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The Fitzgerald Inquiry

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

The Fitzgerald Inquiry was a royal commission into police corruption in Queensland, Australia, that was conducted from 1987 to 1989. The inquiry was led by Tony Fitzgerald QC, and it exposed widespread corruption within the Queensland Police Service, as well as in other government departments and agencies.

A zoomed in photo of Tony Fitzgerald QC handing the bound copy of the Fitzgerald report ("Report of a Comission of Inquiry Pursuant to Orders in Council"), on July 7, 1989, to the Queensland Premier, Mike Ahern.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry was conducted against the backdrop of a number of political and social changes in Queensland in the 1980s, including public outcry regarding corruption and a period of economic growth.

The inquiry was sparked by a series of events, including the 1987 Whiskey Au Go Go fire, in which 15 people died, and the 1988 Fitzgerald Report, which found that the Queensland Police Service was riddled with corruption.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry resulted in the "Report of a Commission of Inquiry Pursuant to Orders in Council," which detailed how the Queensland Police Service had been involved in a wide range of corrupt activities, including:

  • Accepting bribes from criminals

  • Obstructing justice

  • Framing innocent people

  • Using excessive force

  • Engaging in sexual misconduct

The inquiry also found that the Queensland Police Service had been infiltrated by organised crime, and that it had failed to adequately investigate allegations of corruption. The findings of the Fitzgerald Inquiry led to a number of reforms in Queensland law and politics, including:

  • The establishment of the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC)

  • The introduction of a new Police Service Act

  • The introduction of a new Code of Conduct for police officers

  • The establishment of a new Police Complaints Authority

The Fitzgerald Inquiry had a significant impact on Queensland law and politics. It led to the resignation of a number of high-ranking police officers and government officials, and it helped to clean up corruption in the Queensland Police Service. The inquiry also helped to restore public confidence in the Queensland government.

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