Police badge ‘a passport to the underworld’ in Fitzgerald-era game
“It gets you in the back door of illegal casinos, ‘non-existent’ brothels, and lots of other fun places. There’s a lot of villainy going down,” the rules of the game read.
“Behind the clean facade of any born-again city, you can wander the sleazy downtown environs where hoodlums and gangland bosses run rackets in vice, gambling, crime and drugs,”
“You can turn a blind eye if you want, and pick up some spare cash. Why not?
“Soon, you’ll be playing the system, with a couple of good earners on your turf and everytime you pass the Bagman, he slips you a wad. Take it. It’s yours.”
The game’s Bagman is based on former cop Jack Herbert who was in charge of recruiting corrupt police and dishing out the bribes in the 1980s.
He became the star witness for the inquiry, in exchange for immunity, and helped bring down disgraced police commissioner Terry Lewis and the Bjelke-Petersen government.
The rules of The Corruption Game encourage players to delve into the underbelly of Queensland’s police state in the 1980s.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. When you get a chance, take it. Remember you can always hope for indemnity when the game’s over and you spill your guys at the inquiry.”
Another jewel in the state library’s vast inquiry collection, much of which was donated by Tony Fitzgerald himself, is a rubber puppet of Sir Joh, the peanut farmer from Kingaroy who went onto govern Queensland with an iron fist for 19 years.
The puppet was made for the ABC’s acerbic series Rubbery Figures in the 1980s.
Even staff of the state library need special access to visit the rubber Sir Joh, in his “restricted access” hideaway of the building.
Specialist librarian Libby Fielding said the preservation team had spent weeks resorting the figurine after the former premier’s neck snapped a few years ago. He is now permanently sealed in a box in a humidity controlled room.
Nestled in with the board game and Sir Joh is one of only 10 signed copies of the Fitzgerald report and a 30-year-old bottle of port that will never be opened.
The commemorative port, held in a ceramic bottle was commissioned by, and is dedicated to, the legal staff, police officers, public servants and temporary staff who assisted the commission.
Beginning in 1987, the Fitzgerald Inquiry attracted worldwide attention for exposing long-term systemic political corruption and abuse of power in Queensland.
Initially expected to last about six weeks, the inquiry spent almost two years conducting a comprehensive investigation. Public sittings were held on 238 sitting days, hearing testimony from 339 witnesses, and focused public attention on integrity and accountability in public office.
The work of the team saw four ministers being jailed and numerous convictions of other police including former Police Commissioner Terence Lewis.
Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was charged with perjury for evidence given to the inquiry although the trial was aborted due to a hung jury.
The 630-page Fitzgerald report was tabled in Parliament in July 1989 and made more than 100 recommendations.
Lydia Lynch is a reporter for the Brisbane Times