Tony Fitzgerald

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Tony Fitzgerald
Tony Fitzgerald, 1990
Chair of the Commission of Inquiry into Official Corruption in Queensland
In office
President of the Queensland Court of Appeal
In office
16 December 1991 – 30 June 1998
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byMargaret McMurdo
Judge of the Federal Court of Australia
In office
25 November 1981 – 30 June 1984
Personal details
Gerald Edward Fitzgerald

(1941-11-26) 26 November 1941 (age 80)
Brisbane, Queensland
Alma materUniversity of Queensland
OccupationLawyer, judge
Known forPresiding over the Fitzgerald Inquiry
AwardsOrder of Australia

Gerald Edward "Tony" Fitzgerald AC QC (born 26 November 1941) is a former Australian judge, who presided over the Fitzgerald Inquiry. The report from the inquiry led to the resignation of the Premier of Queensland Joh Bjelke-Petersen, and the jailing of several ministers and a police commissioner. He was the youngest person to be appointed as a judge of the Federal Court of Australia.[1]

Early life[edit]

Tony Fitzgerald was born in a cottage at Sandgate, Queensland.[1] He attended high school at St Patrick's College, Shorncliffe and later the University of Queensland, initially studying engineering and then switching to law. He graduated in 1964 with an LLB and was admitted to the bar that same year.


"Unless there is an effective parliamentary opposition to advocate alternative policies, criticise government errors, denounce excesses of power and reflect, inform and influence public opinion, the checks and balances needed for democracy are entirely missing."[2]

In 1975, Fitzgerald became a QC. He was a judge in the Federal Court of Australia from 25 November 1981 to 30 June 1984.

Fitzgerald presided over the Fitzgerald Inquiry into corruption in the Queensland government. He was the chair of the Commission of Inquiry into Official Corruption in Queensland from 1987 to 1989.[3] While undertaking the Fitzgerald Inquiry, he and his family received death threats which were taken seriously by police.[1]

In 1990 and 1991, Fitzgerald also chaired the Commission of Inquiry into the Conservation, Management and Use of Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Region.[4] He was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1991.[1]

He was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, which is the highest ranking court in the State of Queensland. He also served as the first President of the Court of Appeals Division,[1] from 16 December 1991 until his retirement from that court on 30 June 1998. He was a judge on the Court of Appeals Division of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 1998 to 16 March 2001.

Fitzgerald has been the chairperson of both the Australian Heritage Commission and the National Institute for Law, Ethics and Public Affairs, as well as being the inaugural chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast.[1]

In January 2022, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Fitzgerald would chair a commission of inquiry into the State's anti-corruption body, the Crime and Corruption Commission, after a scathing 2021 report by its parliamentary oversight committee.[5][6]


After retiring in 2001,[1] Fitzgerald worked primarily as a mediator and arbitrator.[4]

In 2001 he investigated alcohol abuse in Indigenous communities, and was shocked by the extent of the statewide problem. His "Fitzgerald Report" (Cape York Justice Study, presented to Parliament in November 2001[7]) recommended to the Queensland Government that unless things improved dramatically within a period of three years, that alcohol should be banned, in consultation with the communities.[8] One of the findings related to communities relying on the income generated by sales of alcohol in canteens, recommending that this perceived conflict of interest end. The Indigenous Communities Liquor Licences Bill 2002 (Qld) and the Community Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 were introduced as part of the government response to the report.[7]

In July 2009, following the Gordon Nuttall scandal and public criticisms of contemporary governance in Queensland, Fitzgerald revealed his relocation to New South Wales was due in large part to the 1998 election of the Beattie Labor government and the loss of momentum for reform.[9]

In 2013 and 2014 Fitzgerald criticised the Queensland government led by Campbell Newman over new laws targeting bikies and sex offenders, as well as the appointment of Tim Carmody as Chief Justice of Queensland.[2][10]


The Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Community Award is awarded annually by the Australian Human Rights Commission "to a person with a track record in promoting and advancing human rights in the Australian community on a not-for-profit basis".[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Walker, Jamie (21 September 2013). "1988: Tony Fitzgerald, corruption fighter". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b Tapim, Francis & staff (29 June 2014). "Queensland corruption fighter Tony Fitzgerald criticises Newman Government over 'abuse of power'". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  3. ^ Report Of A Commission Of Inquiry Pursuant To Orders In Council. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  4. ^ a b The Honourable Gerald Edward (Tony) Fitzgerald AC, QC Archived 20 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Tony Fitzgerald to chair review of Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says". ABC News. 31 January 2022. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  6. ^ McKENNA, Kate (2 December 2021). "Queensland parliamentary committee reviewing Logan councillors' dismissal recommends review of CCC structure". Australian Broadcasting Commission. Retrieved 31 January 2022.
  7. ^ a b Dixon, Nicolee (August 2002). Tackling Alcohol Issues in Indigenous Communities – The Indigenous Communities Liquor Licences Bill 2002 (Qld) and The Community Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 (Qld) (PDF). Research Brief No 2002/26. ISBN 0-7345-2837-X. ISSN 1443-7902. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2011.
  8. ^ Bevan, Scott (21 March 2002). "Fitzgerald report stirs political debate". The 7.30 Report. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 25 September 2004. Retrieved 31 January 2007.
  9. ^ "Tony Fitzgerald breaks his silence". The Brisbane Times. 29 July 2009. Archived from the original on 5 October 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  10. ^ Lewis, David & staff (29 October 2013). "Anti-corruption judge Tony Fitzgerald slams Queensland's 'foolhardy' bikie, sex offender laws". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  11. ^ "2018-human-rights-medal-and-awards-winners". Human Rights Awards. 16 October 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2020.

External links[edit]


Legal offices
New title President of the Queensland Court of Appeal
Succeeded by