Date published 21 August 2019
Last modified 31 May 2024
Last reviewed 31 May 2024

In May 1987 Acting Queensland Premier Bill Gunn ordered a commission of inquiry after the media reported possible police corruption involving illegal gambling and prostitution.  Tony Fitzgerald QC was appointed to lead the "Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct", known as the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

During the Inquiry, the terms of reference were extended to look into "any other matter or thing appertaining to the aforesaid matters", which enabled Fitzgerald to further investigate evidence of political corruption.

Initially expected to last about six weeks, the inquiry spent almost two years conducting a comprehensive investigation of long-term systemic political corruption and abuse of power in Queensland. Public sittings were held on 238 sitting days, hearing testimony from 339 witnesses, and focusing public attention in Queensland and throughout Australia on integrity and accountability in public office, including policing.

The Inquiry changed the policing and political landscape in Queensland and across Australia. Significant prosecutions followed the inquiry leading to four ministers being jailed and numerous convictions of other police. Former Police Commissioner Sir Terence Lewis was convicted of corruption, jailed, and stripped of his knighthood, and former Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was charged with perjury for evidence given to the Inquiry, although his trial was aborted due to a hung jury.

The 630-page Fitzgerald report was tabled in Parliament in July 1989. It made over 100 recommendations covering the establishment of the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission and the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) and reform of the Queensland Police Force.

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