30 years since the Fitzgerald Inquiry

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.

Pat McCallum, OCM Principal in Brisbane reflects on his time during the Fitzgerald Inquiry. 

I recently attended an anniversary for 30 years since the presentation of Queensland’s Fitzgerald Inquiry report into political and police corruption in Queensland.

The presentation of the report in 1989 led to the reform of Queensland’s integrity framework and the creation of the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) which is now the Crime and Corruption Commission.

I commenced as one of four financial analysts at the Fitzgerald Inquiry in October 1987 and departed the Crime and Misconduct Commission in 1999 as Assistant Director and Chief Financial Analyst of the Official Misconduct Division.

Through that period I worked in the Office of the Special Prosecutor which saw four Cabinet Ministers and a number of senior police including the Commissioner convicted of a range of corruption offences.

When I started I was 30 something and didn’t think twice about embracing the uniqueness of the work we were doing. I had a deliberate aim of bringing my skills as a professional accountant to the benefit of the criminal and organised crime investigations we were undertaking.

I had the opportunity to take investigative financial analysis from hand written 24 column cash analysis paper to computer database supported analyses.

We developed our own application on the fly which was eventually used in other corruption commissions. I was spoiled with an NEC Powermate APC IV personal computer with 1KB or RAM and 40MB hard drive.

With the CJC we were part of fully integrated multi disciplinary investigation teams. Despite claims to the contrary the CJC was the only law enforcement agency at the time to implement this model fully. This involved interviewing witnesses, collaborating on intelligence analyses and targeting, participating in the execution of search warrants and in search and seizure of evidence and of course giving testimony’s in court.

I regard this as a unique experience for an average accountant.