Annastacia Palaszczuk
Annastacia Palaszczuk Sharyn O'Neill

Government accused of watering down misconduct laws

THE Queensland Government was accused of watering down the state's misconduct watchdog as it introduced a bill which will shunt minor misconduct complaints back to departments.

Renamed the Crime and Corruption Commission, the threshold for investigating corruption complaints will be raised to reduce the number being dealt with now.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk told media she was concerned public confidence would be destroyed if the government continued down this path.

"The LNP has always had an axe to grind with the CMC we are very concerned they will weaken the CMC and we need a strong, independent watchdog here in Queensland," she said.

"We have seen a number of people go through the investigation section of the CMC, including people like Scott Driscoll, Bruce Flegg, Michael Caltibiano just to name a few."

Ms Palaszczuk said she would accept nothing less than bipartisan support to choose the new CCC chair and chief if the government persisted with its plan to create a second position in the upper governance.

But Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told Queensland Parliament that the opposition would now lose that right when appointing those positions and commissioners.

He said the new commission would be focus on tackling serious, sophisticated criminal activity and corruption - the "Mr Bigs".

Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller told the LNP that former Queensland Premier Mike Ahearn, who succeeded Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the wake of the Fitzgerald inquiry, would be ashamed.

"Ashamed of each and every one of you," she shouted across the legislative chamber.

"This government is trying to institutionalise corruption in this state."

Ms Miller said six weeks was simply not enough time for all of Queensland's citizens to respond to a 173-page bill, nor for a parliamentary committee to consider the material.

Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham, the former chair of the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee, also opposed the urgency.

She said the committee had a huge workload and six weeks was not adequate.

Mr Bleijie told parliament the bill, including public service changes, would lead to improved public confidence in the commission.

He said the new legislation also would improve time limits for investigating complaints, tweak operational and corporate governance structures and alter the culture within the organisation.

Mr Bleijie said changes to the complaints management processing system would "refocus the CMC's corruption activities on more serious cases of corruption and reduce the number of complaints the CMC deals with and investigates".

He said there would be new rules governing the management of personal conduct and work performance from Queensland's public service employees.

Mr Bleijie said these changes would make it easier for the new CCC to dismiss or take no action on non-genuine complaints.

"The government's goal is for the Queensland public service to be most responsive and respected public service in the nation," he said.

The reforms follow two independent reports on the CMC.

The Legal Affairs and Community Safety committee must report back by April 30.