Role Of the Governor when Politicians’ excuse ‘Erroneous’
"....At Law School I learnt that all persons should be treated equally before the law. This is justice. As a human rights lawyer I used the law to promote equality in life. I call this social justice. Both acknowledge every person's inherent dignity and worth.
A "truly civil society" ensures that these versions of justice operate together. Again, no one without the other. Raimond Gaita talks of socialjustice being connected with compassion, a virtue that only a community can exhibit."
Quentin Bryce GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE INAUGURAL DAME ELISABETH MURDOCH ANNUAL LUNCHEON ZINC AT FEDERATION SQUARE, MELBOURNE. 20 FEBRUARY 2009
the matter now rests with Her Excellency, the Governor
In his letter Sir Harry Gibbs went on to conclude that:
“... the matter now rests with Her Excellency, the Governor, who has apparently, in her discretion, requested information concerning some of these events.”However, constitutional lawyers and academics are divided over the Governor’s capacity to deal with the matter. Former Queensland Solicitor for Prosecutions and current Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at Bond University, David Field, said
the Governor had a duty to ensure that the Rule of Law was maintained in Queensland. “One aspect of the Rule of Law is, of course, that it applies equally to all people, and that a Cabinet Minister can no more go shoplifting than your average housewife for example,” Professor Field said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, you must obey the same laws the rest of the community have to obey.”
Citizen Appeals to the Governor for explanation and pardon
power to grant me a pardon under the constitution of Qld, 2001.
I am aware that last week, June 14 to be precise, Mr Beattie, in answer to Question 643 on notice, referred to Mr Lindeberg’s ‘misconceived assertion’ re his interpretation of Section 129 of the criminal code. Now this has caused confusion for me.
Is Mr. Beattie correct in his interpretation - one which has allowed Senior politicians to escape prosecution for destroying legal documents which, I understand, they knew were required for legal purposes?
If so, then Section 129 has been wrongfully interpreted in my case and I believe it is in your power to grant me a pardon under the constitution of Qld, 2001. Read the citizens letter to the Governor of Queensland.
“THE HEINER AFFAIR AND THE QUEENSLAND GOVERNOR”
AUSTRALIANS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY
Paper by Kevin Lindeberg
The Heiner affair has persisted for the last 15 years in “post-Fitzgerald” Queensland. It grew out of a decision by the Goss Government within days of taking control in 1990 which now gives rise to the most serious questions about the constitutional state of affairs in Queensland.
The decision to which I refer was the order by the Queensland Cabinet to deliberately destroy the Heiner Inquiry documents to prevent their known use as evidence in an anticipated judicial proceeding, and to prevent the contents of the gathered public records being used against the careers of the public servants involved. These public records were gathered during the course of a lawful inquiry into the management of the John Oxley Youth Detention Centre conducted by retired Stipendiary Magistrate Noel Heiner, from whom the affair’s name is derived.
Taint sticks to Bryce
Article By Piers Akerman
The Sunday telegraph 26 April 2008
AN unprecedented legal challenge may prevent the appointment of Australia’s first nominated female Governor-General, Queensland Governor Quentin Bryce.
Documents lodged with the Queensland Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee on February 14, two months before Ms Bryce was nominated as Australia’s next Governor-General by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, have created a Constitutional nightmare for the Queensland Government and the Prime Minister.
The papers are contained in the nine-volume Rofe Audit, by leading Sydney barrister David Rofe, QC, into the long-running and unresolved Heiner Affair involving approval by the Goss Cabinet in 1990 of the illegal shredding of documents relating to investigations into allegations of child abuse at a Brisbane detention centre.
Ominously for Ms Bryce, the PCMC has already conducted what it terms a “preliminary examination’’ and has sought further advice on aspects of the material which contains a list of 68 alleged prima facie criminal charges and specific evidence and arguments in support of those allegations.
In response to that request, lawyers representing Mr Kevin Lindeberg, a former public servant who sought the involvement of the PCMC, last week told the committee that “recent events’’ had made the need for action “more urgent’’.
They reminded the committee that since their complaint was lodged in February, Mr Rudd had announced his appointment of Ms Bryce as Governor-General designate to take up her duty on or about September 5, 2008.
“The PCMC would be well aware that Mr Rudd is named in (alleged) prima facie criminal charges 1 and 2 of Volume 1, and the Hon. Quentin Bryce AC in the (alleged) prima facie criminal charge 67 of Volume IX of the Audit respectively,’’ the lawyers wrote.
The letter also notes a recent judicial appointment in Queensland and says that with that appointment, the PCMC now held evidence alleging prima facie criminality in respect of six serving Queensland judicial officers, Justice Catherine Holmes, Justice Tim Carmody, Judge Julie Dick, Her Honour Leanne Clare, His Honour Noel Nunan and State Magistrate Michael Barnes.
Ms Bryce sought a report on the Heiner Affair from then Premier Peter Beattie on October 23, 2003.
Premier Beattie presented the report to her in April, 2005, almost two years later, but did not make the document public, in stark contrast to the manner in which he handled the Anglican Church’s report into abuse which he tabled in the Queensland Parliament before the resignation of former Governor General Peter Hollingworth in May, 2003, as a matter of “public interest’’.
Rev Hollingworth, a former Archbishop of Brisbane was the subject of a relentless campaign during which he faced allegations that he had participated in a church cover-up and failed to act against church officers engaged in sexual abuse.
A fortnight before Mr Hollingworth’s resignation, then Labor Opposition Shadow spokesperson for Children and Youth and the Status of Women, Ms Nicola Roxon, told Federal Parliament on May 13 that: “… We cannot afford to brush it aside, keep it behind closed doors or say it is someone else’s issue. We need to be prepared to take a leadership role here. It might be awkward for the government. We need to take some action so this terrible issue is dealt with. The community thinks that leaders in this country are covering up what has happened in the past. Whether they think it is church leaders, politicians or other powerful people, we must make sure that we are never part of that conspiracy. We on this side of the House and, I am sure, the people on the other side of the House do not want to cover up this issue ...’’
The following day, Victorian Labor Senator Stephen Conroy continued the attack, telling the Senate that: “Victims, parents and the community do not want any more cover-ups. They want their stories told, they want perpetrators brought to justice and they want further generations of children to be protected from such suffering.’’
He was followed by South Australian Labor Senator Nick Bolkus, who said “In our performance, in our response, we also will be judged on whether and how we respond to this important challenge. If we as a national parliament do not take the right and proper moral stand on issues relating to paedophilia that affect our children, then we too could be condemned - and I think quite fairly so - by the public of Australia for turning a blind eye to paedophilia, its victims and those who tolerate it.’’
On May 26, three days before the Mr Hollingworth resigned, the then Opposition leader, Simon Crean, told the House “you cannot have people in authority who have covered up for child sex abuse. It is as simple as that’’, and “Isn’t a person of authority who failed to act on issues of child sexual abuse guilty of moral turpitude? Of course he is. This is a person in authority. This was a person to whom the allegations were made, and he failed to act.’’
The key to the allegations made against Ms Bryce and several other senior Queensland politicians and judicial officers echoes the point made by Mr Crean: they were made aware of allegations and failed to act.
Under the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 and the repealed Criminal Justice Act, government authorities must act if they receive allegations of “suspected’’ official misconduct. Failure to do so falls into the category of “abuse of office in commission’’.
The Rofe Audit makes it clear there is evidence that goes well beyond this low threshold.
The PCMC review follows the release last August of the so-called Judges’ letter which stated that “any action by Executive Government which may have breached the law ought not be immune from criminal prosecution where and when the evidence satisfies the relevant provision’’.
It would seem that the best possible course for Mr Rudd and Ms Bryce is to insist on all matters being investigated and resolved before the Governor General designate takes up her new post.
Until then she should decline to be sworn in to prevent a significant taint being attached to the highest public office in the land. For that matter, Ms Bryce should stand aside in Queensland until a proper investigation clears removes forever this taint from the Queensland government and the office of Governor in that State.
Piers AkermanSaturday, August 09, 2008 at 07:03pm
SERIOUS allegations concerning the integrity of Governor-General designate Quentin Bryce and her role in the unresolved Heiner affair are being investigated by staff of Governor-General Major-General Michael Jeffery.
The investigation threatens plans to swear in Ms Bryce as the nation’s 25th Governor-General, and the first woman to occupy the post, on September 5.
The allegations about Ms Bryce’s fitness to hold the position as the Queen’s representative were sent to Buckingham Palace, with a copy to Major-General Jeffery, on May 30 by Kevin Lindeberg, the whistle blower in the long-running Heiner affair.
On June 10, the deputy official secretary to the Governor-General, Brian Hallett, wrote to Mr Lindeberg, assuring him that “the issues raised in your letter are being investigated’’.
One of Australia’s most senior judicial figures, with a record of service at a vice-regal level, says that he has examined much of the Heiner affair material and “there is certainly a case to answer’’.
The Heiner affair concerns the illegal shredding by the Goss Cabinet of documents relating to investigations into child abuse at a Brisbane detention centre that were wanted for evidence, and the cover-up of that action.
In his letter to Buckingham Palace, Mr Lindeberg mentioned the audit prepared by Sydney QC David Rofe, and The Sunday Telegraph and The Daily Telegraph’s coverage of the Heiner affair.
The audit details 68 unresolved alleged prima facie criminal charges which Rofe QC believes are capable of being brought against current and former public officials in respect of their handling of the Heiner matter.
Mr Lindeberg referred to reports in this column that Prime Minister Rudd and former Governor of Queensland Ms Bryce were among the officials associated with alleged prima facie charges by the audit.
He told the Queen that documents including the Rofe audit, an application for review and the statement of concern sent by a number of legal figures to then Queensland Premier Beattie and current Premier Anna Bligh, were lodged with the Queensland Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee, in an application for a review under the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Act. The PCMC is investigating the matter.
Ms Bryce sought a report on the Heiner affair from Premier Beattie in 2003, received it, but neither she nor Mr Beattie ever made it public.
Mr Lindeberg said in his letter that the Australian Constitution vested reserve powers in the Governor-General, including the right to dismiss a prime minister or minister who acts unlawfully.
He said those holding the office of Governor-General must do so without any suspicion that their integrity might be in doubt as sufficing to impinge on their capacity to exercise those reserve powers impartially.
The exercise of those reserve powers may be brought into jeopardy after September 5, he claimed, unless the Heiner affair is properly resolved.
A spokesman for the Governor-General would not tell The Sunday Telegraph how the investigation into the Heiner affair was being conducted.
The treatment of Ms Bryce is in stark contrast to the very public populist witch hunt launched after it was alleged former Governor-General Peter Hollingworth had failed to act and had participated in a cover-up when allegations of sexual abuse were made against church officers while he was Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane.
Then Premier Beattie made public a private Anglican Church report into abuse by tabling it in the Queensland Parliament before Mr Hollingworth resigned as Governor-General.
The then Opposition leader Simon Crean had made the point that you cannot have people in authority who have covered up for child sex abuse and failed to act.
The allegations of prima facie criminal conduct made against Ms Bryce and several other senior Queensland politicians and judicial officers echo the point made by Mr Crean: they were made aware of allegations and failed to act.
The Governor-General’s office must now demonstrate that it is conducting a thorough examination of the matters raised by Mr Lindeberg but it is impossible to see how it can come to any conclusion before Ms Bryce is due to take up her new appointment.
Prime Minister Rudd has delivered a useless fuel inquiry, an impotent Murray-Darling investigation and a meaningless grocery inquiry.
He must ensure that the Governor-General’s office is given every assistance to conduct a meaningful Heiner inquiry, or put at risk public trust in the highest office.