The Fitzgerald Inquiry and related events. Queensland, 1987 and following.

A study in perplexity, police, and politics.

(Compiled 2008-9: minor subsequent updates).

Wizard of ID cartoons by Parker & Hart , The Australian Newspaper 1970

Introduction to the 1987 Fitzgerald Inquiry – publication of the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission.

How does an inquiry go for two years?
If it:

The report itself contained 630 pages and over 100 recommendations, which were grouped under three major categories covering the establishment of the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission (EARC), the establishment of the CJC, and reform of the then-named Queensland Police Force.

This enquiry was set up by a nominally conservative State government in a state of crisis. There was nothing new about the policing problem. What was new was a long respected but now fading premier – Bjelke Petersen – standing down in favour of stand-ins – a new government team.

The policing problem had been ongoing ever since the Conservatives took over from Labour more than a quarter of a century before. If for example prostitution is to be controlled by convictions at law, depending upon the method employed, it may be necessary to become very personally familiar with the scene and with operators in the scene. To obtain evidence of gambling, it may be useful to be part of a gambling scene — and so on. Policing vice can invite police to become too cosy with vice. This corruption problem had resisted the efforts of experienced police investigators specially brought in from the U.K., and had seen the resignation of a past police commissioner. This commissioner had seen his own Criminal Investigation Unit more-or-less ‘laughed out of court.’

The suddenly appointed but untried government trouble-shooter, Mr. Tony Fitzgerald QC, with Royal Commission powers, was determined not to be laughed out of court. He effectively was the court.

The stand-in government team, being at a loss, escaped its own crises by handing over to an untried legal practitioner.

The media were demanding a result. Some Australian Broadcasting Commission reporters – Four Corners in particular, were in full cry.

A number of police who simply could not have got away with it this time, turned Queen’s Evidence – the Prosecution gained some slick, slippery, court-wise operators for their team.

Ingredients were in place for miscarriage of justice.

Ex premier Bjelke Petersen was driven to poverty and effectively slandered – a slander continued by the Labour Party to this day. Police Commissioner Sir Terence Lewis soon found himself in jail. To experience those times was to experience something bordering on mild mass ‘groupthink’. Elements of the media were in full cry. The Public was looking for a way forward. Juries were psychologically driven to find scapegoats. (The same happened with Watergate – e.g, Charles Colson.) A careful study of those above mentioned 630 pages, even with the bottle of Chivas Regal thrown in, will reveal no tangible evidence of Lewis collecting a dime from anyone. He had an expensively renovated house and someone suggested his diary contained a code of some sort. He did have some corrupt police under him. End of evidence. Several Cabinet misters likewise went to jail, over supposed infringements perhaps less than the monetary cost of running their own trials. One was an ex-policeman – he did plead guilty to overdoing his expense accounts – so the Prosecution laboured long into the night to make him the ‘bag-man’ for the Cabinet. None of these investigations uncovered any link between these prosecuted parliamentarians and police corruption!

Investigators were investigating investigators. An investigation followed the investigation. 630 thousand pages and fifty bottles of whisky would not meet the mark. News of the Day archives (on-line) 11th Sept. 1997, with minor alterations:

…….The Connolly-Ryan inquiry [subsequent to Fitzgerald] revealed that the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) followed up on a minor illegal firearm possession allegation against a former policeman, Gordon Harris, who blew the whistle on one of his more senior colleagues. The charges against Harris were eventually dropped, but his charges of evidence fabrication against Fitzgerald detective John Huey were never followed up. His charges against Huey were supported by another police officer, John Reynolds.

The charges were serious – it was alleged that Huey had fabricated evidence and perjured himself during the trial of a tow truck operator in the early 1980s. Huey had charged the operator, former police officer, Matthew Ready, over a fraudulent insurance claim. Ready was found not guilty by the courts.

Ready was able to produce a tape recording of a discussion with Huey which allegedly raised doubts about Huey’s evidence to the court. Reynolds and Harris decided to investigate whether Huey had fabricated evidence and in 1990 charged Huey with the offence of fabricating evidence – a crime which carries up to a seven year jail sentence.

John Huey, when confronted refused to accept the summonses on this and another matter relating to his work with the Inquiry. At this point Harris and Reynolds took the evidence to the CJC and lodged an official complaint against Huey with complaints section head David Bevan and Commander Carl Mengler the senior police officer attached to the CJC.

Following the submission to the CJC the summons against Huey was withdrawn by the crown prosecutor. Six days later the two detectives were transferred back into uniform at the instruction of Huey.

Both Reynolds and Harris subsequently left the police force. Harris leaving after he was once again pursued by the CJC following a charge that he had breached the Police Administration Act.

This all came about when, following Harris’ initial charge against Huey being looked over, he was transferred to the police property holding section where he found Huey’s diaries which supported his allegations against Huey. Harris allegedly photocopied the diaries and gave the copies to his lawyer. A television station obtained copies and ran a story alleging a cover up…. .

…. End News of the Day extract

Here are quotes from detective John Huey, Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Four Corners Programme, 4/09/09:

‘Looking back now, do you consider that Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was corrupt?’

Huey: ‘Yes. Yes, I do.’

‘Fitzgerald enquirers would find that Russell Hinze received as much as $4 million in loans from developers.’

Huey: ‘They must have had a dozen briefs of evidence of corruption, you know amounts $50,000, $100,000, $200,000, all going to Hinze … ..’

END Four Corners quotes.

Bjelke Peterson was not found guilty of anything, and Hinze was never tried.

Huey, prosecutor for Fitzgerald, a man who may well have been done good service for the State in various settings, with his own mouth herewith proved himself unfit for this setting – and on the evidence it was not his first aberration from the straight and narrow? Harris and Reynolds, sincere policemen, took a self sacrificing pathway towards losing their jobs and towards financial bankruptcy. Elements of the Australian Broadcasting Commission openly attacked foundational safeguards of Justice. Whatever else may have happened, this at least is one certainty!

Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen, (ABC News): “Fitzgerald ‘did’ Queensland for millions of dollars.”

Again quoting this long-serving Queensland Premier (the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Background Briefing Programme 16th May 1999). “I want this recorded and I want it broadcast : the four years that I was being investigated for nothing cost me an awful lot of money and a lot of property, but there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, there is nothing and I repeat that [that] will ever restore my confidence in the justice system.”

Sir Joh here was speaking not for himself, but for all Queenslanders irrespective of their political leaning. He was speaking for Lois D’Arcy, wife of the Labour Parliamentarian, mentioned elsewhere on this site: “Lois D’Arcy slams government, judicial system and media ….”. He was certainly speaking for Pauline Hanson, jailed, exonerated founder of the One Nation Party, who was guilty only of being politically and verbally awkward. He was speaking for all Queenslanders and he was speaking especially for those who have no voice. Not only was he speaking for those innocents who were wrongly found guilty; but for the many others who are victims of provable crimes which were never properly prosecuted – cases in which the guilty walked free.

It is not often in the history of any State that its justice system is experienced ‘hands-on’ by its own leaders. Such leaders can speak and are qualified to speak, when they have themselves sat in the dock. “Ice-cream in at one end, meat pies out at the other” (Joh. Bjelke-Petersen, ABC News).

We need not become overly alarmed by these forthright comments. The very fact that we are free to read them is reassuring. Many people in Law and the Media have good intentions. Free speech is a sign of life. And intelligent, lawful use of free speech will ultimately be a way out of the dilemma. Our aim here is not to find fault but to find a way out.

Over time, we aim to go into more depth in these and other judicial matters; in the interim, I here introduce a case I personally encountered when incidentally speaking with a few of this gentleman’s acquaintances. He followed the guidelines as he was introduced to them when he entered parliament; every expense item was allowed by the relevant departmental staff; he co-operated fully with the investigation: he was sent for a year to the jails he once administered with the government owing him money and not vice-versa. The big question: why was he singled out for prosecution?

Geoffrey Hugh Muntz. B.11/7/38, Beenleigh, QLD: married 27/2/60 Beenleigh, Jean Saverin: Uniting Church. Educated Pimpama state school, QLD Agricultural College: Brisbane Tech. College; western farming expert; inspector State Lands Department 1961-64; district manager State Agricultural Bank ’64-79; partner in real-estate; valuer; AAIV; president and director Mackay Rotary; president parents and citizens school associations; organiser combined service clubs activities; youth group leader; member Red Shield and Life-Line committees; secretary Blue Nursing Service.Minister for Environment, Conservation and Tourism from 1987. Minister for Tourism, Nation Parks and Sport 1986-1987. Minister for Corrective Services, Administrative Services and Valuation 1986. Minister for Welfare Services, Youth and Ethnic Affairs, 1984-1986. Member, Select Committee of Subordinate Legislation, 1983. Previously served on the following committees:– Primary Industries; Lands and Forestry; Northern Development and Maritime Services; Tourism; National Parks, Sport.

This gentleman was sent to jail for supposedly misappropriating something like $5,000. The same method of prosecution (described farther below) could condemn anyone who has ever done business and especially paid tax. In time, we shall investigate his trial. In the interim we take the liberty of quoting from the following: Report on an Investigation into Possible Misuse of Parliamentary Travel Entitlements by Members of the 1986-1989 Queensland Legislative Assembly. — 1991. This investigation was headed by Sir Max Bingham of the CJC, the ‘watchdog’ body which evolved to become the CMC. I personally regard Sir Max’s conclusions as erring on the side of harshness towards MPs –even though he prosecuted none! — but his report is professional, and accurate. Quoting Sir Max’s report,

“On 10 October 1990 the Courier-Mail newspaper published a report entitled “Auditor reveals misuse of funds” and “MP’s in holiday scandal.” The Article began: “Queensland politicians misused travel and other entitlements to take private holidays that cost tax-payers nearly $500,000 in 1987-88. The MP’s– including serving Labour Members reportedly in senior positions– took holidays over the Christmas–New Year period under the guise of doing ‘parliamentary business’. Although holiday travel was expressly forbidden under the guidelines at the time, the politicians tripped around Australia and New Zeland at tax-payers expense………… The two (Members’ entitlements) schemes are used in combination to fund travel which, by virtue of destinations, timing and nature, appears in many cases to be vacational and is devoid of any evidence of relationship with Members’ official responsibilities”. Following publication of the article the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) obtained a copy……and confirmed that the information contained in the Courier-Mail article was accurate.”

Muntz was sent to jail in 1991 over a supposed $5,000 over claim of expenses. Sir Max Bingham’s CJC report of the same year investigated a probable $500,000 misappropriation – mostly accountable to Labour M.P.’s. He would not prosecute because the expense claims guidelines were loose and thus could be challenged in court. His excellent work did result in the resignation of several labour ministers. Meanwhile, The Fitzgerald prosecutors presumably could have chosen to prosecute any parliamentarian whom they chose? They never prosecuted a single labour parliamentarian. They were supposed to be eradicating corruption, especially from the police force, yet they found no link between the (conservative) parliamentarians whom they prosecuted and corrupt police.

The following item of information would have been quite surprising before I began to learn about our legal system. Quoting Background Briefing, ABC Radio National (16 May 1999): Interviewer: “Integrity testing appals the police union. They’ve even co-opted the language of civil libertarians, branding it ‘entrapment’. I put it to the union’s Merv Bainbridge that there was a fear of police corruption reappearing without covert testing.” Bainbridge, for the Police Union: “That fear only comes I think from probably certain solicitors and members of the legal profession, the civil libertarians etc. You know, I just point out to people if they’d like to check and find the number of police officers that are currently in prison for matters of corruption and the number of solicitors that are in, they’ll find that there are many, many times more solicitors either being investigated in our prisons for matters of corruption, than police officers. And for calls to come from the legal fraternity for this is, I think, totally hypocritical. To set out to entrap police officers I think is totally distasteful and should be avoided at all costs.”

Police are no more likely to be dishonest than are lawyers. In fact, because people such as police and parliamentarians must every day confront the public, ‘one-on-one’, they can hide very little. They are obliged to give an account of their actions. To whom do modern lawyers answer, in their cossetted world of near infallibility? And why is it that police get a reputation for deviousness? Could it have anything to do with the methods they are obliged to employ — in court, in the place where truth is supposed to reside?

The legal people and to some extent the media were inadequate to the task of tackling the obvious problems of the Queensland Police Force. The failure occurred to some extent in law courts. The legal fraternity knew something was amiss, yet failed to act. When at last they had no choice but to act — ?

 Justice, if it is to be justice, is a science, an empirical method. The Fitzgerald Inquiry, excluding the twenty thousand ancillary pages, ran to 630 pages. The overview, as the author (Fitzgerald himself?) confesses, is a procession of, quote ‘homilies’ – short sermons! – which can readily be seen to have something to do with religion(!), something to do with history (this history aspect has merit), more to do with politics, and too much to do with the self-opinionations of the author!

 The inquiry was set up under knee-jerk circumstances under a ‘johnny-come-lately’ State Premier ( Mike Ahern) who was a ‘johnny-go-quickly’ administrative dropout. He simply handed his problems unthinkingly and unreservedly to untested legal practitioners and gave them powers over and above those of parliament itself. He was no friend of his former boss, Bjelke Petersen, and Bjelke Petersen himself, after years of good service, was fully overdue for retirement . To put it bluntly – it was only because of his own misjudgement that he remained premier when this trouble arose. Bjelke Petersen was an unusual man, a determined, forthright man originating in the Netherlands region of mainland western Europe. He managed well to communicate despite suffering from a form of dyslexia. He was ultimately the victim of alzheimers. His English expression could come across as indicating duplicity. He could easily be misunderstood. On the part of his ideological enemies he was deliberately misunderstood . Under those circumstances the judge called in as arbiter and umpire would best be a man of caution, wisdom, and probity. Knee-jerk was bad enough on the part of the nervous replacement premier, leave alone the judiciary.

The Inquiry was triggered because of ongoing police corruption having to do with protection of illegal brothels and betting. Certain police were giving select, smooth practitioners of the old vices an easy road. Those same vices are now technically not criminal in this State. So it could be argued that the reason the conservative government never shook off the corruption problem it inherited from its Labour predecessor was because it attempted to suppress vice!

Several matters raised in the introduction to the Inquiry are worthy of attention. We shall begin by eliminating a major anomaly. This anomaly relates to something that is not the province of a criminal court, nor yet of a royal commission acting as a criminal court, nor yet of any court other than the Constitution and the people of Queensland. In the introduction we read of a submission by this Inquiry having to do with ‘electoral and administrative review’. Admittedly this was a recommendation only, but under the circumstances it carried weight far beyond any similar recommendation made by any other single citizen of this State at that time. It effectively means that Mr. Fitzgerald QC was arrogating to himself and to a criminal investigation, powers entirely outside his brief and his proper interest. He was either ignorant of political/democratic science and procedure, or he was blatantly furthering a personal political agenda. He linked his investigation of police misconduct to the electoral boundaries of Queensland, knowing full well that by a circumstance of history those boundaries happened currently to slightly favour one party over another. He did this at a time when police misconduct was a public embarrassment, when people were demanding that the problems be solved, when many people felt that those who had been in high places were possibly involved, and when it would be very easy to imply that one political party in particular was responsible. This unwarranted deviation into questions of electoral distribution speaks volumes. (His recommendations, incidentally, were enacted, with the inevitable result — government in Queensland was not improved, people in major population centres remained electorally advantaged, whilst those living outside the populated zones became more disenfranchised than ever.)

Fitzgerald along with anyone evaluating his report or considering putting it into effect, knew that electoral boundaries are not linked to corruption in Queensland. If the Queensland electoral system was an engine of corruption, Australia as a whole is corrupt. Australian States are far from equal in population, yet each State has equal representation in the Senate – and the Senate has powers in the same league as those of the House of Representatives. (Queensland, unlike the Commonwealth, has no upper house – which by precedent/comparison means that it is entitled to an electoral system based upon the location of the population as well as population per se. The scenario post-Fitzgerald – ‘one vote, one value’ – is a gerrymander. But we could discuss electoral science forever and get little closer to a fail safe formula. Democracy depends upon people caring for people, systems and formulae notwithstanding. But if Judge Fitzgerald QC didn’t understand common everyday matters of democracy and political science, why was he giving recommendations in those fields?)

Not only does this Inquiry break out from its proper bounds in relation to questions of electoral distribution: it displays such ignorance in the matter of political party donations that it disqualifies itself! Parliamentarians need funding. It is a salient fact that obtaining monies via coercion or threatened violence is corrupt. The ALP relied and relies upon vast sums collected from compulsory union membership — in the case of unwilling union members, at the effective point of a gun. That same Party semi-recently introduced minimal across the board taxpayer funding of political candidates.  Again, funding essentially at the point of a gun —  the ALP in this case sharing the loot from the hold-up with other Parties.   We may assume that somewhere tucked away in those ‘electoral and administrative review commission’ recommendations are all sorts of proposed regulations relating to funding. These will stem from the assumption that politicians and Bjelke Petersen in particular criminally accepted monies. He accepted donations.  Unlike the ALP, he did not demand donations. Donation to his Party was voluntary.   Furthermore, unless he either broke Common Law to assist a donor, or displayed brazen inequity in favour of a donor, no matter how large the donation, no crime exists.  There is an entry under his name currently [2009] on Wikipedia, presumably with Fitzgerald as its inspiration, naming a sum of $6 million in that regard. Why these closet political defamers didn’t settle on $6 billion is purely a matter of convenience. To anyone remotely acquainted with the facts, the larger figment of imagination would be merely – a larger figment of imagination. Parliamentarians require funding. Fitzgerald and the real world never met?

What did the Inquiry achieve? We deduce, from its introduction, TEN indemnities from prosecution; a supposedly improved police force; the diaries and notes of the arch bad guy himself, Sir Terence Lewis, holder of bravery and other awards and not likely to have donated compromising diaries and notes if he was really as crooked as everyone made out: Col. Dillon’s bottle of Chivas Regal; and assorted items from various houses of ill repute. Those assorted items are to keep the imagination running hot and to sustain a level of interest right through the report’s never-ending dissertations, to the end. I know nothing about Chivas Regal but you’ll need something like a bottle of rum (medicinal purposes only) if you wish to remain sane whilst reading all that Report. This inquiry taxes the comprehension. To try to explain it to thinking people, I employ a term which I hope gives no-one offence. This term renders further explanation unnecessary for those who understand its implications. This inquiry was an ‘irish joke’.

The inquiry involved ten indemnities from prosecution. Does this mean ten seasoned deceivers, now potentially siding with the Crown’s team? We shall investigate this matter of confidence men and the legal people, from the record itself, when opportunity arises.

In the interim we shall leave aside the bottle of Chivas Regal (and the rum – or should it be the irish whisky?) and concentrate on its worthy owner and the matter of ‘whistleblowing’. There was a range of whistleblowers associated with these events, and there are whistleblowers, today, involved with the aftermath of these events. It is essential to understand something of what it means to attempt to do something about a problem in a bureaucracy — especially if one is an employee thereof.

I once read a real life account of a blackmailing crime, written by a top English detective. I don’t remember his name but his account was of sufficient interest and quality to get into the Reader’s Digest . He had good reasons for having the story published. He was a top policeman. The blackmailer was extorting money from a food manufacturer by poisoning food products or something such. The police were arranging for payments to be made to the blackmailer, but time and again the blackmailer failed to collect his money at those places where the police were watching (he had devised a clever optional pickup scheme). At last, this top detective deduced that the blackmailer must have access to the police office from which he was conducting the investigation.

Put yourself in the shoes of that detective. If the blackmailer is one of his acquaintances, a fellow officer, that fellow officer can simply claim that he was collecting the money for the detective. He may be able to turn Queen’s evidence, get the detective charged with the crime or at least with being involved in the crime – and destroy that detective’s career or even send him to jail.

The detective finally nailed the blackmailer – he was a fellow police officer – but to catch him he set up an entirely new investigation outside the original investigation, whilst maintaining the original investigation.

Not simple. He ran great risks. Should his methods have failed, he could have found himself in the dock, accused of the crime he was investigating.

According to the historical accounts, especially sections 2.2.4 to 2.2.7 in this Fitzgerald Inquiry Report (the history aspect of this report has its strong points) something along those lines was occurring in the police force. Certain unscrupulous officers were not beyond ruining the careers of other officers. Prosecutions failed in court. If we are to take this enquiry seriously, it appears to say that the one-time chief prosecutor of Queensland, Desmond Sturgess QC, an experienced and respected criminal lawyer, was completely taken in by his one-time client, police officer Herbert, and turned to Hebert for advice on eliminating police corruption sections 2.2.4,5&7! If you are confused, so am I! And what would the Queensland Cabinet have been? And if Tony Fitzgerald QC is correct regarding Herbert, whilst his higher-ranking colleague, Desmond Sturgess QC , was totally deceived by his own one-time client – so much so as to call upon him to help eliminate police corruption — where does that leave you, me, the official investigator Desmond Sturgess QC, the police commissioner, reason, innocence, guilt, and all the rest of it? Herbert must have been able to sell coal to Newcastle — if he was a bad guy – which on the balance of probability seems likely –  and the others weren’t the bad guys? Small wonder the legal profession became concerned. Small wonder there was deadlock and the Cabinet shrugged at Commissioner Whitrod’s resignation and tried for someone who seemed able to talk sense! And what could his replacement, Sir Terrence Lewis do? Much more than he did, some would say. But the top prosecution lawyer of Queensland had been conned by one of the supposedly crooked cops! The police force’s own Criminal Investigation Unit had been tarnished by accusations of malpractice and had failed in court! The Commissioner who was attempting to clean out the rotten apples had resigned. There was disarray, mystification, and divided loyalties. Was Lewis the victim or the partial cause of these unfortunate, criminal events?

Those upon whom men such as Bjelke Petersen relied to know the truth, were unable or unwilling to internally investigate so as to arrive at the truth. The only way to surgically remove the hardened, crooked officers in scenarios such as these is for someone not working within the police force to investigate obvious offenders. Thus, no crooked officers can tamper with the investigation. The investigator, not being a policeman, cannot be accused of being part of a police conspiracy. The results of the investigation would perhaps be taken direct to reliable persons in cabinet, by-passing a baffled legal fraternity? Bjelke Petersen, strangely enough, was the sort of individualistic, slightly eccentric person who believed people rather than bureaucracies and would have accepted the testimony of a free-lance investigator once the investigator established his credentials. The media and the ABC at that time in particular had questionable credentials. The media does not always bring us reliable facts.

Police officers themselves, although sworn to the eradication of crime, were amongst those least able to effectively tackle the crime which they witnessed in their own workplace!

Col Dillon was one officer who stood up and was counted when the opportunity arose. He wasn’t the only officer and he certainly wasn’t the most illustrious officer who did so but he gained acclaim because of his racial background (aboriginal blood). As officers, there was little these men could have done more than they did. We need not assume that all whistle blowers ‘get it right’ and we need not assume they are invariably heroes. We also need not assume that an officer who did not immediately come forward but who nevertheless knew of what was going on, was necessarily a guilty man. It is my opinion that the people with the opportunity and the tools at their disposal were in the media. As I see it, they didn’t blow a whistle, they blew a golden opportunity to serve the State.

It is my opinion that Fitzgerald was a classic media-legal foul-up. The media fed the Inquiry, and the Inquiry fed the media, in a classic revolving door scenario.

It is unwise to repeat the mistakes of the past and wise to learn from the past. Police officers of the special Criminal Investigation Unit in 1975 failed to nail down corruption and had the tables turned upon themselves – assuming they were the ‘straight’ policemen! – leading ultimately perhaps to the 1987   Fitzgerald event. The police force is now different, but whistleblowing is still whistleblowing and humans are still humans. Let us put forward a question. Since 1987, has there been any cut-and-dried whistleblowing by policemen so as to produce tangible results that cannot be denied?

The answer is in the affirmative! There is at least one case. This case is open and free to be researched by all, even though its outcome hangs in limbo. The relevant authorities, as high up as the Australian Senate, have not at this stage [2009] seen fit to act upon it. The two whistleblowers, members of the Queensland Police Force, took their reputations in their hands and according to believable sources went to the edge of bankruptcy. They subsequently left the Force. Their names are Reynolds and Harris. Harris is today [2009] a family law partner practising in Brisbane, Australia. I have spoken with this gentleman.

Here are fragments of their published story.

Published 24/09/1995 in The Sunday Mail author, Chris Griffith:

A controversial Senate committee inquiry into unresolved Queensland whistleblower cases could recommend that the Goss government [1989-1996] compensate some whistleblowers, according to the committee’s chairman, Senator Shayne Murphy. ……. .

He said the Queensland government may not be obliged legally to implement the committee’s recommendations, but he was concerned about the personal circumstances of several Queensland whisteblowers who took part in the inquiry. …. .

The committee’s delving into Queensland affairs represents a head-on clash between the Senate, the Goss government, and the CJC.

Its investigation began last year when Premier Wayne Goss refused point-blank to carry out a recommendation of the now-defunct Senate Committee on Public Sector Whistleblowing, namely that the State government establish “an independent investigation” into the unresolved Queensland cases.

After Mr Goss refused this request, the Senate formed the current committee.

It has since examined several cases including the alleged victimisation of former detectives Gordon Harris and John Reynolds, who attempted to prosecute police detective John Huey. [A Fitzgerald prosecutor.]

It has also examined the plight of former union official Kevin Lindeberg who opposed State cabinet’s decision to shred documents wanted for legal action by former public servant Peter Coyne.

The committee in particular honed in on the CJC’s role in investigating these complaints.

Whistleblowers claimed the Queensland authorities had a conflict of interest or a vested interest against investigating their concerns thoroughly.

Senator Murphy said he personally believed Gordon Harris and John Reynolds were “the victim of circumstances”. “It’s hard to see why they would have pursued the John Huey diaries issue for any other reason than to highlight the alleged wrongdoing by that person, and I think the system to some degree let them down,” he said.

“Kevin Lindeberg likewise pursued his case on the basis he thought he was doing the right thing. He wasn’t doing it for financial gain or anything else.”

“I don’t think that there was any conspiratorial objective in the government’s action that led to the shredding of the documents. I think they just did it on the basis of making a judgement, maybe they didn’t handle it very well.”

END Sunday Mail extracts.

Extracts from News of the Day, an Australian internet newspaper, 11/09/1997:

The alleged corruption of power in Queensland at the highest levels in government under ALP State Premier Wayne Goss [1989-1996] has once again raised its ugly head. ….

Although not as serious as the well documented shredding of court document case …. [involving whistleblowers Coyne and Lindeberg] …. the outcome [for Harris and Reynolds] has been the same. Both men have been driven to the point of bankruptcy in their conviction to see justice done.

They have been fighting an entrenched and self-seeking bureaucratic system which was allowed to flourish under Goss’ leadership. … .

….. Harris and Reynolds took the evidence to the CJC and lodged an official complaint against Huey with complaints section head David Bevan and Commander Carl Mengler the senior police officer attached to the CJC.

Following the submission to the CJC the summons against Huey was withdrawn by the crown prosecutor. Six days later the two detectives were transferred back into uniform at the instruction of Huey. ……. .

…….. . The CJC then again pursued Harris on the old illegal firearm allegation with a CJC file note dated March 19, 1991 authored by CJC director of operations Carl Mengler referring to a discussion that he had with assistant commissioner Neil Comrie.   Mengler says in the note that he interpreted Comrie’s comments as, “What have you done with the complaints file (about the firearm), you have had it for some considerable time and you know full well that Harris is a problem and that we need all the help that we can in relation to him — although he did not say it in those words.”

“I think he (Comrie) has a point, we do know, and have known for some time that the Harris issue would raise its head again and may I suggest that we do something about finalising this complaint if at all possible.”

Another file note records that the CJC decided to charge Harris for breaching the Police Administration Act by copying the documents [Huey’s diaries etc.] despite Harris taking out a civil action attempting to “restrain the CJC official misconduct director from proceeding with investigative hearing”.

The CJC legal officer Forbes Smith says in another note, “It is the view of the director (Mark Le Grand) that the Commission should no longer allow the investigation to be delayed by the application (by Harris) which is currently before the court.” ……. .

In 1995 a Senate Select Committee on unresolved whistleblower cases expressed surprise at the “vehemence with which various authorities pursued Harris”. …..

Today [1997] Harris is president of the Queensland Whistleblowers Action Group.

We have introduced ourselves to two policemen displaying the features of the genuine article. They obtained undeniable evidence. They suffered demotion and counter-attack. They were willing to go to the point of bankruptcy to see justice done. The Australian Senate, whilst not advocating further action on their behalf at the time, affirmed their actions, specifically noting that there was no logical motive for them to fabricate their evidence. They put their reputations and livelihoods on the line. These officers came up with ‘the goods’. Falsification of evidence is no joke and rightly can lead to a substantial jail sentence.

Their whistleblowing proves that falsification of evidence was happening in the early 1980’s.

It is now appropriate to return to the Muntz case. We shall then return to these whistleblowers!

Muntz’s charge was that he misappropriated travel expense money. As we have already learned, the real travel expense rort – if it ever existed – was examined by Sir Max Bingham QC, not Tony Fitzgerald QC, and is detailed in a CJC report of 1991. For reasons which I do not comprehend, Fitzgerald, with this information presumably at his fingertips, presumably ignored it. It possibly involved substantial sums, and tended to involve Labour parliamentarians over and above the Conservatives.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry prosecutors knew of parliamentary travel entitlements, and knew that parliamentarians far, far, removed from being Conservative Cabinet Ministers were under a cloud in relation thereto. Unless they were derelict in their research they should have known something along the lines of the following: Quoting again from Sir Max’s 1991 Report on an Investigation into Possible Misuse of Parliamentary Travel Entitlements by Members of the 1986-1989 Queensland Legislative Assembly (available from the Qld Crime and Misconduct Commission): “The guidelines which regulated the payment of daily travelling allowance were grossly inadequate. …………..It is the Commission’s view that there are substantial evidentiary hurdles which make prosecution action unavailable in the vast majority of cases, and tenuous, unsatisfactory and unfair in the remainder. The reasons are many but primarily relate to poor guidelines in place at the relevant time together with the absence of any requirement for members to report on the parliamentary business undertaken by them during their travel. This latter consideration meant that there was very little information available to the Commission which could be investigated …… The majority of members chose not to provide information …… absence of documentation …….. Further information was sought from some fifteen Members ……… almost half those Members when called objected, pursuant to Section 3.24 of the Act …. on the ground that such disclosures may tend to incriminate.

Geoff Muntz objected to nothing. His defence simply rested on the documentation he himself provided and his straightforward assertion that to his knowledge, under the guidelines, and with all circumstances taken into account, he owed the people of Queensland nothing and he had a clear conscience in the matter.

Whether he had a clear conscience or no, the District Court judge, presumably acting under the influence of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, found cases to answer whilst his Superior, Sir Max Bingham of the CJC, concurrently found no cases to answer, then threw the can of worms into the lap of a mystified jury.

Quoting from Muntz’s 1991 trial (for supposedly misappropriating travel entitlements): Mr. Griffin (Prosecution): “Your Honour. I would ask for a ruling on parliamentary entitlements. It was a matter which was debated before your Honour. Because your Honour found that there was a case to answer on all 30 counts, it was unnecessary for your Honour in announcing that decision to deal specifically with the argument in connection with the application to the effect that there was no case to answer on particular counts. However, we now come to the addresses and for the purposes of the addresses it is necessary for counsel on both sides to know exactly what your Honour’s ruling is in relation to parliamentary entitlements. His Honour Judge McGuire: It is not a statutory document, is it? It is not a matter of statutory interpretation. Judge Boyce took the view that the jury could see the document and determine it for themselves. You have seen his view expressed in his summing up? Griffin: Yes. His Honour Judge McGuire: I don’t know that I should be forced into giving a ruling on it. I have expressed a view. It is a bit different. I think Judge Boyce emphasized it was a matter for them. It is not a matter of statutory interpretation. He offered them guidance and his guidance was along the lines that the expense still had to be for public purpose. He thought there was little assistance to be derived from that documentation. Griffin: Is your Honour proposing then to direct the jury in accordance with …….. His Honour Judge McGuire: I am, as at present advised, inclined to Judge Boyce’s point of view. Griffin: Yes. His Honour Judge McGuire: It seems to me that the effect of the Cabinet Minute dated 4/06/84 is to expressly exclude ministers of the Crown and the Speaker from the provisions of S.S.3 and 7(b) of the Members’ Entitlement Booklet. Paragraph 5 of the submission affords a Minister unlimited air travel to be paid from the ministerial vote, that is the departmental budget allocation. The costs are to be included in the ministerial expenses tabled in Parliament. I only express an opinion. I think each counsel is entitled to argue it, as Judge Boyce allowed, before the jury. I give this as my opinion. I think the jury does need some guidance. I intend to adopt the attitude adopted by Judge Boyce of saying it is for them, but to offer my own advice…………. In the end it is for the jury to put their own interpretation on it in the context of the case……. .”

Here are some of the hamburgers and the small change that came to the attention of the Special Prosecutor(s), who attacked corruption in Queensland by bringing charges against people such as Muntz – and getting them put in their own jails! Only people such as political candidates, relying on uncountable unpaid help from family and others about them, endeavouring to maintain some sort of sanity and some sort of family life whilst ‘staying in touch’ with people on the street; spending months away from home and with no certainty of a job tomorrow, could fully understand how absurd were these charges.

Charge: 30 counts of fraud misappropriation under s 409C of the CC. Pleaded not guilty for all of them. That on or about the 22’nd day of April 1985 at Brisbane you dishonestly applied to your own use to the extent of $100 property being a thing in action belonging to the Crown (the State of Qld). Further: that on or about the 22nd day of April 1985 you dishonestly applied to your own $200.55 property being a thing in act. Further 2nd of August 1985 $114.80 Further 29th July 1985 $75 Further 2nd of August 1985 $444.80- plea not guilty 16 Dec 1985 $100.05 not guilty 12Jan 1986 $53.25 20th Dec 1985 $261.90 17 Dec 1985 $239.10 16th Dec 1985 $99.10 17th Dec 1985 239.10 14th April 1986 $40.00 21 Feb 1986 $240.00 28th June 1986 $299.00 22nd July 1986 $545.97 22nd July 1986 $1,208.61 27th Feb 1987 $10311 Aug 1987 $139.8024th Aug 1987 $212 6th Oct 1987 $55.20 1st March 1988 $ 109.80 1st March 1988 $179 16 Feb 1988 $352 16 Feb 1988 $422 18th Feb 1988 $94 16th Feb 1988 $176 25th Feb 1988 1,144.40 14th April 1988 $190.58 14th April 1988 $176 14th April 1988 $341

Mr Griffin for the Prosecution literally spent days reciting to the jury all the sins of Geoff Muntz. He made him the world’s worst serial hamburger heister. He implied that Muntz corrupted his family and he corrupted the whole State! The record is available at the Supreme Court, Brisbane. Muntz was painted as a despicable thief who schemed, colluded, and simply could not be trusted. To put it bluntly – if Griffin actually believed a tenth of the spiel that came out of his own mouth, he would have checked his pockets every time he went near the accused. Especially if he was carrying hamburgers!

The Prosecution found abundant witnesses who had seen Muntz spending taxpayers’ money.

The Defence easily showed that there was not a single case that could be proved beyond reasonable doubt. And the judge was either incompetent or he knew it. Yet he allowed the charges. The Defence barrister had the ring of truth. The sample provided below is not the fabrications of a liar. It illustrates the duplicity of the Prosecution’s methods. The jury, having a seemingly endless list of charges presented before them, even though they deduced that many were doubtful, assumed they couldn’t be dealing with a totally innocent man and judged accordingly. It wasn’t their proper role to be judge. We know that according to the head of the CJC himself, Sir Max Bingham, the guidelines regarding travel entitlements were not specific. In other words, travel entitlements were an honour system – it boiled down to one question. The question: “Is the accused a kleptomaniac or no?” And, as with paedophiles, kleptomaniacs habitually re-offend. But such widely known technical facts spoil the play – and the play must go on.

MR. TAEFFE: Well. The trial is now into its final week and this is the first time, really, that anyone is going to say something nice about Geoff Muntz. Someone is not going to call him a liar, a thief, a man who deliberately takes public money, a man who has got his hand in the till. Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want your sympathy. I am not asking you to acquit the man because you have sympathy for him. I want you to look closely at the evidence and apply the law that is applicable in the circumstances of this case. This is not a game conducted between my learned friend and myself here. I call him my learned friend but you probably couldn’t help but notice during the trial we were friends. We have been friends for many years. We are not going to come in here and bicker with each other during the course of the trial because we happen to be on opposite sides. But there are certain things which he said in the course of the trial, in the course of the addresses to you, that I must comment on and I must bring him to task for.You have listened for two and a bit days. You have heard him talk of many witnesses. You have heard him challenge me, challenge me to answer three specific areas: one, this morning, one in relation to Queens Beach, and one in relation to some other matter than escapes me at the moment, but I will take up the challenge

Did you hear him refer to one witness, or one person who hasn’t been called, where a challenge was thrown down fairly and squarely to the Crown very, very early in the piece? Do you remember that the very first witness called by the Crown-and he knows what I am talking about-the challenge was thrown down. My neck was stuck out here. The Crown could have chopped it right off if they had evidence to do so. Maybe I am speaking in riddles. Maybe you have forgotten. Maybe you didn’t understand the significance of it at the time, so I will read the evidence to you, and his Honour will tell you, in relation to matters put to a witness, of the duty that a barrister has in that regard. We don’t go off in frolics of our own. When we put something to the witness His Honour will tell you that that is based on instructions.

A very, very serious matter was put and it is in relation to that trip to Sydney for what we have called the bicentennial weekend. You see, my client gave an answer in relation to that weekend which is clearly wrong, and I will deal with these explanations in more detail at a later time to show you how they came into existence. They are not only his. You will see there has been a Pot Pouri of various persons contributing to that. The explanation he gave was that there was a formal invitation from the Prime Minister to all Cabinet Ministers. Now, it is quite clear there wasn’t a formal invitation. It is quite clear that the man would have to be a complete and utter fool to provide the explanation if he didn’t believe it at the time. If he knew at the time, or he believed at the time, that there was no formal invitation, then he is a complete fool to put that in there because it could be so easily checked out and proven to be false. This is the evidence that I have referred to: p.64, Mr. James, and I will read it in its entirety.

“I put this to you, that my client went to Sydney”- this is for that weekend-“with the express permission and in the full knowledge of the Premier of Queensland, Mr.Mike Ahern.” “I put this to you”-“I put it”-and his Honour will tell you what that means when a barrister “puts it”. He’s not on a frolic of his own. “…my client went to Sydney with express permission and in the full knowledge of the then Premier of Queensland, Mr.Mike Ahern. Mr. Griffin: I object. That is outside knowledge of the witness.” I said, “there’s no-one else I can put it to. I’m putting —– His Honour: One moment, there’s an objection. What is the basis of that? Mr.Griffin: The question is whether he went there with full knowledge of the then Premier of Queensland. This witness cannot tell us what the then Premier of Queensland knew. His Honour: Well, I should not have thought so. On what basis do you say it be allowed?” My response: “There will be no-one else called, as I understand this, from the Special Prosecutor’s office that I can put this to. I have to put it to someone. This is the neatest witness I can put it to. The Crown is aware of this matter that I am putting it and can do with it what they will. It is a very relevant matter.”- and this is very, very relevant for you people. It is a very relevant matter whether my client went there on a frolic of his own to a wedding or with the permission of the then Premier Ahern and with Ahern having full knowledge of the trip. “His Honour: Yes, but what do you suggest the source of the man’s information would be ?” “He is an investigator. He is aware of the Crown’s allegation that my client attended there on the frolic of his own to attend a wedding. I want to put to him that it is not so. ” His Honour: I will allow the question. Taeffe: You see, I put it to you that my client, with the permission of the Premier, attended and with the Premier having knowledge of the trip. I will go further. Perhaps I will give you the opportunity to comment on this; if I put the details to you and then you can comment at the end- that after the final Cabinet meeting of 1987 Muntz approached Ahern about going down to Sydney as a representative of the Government for the Bicentennial celebrations which included the Tall Ships. He says he was quite easy about whether he could go or not and asked what Ahern thought about it. He declared the fact that there was a private—- His Honour: “Just a moment, what is the question?” “I am putting to this witness, to give him the opportunity to comment on it.” “Let him answer the question first.” “The question was that he went with the knowledge and authority of the then Premier, Mr. Ahern. What is your answer to that?” Answer, ” I am simply not in a position to know whether it is so or not.” “Well, did you interview Ahern?” “Oh, no.” “Ahern has been interviewed by an officer of the Special Prosecutors office; isn’t that so?” Answer, “I imagine during the course of ministerial investigations, yes, he was, but not by me.” “You see, you appreciate the opportunity I am giving you to have the matters that I am putting to be checked out- confirmed or totally branded as lies; isn’t that so? You appreciate that?” Jones: “I can see what you are doing, but I’m just not able to comment on the veracity of this statement or not. “You realize that Mr.Muntz was Tourism Minister at the time?” “Yes, I believe he was.” “You see, I put this to you, that Ahern said to Muntz- I’m sorry Muntz said to Ahern- do you want me to attend or should I not?’ His Honour: He has answered the question. He has no knowledge of the matter. What are you trying to get evidence from the bar table for? Taeffe: I am not trying to get any evidence from the bar table. I am putting the matter to a witness. I’m sticking my neck right out so it can be either disproved or proved. I can do it though no other witness and that is the reason I am doing it.”

Now, the challenge was handed down at p.64 of the 700 or 800 page transcript. Ahern- you might have noticed early in the trial at about this time a photograph appearing on “The Courier-Mail”-the front page- of Mr.Ahern and his two children- giving evidence here in this very complex within 100 meters of you; and the challenge was given- and this is terribly important because these things- you must see the two sides to things, ladies and gentlemen. The challenge was given that Ahern was there- that Ahern gave- that he went there with Ahern’s approval, permission and full knowledge. My learned friend didn’t overlook that. He didn’t overlook it in his address. He didn’t forget about it. He deliberately avoided it; and the reason that he deliberately avoided it was that it was unanswerable. The only answer that can be given is this- that we had the opportunity to call Ahern; we could have called Ahern. We could have called Jones. We could have called Wilcox- and that’s very, very right, but that would have had one effect on the way this case was conducted, one very serious affect. If I call a witness, if I tender a statement, if I tender a document, if I tender the merest scrap – two words on a piece of paper, of evidence- I go first and the Crown goes second. In some jurisdictions the defence always goes last; and you may well think that’s an extraordinary advantage and a huge advantage to go second, particularly in the trial where there’s not a great deal of challenge, if any, to the witnesses. So don’t, when you go to that jury room, please, go with this thought in mind: “Well, he threw down the challenge all right but the Crown- he could have called Ahern.” You see, in any criminal trial the Crown has to prove its case. They have got to prove the guilt of Geoffrey Muntz, the man they call the accused. They’ve got to prove the guilt; and there was a specific matter put in relation to that Sydney count, specifically put down there as Tourism Minister to see the Bicentennial celebration, culminating in the Tall Ships.

My learned friend has told you of the huge resources of the Crown. Well, I am not going to say to you- I wouldn’t have said to you the Crown has huge resources, although I’m appreciative of the fact- it’s not the Crown, of course. The Crown doesn’t have huge resources. He is referring to the Special Prosecutor, the Special Prosecutor’s office when he says that. It is not the State Crown that prosecutes trivial matters like murder and armed robbery and rapes and unlawfully doing grievous-bodily-harms and that type of offence; but it doesn’t take huge resources to get Ahern into the witness box when the challenge is made, and why wasn’t he called? There can only be one answer for that. There can only be one answer and if there only is one answer for that then you might see things a little differently to what you’ve been seeing them perhaps over the last two days. When you have heard the Queens Counsel, one of the most senior lawyers in the State talking to you about this, you may well think, yes, there’s merit in what he says, but I will be taking a couple of other things that were said and you might say to yourself. “Well, by jove, there’s another side to things. Maybe there is a side we didn’t think of.” When you come to consider those counts, that’s 23-29 and you’ve probably got all this in your heads anyway, generally-when you come to consider that, just ask yourself that. Just say, “Well, we didn’t hear from Ahern when the challenge was fairly and squarely put over the objection”- over objection, fairly and squarely put . You see, just ask yourself one thing- and I’m going to have to go through those counts and I’m going to be some time. Unfortunately for you, you are a captive audience and you can’t do very much about it. The only thing you can do is, when you retire and consider your verdict, you can pay us back by staying out as long as you like and we can’t do a thing about that. We’ve just got to sit here and wait, and that’s the only chance you get. I hope you don’t take me up seriously on that, but anyway, when you look at those-23 to 29 – say, “Let’s take the wedding out. Put that to one side. What’s left?”- Minister for Tourism- attending at Sydney on the biggest weekend in Australia’s 200 years of white settlement- a big display of Tall Ships- about 30, I think–Expo coming up here in April- goes to the Q.T.T.C, spends an hour and a half to two hours there. What’s wrong with that? Takes his son down, but doesn’t charge anyone for the son. The son doesn’t stay at the hotel with him. His explanation is the lad stayed with friends and that’s perfectly consistent because he comes back on his own. So you have a minister for Tourism going down – a minister for Tourism who has a fetish about looking after things for himself- – goes to Sydney- as I said, visits the office there- looks at what’s going on in the Tourism world and comes back in time for the Cabinet meeting. Would the Crown say that’s a miss-use of funds? He’s entitled to take his wife with him. The Crown haven’t disputed that he’s there on any sort of official business. Would the Crown really be saying to you seriously, “The man is dipping into public funds.” And the answer to that is “No.” Put the wedding in and does that make it different because the wedding is in. Does it make it dishonest?

If a Crown Prosecutor was invited to a wedding at Mackay, we will say, and he’s invited to a wedding at Mackay and on the 15th-16th-16th April, the day after tomorrow, and he lives there in Brisbane, so he’s got to get up there for that wedding and he’s up for an air trip, airfare, and accommodation; but it just so happens there’s a circuit on in Mackay at the same time as the wedding was on, but he’s not the prosecutor to prosecute the circuit. Another prosecutor from Brisbane has been assigned to go up there to prosecute, and this Crown Prosecutor goes to that other Crown Prosecutor and says, “Listen, how about swapping with me? I’ll do the Mackay circuit and you do the Mt. Isa circuit that I’m going to do?” There has to be a Crown Prosecutor who goes up there. It doesn’t matter two hoots which one goes, so the Crown Prosecutor goes up and attends the wedding and we pay for the airfare and we pay for his accommodation and if he gets a room only accommodation- a room that’s charged only on a room rate- and takes his wife up with him and pays for her airfare up, puts her in the same accommodation, and if he’s got a travel allowance $x a day, he might even buy a meal for her out of the travel allowance. Is he dishonest? Would you expect Mr. Griffin would be in here prosecuting a Crown Prosecutor who did that? The answer to that is a resounding “No”- but Geoff Muntz has to be perfect. That’s what the Crown has you believe. He has to be perfect, and I simply used that analogy to say there is no reason you can’t mix business with pleasure. If he is down there as I have suggested to you, why not then take up this invitation to go to a wedding- for however long we don’t know.

So when I come to those counts I won’t take a great deal of your time. You see, look at other things- and you’ve got to be so careful about things that are prejudicial, and I’ll come to this at a later time; but you heard the Crown in his final address say, “Well, the silver BMW- it didn’t matter much what it was.” But the evidence was a silver BMW- looks bad. It looks as if the Minister is going up-market. Well, you heard the evidence in relation to that from the Budget man, but I am digressing and I will come back to that later.

Another advantage of having the final address is this: that it gives you the opportunity to comment on matters which might have some appeal to you. Remember in relation to Dillies Restaurant- that’s count 21- Dillies Seafood Restaurant at Margate. I will just deal with a submission that was put to you there. Remember in cross-examination I asked Mrs. Callanan “Did Mr. Muntz”-“Was Mr. Muntz a courteous fellow?” She said “Yes.” I said, “Did he– Would you have expected he would have introduced his son to you?” and she said, “Yes.” Now, the Crown Prosecutor said “Well, why wouldn’t he introduce his son?” Well, put to one side how busy Mrs. Callanan was, but Muntz was pretty devious, according to the Crown. He was aware when he went there he would be paying for lunch with his Amex card and therefore he couldn’t introduce his lad to Mrs. Callanan because she would think- she would rationalise, “Hey, that’s his son. He’s paying with his Amex card. There’s something shonky going on here.” Now, just think that through for a minute because you might say – and it was put to you that it was the day after Danny’s birthday- well, let’s think that through because what’s going to happen is this: I can’t comment on everything that’s said by the Crown and I can’t comment on the evidence and I don’t know what you are thinking and I don’t know what you regard as important, but I can at least put some of these things to you and say, “Look, please, when you go out there to consider your verdict please think of these matters and look at the evidence in the light of some of the things that have been raised.” Because what follows if Muntz is clever enough to do this – he’s clever enough to think through, “Well, she’ll know I pay on the government card and therefore I can’t introduce Danny.” – and that’s what the Crown say- it’s Danny. We say “rubbish” to that. But if the Crown contention is true what must follow? Danny must be told something, mustn’t he, by his father before he goes into the restaurant. He must he told something. He must be told, “Don’t call me Dad.” He must be told, “Don’t call me ‘Mum’.” The other person who is there, a friend of Danny’s, must be told, “Don’t call him ‘Danny’.”
There has to be a conspiracy among those four people to get a free lunch. A great birthday celebration isn’t it? That’s what the Crown says- it’s to celebrate his birthday. I mean, I might be embarrassing my friend here now with these things, but they have to be said. What a great birthday celebration. “Don’t dare call me ‘Dad’ because we’re going down there to rip the government off. Don’t you dare call your Mum ‘Mum’. Don’t you dare call him ‘Danny’. Now, let’s go and have a great birthday.” Wonderful birthday; sort of thing you would love to do every day of your life.

So, you see, ladies and gentlemen, all is not what it appears at face value and remember the challenge that was thrown down on the Queens Beach week-end to see if I change my stance- where the Crown says, “Have a look at his deliberate lies when he says, ‘These dinners were probably lunches’.” “These dinners were probably lunches.” – and the Crown says other people had dinners there that evening- Danny and his mates. That’s what the Crown says, and that’s why the accused deliberately lied on that. When you saw the picture slides on the wall did you pick up a perfectly logical explanation for him believing that those dinners were lunches? I’ll show them to you later. Maybe someone picked up the perfectly logical explanation in relation to the legend that occurred on that docket and the numbers that occurred- that were written or printed in relation to the legend. If you did spot it, you don’t get a prize for it, unfortunately. You can be applauded, perhaps, for seeing what the Crown didn’t see. We will come to that later. We will have a look at the pictures if Mr. Peebles would be good enough to do that for me at a later time, and I will just show it to you. It is pretty simple. It is a simple mistake, as simple as that. What he has done is looked at that docket, he has seen the number 2 beside “Lunches” on the left hand side, the number 3, which is dinner I think, is on the far right-hand side and it is written 90 degrees or it is printed, I think- no, I might be wrong there myself. I am sorry, I have got it the wrong way around. Maybe I am being dishonest. “3” Is “Lunch” and “2” is “Dinner”, but we will have a look at the picture show and see if we can say, “the Crown says a deliberate lie; very simple to see a mistake.”

Again, ladies and gentlemen, talking about these general things and about the general submissions that have been made to you, what about Count 30, just as a simple illustration? I am taking these out of sequence just to point out to you some of the things that were said. Count 30, the Clarks: you will remember Mr. Clark well, a man very interested in his work, you might think, a love for music, did thousands of hours of work, then used a smoke screen by Geoff Muntz- a smoke screen, a façade adopted by Muntz to get a free meal, to justify a meal- that is what the Crown says- because very shortly before the prosecutor had made that submission to you about my client effectively looking around to see who he could spot- “You’ll do, the lady in the back of the court there. I know you.”- in fact I do know her, but, “You’ll do. Come over here. Have a meal with me. Haven’t seen her for a few years- “Have a meal with me and we’ll talk for an hour”-“Don’t have a meal, just have a bit of dessert and then we’ll talk for an hour to an hour and a half on matters that you are concerned with, tourism and music” -“talk for an hour to an hour and a hour and half and I’ll put that”-“that will enable me to put a legitimate claim in or a bodgey claim in to legitimize it because I have got you over there.” That is the submission. The other submission is, “Do you know why Geoff Muntz got away with all of this? Because the public servants just rubber stamped it. He said, ‘Here is a meal for official purposes’. Bang. The rubber stamp went on and it was paid and he was to do nothing more and nothing less than that.” That is what you are told in one breath and two minutes later you are told that the man has gone to devious trouble to put up that smoke screen. It doesn’t stand together. The two can’t stand together.

Well, now ladies and gentlemen, they are just a few preliminary things…………

Coolly analysing these events from a distance, we see the confusion and concurrently we are tempted to search for a pattern and perhaps a motive underneath the chaos. Is there a purpose and an underlying motive? Were these prosecutions the work of lost lawyers, or louts? If the latter, what purpose or motive? Was it the work of a serial parliamentarian jailer? Has the justice system taken on aspects of Jekyll and Hyde? Is there an element of psychopathy? Should we be looking about for criminals?

Someone ready to send parliamentarians to jail without compunction, by his own admission, could be the Inquiry Head, himself. He has become notorious in Australia for repeatedly lashing out at our elected representatives. These are the words of a man eminently unfitted to sitting in judgement:
“……. the main political parties have largely abandoned the ethics of government and practice pervasive deception …. ”
(The Age, 29/06/04, an article by Michelle Gattan).

Fitzgerald QC, by his own admission, regards politicians as guilty persons practising “pervasive deception”.

But he couldn’t have engineered such a full-scale departure from Law, unassisted.

He had as confidants and media assistants the taxpayer funded Four Corners team and others – all fully convinced that this was a legitimate inquiry. It had to be – it was their very own baby!

Regarding criminal input — there was a ready supply in those who turned Queen’s evidence. According to the enquiry head himself, they were able to deceive the best. One almost gains an impression that he admired them. We don’t hear overmuch of what punishment they received, despite being the root of the trouble.

We have the man at the top a potential serial M.P. ‘pincher’.

He is spurred on by the media.

He may well have had some inveterate liars turned crown witnesses on his team.

There is yet one piece of the puzzle missing. The missing piece is a prosecution team ready to employ shoddy evidence, or perhaps falsify evidence.
We have seen it in other cases. Is there any pre-existing record of it in persons attached to this enquiry?

Quoting Four Corners, 4/09/09. (We may note here that Chris Masters/Four Corners seldom passed up an opportunity to deride Bjelke Petersen, nevertheless, give them another fifty years of reporting, they could graduate into the real world? Masters, if you read his entire program, is beginning to comprehend?)

“Masters, to John Huey: ‘Looking back now, do you consider that Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was corrupt?’

Huey: ‘Yes. Yes, I do.’

Masters: ‘…. A Singapore businessman, Robert Sng, visited the Premier and handed him a brown paper bag. Sng, who was seeking approval for a hotel development , donated $300,000 to the National Party …….’

John Huey: ‘I said to Robert Sng, Well what did Sir Joh say to you when you gave him this large sum of money? And he said, All he said was, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.’

Masters: ‘The … account set up ….. to assure Joh’s financial clout within the party received close to $900,000.’

Masters, to John Huey: ‘Any evidence that the money was used by Sir Joh for his personal interests?’

Huey: ‘Well as I understand it and I have seen through the … records, no.’

Masters: ‘Fitzgerald enquirers would find that Russell Hinze [long-serving conservative Cabinet Minister who died before being convicted of anything] received as much as $4 million in loans from developers.’

Huey: ‘They must have had a dozen briefs of evidence of corruption, you know amounts $50,000, $100,000, $200,000, all going to Hinze …..’

How is that for trial by media and slander by inference? A policeman a concocter of condemnation without proof. A media organisation – reporter Masters in particular – worse. Criminal slander, destructive of society itself.

We can, nevertheless, give Masters and Huey some credit:

Masters, to John Huey: ‘Any evidence that the money was used by Sir Joh for his personal interests?’

Huey: ‘Well as I understand it and I have seen through the … records, no.’

Tony Fitzgerald ran a kangaroo court. His technical results were questionable and obviously one-sided. And he, along with other operatives including some in the judiciary and media, came out of it, personally disillusioned.

ABC News, 29/07/09, reported, “Tony Fitzgerald has given a scathing assessment of the culture of Queensland politics and he has savaged the actions of former Labour Premier Peter Beattie.”

To single out this Premier seems no more reasonable than singling out Bjelke Petersen. Is judge Fitzgerald here actually calling for help, and in some feverish outbreak, pinching and clawing at the two people who in the back of his mind are strong and willing to act, and therefore, by default, responsible – Bjelke Petersen and the man from the other Party whom Bjelke Petersen meaningfully endorsed when he finally won the top office – Peter Beattie?

THE AGE, 12/09/07, part of an article by Brian Costar:

“WHILE few would deny that Peter Beattie was one of the most successful and politically talented of the contemporary crop of Premiers, had some senior members of the Queensland Labor Party had their way he would never have been elected to Parliament let alone occupy the top job for nearly nine years.

The serial electoral incompetence of the party junta produced a reaction by rank-and-file members that by 1978 had crystallised into the Reform Group led by the late Dr Denis Murphy. Beattie was an eager and active member. For his trouble he was suspended from party membership in a hamfisted ploy to deny him parliamentary preselection.

Beattie turned the tables on his party foes and contributed to the executive dissolving and reconstructing the Queensland branch in 1981.

The corruption and sleaze exposed at the Fitzgerald inquiry snuffed out the National Party government and Labor, led by Wayne Goss, won the 1989 election in a landslide and Peter Beattie was elected to the inner-metropolitan seat of Brisbane.

Party secretaries make enemies as well as friends and Beattie was decidedly out of favour with Goss and the policy wonks who surrounded him. Instead of the ministry to which he was eminently qualified, Beattie was given the poisoned chalice of parliamentary chair of the Criminal Justice Commission where he made more enemies by acting in a non-partisan manner.

It wasn’t until July 1995 that Beattie entered the cabinet as health minister. He was to serve only six months until the fall of the Goss government in February 1996, when he was elected leader of the Opposition. Assisted by the ineptitude of the Borbidge Coalition government and the eruption of One Nation, Beattie became Premier and leader of a minority government on June 26, 1998.

It had taken him 17 years to rise from party secretary to Premier and his need to overcome almost insurmountable obstacles toughened him as a politician. Beattie was a Premier who appreciated that good public policy needed to be supported by good political management. He needed all his political skills when it was discovered in 2000 that
AWU faction members had corrupted the electoral roll when branch-stacking preselection ballots and that the practice had been going on for years.

Beattie acted decisively by insisting on the resignation of Labor members of parliament – including the deputy Premier – and went on to win the election handsomely.”

END quote from THE AGE.

As we have learned, the ‘corruption and sleaze exposed at the Fitzgerald Inquiry’ that ‘snuffed out the National Party Government’ was not the creation of that Government. And despite the ineptitude of that Inquiry, it was the National Party that finally wrote its own electoral demise. Upon Bjelke Petersen’s wandering off (supposedly to go to Canberra) there was a vacuum of leadership, and this arguably did as much damage as the Inquiry. Such is politics. Our leaders, irrespective of party, need all the assistance we can give them!

Returning to the (1998-2007) labour Premier Beattie, a man who was deliberately congratulated by Bjelke Petersen when elected to office.

Beattie was not in the same league as Bjelke Petersen, for reasons which history will show and with which we need not now detain ourselves. Howbeit, as the biographical fragment above suggests, he made a determined effort to improve his side of politics. In spite of Fitzgerald’s vitriol, he was a reformer of the major and majority political Party of Queensland.

Let us now refresh our minds regarding the way in which unscrupulous and smooth operators take control of various bodies and organisations, especially those with compulsorily collected monies. The AWU mentioned above in Beattie’s biographical extract is a trade union, and unions can be a handy illustration. When I attended university, the hard-working parents/providers were obliged as part of the fees to pay a small student union levy. This theoretically covered the cost of some minor, necessary, apolitical facilities. These monies were administered by students who were nominally voted in by the students. Scratch the apolitical. We witnessed legalised academic thuggery reminiscent of fascism/bolshevism. Of course the running of the union was not a matter of significance or relevance to those who wished to become engineers or doctors. It was irrelevant.

Whoever was behind it knew precisely where the legal boundaries stood. They presumably had legal advice. The method, which the reader probably already has encountered, was to slander and destroy the personal character and credibility of any potentially uncooperative students standing for student union positions, using any falsification whatsoever. This was pursued by any means which would not lead to the slanderers/academic thugs actually becoming liable for prosecution under the law. Knowledgeable legal people must have been involved. Whilst I was at university, this student’s union was seldom anything but the playtoy of corrupters. Their flavour at that time was left wing, but I am confident that the reader understands that a thug is a thug irrespective of the political colour with which he paints himself. The genuine political ideologues whom these slick, law-savvy operators relied upon, and hid themselves amongst, of course, were expendable stepping-stones to the one universal goal – money/power. These operators were smarter than nazis and possibly even in the same league as Lenin or Stalin.

The undeniable history of Queensland – Beattie’s biography above being an extract – includes the history of such activity in and on behalf of political parties, especially the ALP. That is one reason behind that Party’s loss to the Conservatives, mid- 20th Century. The ALP was ‘on the nose’. When Fitzgerald complains to the reader via his Inquiry report that Bjelke Petersen was wary of ALP affiliation in people in sensitive public service positions such as the police force – we may rest assured that this Premier was guided by hard-earned experience. The ALP was in some measure a criminal organization. To get to that woeful state, ‘labour lawyers’ must have been involved, pushing the boundaries and subtly twisting the meaning and purpose of the law.

It is self-evident that if deception is going on every day amongst the legal profession as a supposedly necessary part of justice, and these legal practitioners go on to influence or even to become parliamentarians; we have a problem. Are investigator Fitzgerald’s assertions and protests telling us something?

Let’s run an elementary check on dates and events – and look for possible back-room manipulation/collusion. Such collusion might have involved certain minority elements of the legal profession, police force, public service, political parties, and the media. Let’s do for a moment what the Fitzgerald Inquiry did to its high profile victims. Trial by association, innuendo, and assumption of conspiracy.

The Inquiry was set up in 1987 under a temporary Premier (Ahern) who made irrational ad hoc decisions, and publicly committed himself to doing whatever the Enquirer recommended, lock, stock and barrel. He put non-elected persons, (solicitors etc), in charge of a democracy. Labour congratulated him as he was carried out on a figurative stretcher. They found no difficulty in following him in his carte blanche commitment to the recommendations of the Inquiry – especially the aspects that were electorally in their favour – which were most or all of them!

Before listing the events in sequence we might take a quick glance into what in 1987 was still the future. Quoting the ABC’s Four Corners program, 03/03/08:

Wayne Goss [solicitor and first Labour Premier after 32 years]:

‘December the 2nd, 1989, is the end of the Bjelke-Petersen era!’ Cheers from audience.

Chris Masters:

‘A young Director-General of the cabinet office, Kevin Rudd, took to the task of rebuilding governance with enough zeal for him to be dubbed Doctor Death.’

N. Harper, ex. Attorney General: ‘I don’t know how much is known of this but so many public servants were just put away into a hole. The whole of my personal staff were put in a basement room not even with a typewriter.’

END Four Corners extract.

The Inquiry was promptly got underway in 1987 with the result that Police Commissioner Lewis and ex-Transport Minister (and ex-policeman) Lane were in jail by 1990 and a couple more ministers (Austin and Harvey) were in jail or on their way to it during that same year. There is no question that Lane and probably Austin as well did appropriate at least some small monies illegally – Lane admitted it — and there is no question that Lewis rightly came under suspicion. There is also no question that it was right and proper for some investigation to be made into other parliamentarians such as Bjelke Petersen. His investigation, followed by a trial, sputtered on until 1993, when it was called off, leaving the man accused of $millions in corruption financially ruined. As we have observed with the case of Geoff Muntz, and given the endless financial resources and dirty tricks of the prosecutors, anyone on the Conservative side they chose to prosecute would have at least been financially ruined as a result, even if not found guilty. Perhaps they spun a roulette wheel and Leisha Harvey’s number came up?

Whilst these prosecutions were underway there was nauseating, seemingly non-stop media coverage of corruption, corruption, corruption – with some brothelesque events thrown in by way of light relief. Queenslanders were mindsoaked in the idea of corruption in high places. The high places as publicised were exclusively Conservative. Every trial was conducted in this poisoned atmosphere.

Most if not all Fitzgerald recommendations were soon enacted. The ‘watchdog’ Criminal Justice Commission under Sir Max Bingham – a widely respected and highly recommended lawyer – was in action by 1990. Respected policemen were brought in from elsewhere to take high positions, including that of Police Commissioner.

This experiment with the police force and CJC was a rough ride. The new police commissioner for one departed under acrimonious circumstances and element(s) of the Goss Cabinet rightly or wrongly were involved in dismissals/resignations.

In a surprisingly short time, even the unbiased, highly recommended Sir Max Bingham left the CJC for less stressful pastures. He didn’t leave before handing down his Report on Parliamentary Travel Entitlements, etc. This 1991 report, without fear or favour, revealed that members of the then Labour Cabinet could have been individually in debt to the Queensland taxpayer by tens of thousands of dollars. Half a million dollars all up spent on Labour holidays is a likely starting figure.  Here was real money, real evidence, real indication of real malpractice.

These travel entitlement queries were originally raised by the Auditor-General in October,1988. The possibility of criminal prosecution of Labour Cabinet Ministers could therefore have been known to those ministers or their associates/supporters (via relevant informers) in 1988. The travel entitlements in contention, under the Fitzgerald rule of thumb for jail sentencing, could have led to years in prison for those cabinet ministers.

Peter Beattie, solicitor/Labour parliamentarian, was chairman of the CJC at the time of the Travel Entitlements Investigation. John Costar’s authoritative biographical note (above) informs us that Beattie was resented by some from his side of politics because he conducted himself in a non-partisan manner whilst chairing that investigative body.

1990. Reynolds and Harris ‘sprung’ Huey. Their detective work revealed enhancement/falsification of evidence and clearly points to the possibility that the Fitzgerald Inquiry as a criminal prosecution was unreliable.

1990. Keith Wright, former leader of the Labour Opposition, was convicted of raping an 11yr old girl. This conviction was not based entirely on fiction. Wright by his own confession had a liaison with a minor.

1991. The dying embers of Fitzgerald were stirred up and Muntz, arguably of the same high personal morality as Bjelke Petersen, one-time minister for prisons, was sent to his prisons on concocted evidence. The few dollars they did manage to lay on him did not warrant imprisonment. The cost of defending himself under the cunning entanglements served up to him would have been ruinous.

Let us interrupt the narrative to consider: why was Muntz – and for that matter, Leisha Harvey, prosecuted? Could it have been to keep the public focus on the Conservatives and their supposed corruption? Could it have been deliberately initiated to draw away fire? Or were Fitzgerald and his prosecutors merely blinded by hunter’s adrenaline? If Fitzgerald was stirred on by adrenaline, by his own subsequent outbursts there was indiscriminate spleen against parliamentarians, mixed with the stimulant.

As the ’90’s progressed the Goss Cabinet rejected calls to do something about unresolved whistleblower cases. It fought against the Australian Senate’s non-partisan attempts to get an outcome in this area. It resorted to solicitor’s tricks and verbal abuse. Chris Griffith gives a hint of the behaviour.  Refer to the appendix at the end of this paper.

The Senate implicitly gave its stamp of approval to people such as Reynolds, Harris, and Lindeberg. Reynolds and Harris potentially struck at the legitimacy of the Fitzgerald Inquiry – which had indirectly handed power to the ALP.  Heiner/Lindeberg made part or all of the cabinet along with anyone else who was party to the actions of the cabinet, liable to prosecution for an offence carrying a jail sentence – destruction of evidence. The evidence was unrelated to Fitzgerald. The destruction, if an oversight or an accident, was criminally stupid, not sinister. If the destruction was intentional – say, to help out someone in the public service who would benefit by its destruction – then we have a criminal offence. Whatever we have, the Goss Cabinet wasn’t in a hurry to have it investigated, and it lies in limbo.

Goss and his cabinet and his advisers thereby struck at integrity in the public service and at honest whistleblowing in Queensland.

Technically, Fitzgerald prosecutor Huey possibly should have been sent to jail —  where he should have enjoyed the company of the Queensland Cabinet or elements/associates thereof! 

One man, we suspect, should know something of that era? – the sometime Director of the Cabinet Office, Kevin Rudd. He is now [at time of writing, 2009] Prime Minister and an advocate, some have suggested, of a Bill of Rights? Read that as another layer of filibusterers! [Subsequently removed from office by his own party, post 2009!]

1996. Goss narrowly lost the election, having seemingly lost interest, and soon quit the political landscape as though ordered or compelled to do so. (Today [2008] he haunts Brisbane Universities, perhaps reliving the grand old days of the labour lawyers–dedicated to changing ‘conservative’ law. Scratch the ‘conservative’. Make that, changing law, L-A-W. )

If a portion of the evidence against Goss’s cabinet had been available to Tony Fitzgerald to use against Bjelke Petersen, that Worthy would certainly have gone to jail!  Real, technical facts constituting proof of malpractice were all that would have been required. The Labour Cabinets of ’89-’96 with Goss at their head weren’t worthy of being jailed but if the evidence against them had been available to use against their predecessors ……..?

Why did Goss depart politics with haste and finality after his extremely narrow electoral defeat in 1996? Could there have been an unpublicized reason?

In 1996, before Goss’s failed election, I was nowhere near Brisbane and nowhere near interested in the State election nor in the players therein, but a lawyer of all people who had gotten an interest in some land here buttonholed me as though needing to unburden himself. A decent and sensitive man, he unburdened himself of this distasteful and seemingly irrelevant information about a foal and a filly, back in Brisbane. The filly was the daughter of a cabinet minister and everything was under wraps but it had definitely happened. The foal through sensitive legal procedure was effectively non-existent on the media related horizon. That was the gist of his terminology. As conveyed to me, it was a matter known to lawyers, calling for careful diplomacy. The foal and filly were being well taken care of and had been kept out of view – which was about what I wished would happen to me at that moment. But this event had some sort of significance beyond political significance. I have attempted to banish this incident from the mind, but one aspect won’t go away: the public and people such as myself didn’t wish to know about it, but a lawyer seemed to know about it. Whoever was the stallion, and whether a foal existed – irrelevant. A solicitor with no axe to grind was unburdening himself of his seemingly certain knowledge that members of his profession were in deep – too deep – with the Qld Labour Party.

In 2000, Bill D’Arcy, ex. deputy Labour Opposition leader, was convicted of paedophilia, on evidence which is at least partly nonsensical. (refer D’Arcy, on this site) . The paedophilia campaign against him was well underway by 1998. He then held a very safe Labour seat. Given his political profile and all the other factors, did he ever have a chance? 

In 2000, Peter Beattie, elected Premier in 1998, completed his Labour Party ‘housecleaning’. Branch stacking, fraud, factional tensions ……. it was necessary to sack the odd person along the way. In his plodding, limited way he honoured his party and he honoured Queensland. In his limited way, Bjelke Petersen honoured Beattie by congratulating him.

The mark of a statesman is the placing of the welfare of the state before fiddling politics and petty personal agendas. Bjelke Petersen cared for Queensland and for Queenslanders. As another true indicator of a statesman — and we see the same feature in Muntz — he bore no petty personal grudges. He freely forgave. He looked at the person, not the politics. And he saw to it that his administration payed its bills. He endeavoured to lower taxes. He wasn’t the person to leave genuine whistleblowers whistling in the dark.

Them that honour me, I will honour (1Sam.2:30). Observe, it does not say, them that honour human inventions, popularity polls, and run with the crowd, I will honour. It does not say, them that honour the idealogy of consensus, the United Nations, or law courts, I will honour. It says, Them that honour me. We know who Bjelke Petersen, Muntz, and others, set about to honour — Truth and Perfect Justice, Personified. Let’s re-phrase it. Them that honour truth and justice, I will honour.

At considerable personal cost, Bjelke Petersen, Muntz and others, including others on the other side of the political divide, notified us of serious deficiencies in this State’s legal procedures. Will we honour their efforts?


Relevant Articles by Chris Griffith Multimedia Journalist

Senate directs shredding probe
by Chris Griffith Written March 1994

Earlier this month, Mr Lindeberg addressed a Brisbane hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Public Interest Whistleblowing . He claimed a political connection between a CJC investigator and the Goss Government. “The last investigation was carried out by a barrister with known ALP connections and connections to the Queensland premier,” Mr Lindeberg said. Mr Lindeberg said the investigator had “phoned my home, abused me, and attempted to intimidate me”. “I complained to the CJC about this unsolicited call, but it did nothing,” he said. Documents were tabled at the hearing indicating Mr Goss had worked together with the investigator on the management committee of the Caxton Street Legal Service in the early 1980s – Mr Goss was President, the now- investigator was the service’s Legal Co-ordinator. In response, the head of the CJC’s Misconduct Division, Mr Mark Le Grande, said he knew the case had “a long history”, but said he could not speak “off the top of my head without access to the files”. The committee’s acting chair, Senator Christabel Chamarette, told Mr Le Grande “in light of submission you have given us, we will want to recall you for some further questions on that”. Mr Le Grande said he would prepare a response for the committee.

Coyne breaks silence
by Chris Griffith Published 4 September 1994 in The Sunday Mail

For the question remains – was the State Archivist, the Crown Solicitor, the Cabinet secretary, even the Goss Cabinet aware that on the 8th and 15th February 1990, Coyne’s solicitors had notified the Family Services Department of his impending legal case, two weeks before Cabinet ordered the documents’ destruction? Or was the Government’s legal advice that the documents could be destroyed compiled without any knowledge of his intentions? It is now clear that Cabinet Secretary Stuart Tait made no reference to Coyne’s impending legal action when on February 23, 1990, he wrote to archivist Lee McGregor seeking her advice on whether the documents could be destroyed and even encouraging their destruction. “The Government is of the view the material which I understand includes tape recordings, computer disks, and hardware notes is no longer required or pertinent to the public record,” Mr Tait said.

Last week Queensland Senators Warwick Parer and Cheryl Kernot told the Senate that any withholding of information and the resulting shredding could amount to “prima facie official misconduct”, even a criminal offence, a prospect that on Friday led Mr Goss to dismiss Senator Parer as “that decaying septagenarian, Liberal Senator, Mr Parer”. (He’s 58). Interwoven is Premier Goss’s curt rejection on Wednesday of an all-party recommendation by the Senate Select Committee on Whistleblowing that his government “establish an independent investigation” into unresolved whistleblower cases – which includes the Coyne case.

“For me, the issue is in the past – it’s dead,” Coyne said yesterday. “I’m getting on with a new life and future, however this event has serious implications for the people of Queensland,” he said. Highly significant, Coyne says, is the secrecy agreement the Family Services made a condition of him receiving a “redundancy payment” in October 1992 of $27,190. The bare facts of the Coyne case are now receiving wide media publicity. In 1989 the former National Party Government instituted an inquiry into the John Oxley Youth Centre, which Coyne managed.

Upon the Goss Government’s election, new Family Services Minister Anne Warner prematurely ended the inquiry because it provided no legal immunity for its witnesses. Despite the inquiry’s demise, the Family Services Department moved Coyne from the centre to “special duties” at Head Office, from where he said he was eventually declared involuntarily redundant.

In February 1990 Coyne, with the aid of his solicitor and Queensland Professional Officers’ Association industrial officer Kevin Lindeberg, sought the Heiner Inquiry documents to seek damages from the Government, claiming the inquiry, while aborted, had led to Coyne’s demise – a claim denied persistently by Ms Warner.

End of Chris Griffith quotes.