Tasmanian Parliament 26th September 2007

[6.02 p.m.]

Mr MICHAEL HODGMAN (Denison) - Mr Speaker, I seek leave of the House to table and have incorporated into Hansard the 66-count indictment in the Heiner scandal prepared by one of Australia's leading Queen's Counsel, Mr David Rofe QC. I seek the leave of the House.

Mr LLEWELLYN (Labor) - Point of order, Mr Speaker. The Government will not be agreeing to leave for this particular matter. I perused the document. As tragic as the circumstances around that document are, the member is trying to pursue a political issue here. If he wants to present the matter to the Parliament he needs to read it into Hansard.

Leave not granted.

Mr MICHAEL HODGMAN - The Government has the numbers and so they will prevail but it will not prevent me from speaking. I am not pursuing any political agenda at all. I am pursuing truth and justice, which is the solemn duty of every one of Her Majesty's attorneys-general and shadow attorneys-general in the States of Australia.

It does not surprise me that the Government has refused to grant leave for the tabling of this 66-count indictment into what has become known as the Heiner scandal relating to the rape of an indigenous Aboriginal child, a girl aged 14, in the John Oxley Detention Centre some 19 years ago. She was viciously pack-raped and two of the offenders admitted their guilt. This is a matter of a child in detention in the State of Queensland, but they were never charged, convicted or punished.

When those who sought the truth and justice in this case fought hard for a full and independent inquiry into the scandal, the Goss Labor Government in Queensland, Premier Wayne Goss, and his chief of staff, Kevin Michael Rudd, now Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Parliament, and all the evidence was shredded and destroyed. I need say no more than has been said in a letter to the former Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie, signed by a number of distinguished jurists, including a former Chief Justice of the State of Western Australia, and by a number of eminent lawyers, as well as a quite separate letter signed by the former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, Sir Harry Gibbs, all of them calling for a full inquiry into this outrageous scandal and disgraceful cover-up.

I was asked today by a leading member of the national press whether I was satisfied that the Rofe Report - prepared by one of Australia's most highly regarded Queen's Counsels, Mr David Rofe QC - linked the persons named in the indictment, two counts of which I read into the Hansard of this honourable Parliament last evening. Both of those counts involved a list of names, including one Kevin Michael Rudd. I was asked if I was satisfied that the evidence shredded in fact related back to the pack rape in view of the fact that before the Bishop inquiry, Mr Hine had said he did not recall specifically that conversation or any conversation in relation thereto.

I can simply say that I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a prima facie case has indeed been made out along the lines of the 66-count indictment prepared by Mr David Rofe QC, a copy of which I have in the House and which the Government has just refused to grant leave to be tabled. Indeed, after I gave the Leader of the Government in the House the document today, he sent me a note to the effect, 'We will not give leave to table this document for obvious reasons'. They were not stated, but of course a moment ago on the floor of the House he did state it - 'We are going to attack Hodgman for politicking'. Can I simply say this –

Mr Llewellyn - You're nothing but Howard's lackey.

Government members interjecting.

Mr MICHAEL HODGMAN - It was raised in my presence at a meeting of the Standing Committee of Shadow Attorneys-General in Sydney just three weeks ago. It is a scandal and we will not be silenced.