More calls for Heiner inquiry

by Piers Akerman, The Daily Telegraph - 6th October

The original article can be seen at this link

A GROWING chorus of influential voices are demanding a sweeping inquiry into the notorious Heiner affair in Queensland.

FORMER Queensland police commissioner Noel Newnham, former State opposition leader Lawrence Springborg, and the founder of the Bravehearts, anti-paedophile crusader Hetty Johnson, yesterday demanded a sweeping inquiry into the notorious Heiner affair, Queensland’s outrageous evidence shredding and child sex abuse scandal.

Their support follows a specious claim by The Australian newspaper that the driving force behind moves for a thorough investigation had been identified as a “coalition of right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists’’.

National unease was sparked in August by an extraordinary letter written by several of Australia’s most respected judicial figures to then Queensland Labor premier Peter Beattie in which they expressed their deep distress that the former Goss Labor Cabinet and senior civil servants destroyed material in 1990 knowing it would be needed as evidence.

The leading legal figures, who it would be impossible to describe as extremists or conspiracy theorists, said the right to a fair trial without interference by government, the right to impartial law enforcement and respect for the rule of law itself were at the core of their grave concerns.

“We believe that the issues at stake are too compelling to ignore,’’ they said.

Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd, who was chief of staff to former premier Wayne Goss at the time, has since been named in the Tasmanian Parliament as one of those against whom a prima facie criminal case is alleged by leading Sydney silk David Rofe, QC.

Rofe, QC, has spent two years preparing a nine-volume, 3000-page audit of the Heiner affair in which he identified 66 alleged prima facie breaches of the law.

Rudd has said that the matter has been investigated but that he is open to a new inquiry if new evidence is forthcoming.

Newnham told The Sunday Telegraph: “The cry for a full inquiry by a royal commission or a special prosecutor into the Heiner affair has been made ad nauseam and justified ad nauseam.

“The reasons for covering up the Heiner affair have been debunked ad nauseam.

“The scandalous situation undermining the rule of law and confidence in the judicial system in Queensland has gone on ad nauseam.

“Nothing short of a full and open inquiry will restore the confidence that needs to be placed in the system.

“Judges have said this, prominent lawyers have said this, a Senate select committee has said this, a House of Representatives committee has said this.

“It’s a national disgrace but the Constitution seems to rule that Queensland has to go on suffering alone and we, the rest of Australia, cannot help them.

“They have my sympathy.

“The corruption continues to fester at the top of George Street (Brisbane).’’

Former opposition leader Springborg said a new inquiry should examine all information as previous investigations had been limited in their scope.