Date published 16 September 2019

“The creation of the CMC in January 2002 was a major step forward for Queensland law enforcement because it combined the resources and powers of two notable Queensland law enforcement bodies: the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC), which had been targeting public sector corruption since 1990, and the Queensland Crime Commission (QCC), which had been targeting organised crime and paedophilia since 1998.”

---Chairperson Brendan Butler SC

The CMC commenced on 1 January 2002, absorbing the roles of the former CJC and the former QCC. 
In 2001, the State Government signalled its intent to amalgamate the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) and the Queensland Crime Commission (QCC) to form a single crime and misconduct-fighting body, the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC).

The five Commissioners of the CMC at 30 June 2002 were:

  • Brendan Butler SC (Chairperson)
  • The Hon. Bill Pincus QC
  • Margaret Steinberg
  • Sally Goold OAM
  • Ray Rinaudo.

Established under the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001, the CMC was a unique organisation.

It operated on three fronts by combating major crime, raising public sector integrity and protecting witnesses. It also conducted a range of other activities such as research, intelligence and surveillance, unequalled by any other organisation in Australia. For example, in New South Wales, there were five different agencies performing the functions that were performed by the CMC.

As well as integrating the crime and misconduct functions of the former QCC and CJC, the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 refocused and energised work in the area of public sector integrity and made the special needs of Indigenous complainants a focus point.

In the performance of its Crime function, the CMC adopted the operational philosophy that underpinned the QCC’s effectiveness. The merger significantly enhanced the CMC’s ability to respond to the incidence of organised and serious crime and paedophilia by increasing its crime-fighting capacity in the areas outlined below:

  • The creation of the Strategic Intelligence Unit (SIU) permitted the CMC to draw upon extensive strategic intelligence expertise in identifying targets, evaluating crime markets and assessing the vulnerabilities of criminal networks.
  • The Commission’s Technical and Surveillance Unit enhanced its capacity to implement productive target identification and development strategies.
  • The crime research capacity provided it with a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of crime problems in society, particularly drugs and the phenomenon of criminal paedophilia and provided it with a sound basis for focusing investigative activities.

In addition to working with the Queensland Police Service, the CMC continued to work cooperatively with the National Crime Authority (NCA), the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Customs Service, and other agencies at both State and Commonwealth levels.

In 2001-2002, the CMC received 2795 complaints of public sector misconduct containing 5455 allegations. This resulted in 145 charges against 60 people.

The CMC’s major achievements in 2001-2002 included:

  • Establishing a Capacity Development Coordination Unit within the Commission to coordinate its  capacity-building activities.
  • Publishing a guidebook for public sector managers on how to deal with the impact of a Commission investigation.
  • Assisting in the Cape York Justice Study undertaken by Justice Tony Fitzgerald QC.
  • Forming Taskforce Scorpion in July 2001 as a joint initiative of the QPS and the QCC to target suspected child-sex offender networks. Four suspected criminal paedophile networks were investigated by the task force.
  • Engaging in a total of 43 crime operations: 21 in organised crime, 14 in serious crime and 8 in criminal paedophilia.
  • Seizing nearly $1 million in criminal assets.
  • Conducting 75 days of investigative hearings with 103 witnesses called to give evidence.
  • Holding a total of 16 days of misconduct hearings with 22 witnesses called.
  • Commencing a project with Queensland Health to examine the nature of amphetamine use and amphetamine markets in metropolitan, outer metropolitan and rural Queensland.
  • Working with the Prostitution Licensing Authority to conduct a risk assessment.

A kit on ethical decision-making for local governments, Grassroots of Ethical Conduct, was launched in Mount Isa, at the Local Government Managers Australia Conference, and in Brisbane in October 2001. Additionally, advisory publications on Regulatory Risk, Secondary Employment, Conflicts of Interest and Sponsorship were prepared for publication during the next year.

In 2001-2002, crime prevention research projects had begun in the areas of juvenile offenders, drug dependency, amphetamine use (Project Lauda), illicit drug use patterns, child pornography on the Internet, and the link between sexual victimisation and sexual offending. Through Project Faber, the CMC continued to focus upon the identification of suspected facilitators of money laundering and associated criminal activities.

In September 2001, the CMC published Funding Justice, a follow-up report to the CJC’s 1995 report on the sufficiency of funding of the Legal Aid Commission of Queensland and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Key collaborations included working with the Department of Tourism, Racing and Fair Trading on proposals for restructuring the thoroughbred racing industry and related policy and legislative matters, and working with the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance at Griffith University on the ‘Corruption in Corrections’ project.

Operations Atrax and Luff

The CMC continued its focus on proactive investigative strategies to identify and target serial or networked child sex offenders and Internet-based offenders. Two key operations conducted during the year in relation to this were Operations Atrax and Luff. Combined, these operations resulted in more than 5,600 charges laid and 23 arrests.

Operation Twine/Tuna

In a joint operation with the QPS and the NCA, the CMC investigated the amphetamine production and trafficking activities of a network with interstate connections based on the North Coast. The CMC called 26 witnesses to investigative hearings conducted in Gympie and Brisbane over 13 days in late 2001. Telephone intercept information, lawfully obtained by the NCA, and financial investigations contributed to the development of substantial cases against network members.

As a result, 30 people were arrested on over 150 charges related to trafficking and other drug and weapon offences as well as tainted property offences.

To find out more, read the CMC Annual Report 2001-02.

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