What is interesting about this article in The Courier-Mail is not that they at last reported on the ongoing cover-up but that their HANDS WERE FORCED because of an extensive report (Three Little Words) on ABC's Australian Story earlier that week about the injustice meted out to Kevin Lindeberg over his whistleblower antics on the shredding of the Heiner Documents.
The paper completely failed on an extremely important issue of public interest - its moral stand on any issue has been forever compromised by its gratuitous political allegiances.
The Courier-Mail - Brisbane - 20 May 2004
Ex-minister may face inquiry into abuse claim
FORMER families minister Anne Warner could be subpoenaed to give evidence at a House of Representatives hearing to answer whether she knew documents shredded by the Goss government in 1990 detailed accounts of child abuse.
Liberal backbencher Bronwyn Bishop, who is chairing the hearings, yesterday said the committee would decide whether to subpoena Ms Warner after retired magistrate Noel Heiner this week broke 15 years of silence to recount his side of the long-running affair.
Ms Warner yesterday said she had been asked to give evidence, but not about Mr Heiner.
"She (Mrs Bishop) is going to get more out of others than me," Ms Warner said.
The central claim is that within weeks of its election, the Goss government in January 1990 closed an inquiry Mr Heiner had conducted into the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre at Wacol and shredded all the transcripts of evidence, audio tapes, complaints and notes generated through his inquiry.
For the next six years, the Criminal Justice Commission, two Senate inquiries, and an investigation by barristers Tony Morris, QC, and Eddie Howard investigated whether the Cabinet had acted illegally by shredding documents potentially needed for legal action by those vilified by the Heiner inquiry.
The Goss government and the Beattie Government have at all times said the documents were destroyed because the inquiry was not properly constituted and that evidence given by witnesses had no legal protection from possible defamation action.
No one knew what the documents contained. However in May 1998, The Courier-Mail reported this shredded evidence included allegations of child abuse including claims about children being chained to fences overnight and given mind-altering drugs. It later was reported that a young Aboriginal girl had been pack-raped.
The question of whether the Goss Cabinet knew in 1990 that it was destroying evidence of child abuse and rape was tackled this week when Mr Heiner was subpoenaed to give evidence at Mrs Bishop's hearing.
He said no previous inquiry, including by the then CJC, had asked him, the central figure, to give evidence.
"What amuses me is there has been seven inquiries into my inquiry and this has been the first time I have ever been called," Mr Heiner said. "Had I been approached closer to when it (the shredding) had occurred, my memory would have been excellent."
Mr Heiner said the (outgoing) National Party government, which established the inquiry in 1989, had told him "in no uncertain terms" that he was to examine complaints about the centre's management - not the maltreatment of children.
But he did hear claims that a boy was handcuffed and drugs were used to sedate an uncontrollable child.
He reported these claims to a Department of Family Services liaison officer but was told twice not to pursue them.