Senate slammed over CJC case

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.

"Where does one go when the Senate refuses to act?"

Mr Harris said the CJC was the statutory body to whom Queensland whistleblowers must report corruption or official misconduct.

"Ironically it is the same body set up to protect whistleblowers," Mr Harris said.

"We are now confronted with hard evidence that this very body misled the Australian Senate at the expense of whistleblowers," he said.

Mr Harris said the failure of the Senate to do anything in eight months was "the classic response" whistleblowers received when they raised serious questions about corruption or misconduct on the part of public officials.

In March the chair of the PCJC, Vince Lester, advised the Senate that he was unable to find any evidence to support a claim made by the CJC to a Senate committee that the PCJC had twice investigated allegations raised by Kevin Lindeberg and had found nothing to support them.

Mr Lester was to tell the Senate: "... this particular issue concerning the truthfulness of the CJC's statement strikes at the very core of the accountability of the CJC to the Queensland parliament ...."

The man at the centre of the issue, Kevin Lindeberg said if the CJC was not held to account by the Senate or the PCJC it would "say a great deal about the lot of them".

"The evidence shows that the CJC is in unprecedented prima facie contempt of the Senate and Queensland parliament at one and the same time," Mr Lindeberg said.

"If nothing is done it will show the world the current parlous state of State and Federal politics and how the CJC has become a complete law unto itself."

PCJC chair Vince Lester said his committee did not intend to pursue the matter "unless there is fresh evidence".

Clerk of the Senate, Mr Harry Evans, confirmed that no action had been initiated by any Senator to have the matter referred to the Senate Privileges Committee.

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