12th June 1999
"On Thursday 10 June 1999 Premier Peter Beattie used his numbers in a most extraordinary manner to defeat one of the most serious allegations that can be brought against any Member of Parliament, let alone a Premier of Queensland: That he deliberately provided false and misleading statement to Parliament to cover up serious impropriety within his Government.
The alleged contempt occurred on 4 March 1999 and Mr Beattie has compounded it since. His statement was designed to convince Parliament not to establish a commission of inquiry to thoroughly investigate allegations of criminal conduct involving five Ministers in his Government involving the shredding and subsequent cover up for nine years of serious incidents of child abuse. The debate occurred in the wake of the sensational revelations of Nine Network's "Sunday" programme screened nationwide on the Heiner shredding. It was a debate that the Government had to win.
The attempt on Thursday 10 June 1999 to make Mr Beattie accountable was defeated 43-42. Mr Wellington, who promised to hold the Beattie Government accountable, voted with the Government despite having firsthand knowledge of the significant evidence Mr Beattie had against him.
An astounding bundle of evidence was tabled. It reveals that Mr Beattie willfully misled Parliament on 4 March 1999 and since by claiming that the Lindeberg allegations had been the subject of 10 inquiries. Nothing could be further from the truth. The evidence shows up the lies. It is extraordinary reading - and one can understand why the Beattie Government was so desperate to prevent it going forward for impartial examination, because if he were to be found in contempt, his resignation would have to follow.
In misleading Parliament on 4 March 1999, Premier Beattie carefully amended an Opposition motion to establish a commission of inquiry by declaring, in effect, that it wasn't necessary because the allegations had already been the subject of 10 inquiries. A quick search of the public record would show anyone, let alone a Premier with the entire resources of Government behind him, that his claim was false. In giving those false assurances to Parliament the Beattie Government won the vote 44-40 (with the fatal 5 voting in their own cause). In doing so, it obstructed justice and permitted those responsible for deliberately destroying public records to remain above lawful scrutiny.
It should be remembered that this unacceptable abuse of the parliamentary process occurred in the same week that the Forde Commission of Inquiry into the Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions conclusively established that evidence of child abuse at the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre had been covered up for years, and, but for the passage of time (in other words, but for the cover up lasting nine years brought about by the shredding) and had it been properly handled in 1989/90, criminal charges would have been laid.
The tabled documents reveal that the Speaker of the Queensland Parliament held the Lindeberg contempt complaint up for 60 days only to inform Mr Lindeberg that he would not consider any matter of privilege/contempt being brought to his attention from anyone other than a Member of Parliament. In making the ruling, he breached the Parliament's Standing Orders as other Speakers have always accepted those types of grievances from the public and referred them onto the Members' Ethics and Parliamentary Privileges Committee providing they had substance.
The documents contain hitherto "unknown" correspondence between Mr Lindeberg and the Forde Inquiry. The letters are explosive. They show the true nature of the Inquiry and how it was politicised from the very outset by the Beattie Government itself when its Terms of Reference were deliberately restricted to only permit the incidents of child abuse to be investigated but not the shredding of the evidence to cover up that abuse.
In this case concerning whether the complaint to the Speaker had substance, the material tabled by Mr Allan Grice, Member for Broadwater, included as examples (in part):
It is strongly recommended that readers of this Web Page contact Bills and Papers at the Queensland Parliament (3406 7111) and ask for copies of the documents to be posted to them. (Documents on-line at this link)
The Beattie Government has shown this week that its desperation is now so great that it is now prepared to abuse our parliamentary process to cover up the criminality associated with the Heiner shredding. It can try whatever it likes but it will not escape the truth - It is close to midnight, Mr Premier."