Hodges: House pays respect

IN a rare moment of unity, Queensland Parliament yesterday paid unanimous tribute to the integrity and hard work of former Gympie MP, the late Max Hodges, who is best known for his attempts to clean up police corruption, long before the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

Speaking for her Government, Labor Premier Anna Bligh quoted ex-Liberal leader Sir Llew Edwards in his fulsome praise for the former National Party Minister.

Ms Bligh quoted Sir Llew's response to Mr Hodges' recent passing: “I regard him as one of the most honourable men I have met.

“He was an excellent Police Minister who didn't always get along with the then Premier (Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen), but I admired him for the brave way he regularly stood up to the Premier on issues with which he didn't agree.”

Ms Bligh moved a condolence motion to record Parliament's “appreciation of the services rendered to this state by the late Honourable Allen Maxwell Hodges” and asking that the sympathy of MPs be passed on to Mr Hodges' family.

“Despite being known as a hard worker intent on righting the police portfolio, he was dumped as Minister and just a few months later Mr (Police Commissioner Ray) Whitrod sensationally resigned.

“The then Premier appointed the relatively junior officer Terry Lewis as Commissioner and we all know the subsequent events from that decision,” she said.

Opposition leader John-Paul Lanbroek spoke on behalf of the now-amalgamated Liberal National Party Opposition when he described Mr Hodges as “a statesman”.

He said Mr Hodges had commissioned a review of police administration, establishing the role of a politically independent Police Commissioner, initially Ray Whitrod.

“He was instrumental in boosting specialist training forpolice, establishing the Oxley Police Academy, established the anti-hijacking squad, the police dog unit neighbourhood police programs and purchased the first Queensland police aircraft.”

Gympie MP David Gibson said his predecessor was a man who, all these years after his retirement, was still spoken of highly in the Gympie Region.

He said Mr Hodges “had the virtues that come from living in a small country town: sincerity, integrity, a strong work ethic and an ability to tell it like it is”.

Gympie Times

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