The Fitzgerald legacy is multi-faceted. Most directly, the inquiry ended widespread, systemic corruption and misconduct in the Queensland: Government, Police Force and Public Service. It threw a spotlight on the
social and administrative factors that had allowed such conduct to flourish and established a blueprint for similar, future inquiries.
But the most enduring Fitzgerald legacy was a focus on systemic and lasting reform. The Inquiry recommended the creation of the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission and the Criminal Justice Commission (now the Crime and Corruption Commission) to overhaul the State’s electoral boundaries and voting systems, freedom of information, peaceful assembly laws, judicial review, administrative appeals, independence of the Auditor-General and Ombudsman, public sector integrity and political donation laws, and the complete renewal of the Queensland Police Service.
The legacy endures, but today, no less than in 1987, there is a need for continuing critical oversight of government, police and accountability in Queensland. In addition to the justice and governance reforms, the Fitzgerald Report and Inquiry served as a catalyst and inspiration to many researchers and practitioners working in these fields.
In 2009, in order to mark 20 years since the release of the Fitzgerald Report, Griffith University launched a new initiative to recognise this milestone: The Griffith University – Tony Fitzgerald Scholarship Program and Lecture Series. The Scholarship and Lecture contributes to the capacity of future practitioners and researchers to maintain the Fitzgerald vision—to keep Parliament in its rightful place at the centre of the democratic system but with the law, community and media entrusted with an active role to keep the system honest and open.
The sixth biennial Fitzgerald Lecture marked the 30th anniversary of the Fitzgerald Report, and this year’s speaker and integrity advocate The Honourable Stephen Charles highlighted the need for a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption.
It was great to see strong support from senior university representatives including Griffith’s Chancellor Henry Smerdon and Vice Chancellor Carolyn Evans, among others. Other notable attendees included Queensland’s Chief Justice Catherine Holmes and other senior judges, Crime and Corruption Commission Queensland Chair Alan MacSporran and former Queensland Police Service Commissioner Bob Atkinson.