Extract from the Newnham Submission

This matter probably needs no further identification. It was discussed extensively in The Weekend Independent newspaper and more authoritatively in the report to the Premier by Messrs Morris QC and Howard (Morris and Howard).

It is abundantly clear from all that material "notably Morris and Howard" that, at the very least, there is a prima facie case that there was a conspiracy to illegally prevent Mr Coyne accessing material to which he had a legal right, a right which he had asserted, and one which the Crown Solicitor had confirmed.

There seems to be strong and credible evidence that the matter goes much further than that.

It would seem that the CJC had the wool pulled over its eyes, by government officials, when it first "investigated" Mr Lindeberg's allegations but it may not be going too far to say that the investigation was less than thorough.

It is easy to say that with hindsight, but it is to be remembered that the CJC solemnly assured a Senate Committee that the Lindeberg allegations had been investigated to the "nth" degree. Morris and Howard show that to be not the case. Yet it is hard to understand how they, with their limited powers, could so quickly uncover facts that the CJC with its extensive powers could not, if the CJC had been thorough in the first place.

This case is monumentally serious. It has been strongly argued, with substantial material backing, that the very government of the state was involved in criminal activities. The people who were supposed to uphold the rule of law were, it has been suggested, guilty of breaking the law - and that must have posed a problem for both the CJC and the QPS. The events, including the latest revelations about the Crown Solicitor's advice and draft letters of 18 May, 1990, show that deceit was practised at the highest levels of government, and the CJC condoned it.

The unavoidable conclusion is that somebody in the CJC was less than diligent in the first place, and has been less than diligent ever since, to uphold the rule of law, to ensure proper standards of honesty and probity in public offices, and to protect the lawful rights of citizens.

The matter does not end there, of course, because despite the compelling evidence of criminal actions by government officials, no charges have been laid by any of the Queensland law enforcement agencies. It is simply incomprehensible that no proper search was made for the relevant records, by the CJC, and the QPS since they too received the complaint, if those agencies were genuinely concerned to act impartially and vigorously to uphold the law.

The CJC has been cleared of deliberately misleading the Senate Committee, but it owes a very humble apology to Mr Lindeberg for its earlier lack of diligence, and for its unsatisfactory treatment of him as he fought his lonely battle. I note that Senator Vanstone was prepared to admit to a mistake by her department recently (The Australian, 21 February, 1997, p. 3) and that on public television the previous evening she publicly apologised for that mistake. She observed that we expect people to apologise when they make a mistake and governments should do so too. I quite agree. And so should the CJC.

There has been no reported effort that I am aware of on the part of the CJC to find out who was responsible for its inadequacies in this case. The CJC is (quite rightly) quick to criticise similar faults in other organisations, such as QPS, and we should be able to expect it will live up to its own standards.

In the Lindeberg case the CJC, as well as others, provided a grossly inadequate response to increasingly obvious evidence as time went by, and doggedly dismissed Mr Lindeberg as just a nuisance. They treated him as just a nuisance to them, and no doubt he was, but obviously he was a just nuisance. Clearly he was right to complain. Clearly the CJC  treated him in a cavalier way . . .

In October 1996 the CJC published a booklet entitled Exposing Corruption: A CJC Guide to Whistleblowing in Queensland. (The date is significant especially in relation to the Lindeberg matter.) It provides various assurances to whistleblowers.

The Foreword, by the Chairman, says this:

'Reporting wrongdoing to an appropriate authority is sometimes very difficult. Unfortunately, there are those who would prefer that perpetrators of wrongdoing remain unchallenged. There are others who discourage people from blowing the whistle about serious matters of public concern.'

I would not argue with any of those words, and I am sure the chairman meant them sincerely, but they clearly apply to some aspects of the CJC itself. In the light of the way the CJC treated Mr Lindeberg, who persistently provided them with more and more evidence as to the truth of his allegations, and myself in relation to the PCJC, one could be forgiven for believing the CJC has adopted some of the behaviours it is supposed to eradicate."

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