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The Decay of Reform: Police and Politics in Post-Fitzgerald Queensland

  • Tim Prenzler


The 1989 Fitzgerald Report into police and governmental corruption in Queensland has been a model for public sector reform in Australia. It is especially timely to consider the impact of those reforms in light of the current overhaul of the largest police agency in Australia, the New South Wales Police Service, and of continuing problems with public sector probity in other states. Queensland made significant advances in improving electoral and administrative processes, and creating external independent oversight of the police. Nonetheless, unforeseen gaps in the Fitzgerald agenda allowed reactionary forces to dilute the reform process. Three primary areas remain ‘unreconstructed’. Reform has not been firmly established from the top down, beginning with progressing the system of representative democracy and opening up cabinet. Additionally, the Police Service appears to have successfully resisted the prescribed re-orientation away from law enforcement to community policing. Detection and control of misconduct also remain weak. A more interventionist Criminal Justice Commission is needed, with more proactive strategies for developing compliance with ethical standards.



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The Decay of Reform: Police and Politics in Post-Fitzgerald Queensland

  • Tim Prenzler


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