(Image: Tom Red/Private Media)

When I was a young reporter, a Queensland government minister adversely named at the Fitzgerald Inquiry into corruption called me to deliver a gobful of abuse. I told my boss, expecting sympathy.

“If you want to be loved, go work in the Valley,’’ he told me, referencing where most sex work offenses took place in Brisbane. "If you want to be a journalist, go back to your desk.’’

The minister was later sent to jail, one of a swag of elected leaders who misused their office and abused the trust of voters in the lead-up to the history-making legal clean-up delivered by Tony Fitzgerald QC in 1989. His commission of inquiry forced the resignation of a premier, two byelections, the jailing of three former ministers and the police commissioner. It overhauled hundreds of laws and rules and processes, from a gerrymandered electoral system to how private information was used (and misused).