Another 'Whitrod case' hits Queensland police

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Another 'Whitrod case' hits Queensland police

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — Queensland Police Commissioner Noel Newnham has been forced to stand down while allegations of misuse of travel expenses are investigated by an independent tribunal, as a result of an inquiry which cleared him of major allegations brought by the former minister for police, Terry Mackenroth.

Speaking after the release of the findings on March 12, Newnham adamantly denied any misconduct. "I am not dishonest. I do not rip off taxpayers."

The reality is that Newnham has made some powerful enemies among the police hierarchy and in attempts to tackle corruption within the Queensland police force, in the wake of the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

Newnham claimed a "vicious lie" campaign had been launched against him, similar to the smear campaign which eventually destroyed another reforming commissioner, Ray Whitrod, in 1976.

Whitrod has declared his "complete support" for Newnham.

In the wake of the allegations, Newnham has called on the state Labor government to give him more power to sack cops who are "disloyal, incompetent or traitors".

He said he thought there was a concerted campaign to "get the commissioner's office back under some other form of control.

"It's very much a matter of power, power for its own sake."

The Newnham saga shows once again that corruption and entrenched bureaucratic privilege are still very much a way of life in the Sunshine State.