Queensland watchdog resigns after office comes under pressure

By Jackson Graham

January 27, 2022

Alan MacSporran
Now-former QLD Crime and Corruption Commission chair Alan MacSporran. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission chair, Alan MacSporran, has resigned amid the watchdog coming under fire for not acting “independently and impartially”. 

The CCC has been facing criticism following a parliamentary committee making damning findings about the commission’s investigation of former councillors of Logan City Council. 

Criticism escalated last week when the watchdog also dropped charges against former Moreton Bay mayor Allan Sutherland, who afterwards claimed the CCC was “out of control”. 

The parliamentary committee found in December that “the CCC chairperson did not ensure the CCC acted independently and impartially” during the Logan City Council investigation. It recommended the government review the organisation’s structure, relevant legislation and that the CCC undertake cultural reform. 

MacSporran, who will leave his role on Friday, said in a statement that he had been urged to continue as chair but his relationship with the parliamentary committee was beyond repair. 

I find myself in a position where, despite a career spanning in excess of 40 years, where my honesty and integrity have never been questioned, it is clear to me that the relationship between myself and the PCCC has broken down irretrievably. This saddens me deeply,” he said. 

“In my long career, I have never, ever, let extraneous irrelevant considerations enter my thinking about a decision relating to the proper exercising of powers in proceedings as a Queen’s counsel criminal barrister or as CCC chairperson.” 

He said investigating corruption involved high-stakes consequences for people in positions of power alongside the Queensland community “rightly” expecting the agency to do its job. 

“That ultimately involves making very complex, tough and independent decisions as an investigative agency. As chairperson, I was willing to make, and support my staff making, those independent decisions,” MacSporran said. 

He said the agency was “greater than the sum of its parts” and wished it every success for the future. 

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the resignation had been a decision for MacSporran, with the government yet to respond to the parliamentary committee report. 

“The government’s response is due in March, so we are well within our time frames, but this is a serious matter, it’s a serious decision and it’s a decision that he has made that is up to him,” Palaszczuk told reporters on Wednesday. 

“I think the public wants to have absolute confidence in the anti-corruption watchdog in this state.” 

She said the government would give careful consideration to the recommendation for a structural review into the CCC, and the attorney-general would begin a recruitment process for a replacement. 

Queensland integrity commissioner Nikola Stepanov also quit this month, in a move Palaszczuk played down despite reports there were tensions between Stepanov’s office and the Public Service Commission. The CCC had been investigating allegations a laptop was taken from Stepanov’s office without her knowledge and wiped. 


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