Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk. Sharyn O'Neill

CMC chief's position 'untenable' after show of support

THE head of Queensland's most powerful crime-fighting group - the Crime and Misconduct Commission - is facing allegations his position is "untenable" from the Opposition and others after he openly supported the government in a newspaper opinion article.

CMC chairman Dr Ken Levy wrote in the Courier-Mail on Thursday that "the Attorney-General and Premier - with the support of the Queensland Government - are taking the strong action that is required" in relation to outlaw bikie gang laws.

Dr Levy was grilled by the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee, a bipartisan committee which oversees the CMC.

He faced questions from the committee on how the CMC could give such support to the government without sacrificing its legal requirement to be independent.

Dr Levy said some might "join the dots" in his article and suggest it backed the LNP Government but it was not his intention.

The chairman said his views fell "within the role of the CMC".

He said it was fair comment because previous legislation had been inadequate.

Dr Levy and his predecessors had not made such a view clear to the parliamentary committee.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk and party colleague Jo-Ann Miller, along with Sunshine Coast independent Peter Wellington, said open support for the government and its failure to warn of weak legislation damaged the CMC's reputation as being an independent watchdog.

Ms Miller said it helped ensure the government had its "ducks lining up" on bikie reforms.

"The committee could have, with our powers, we could have reported to Parliament in this matter," Ms Miller said.

"In my view, the CMC is not independent at this point in time because it has failed to report to this committee that they were inadequate."

Dr Levy conceded  "perhaps that's my error" that he published his views publicly before offering them to the committee.

Mr Wellington, a former police officer, quizzed Dr Levy on whether harsher laws could encourage bikies to "shoot it out" rather than risk arrest.

"A person the police may apprehend or investigate under the new legislation may choose to take a position simply because the penalties are so serious."

Mr Levy said he preferred not to discuss government policy, but said there needed to be a balance in legislation to ensure the public did not result in vigilantism.

Supporting Dr Levy was LNP member Michael Crandon, who may have harmed Dr Levy's claim of independence, praising him and the CMC for "showing a united front with the government of the day".

"We need to be on the side of right. Dr Levy is on the side of right."



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