Newnham takes Sydney job

by Chris Griffith
Published 1 January 1995 in The Sunday Mail


my face


Former Police Commissioner Noel Newnham is about to re-enter the world of policing -- as an academic.

A jubilant Mr Newnham yesterday confirmed he had accepted a three-year appointment as a visiting fellow of the Australian Graduate School of Police Management -- based at Sydney's Charles Sturt University in Manly.

He begins his new job in February.

"I'm delighted to again be contributing to the on-going development of policing," he said yesterday.

"This School is a development which Commissioners of Police have sought over many years."

He said most of his family would accompany him to Sydney.

Mr Newnham, originally Victoria's deputy Commissioner of Police, became Queensland's Police Commissioner in late 1989 after the release of the landmark Fitzgerald report.

The report, which contained damning findings of police corruption, also contained detailed recommendations for reform which Mr Newnham set about implimenting thoroughly.

However that thoroughness did not always attract support from the Police Union and from then Police Minister Terry Mackenroth, who clashed with Mr Newnham publicly several times.

The rift between the State Government and Mr Newnham began in early 1990 when Mr Newnham provided Premier Wayne Goss with Federal Police transcripts of taped phone conversations between Mr Mackenroth and former Supreme Court judge Angelo Vasta and his brother-in-law Santo Coco.

Mr Vasta and Mr Coco at the time faced bribery charges.

In late1991 Mr Mackenroth retaliated with a series of misconduct accusations against Mr Newnham which were investigated and rejected by the Criminal Justice Commission.

However a misconduct tribunal investigation headed by Richard Chesterman, QC found Mr Newnham guilty of failing to refund $2,102 in air fares advanced so that he could attend an Interpol Police conference in Ottawa, Canada.

That finding was overturned following an appeal to the Supreme Court, and Mr Newnham was reinstalled as police commissioner.

However he was not out of rocky waters.

In late 1992, the Police Union sponsored a 'no confidence' motion against Mr Newnham which was upheld despite accusations of irregularities in the ballot's conduct.

Ironically in the 1970s, the same fate had been meted out to another reformist Police Commissioner, Ray Whitrod, but never to now-jailed corrupt commissioner Terry Lewis.

In late 1992 Mr Newham did not seek renewal of his contract as police commissioner, and returned to live a relatively reclusive life in Melbourne.

In 1993 he opened a family business called 'Achievemnent Trophies', which assembles and retailes presentation trophies for local sporting and community organisations.