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04/29/2009

Griffith acknowledges Queensland’s Fitzgerald legacy

Griffith University will formally announce its Tony Fitzgerald Scholarship Program at the inaugural Tony Fitzgerald lecture on Tuesday, July 28 at the State Library.

The lecture by former President of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and Chief Justice of South Africa Arthur Chaskalson will mark the 20th anniversary of the Fitzgerald Inquiry into Queensland Government corruption. 

Mr Chaskalson is acknowledged as a leading global figure in human rights and as one of the architects of post apartheid South Africa. 

As a member of former President Nelson Mandela’s defence team, he was a formidable opponent of the apartheid government and in 1978 established a non-profit organisation, the Legal Resources Centre, as a mechanism to challenge apartheid by using the law to pursue justice and human rights.

He is president of the International Commission of Jurists and Chair of the Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and Human Rights, a panel mandated to consider the nature of today’s human rights threats and the impact of counter terrorism measures.

The scholarship fund will support full-time PhD study in an area reflecting the ethos of the Fitzgerald reforms in law, public policy, political science, governance, criminology, criminal justice and the role of the fourth estate.

Director of Griffith’s Key Centre of Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance Professor Paul Mazerolle said the Fitzgerald report marked a watershed in Queensland and Australia’s political history.

“In addition to the justice and governance reforms, the report and inquiry served as a catalyst and inspiration to many researchers and practitioners working in the field,’’ he said.

 “The scholarship program represents an important investment into building further knowledge and understanding into integrity and effective governance.

“We want to ensure our future researchers and students contribute to the evolution of Queensland’s political, administrative and justice reforms.”

The aim of the biennial lecture series is to publicly acknowledge the importance of the Fitzgerald reforms and to inspire continued focus, commitment and vigilance.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry took two years and made more than 100 recommendations grouped under three major categories including the establishment of the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission, the Criminal Justice Commission and the reform of the then-named Queensland Police Force.

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