any criminal charges. However, the conduct is serious enough to warrant disciplinary action.

The CMC has recommended that the Police Commissioner consider disciplinary action for misconduct against four of the officers involved in the original police investigation.

We have also recommended that QPS consider disciplinary action against the police review team.

The Commissioner must be held accountable and take responsibility for ridding the Service of the self-protecting culture that has been allowed to flourish.

The Police Commissioner has been given 14 days to report back to the CMC about the action he intends to take against the six officers.

If we are not satisfied with the intended course of action, then the CMC will take over the responsibility and apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to commence disciplinary proceedings.

With me today is CMC Director of Integrity Services, Helen Couper, who worked on this report and has a very detailed knowledge of this document. I am happy to now answer your questions.

Last updated: 16 January 2012
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