Queensland Parliament has sat until 3:30am (AEST) to push through extraordinary legislation to protect witnesses of the Fitzgerald inquiry into police corruption.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) has mistakenly released confidential documents from the inquiry, potentially putting informants at risk.

Records from the inquiry into Queensland police corruption were sealed at its completion in 1989 for at least 65 years.

In February last year, the CMC decided to open items deemed "uncontroversial" but says an "administrative oversight" has led to other documents also being released.

The chair of the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (PCMC), Liz Cunningham, told Parliament yesterday afternoon that CMC chairman Ross Martin also revealed some material had been destroyed.

Ms Cunningham also says the CMC knew about the accidental release of Fitzgerald inquiry documents last May, but did not tell the PCMC until this week.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie says the Government has now passed laws to stop anyone publishing those documents for 60 days.

In that time, a public inquiry will be held into the error.

'Monumental stuff-up'

Mr Bleijie says the State Government was forced to act quickly to protect those people named.

"We're doing this going in blind because we still really don't have any idea of the types of documentation and I understand the PCMC will attempt to get to the bottom of this," he told the House.

Mr Bleijie says a public inquiry must also investigate why the CMC did not immediately report the problem when it discovered it last May and why it destroyed documents.

"To get to the bottom of what went wrong and ultimately then to find out who should take ultimate responsibility for these actions," he said.

"This motion is about openness, it's about transparency, it's about integrity of the system, it's about trying to restore the confidence people ought to have in the CMC and its processes."

Mr Bleijie says it is not up to him to ask the CMC boss to resign but that Mr Martin should take responsibility for the blunder.

"It's not me or anyone else sacking him - it's about somebody taking responsibility for this monumental stuff-up," he said.

"The public genuinely can be concerned about the administration and operation of the CMC.

"The CMC chair ought to accept full responsibility for this unacceptable oversight and we know that there are these certain consequences that flow from this responsibility.

"If the chairman accepts that responsibility, then he ought to accept the consequences that would normally follow."

Blame 'not clear'

But Ms Cunningham says it is important to not make judgements until the review is completed.

"We appreciate the Attorney-General - through the Parliament - has made these amendments to give confidence to those people who may have been affected detrimentally," she said.

"But in terms of blame, culpability, the committee is still of the view that is not clear."

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Parliament should wait until the matter has been fully investigated.

"I'd hate this Parliament to be judge and jury here tonight when those full processes need to go through," she said.

However, Ms Palaszczuk says the Parliament had to protect vulnerable sources.

"The threat to witnesses still remains real," she said.

The PCMC will have 30 days to report.

Ms Cunningham says the laws were needed to protect sources that may have been identified.

"The committee felt that urgent action was required to protect, as much as possible, the integrity of the information provided by, and potentially the safety of those people," she said.

However, former PCMC head, independent MP Alex Douglas, has warned the Government against using the process to change the corruption watchdog.

"There is no opportunity for the Government to implement any changes that the Government wishes to impose on the CMC for whatever reason - if it is over and above that which the CMC chair has requested," he said.

A CMC spokeswoman says in light of the announcement of a public inquiry it is not appropriate to make any detailed comment at this time.

 

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