13th March 2009
The Fitzgerald Inquiry
We were living a simple life in the forest, Peter was writing, I was painting. We grew vegetables, had a glass of wine with our neighbours, read books, not a big deal. This was despite constant raids by Joh's police, road blocks, overhead flights at treetop level by Chinooks with men leering out the doorways, plus the fear of somehow transgressing the ridiculous laws they kept passing - I remember the one about if a policeman said you were mad, they were able to put you in an institution indefinitely. All of which amounted to harassment by The State.
I often used to wonder why this was happening in a first world country when there seemed to be enough for everyone. It's easy to laugh about Joh as a mixture of George Bush and Franco (on a very, very minor scale) but it doesn't explain how these men managed to 'de-democratise' Queensland over 27 years with 19% of the vote.
The last straw was finding a friend hiding his candles (there was no electricity), when I asked him what he was doing he said it was so the police wouldn't be able to see his family when they arrived at 5am, as usual. To get people to behave so irrationally through fear was very sinister.
I went back to NSW, seemingly too different to live in QLD, like lots of other people, but I returned to live in Toowong in Brisbane in 1986 with a new partner and a baby, in time for the Expo. When The Inquiry started I went to some of the Hearings, I couldn't believe that the hypocrisy of these men was finally about to be exposed. It was personal by then.
The Hearings seemed like a surreal circus from somewhere in Eastern Europe, lots of large, overweight, ruddy men in big black shoes. And nobody knew anything, 'No Hear, No See, and No Speak.’ It was about cover ups, ugly sex, bribery and corruption and after the way I'd been hounded ten years before it felt vindication. But what was really funny was that they'd done it to themselves by completely underestimating Tony Fitzgerald. And there was Tony Fitzgerald sitting up high in his court like an Angel on Judgement Day, taking notes or pretending to be asleep, and he was going to let it all out of the bag and change everything. So it was never an exaggeration to paint him thus.He's a national treasure
. . . .It was fun to paint too!