The Scandalous Heiner Affair

Queensland School studies take this link for summarised background on the Heiner Affair scandal


Kevin Lindeberg discusses the importance of the Rofe Audit and the Commission of inquiry into child abuse on 4BC Radio (Queensland Australia)

More background information:

On 8 August 2012 - a date which may live long in Australian history - the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry (QCPCI) released the unredacted Rofe QC Audit of the Heiner Affair as a privileged public exhibit under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1950.

It is now available for the world to read, discuss and quote from as a privileged public document.

It is, and shall be seen as, an historically important document in the political, legal, democratic life of this nation.

PHOTO RIGHT: Kevin Lindeberg delivers the Rofe Audit/Heiner papers to the QCPCI on 20th July 2012 - click on thumbnail for big image

The Audit was a central item of evidence presented by counsel for whistleblower Kevin Lindeberg as part of his application that Commissioner Tim Carmody SC should disqualify himself from hearing the Heiner Affair which was captured under QCPCI's Term of Reference 3(e).

Term of Reference 3(e) states:

"reviewing the adequacy and appropriateness of any response of, and action taken by, government to allegations, including any allegations of criminal conduct associated with government responses, into historic child sexual abuse in youth detention centres."

This was because of his earlier November-December 2001 involvement in this matter when Queensland Crime Commissioner. (See alleged prima facie criminal count 57 in the Audit.) It was said in evidence on 24 July 2012 before the QCPCI that Commissioner Carmody would be required to investigate himself if the common definition of "government" were to apply in Term of Reference 3(e). This was because the law prohibits any sworn decision-maker from being "party and judge in his own cause". Hence, it was argued that he should stand aside to avoid any perception of bias in respect of Term of Reference 3(e).

He declined to do so.

In doing so, Commissioner Carmody defined the key word "government" to just mean "...The Premier and Cabinet Ministers." While in possession of the Audit, he excluded from the definition of the word "government" enities such as "departments" and "statutory authorities". It therefore meant that he would not have to investigate bodies like the CJC/CMC, Department of Families, Police, DPP, Crown Law, etc, including the Queensland Crime Commission regarding their handling of the Heiner Affair at particular times.

Consequently, it meant that he would not have to investigate his own conduct but only that of "...The Premier and Cabinet Ministers."

This definition of "government" has been strongly contested as being incorrect at law.

The Newman Government gave a pre-election undertaking that it would review the Heiner Affair. This commitment is now in the balance, if not possibly crippled unless remedied.

Readers may now freely judge for themselves the substance or otherwise of this alleged cover-up as set out in the Audit. You may now freely judge what certain public officials who worked and/or still work in public office (in all arms of government in Queensland and Federally) did and didn't do at particular times when confronted with these matters of alleged serious wrongdoing involving obstruction of justice.

It is now publicly disclosed by the QCPCI that of those named parties is the Governor-General of Australia and 6 sitting Queensland judicial officers.

This matter is, as it always was since its beginnings some 22 years ago, about government by the rule of law and restoring public confidence in the machinery of government.

The Heiner Affair has always been based on the fundamental democractic principle which keeps us free from tyranny and oppression: "No one, no matter how high his or her status, is above the law."

Double standards in applying the law.. and taking on powerful bodies:

“... citizens are equal before the law; and ... the criminal law should operate uniformly in circumstances which are not materially different” - it doesn't in Queensland where the politicians and their mates are above the law. Related quotable quotes
Beattie and the Goss Cabinet should have been charged with criminal offences - but they weren't. Why? The answer at this link

The games played by News Limited and Queensland State Government to try to shut down this page

In 1999, The Courier-Mail and the Queensland State Government were both parties to Scott Balson's political arrest. The arrest was a direct result of a written request by Labor Attorney General Matt Foley despite no evidence being held that Balson had done anything wrong. The allegation was that he had named Labor MP Bill D'Arcy as a man facing child sex charges. This happened at a time D'Arcy was put into the Speaker's Chair by Beattie in a hung Parliament. The action by the government to have Balson arrested was a clear response to this page that he has maintained since 1996. Balson was found not guilty after three trials and he went on to sue The Courier Mail and State Government in the Supreme Court for a malicious prosecution. Soon after Balson's arrest D'Arcy was charged and convicted of several acts of paedophilia and was given a 13 year jail sentence. Balson remains the only person to ever be arrested under this 30 year old obscure act. More at this link

In February 2008 the Australian Press Council upheld Scott Balson's complaint against The Australian newspaper over dishonest claims that he is extreme right wing, racist and anti-semitic. The dishonest "article" by The Australian (News Ltd) was aimed at destroying the reputation of the whistleblower, Kevin Lindeberg, by associating him with Balson (the "right wing extremist" messenger). The suggestion being that "extreme right wing parties" were behind Lindeberg's campaign for justice. The timing of the paper's attack is interesting. It was just before the 2007 Federal election at a time Daily Telegraph reporter Piers Akerman was exposing Kevin Rudd's involvement in the shredding of the Heiner Inquiry documents. (See links below). If the law had been applied equally years before this Kevin Rudd would probably never have become Prime Minister. The politicised attack on Balson and Lindeberg by The Australian newspaper is one of the most crystalised and clear cut examples of the real power lurking behind Australian politics. It is a fact that Kevin Rudd is the godfather to the child of Chris Mitchell - editor of The Australian newspaper. More at this link

Most recent Heiner Affair articles linked at top:

Law Makers protect law breakers - justice in Australia video of Senate Hearing June 2011.
After over 20 years of covering the shredding up Murdoch's Sunday Mail actually covers it when the subject gets too hot - read the article at the link above.
Steve Austin ABC Radio - Question over Heiner ruled out of order in QLD Parliament - 21 July 2011: Steve Austin asks why a question over a payment of taxpayers money to gag an individual is ruled out of order.
Heiner inquiry victim to give evidence in Canberra 6th June 2011: QUOTE: A woman who claims she was paid $120,000 'hush money' over her alleged pack rape while in state government care could give evidence to a Senate inquiry in Canberra to be called as early as this month.
State pays $120,000 'hush money' to alleged rape victim 9th July 2010: QUOTE: Two decades after an inquiry into abuse at the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre was shut down, the state government has paid $120,000 to a former detainee allegedly pack raped in 1988 at the age of 14.
Rudd's axing ... the timing is a trifle too cute! 26th June 2010: QUOTE: IN an extraordinary coincidence, as Kevin Rudd was being tipped out of the Prime Minister’s office, an Aboriginal woman denied justice by Queensland’s Goss Labor Government - which Mr Rudd once was said to have run - had more than $120,000 in extraordinary damages tipped into her bank account.
The Significance of the Heiner Affair to the rule of law in Queensland: Kevin Lindeberg addresses the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy21st February 2010
Alan Jones (2GB Radio) on Heiner - includes interview with Kevin Lindeberg: Corruption in QLD Government. 30th September 2009
Alan Jones (2GB Radio) on Heiner - includes interview with Barry O'Keefe QC on the fundamental issue of the rule of law: Barry speaks on the importance of the rule of law regardless of someone's position. 28th September 2009
Alan Jones (2GB Radio) on Heiner - includes interview with whistleblower Kevin Lindeberg: Reveal the apalling truth behind the coverup (13 mBytes - 15 minutes). 23rd June 2009
Piers Akerman of 4BC Radio: Discusses corruption in the Queensland Government (April 2009). 
 PM shreds his own credibility IN an unprecedented breach of protocol, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd refused a request from the former Governor-General to investigate the ongoing Heiner corruption scandal and explore the implications of his appointment of current Governor-General, Quentin Bryce.
Heiner affair shadows Bryce SERIOUS allegations concerning the integrity of Governor-General designate Quentin Bryce and her role in the unresolved Heiner affair are being investigated by staff of Governor-General Major-General Michael Jeffery.
Taint sticks to Bryce AN unprecedented legal challenge may prevent the appointment of Australia’s first nominated female Governor-General, Queensland Governor Quentin Bryce.
It’s nearly Heiner noon LIKE the ticking crocodile that relentlessly pursued Captain Hook, the unresolved Heiner affair continues to tick along behind Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Tomorrow, the Queensland Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (PCMC) will consider a review of the Criminal Justice Commission’s (CJC) and the Crime and Misconduct Commission’s (CMC) handling of the matter.
A case of "the pot calling the kettle black"? See who heads up the Qld Government inquiry - David Solomon (search page for Solomon) and who wrote the article - Greg Roberts... so this article on Freedom of Information is a load of (you know what)! (November 2007)
David Solomon, once a senior reporter at The Courier-Mail has worked on many Labor Party Committees in the past - he is a trusted "mate"  and Greg Roberts - well his appalling reporting ethics are forever destroyed!

So why does Chris Mitchell side with PM Kevin Rudd implicated in shreddergate?  Mitchell married a reporter, Christine Jackman, who worked for him at The Courier-Mail - sacrificing his Jewish partner of 20 years for a younger woman. Jackman and Mitchell have a child - and guess who's their Godfather? Kevin Rudd.
Will Rudd's name end in shreds? - Piers Akerman - 19th November 2007 
Perverted Justice - Piers Akerman - 27th September 2007
Labor Senators twice blocked attempts by Queensland National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce to table the full 3000-page nine-volume Rofe report in federal parliament last week.

JUSTICE - THE HEINER AFFAIR - Tasmanian Parliament 26th September 2007
It does not surprise me that the Government has refused to grant leave for the tabling of this 66-count indictment into what has become known as the Heiner scandal relating to the rape of an indigenous Aboriginal child, a girl aged 14, in the John Oxley Detention Centre some 19 years ago.

Rudd should answer Heiner queries - The Australian - 25th September 2007
This story is starting to break and is too big for even Chris Mitchell to hold down!

Heiner Affair inaction appalling - 22nd September 2007 (Article by Piers Ackerman - Daily Telegraph)
But sections of the media, led by The Australian newspaper, also want to muzzle debate on the festering sore that is the Heiner Affair, the tragic business of the unresolved pack rape of a 14-year-old girl when in the care of the Queensland Government nearly two decades ago and the subsequent shredding of evidence gathered by retired magistrate Noel Heiner.
(Chris Mitchell, now editor of The Australian was editor of The Courier-Mail andplayed a major part in the cover up during the 1990s).
News Limited's simplistic view on the shredding - (19 Sept 07) Murdoch wants a change of the guard and Rudd in.
Guess who now edits The Australian - Chris Mitchell the man who played such a major role in protecting Peter Beattie from facing the music in the 90s over the shredding by participating in the cover by excluding coverage of the true facts. He was then the editor of The Courier Mail now he is at it again. This is a Murdoch lacky at his best - no wonder he has such a senior position in News Limited! Nothing smart - simply sell your soul to Rupert.  
Heiner Affair and Lindeberg Grievance - 19th September 2007
Senator Barnaby Joyce tries to lodge the letter presented to Beattie last month - but is denied because Labor Senator's object.

Australia's top current affairs radio reporter, Alan Jones, lifts the lid on Shreddergate, Radio Interview with Kevin Lindeberg (14 mByte file - 15 minute audio interview) - 13th September 2007
Is Kevin Rudd behind Peter Beattie's resignation? - September 2007
IN a stunning reversal, federal Opposition leader Kevin Rudd has opened up the door for the appointment of a new inquiry into the Heiner Affair - the scandalous cover-up of a gang rape of a young girl while in the care of the Queensland Government, and the subsequent blocking of an investigation and the shredding of its documents by the state's Goss Labor government, in which he was a senior public servant.

Guess who has the most to lose if Rudd gets in as PM and this happens.

Letter to Peter Beattie in August 2007 signed by eminent members of the legal profession: - August 2007
Quotes: We believe that it is the democratic right of every Australian to expect that the criminal law shall be applied consistently, predictably and equally ..... prima facie double standards by Queensland law-enforcement authorities
Daily Telegraph Article - Hiding in the Shadows - 18th August 2007
Call for Federal Gove to appoint a Special Prosecutor

Sunday Telegraph Article - Shreddergate threatens Beattie and Rudd - 18th August 2007
So when are the sixty plus charges going to be served on Beattie and Rudd? Is it now just a matter of time?

Lindeberg appears in film involving politicised arrest by Beattie of Scott Balson - July 2007
The film was banned by the Brisbane International Film Festival in August 2007 - the Queensland Government is a major sponsor.

Lindeberg's statement to House of Reps Standing Committee on Health - March 2006
Queensland is "...the sick man of Australian politics"

Beattie attempts to Amend the Constitution - September 2005
While concerns have been raised about the lack of independence shown by bodies such as the CMC in scrutinising government conduct and corruption, the Beattie Government has proposed changes to the Constitution which potentially further remove barriers to governmental abuse of power. Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans, criticised the changes as “dangerous and unnecessary”.

And this year’s Whistleblower Supporter of the Year was awarded to MP Bronwyn Bishop for her contribution in exposing the legal double standards arising from the Heiner Affair. Source: The Independent Monthly - page one, page two.
Federal House of Representatives take action on Lindeberg's complaint - September 2005
 At the very time Beattie was forced by overwhelming public outrage to recant his decision NOT to appeal against a dubious Supreme Court judgement to close down an enquiry into Queensland Health his Shreddergate cover-up was making waves in Canberra. While the Federal politicians were acting on Lindeberg's submission Beattie's government still had its head stuck deeply in the mud.
The crims are running the Queensland Parliament - it's official - August 2005
The 15-year delay in the pursuit of justice which their cover-up caused, is now being used by them as a last desperate excuse to do nothing after their improper conduct and nonsense legal interpretations have been exposed for the world to see. They stand naked. It is the ultimate perversion of trust in public office, betrayal of sworn oaths, respect for the rule of law and constitutional government, and reveals that high level corruption is alive and well in Beattie's Queensland while the mainstream media knowingly look the other way.

Beattie Misleads the House of Parliament (again) over Shreddergate - July 2005
New Horrific Abuse unearthed at John Oxley Youth Detention centre - June 2005
13-year-old boy seeing him nearly being choked to death by a staff member, continually bashed by other inmates, and permitted to be raped by staff letting inmates into his room at night

The Queensland Audit Office join in the cover up - June 2005

Letter to the Governor of Queensland - Ms Quentin Bryce - May 2005
now consider the Governor's own stated standards: With integrity, you cement your core, and thereafter you are able to open your heart and mind to endless possibilities. From a speech she made on 12 May 2005 - source at this link
May 2005: The University of Queensland our state's only respectable media - see why at these links  page one, page two, page three (note Beattie has an army of media advisers keeping the mainstream media quiet  (Sir Jo had nothing on this man) - but at what cost to us the taxpayer?)
The Premier keeps the Governor waiting and judicial double standards par for the course under Beattie (PDF files) - The Independent newspaper April 2005
25 State MPs call for enquiry into related rape of young girl in State care - December 2004
Why Does Bronwyn Bishop Rely On Scott Balson? Beattie release - 12th August 2004
Federal Parliamentary Committee recommend charges against Goss Cabinet - 12th August 2004
Supporting submission to the Lindeberg Grievance - August 2004 (Extract below)
My point simply is that whether they knew of the illegality of what they (the Labor Cabinet) were doing or not, they knew what they were doing, and the context in which they were doing it, and it makes no difference to their guilt that they may or may not have been given certain advice by their own lawyers.

It is of crucial constitutional importance that governments at all levels be held accountable in the same way as private individuals…

David Field, Associate Professor of Law, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland.

Rod Welford dismisses a citizen's petition - 20th July 2004
The dishonest Queensland Labor Government exposed by Chris Hurley - July 2004
The sick system called justice in Queensland - July 2004
Government “naked” over legal about-face - June 2004
Ex-minister may face inquiry into abuse claim - May 2004
Three Little Words - ABC TV Australian Story - May 2004
The corrupt Queensland Govt refuse to answer questions - May 2004
Crime Inquiry Chair Condemns Shredding Cover Up - March 2004
Another example of double standards in the application of the law in Queensland - March 2004
The University of Queensland's Independent on the cover up of rape by the media and the Labor Government - March 2004
Death Mystery To CMC - December 2003
Corrupt Beattie government covers up again - December 2003
MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE 26 November 2003 The Australian Senate - exposing Beattie's sick hypocrisy (Nov 2003)
University of Queensland on the shredding of evidence over the pack rape of an Aboriginal girl held in a State Detention Centre  - May 2002 
Double Standards at the DPP in Queensland
Speaker oversteps says Whistleblower - August 2001
Clerk of the Federal Senate Harry Evans said the highlighting of a petition after its signature and before its presentation in Parliament would fall under the area of tampering of an official document.

Mr Evans said tampering with petitions had been held to be in contempt of the House of Representatives and precedents had been cited.
The Lindeberg Grievance into the CJC - June and August 2001
Attorney-General's politicised arrest of Balson (who maintains this page) in 1999 exposed in Criminal Justice Commission report - April 2001
Shredding of the Heiner documents and related matters - D O'Neill - 25th November 1999
The Lindeberg Petition - Background  -1st November 1999
The Alleged shredding of Victorian public records - October 1999
QC calls for inquiry into child abuse - October 2000
10-year mystery begins to unravel - October 2000
Memorandum not issue in investigation: CJC officer  - October 2000
The Heiner shredding: paid secrecy documents surface  - October 2000
Calls for commission into Forde Inquiry - October 2000
A shred of evidence - 14th July 1999 (The Courier-Mail "wakes up" to the shredding ten years to late)
A Black day for the Queensland Government 12th June 1999
When Pigs Fly (The Courier-Mail cover-up) 9th June 1999
Marks on Lindeberg Petition questioned in Parliament - 16th May 2000
Beattie's dismissive response in Parliament to the Lindeberg Petition - 29th Feb 2000
Beattie's lack of accountability makes joke of "accountable" government promise...
27th April 1999
Editorial in the Queensland Independent - Beattie not accountable - April 1999
Chris Hurley - archivist - on Sunday program revelations - 31st March 1999
Lies, bloody lies - 29th March 1999
Transcript of Sunday program - 28th March 1999
Quote from Anne Warner:
"REPORTER: The cabinet documents don’t mention that the evidence contained allegations of child abuse, but the question still arises, were the minister’s told and did they ignore that serious information. Surprisingly, the minister responsible says she didn’t know.

WARNER: At that time I did not have that knowledge.

Compare Warner's satements to those in the press release in 1989

ASA Position Statement on The Heiner Affair - 19th March 1999
Did the Queensland Premier mislead Parliament? - 4th March 1999
The Courier-Mail reports before and after Channel 9's Sunday expose -
20th February 1999
Download a transcript of the document which, arguably, forced the Forde Inquiry
Tackling the ALP's David Hamill on Shreddergate - 5th June 1998
Senator Woodley's statement in the Senate - 27th May 1998
Canadian blood transfusion victims (Krevers inquiry) sue for $300 million

External Links on this subject:
Backdoor to University of Queensland, Department of Journalism on-line files on Shreddergate (unfortunately now removed by the bureaucrats at the University)
Go to Bruce Grundy, Journalist in residence, UQ latest on this scandal
The Justice Report - the abuse of children in Queensland

Links to other Governments and agencies now citing shreddergate as a scandal

Older background information and third party links

"Shreddergate, as the Goss Government shredding of archived documents is called, stands as a sentinel to cover-ups in the highest levels of government in Australia. Cover-ups that the Australian mainstream media have either been party to or incredibly inefficient at covering or investigating.

"After investigating this case we claim that the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) lied to the Australian Senate.

"So serious are the allegations facing Goss, a member of the legal fraternity who cannot claim ignorance, that Queensland's "Shreddergate" was cited by The Alliance for Public Accountability (APA) as a prime case of government corruption in a conference that they convened on the 4th October 1997 in Ottawa, Canada.

"The other case used by the APA during the conference was the shredding of Red Cross/Blood Bank records in Canada by government officials when the officials knew that they were being sought under Freedom of Information (FOI) by people who had been contaminated with blood containing Hepatitis B and the AIDS virus.

"Unlike Queensland, where "Shreddergate" has been actively covered-up by both the ALP and the state Coalition, the subject of the Krevers Commission of Inquiry and the officials involved in the Canadian blood bank shredding is currently under investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with charges expected to be laid as a result.

"The APA assisted the RCMP by giving that law enforcing agency a copy of the Queensland Morris Howard report into Shreddergate - because of the similarities between the cases as Queensland and Canada have similar criminal codes."

Scott Balson, Global Web Builders.

Send Global Web Builders an email

Why Wayne Goss is lying to the Australian public, and he knows it:

Quote from Courier Mail: 'Former Labor premier Wayne Goss last night described the allegations as "flawed". "I never feared anything would come of it. What I did resent was the continued reports of some unspecified wrongdoings", he said.'

Links and background information:

Introductory statement

"Curiously though what was forgotten by the mainstream media in the thousands of words written about him and his career to-date was his unexpected and stunning representation in 1995 of Queenslander Mr Kevin Lindeberg before the Senate Select Committee on Unresolved Whistleblower Cases when it attempted to investigate the notorious shredding of the Heiner Inquiry documents by order of the Goss Government.

"What has been curiously forgotten was his oral submission and written opinion regarding the legality of the shredding. He went so far as to suggest that it was open to conclude that the entire Goss Cabinet had committed serious offences when it ordered the shredding of those public records to prevent their use in litigation after the Crown had been served with notice of impending court proceedings in which those records were known to be critically relevant. He suggested in 1995 that the case warranted serious re-examination and severely criticised the Criminal Justice Commission’s handling of the Lindeberg allegations."

(See Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) link below: "The ASA also wishes to place on record its absolute rejection of the argument which the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission placed before the Senate Select Committee on Unresolved Whistleblower Cases in 1995, to wit that archivists should only consider the historical significance of records when reaching a disposal decision.")

The report by the "whistle blower". (NB 230k text only document) - January 1995.

"My submission presents an outline on how various public officials and agencies handled the shredding and related matters. All in their various ways, had a duty to act honestly and impartially in the public interest. All in their various ways, had a capacity to deliver justice to Mr Coyne and myself. None has.

"Mr Coyne's career was reduced to tatters by his Department using pro-active means representing abuse of office. Following my removal from the case, his union betrayed his interests throughout preferring to assist in covering up the shredding rather than exposing it for what it was and remains.

"I was at the time of the shredding, and am, a member of the Australian Labor Party.

"I also became a victim of the shredding, and would not cop it.

"That struggle now places me before the Australian Senate for examination based on facts."

Submission to Senate Select Committee on Unresolved Whistleblower Cases  (NB 210k text only document) - by Kevin Lindeberg - July 1995. (Downloadable MS Word Document).

"In essence Mr O'Shea has mis-stated Mr Callinan's submission, and then attempted to deal with various points on that mis-stated premise. He used the umbrella of Parliament to table his opinion without opening himself up to scrutiny by the members of the Committee unlike my counsel Mr Ian Callinan QC did on 23 February 1995."

Connolly/Ryan Judicial Review (extract):

4.5.11. And finally in Section 59 (Page 142):

"The real impropriety involved in the payment to Mr Coyne relates to the fact that - as, in our view, it is open to conclude - the payment was made for an ulterior purpose. No doubt the individuals concerned in negotiating and making the payment conceived that the Department would benefit to some extent from securing Mr Coyne's silence, as this would remove the possibility of further distraction as the new management of the Oxley Centre attempted to re-establish satisfactory working relationships after the upheaval and trauma which resulted from the Heiner Inquiry. Presumably, those individuals assuaged their own consciences, by assuring themselves that $27,190.00 was a small price to pay in order to allow the Department to "get on with business." But in our view it is open to conclude that the same individuals were fully conscious of the fact that they had acted dishonourably, and perhaps illegally, over the destruction of the Heiner documents, the returning of statements to the QSSU, and the destruction of photocopies of those statements. Had the true facts been brought to light - as they have now, for the first time, been brought fully to light - a number of individuals, including the Minister and Ms Matchett, were at risk of serious personal and (in the Minister's case) political embarrassment. In our view it is open to conclude that those individuals allowed their personal interests to guide them in deciding on the disbursement of $27,190.00 of public funds, and accordingly acted in a way which can be characterised as involving substantial impropriety."

Report by Ian Callinan QC (now High Court judge)

"It is clear that Cabinet made a decision to destroy the documents knowing full well that Coyne wished access to them. It may be that Cabinet made that decision to destroy the documents on the basis that, in its view, the public interest in protecting the people who gave evidence before Heiner outweighed Coyne's private interest in having access to them."

Australian Society of Archivists) (ASA) Statement on the Heiner Affair
"The ASA also wishes to place on record its absolute rejection of the argument which the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission placed before the Senate Select Committee on Unresolved Whistleblower Cases in 1995, to wit that archivists should only consider the historical significance of records when reaching a disposal decision. There are a wide variety of factors which might inform a decision to retain or destroy a particular set of records. These factors include, but are not limited to, the value of the records as evidence of financial affairs and obligations and the value of the records as evidence relating to citizen's rights. Any indication that records are likely to be required in future legal proceedings should, by itself, be sufficient justification to warrant the retention of the records in question."

Shredding of the “Heiner” Documents - the Hurley (Chief Archivist Victorian Government) report - March 1996 (NB 100k text only document) - (Downloadable MS Word Document)..

"The original destruction appears to have been the incautious act of a newly-elected government trying to escape the consequences of an ill-conceived decision of its predecessor. Like a mini-watergate, the real harm came not from the original decision but from subsequent efforts to justify it and to minimise the damage.

"The Goss government was ill-advised to have undertaken document destruction in this way. It is highly unusual, after all, for the disposal of a particular set of records (usually an administrative housekeeping matter) to be dealt with at cabinet level. The advice from Crown Solicitor O’Shea said the State Archivist’s concurrence was mandatory but neither he nor any other adviser seems, at that early stage, to have considered the question whether the Archivist’s discretion involved a consideration of issues in any way related to the government’s reasons for wanting to destroy the records or any reasons citizens (historians apart) might have for wishing them to be preserved. So far as those reasons were concerned, the Archivist appears to have been treated as rubber stamp.

"It was only subsequently, when the whistleblowers concerned voiced their objections and refused to be put off, that the Queensland Government, the Crown Solicitor, and the CJC developed and articulated theories about the nature of the Archivist’s discretion and her proper role. At each stage in the development and defence of their position, the persistence of the whistleblowers compelled them to advance more and more outrageous arguments in order to sustain the flawed logic of the official Queensland position.

"Finally, the official Queensland position collapses under its own internal contradictions. On the one hand, the State Archivist has an unfettered discretion to destroy records, potentially the power to retain or approve the destruction of official records on any grounds she chooses, arbitrarily, or by whatever whim takes her fancy in the passing moment. On the other hand, she is most severely limited to a consideration of historical value and it is not her proper function to consider any other ground for retention. The first proposition is based on the absence of any “legal/legislative provision” bearing on the matter and the second is advanced despite the absence of such provision restricting the archivist’s discretion in the way suggested.

"The professional associations - the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) and the Records Management Association of Australia (RMAA) have long argued the propriety of submitting records disposal practices to professional review in the interests of public accountability (not just preservation of an historical record). Nowhere has the opposing case (that governments are free to destroy records at their own discretion subject only to a consideration of historical value and that State archives authorities have no role to play in support of accountability) been so strongly and persistently placed on the public record. It cannot be allowed to stand. ASA and RMAA should take up the challenge and do whatever is necessary to place on the public record their opposition to the stance taken by the Queensland authorities in the Heiner case."

Australian Archives advice on keeping records. "Proper recordkeeping is a crucial part of government administration and accountability. It is the basis for establishing and maintaining documentary evidence of government activities and decisions supporting accountability and good business practice. Agencies contracting out the provision of services to other parties must ensure that these arrangements include recordkeeping practices which meet Commonwealth standards." Extract from the Newnham Submission

"The evidence in Shreddergate mounts and mounts. Not only have respected senior counsel come to the view that a serious prima facie conspiracy exists in the shredding but former Queensland Police Commissioner Noel Newnham added his professional weight to a similar view in his submission to the Connolly/Ryan Judicial Review into the Effectiveness of the CJC. "

The statement in the Senate by Queensland Democratic Senator Woodley - May 1997

"The issue at stake is essentially a simple one, but one of great importance. If the Crown or the state, through its statutory keeper of public records, cannot be relied on to impartially and independently protect public records from destruction when those records are known to be required for foreshadowed court proceedings or when it is known that they are the subject of a legally enforceable access statute, the due administration of justice is gravely imperilled. That is essentially what the Lindeberg declaration states in a document I wish to table later.

"As a Democrat, I find it hard to think of anything more serious than the Crown or state deliberately shredding public records to thwart justice. One of Australia's leading Queen's Counsel, Mr Ian Callinan, described it as an unthinkable act. It is made much worse, however, when executive government uses and abuses the independent and impartial good office of a state or federal archivist to achieve that objective. Archivists should be protecting records in the public interest, not destroying them for any desired outcome of executive government or its agencies at the expense of individual lawful rights. It is fundamentally undemocratic and may breach criminal and administrative law in the process."

Senate slammed over CJC case - by Weekend Independent

"THE failure of the Australian Senate to investigate evidence that the Queensland Criminal Justice Commission provided false or misleading evidence to a Senate Committee has been described as a serious blow to democracy in Australia.

"Queensland whistleblowers have written to Senate President Margaret Reid calling on the Upper House to investigate the matter which was brought to its attention by the Queensland Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee (PCJC) eight months ago.

"President of the Whistleblowers Action Group, Gordon Harris, told The Weekend Independent whistleblowers were very disappointed the Senate had failed to act on the matter and were critical of it for "not wanting to act".

"The Senate is destroying the rights of Australians," Mr Harris said."

Coalition Government Responds to Advice Regarding Heiner Affair -
June 1997

"Mr Borbidge said the Director had advised there was one matter relative to which a charge could, theoretically, be laid under section 92 of the Criminal Code which deals with abuse of office.

"But the Director had concluded his advice by stating that: "Very considerable time has been expended by a good many people in the pursuit of the truth regarding the Heiner matter. One has to wonder whether the public interest requires further exploration or whether it is now time to put the matter to rest once and for all".

"Mr Borbidge said the Government had accepted the Director's advice, and no prosecutions would be launched as a result of his report."

Over 50 articles and original FOI documents researched and uncovered by The Weekend Independent - check out "Shreddergate"

The report by The Weekend Independent- August 1997

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