Child protection inquiry's examination of 'Heiner Affair' likely to call Kevin Rudd, Wayne Goss as witnesses

FORMER Prime Minister Kevin Rudd may join old colleagues from the Goss Government on the witness stand over the summer break as one of Queensland's most enduring conspiracy theories - the "Heiner Affair" - gets another examination.

The $9 million child protection inquiry announced this morning that it will spend much of December and January examining allegations of abuse in state-run youth institutions stemming back nearly one quarter of a century.

With more than 100 witnesses listed to appear it is expected Mr Rudd, who was a senior public servant in the Government of Labor Premier Wayne Goss, will be called to give evidence, along with Mr Goss himself.

The Heiner affair refers to the 1990 shredding of evidence into 1988 child sex abuse allegations at the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre at Wacol.

Magistrate Noel Heiner began receiving evidence into allegations of sex abuse in 1989 after being appointed by former National Party police minister Russell Cooper.

The allegations stemmed from the pack-rape of a 14-year-old girl by inmates of the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre during an excursion to Mount Barney in 1988.

When the Goss Government was elected it received Crown Law advice the inquiry was not properly constituted and shredded documents related to the matter.

Since then numerous inquiries have taken place, with former Queensland Professional Officers Association official Kevin Lindeberg among the key figures alleging serious misconduct at high levels of government.

The inquiry will hear evidence from more than 90 people in December, most of them employees or those with some association with the John Oxley Centre in the late 80s and 90s.

The inquiry will also take evidence for a fortnight from January 22 from between 20 and 30 people who worked for the state of Queensland.

The witness list yet to be made public is likely to include Mr Rudd and Mr Goss, possibly with other members of the Goss Labor Cabinet.

The woman who was attacked as a 14-year-old will also have a legal representative.

The inquiry's specific terms of reference on the matter are to "review the adequacy and appropriateness of any response of, and action taken by, government to allegations - including any allegations of criminal conduct associated with government responses - into historic child sexual abuse in youth detention centres".

The child protection inquiry is set to resume Monday, hearing evidence unrelated to the Heiner Affair.

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