THE JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE ON ETHICAL CONDUCT
THE PREMIER'S HALL, PARLIAMENTARY ANNEX, PARLIAMENT HOUSE,
24 NOVEMBER 2008
DISCUSSION WITH Mr KEVIN LINDEBERG.
CHAIR - Thank you very much for the time you have made available to speak to us today to provide us with your expertise. As you've probably seen, we will open the forum up to you to say what you want and think is appropriate and then we'll ask you some questions.
Mr LINDEBERG - Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. I'd like to make an opening statement which I think will go for about seven minutes, if that's okay, maybe a bit longer. I've tried to cull it.
CHAIR - Sure.
Mr LINDEBERG - First of all, my senior counsel, Mr David Rofe QC of Sydney and my lawyers, Ryan and Bosscher, extend their apologies to the committee but they are caught up in respective matters before the court so I am appearing here by myself today.
Mr Chairman, thank you for your kind opportunity to appear before your committee today to speak to my public submission No. 24A which derives from my first-hand whistleblower experiences in the 18-year Heiner affair. The body of evidence gathered over its life is prodigious and appropriately available. I suggest that there are two issues of concern which justify my appearance here today. Their function, under the overarching democratic principle of equality before the law for all, was described by the 18th century attorney, Sir Thomas Fuller, and later by Lord Denning. Lord Denning put this principle most succinctly during his 1989 interview when he said:
'There is not supposed to be one law for the rich and powerful and another for the poor and oppressed so next time anyone should come along and say to you, "Do you know who I am?", I hope you would find Fuller's words useful: Be you never so high, the law is above you.'
Mr Chairman, the two issues of particular concern should march together in harmony between the governed and the governors. Their resolution will maintain public confidence in and respect for the institutions of government so that people are not disposed to take the law into their own hands to remedy grievances.
The first issue stems from the famous warning penned 2 000 years ago by the Roman writer and satirist, Juvenal, in his sixth play, 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' or 'Who shall watch the watchers themselves?'.
The second issue stems from the accepted democratic principle that the prosecutorial and public interest discretion must be exercised by crown decision makers consistently and predictably in materially similar circumstances. It is:
'Be it monarch, president, politician or public official, what good is an oath of office if a breach does not invite appropriate punishment?'
Ironically, I understand your mission rides on the back of a local Tasmanian scandal dubbed 'shreddergate' by the media.
CHAIR - Not all of it but part of it. Of course, as you probably know, in relation to this committee, within Tasmania we have privilege with the committees so that everything you say will be privileged. Outside, though, there is no privilege.
Mr LINDEBERG - I understand that, Mr Chairman. I am fully aware of that.
While, undoubtedly of potential seriousness, it is, might I respectfully suggest, a second cousin to the Heiner affair which has for a long time carried, here in Queensland and throughout Australia and the world, the same title, 'shreddergate', first penned by University of Queensland Associate Professor, Bruce Grundy, in the School of Journalism around 1994 when he started to write articles about this much-evolved scandal.
Mr Chairman, who shall watch the watchers is the eternal question. It is one of the most important questions all free men and women, the governed, must ask and they must receive satisfactory answers from the governors before any law enforcement structure is entrenched in a system of government. The complexities of modern society have caused many governments to embrace the idea of introducing so-called integrity tribunals as a solution to keeping the arteries of government open and accountable.
The unresolved Heiner affair, however, demonstrates that this solution has Orwellian overtones in that the so-called integrity tribunals can become so fearsome and so capable of intimidating elected officials that they stand for integrity's exact opposite. They can become laws unto themselves. It may matter little to them that the law obliges them to be held to account by politicians through all-party parliamentary oversight committees on behalf of the people. They may, in fact, blight democracy and may, in matters of potential high-level political wrongdoing, such as the Heiner affair, cause parliamentary oversight committees to become crippled internally by the majority government members acting in singular concern for the political survival of a government instead of respecting their duty to uphold the principle of government by the rule of law.
With their decision-making capacity to order a review which could lead to criminal charges being laid, these criminal justice parliamentary oversight committees prima facie breach the doctrine of the separation of powers. They have the capacity to obstruct the administration of criminal justice for an affected citizen or the public interest because their criminal justice parliamentary decisions are non-justiciable due to Article 9 of the Bill of Rights of 1689.
In my opinion, this contagion of the administration of criminal justice through the introduction of integrity tribunals held accountable only by politicians requires very careful and deep consideration in the 21st century.
Mr Chairman, the duty of public officials to refer to integrity tribunals all suspected official misconduct which comes to their attention during the performance of their duties carries significant legal ramifications which have not been fully comprehended yet.
The Heiner affair has made apparent some of these ramifications, including even the decision-making role of the head of State as a sworn decision maker pursuant to the reserve powers albeit in exceptional circumstances when obliged to consider an issue of alleged persistent illegality involving suspected official misconduct on the part of a government. Even in 2008 the whole edifice of a stable government can be threatened if government by the rule of law is not respected or enforced without fear or favour by crown decision makers.
In the Heiner affair the prospect of charging an entire cabinet was plainly too horrendous to contemplate by crown decision makers involved. The law was abused and twisted to justify its clearance which then saw an entire system collapsing around a demonstrably flawed clearance just because an integrity tribunal declared what was always wrong to be right. It gave the naked emperor imaginary clothes of legality.
The Honourable James Spiegelman, the Chief Justice in New South Wales, speaking at ICAC and an Interpol Conference in Hong Kong in January 2003 made the following observation on the interconnectedness of modern governance and its potentially fatal Achilles heel. He said:
'Legal institutions are interdependent. In the area of criminal justice the police force, the prosecution, the judiciary have a symbiotic relationship in which the performance and functions of each depends to a substantial degree on the capacity and integrity of each of the others. The same kind of relationship exists in other areas of law, including the broad range of regulatory authorities and adjudicating bodies including tribunals. If the powers given to any participant in this process are abused by being exercised improperly, eg. to serve the interests of those who wield the power, the whole system is distorted, indeed perverted.'
In these few words Mr Chairman, Mr Spiegelman has captured the essence of the Heiner affair. The affair's systemic perversion of the law is comprehensively captured in the Rofe audit of the affair.
Mr Chairman, in 1990 I was sacked trying to protect my union member's rights to access the Heiner inquiry documents pursuant to law which the Queensland Government and my union knew to be evidence required in judicial proceedings. Both ministers of the Crown and appointed public servants wilfully destroyed those public records. It later transpired that the Queensland Government had known all along that those documents concerned the allegations of child abuse, including the still unresolved pack rape of a 14-year-old female indigenous child in May 1988. This sexual assault, by the way, falls under the category of criminal paedophilia.
I lodged my complaint with the CJC in 1990 and in January 1993 it found that there had been no official misconduct. Its finding is both flawed and fraudulent. At its core it was based on an utterly untenable interpretation of section 129 of the Criminal Code. The implications of the CJC's no official misconduct findings were that it was perfectly legal for the Crown or anyone to deliberately destroy all known or suspected evidence to prevent its use in anticipated and foreshadowed judicial proceedings just so long as those proceedings had not commenced. I objected then and have objected consistently since.
CHAIR - A fair objection, I would have thought.
Mr LINDEBERG - Well, Mr Chairman, in its so-called nth degree investigation, the CJC never interviewed any minister or chief of staff. It never interviewed the State Archivist, the departmental CEO, relevant public officials, Crown Law, Mr Heiner or his witnesses, and the list goes on.
Only my union member and I were interviewed. It was conducted by a contracted barrister, Mr Noel Nunan. Unbeknown to me at the time he was an ALP member, activist, a former work colleague of Premier Wayne Goss before Mr Goss entered politics. Mr Nunan was a member of the Queensland Association of Labor Lawyers as was the CJC official, Mr Michael Barnes, who recommended him for the review purposes. They were mates investigating a mate.
Both Mr Nunan and Mr Barnes have since been elevated to the bench as magistrates. Mr Barnes is our State Coroner. Some of the CJC-CMC barristers, officials who concurred with this unprecedented and absurd view of the law which prevented charges being laid and which utterly undermined the administration of justice and the right to a fair trial, now sit on the Queensland bench dispensing justice in the name of the Crown.
This committee is aware that a raft of retired eminent Supreme Court judges on the point of 129 independently advised in their August 2007 public statement of concern that section 129 was so clear in its wording and intent that its misinterpretation may have been deliberate so as to advantage executive government and certain civil servants. They called for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the affair. This statement is affixed to my submission. The Beattie and Bligh governments refused. The nine volumes of the Rofe audit in the Heiner affair have found some 68 prima facie criminal offences capable of being laid. The audit took some two years to complete.
Mr Chairman, in coming to Queensland, you may not be judging apples with apples because we, unique among all Australian States, are a unicameral system of government and Tasmania is bicameral. Your electoral system differs from ours. Your Hare-Clark system tends to elect more independent MPs who cannot be disciplined in debating on party political lines. Premier Beattie has declared that the CJC-CMC functions as an equivalent to an elected upper House. That, of course, is patently absurd.
In terms of the contempt shown towards the oversight committee by these integrity tribunals, the Parliamentary Criminal and Justice Committee Report No. 25 is required reading for the committee, I suggest, along with the Queensland Hansard of 15 June 1995 at pages 12617 and 12621.
Mr Chairman, there is too much to say so I must conclude. In February 2008, my lawyers, Ryan and Bosscher, lodged legal documents with the PCMC seeking a review of the CJC-CMC's handling of my allegations. In addition to our 55-page application for review, the Rofe audit and the August 2007 judge's statement of concern were also provided. Matters of the utmost gravity faced the PCMC. As of today, some nine months later, we still do not know what steps the committee has taken, if any. It is a mystery. To use Sir Winston Churchill's words, 'It's a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma'.
In the opinion of senior counsel, the issues are very simple if the rule of law is to prevail. On the evidence supplied, there only needs to be found the low threshold of a suspicion of official misconduct to lead to the establishment of a full and an open inquiry to get to the truth. Such an inquiry, however, would not only rock Queensland to its foundations but the nation itself because it is known that the Prime Minister Rudd and Her Excellency Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, are adversely named in the audit. Amongst other things, six serving Queensland judicial officers are adversely named.
The International Community of Archives have long declared this matter to be one of the great shredding scandals of the twentieth century and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority - APRA - has more recently declared this matter, along with Enron and HIH, to be a high-profile corruption scandal.
Mr Chairman, in 2004 a Queensland citizen was charged and found guilty for the same shredding conduct done in 1995-96. Equality before the law has been undemocratically trashed to advantage the governors over the governed in Queensland. Oaths of office have become quite meaningless in the face of this affair.
In my respectful view, because something is extremely rotten in this State, it would be most unwise for the Tasmanian Parliament to adopt Queensland's so-called post-Fitzgerald model of governance as it now stands. It would be far wiser to wait and see how this matter is finally resolved before the deep south of Australia looks to the deep north for guidance on how to handle allegations of corruption in high places in government. Thank you very much.
Mr McKIM - Who should watch the watchers?
Mr LINDEBERG - I think, notwithstanding that there has been an extraordinary gap of nine months from the time we lodged our documents with the PCMC to now, and we don't know what they are doing, it may be premature to say that a parliamentary committee cannot watch the watcher. I believe, as I've said in my submission, that what is occurring in Queensland is really a litmus test as to whether or not these integrity tribunals can, in fact, be held to account by politicians. So in that sense, I may say it is an open question, but I think it is also an open question as to whether or not it's a wise thing that we have integrity tribunals because of the impact that article 9 of the Bill of Rights has in terms of making matters non-justiciable because it brings politicians - law-makers - into a process of decision-making in respect of breaches of the law, which should be done by the Executive.
Mr McKIM - But is that an argument against a CMC, a CJC or an ICAC-style organisation, or is it an argument purely against political oversight?
Mr LINDEBERG - Again, notwithstanding what I said about the PCMC, they may, from my perspective and the perspective of many people, say that this matter needs to be reviewed and, dare I say, justice may be done.
But I noticed that Mr Needham made comment about the police and that within the framework of the checks and balances on what goes on in government you have all these different agencies, but the police were missed out, and what Mr Needham said was that it can be daunting for the police to investigate ministers of the Crown, but one might ask why. If it’s a breach of the criminal law, and we are all equal before the law, why should it be daunting? I suppose I could put it in another way. By introducing integrity tribunals, you may in fact be undermining the standing of the police in the community, and implying that they are incapable of handling their politicians. I come with the view
that no-one is above the law and if a politician breaches the Criminal Code then that person should face the police.
Might I say - and forgive me, I am here to answer questions, but it is relevant in this matter - that I took this matter to the CJC and had, what I believed, to be nonsense put down my throat because I suggested there was a criminal cover-up going on.
Mr WILKINSON - You took it to the police?
Mr LINDEBERG - Then I took it to the police because I believed it was a straight-up-and- down breach of the Criminal Code. The police have interviewed me three times and then referred my file back to the officers of the CJC, against whom I was making the allegations. What I am saying is that the deference was unacceptable because it was a breach of the Criminal Code and the police, in my view and in the view of counsel, had the ability to handle the matter as a straight-up-and-down breach of section 129 of the Criminal Code or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Mr McKIM - I specifically raised as an example the type of thing that you have just told us when members of the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee were before this committee this morning. I asked them what someone who had allegations against the CMC would do. They suggested that the appropriate thing is to write to the parliamentary committee or contact the parliamentary committee and if they formed the view that there was a matter deserving of an investigation they could refer it to the parliamentary commissioner who has the powers and the capacity to investigate the CMC. Are you telling us that you have actually contacted the committee but there has been a period of time elapse and you are still waiting for a substantive response from them?
Mr LINDEBERG - That is what I am saying. Might I say that the current parliamentary commissioner has stood aside because he acted as counsel at a previous time when I became before another commission of inquiry looking into corruption inside trade unions when I was a former trade union official, and he has rightly stood aside. The view of counsel is that the material that was placed before the PCMC required an interim investigation to be conducted, and we have suggested it should be done by an interstate QC or retired judicial officer because we are suggesting that this issue has totally corrupted Queensland, and he or she need only find a suspicion of official misconduct - and bear in mind the Rofe audit does not go to just a suspicion; it goes to prima facie criminal offences which then ought to warrant a public inquiry into this. Apart from achieving justice for myself, hopefully, this must be about public confidence in our institutions.
CHAIR - Can I ask about article 9 you mentioned - any proceedings of parliament being impeached in a court of law - that is the article we are speaking about? Are you saying that you believe that it could have been mentioned in the parliamentary process in order to stop it from getting to court action?
Mr LINDEBERG - No, I am not saying that. If I am following you correctly I do not think I am saying that. What I am saying to you is that the process set up by legislation is that I can make a complaint to the PCMC, they can make a report on my findings, engage a barrister who is part of a process of the parliament and hand down a report which I have
to live with because it is non-justiciable because it is covered by article 9. It may have within it matters which, if they were done by a commission of inquiry I could challenge legally, but I cannot challenge that, and that has been settled in court in a case in Queensland here which I think was Le Grand v. CJC Commissioner Julie Dick, at the time. Article 9 protects it.
As you have seen in my submission - and I assume you have read it - one of the recommendations I have made, and it is a grave thing to suggest, is that the deliberations of a PCMC which is looking into matters of criminal justice as opposed to the Public Accounts Committee, perhaps it ought to be justiciable to ensure that the politicians making these deliberations are doing so honestly, impartially and in the public interest and are not acting out of party political benefit. I am aware that that does impinge upon our supreme institution, and I am very loath to say that, but what has happened is that because of these integrity tribunals with the oversight committees coming from politicians the clash has occurred.
What I am saying to this committee is that what is before the PCMC is really an extraordinary litmus test, as never before. When you bring into play the idea that justice delayed is justice denied, and know that this matter has been going on for nine months with an extraordinary history to it, you would think I would at least know who was going to review the matter, but I do not. There is also the matter of apprehended bias. That is an important issue. Again, if I can refer to a comment made by Mr Needham, you asked a question about police investigating police and whether or not they knew them and he said they would take them off et cetera.
The person who was selected to do this job, upon which the whole edifice of this corruption is based - and I did not know this at the time - was an ALP member and activist. As a barrister, he ought to have refused to take on the job, and when I raised the issue later on before the Senate, I was accused of being McCarthyist. They said that if they had taken it away from him it might have breached the Anti-discrimination Act. It should never have been given to him in the first place and, of course, the report is a total fraud, and that is what they have held onto for this long period of time. It has been totally discredited now, and that is what the PCMC is considering. I know it is terrible, but corruption is terrible in government, and when it becomes unaddressed it eats away like a cancer. Of course, in some cases, I suppose people rely on individuals going away, but I have not.
Again, may I say, gentlemen, the fact that we have a letter from eminent judges calling for this matter to be investigated and who have made the public comment that the law may have been knowingly misinterpreted to advantage the Executive, is a matter, might I suggest, of the utmost gravity. Yet I have to sit here and I have no confidence in the CMC. I cannot go to the CMC because, as I have been advised by Senior Counsel Mr Callinan in the past, they are a player. The CMC are quite happy to make announcements that it has all been investigated. It has not been.
Mr McKIM - What do you hope the parliamentary committee does?
Mr LINDEBERG - I hope that they do their duty. I am not here to cast aspersions on the members of the committee; I hope they are honourable and do the right thing. But the point is that it is about government by the rule of law and senior counsels and these
judges are suggesting that the matter needs to be properly investigated. In this case, somebody over the top needs to come in, like a special prosecutor, to investigate the lot.
I am not going to name them here, but there are six serving judges in Queensland who have had their finger in this pie who could find not one scintilla of suspected official misconduct in this and yet, when a Baptist minister does the same conduct, he is charged, found guilty, had his sentence appealed by the Government because of the seriousness of the crime to the Court of Appeal, again found guilty, but luckily escaped imprisonment. But when you have those sorts of double standards being exposed here, how can people have confidence in government? That is where I am coming from, apart from the fact that I am seeking justice.
CHAIR - Excuse my ignorance, but I was not really conversant with the Heiner affair until you spoke about it a short time ago and I just briefly heard the words 'Heiner affair' without knowing exactly what it was about. But do you know of any other matters that have been before the CMC that you believe have not been dealt with properly?
Mr LINDEBERG - With respect, I cannot say that. I think, with great respect, I prefer to speak authoritatively on this matter. Might I just give another example in terms of the great difficulty that one faces in this, because the question really comes down to what our system of government is about. Is it about serving the governors or the governed, the people? Obviously, I suggest it is the latter.
As members of parliament, you swear oaths of office before you take up your position. You have debates and, of course, a lot of you gentlemen are independents, but there are members of the Labor and Liberal parties who vote generally on party political lines. In the past, this particular matter has been voted on on the Floor of the Parliament a number of times and been divided on party political lines. All except one member of the PCMC have voted on this issue. In other words they have already given an indication of their predisposition as to where they stand on the thing, which again corrupts the whole process because justice should not only be done but be seen to be done and you must avoid apprehensions of bias.
In the past I have had a PCMC member stand up on the Floor and call this a loony-tune conspiracy. Then he goes into the committee where one is supposed to expect to go for a fair deal. How do you measure that against, on the one hand, respected judges and the former chief justice of the High Court, Sir Harry Gibbs, saying there is a prime facie breach of the criminal law here and you have this matter lectured upon in universities throughout the world and now you have APRA publicly describing this issue as a high- profile scandal, and yet here in Queensland everything is okay.
CHAIR - You are not saying, though that there should be a body to look at these matters, are you? Or are you saying, because of the experience that you have had, that there should not be a body? I don't think you could go to the latter.
Mr LINDEBERG - I must say, with great respect, I am not sure, because the course of justice is still going on. What would people think if it turns out that what this audit says is correct and that there has been this total collapse of our system -
CHAIR - But you are saying it is the system within one State.
Mr LINDEBERG - Exactly, I take your point on that, but I still believe in the principle of having an oversight committee going to politicians. It is not the be-all and end-all of the Heiner affair, it also impacts upon the function of the head of State because of the obligation to refer suspected official misconduct and what happens if they do not do the right thing -
CHAIR - I hear what you say in relation to your issue. I understand your concerns from what you tell me, but does that mean everybody should throw their hands in the air and say there shouldn't be an oversight body? Or are you saying that there should be an oversight body but how should that be made up and how is it to be governed and that that should be looked at closely?
Mr LINDEBERG - I watch these things quite closely. For instance, I watch what is happening in Western Australia, I have watched a little bit closely ICAC for instance. I won’t abuse the privilege but in terms of certain -
CHAIR - There is no privilege here, as you know.
Mr LINDEBERG - I do not want to throw names around roughly or things like that but -
CHAIR - We cannot protect you with privilege.
Mr LINDEBERG - No. I am here to tell you the truth. Right?
CHAIR - Yes.
Mr LINDEBERG - Other places may be functioning okay, the point being it may be that the Heiner affair is a worst-case scenario, but systems should be set up for worst-case scenarios. How these other places would function I do not know. One of the problems I have understood from your questioning here of Mr Needham and others, no doubt, is that you have a small population and how much do you keep loading up to see who watches the watchers and where does it stop.
Before now we have managed to function with just the police and courts. Now, with modern governance it seems to be that we have gone for these integrity tribunals.
CHAIR - The Fitzgerald Inquiry would say the police work wasn't working and that is, as you know, why the Fitzgerald was set up.
Mr LINDEBERG - No, I appreciate that, but who is to say that it would not have worked again if the police who did the wrong thing were punished, as they should have been for failing to do their duty? Or that further police would not come in and realise that if they didn't do their duty they would cop a similar lot to the police commissioner? Instead of that they brought in this integrity tribunal that has dominated everything in terms of how things are done here in Queensland.
CHAIR - The answer to that could be - and I am just debating it with you - that a lot of it is perception and what the community could have thought if there were not this body coming in over the top. How were they to be confident that the police were able to properly enforce the law because they had seen what happened with the Fitzgerald inquiry? I think what you are saying is why not say 'Step aside and we'll put some new people in' but the perception issue might be that the public might say, 'We don't have confidence in that; we need another body'.
Mr LINDEBERG - Mr Chairman, all that is true. It is a little premature to ask me whether it is right to have integrity tribunals because this is unfinished business. It is at a point now where something is going to happen. If the committee says, 'There's nothing in this, go away', it then only leaves me with perhaps an option of going to court. I need to be a multi-billionaire to take on the entire system. It should not be that way. As an example, back in 2004, and you may not be aware of it but I think it is in my submission, the House of Representatives Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs looked into my matter under the heading of 'Crime in the Community' and the committee resolved that the entire Cabinet should be charged, there should be a special prosecutor appointed and a particular document should be made public.
The Leader of the Opposition, of his own volition, wrote to the Police Commissioner - and this is against the background, may I say, and I think it is in my submission, of the charging of the Baptist minister. I do not know whether you are fully aware of what I am saying but if you are not, please let me know. They charged him under section 129, which the CJC said did not apply. He shredded the document six years before the court proceedings commenced and was found guilty, and they used section 129 of the Criminal Code to charge him. That report went to the Police Commissioner who said they might have to review the Heiner matter but as Lindeberg's file was with the CJC, refer it to the CJC. In fact the file was really with the police department but the matter of sending it to the police was a straight-up-and-down breach of section 129 of the Criminal Code and it was quite clear that all these bodies were caught up as players.
In terms of whether this is to ensure clean government, to ensure public confidence in government and so forth -
CHAIR - It is to ensure everything, isn't it?
Mr LINDEBERG - It is to ensure government by the rule of law, isn't it?
CHAIR - Yes, and to give the people, whom we are here to protect, the confidence that we are doing all in our power to ensure that the law is being upheld. I do not think we can do any more than that.
Mr LINDEBERG - No, I hear what you say, and this may be a particular Queensland problem because, as I said, I do not believe you are comparing apples with apples because we do not have an upper House. You gentlemen are here, you are independent members, you are not disciplined by party-political things and in some sense it may be suggested that you do not care who governs Tasmania as long as they do it properly and that is why I am not a member of any political party. I will tell you straight, I was a member of the Labor Party but I am not a member of any political party. If I have a commitment in this it is to my children, to ensure that what I leave them is a system in which they can have confidence. So it may be a peculiar Queensland problem, but it is a problem out of which answers may come for you at a particular time, living in a small community. Queensland is small in some senses but you are even smaller, and everybody knows each other.
I have read some of your stuff about the appointment of mates to jobs, cronyism and all that type of thing; that is all in this entire Heiner mix. How do you ensure open and clean government?
CHAIR - The argument there would be that because it is a fairly small place and if you have been around it for long enough most people have knowledge of the person who has the job or are aware of somebody who has, and therefore there is this question as to whether that person was appointed to that position because of their capabilities or because of jobs for the mates.
Mr LINDEBERG - The other ingredient in how we can keep government straight is the media. What is sometimes said here in Queensland is that we need an upper House, we need courageous independents, people of integrity who see something wrong and are prepared to stand up and say it and who perhaps have the capacity to set up committees with the capacity to summons people to give evidence and hopefully the media will come along and cover the thing and so forth. We do not have those ingredients.
In respect of this particular matter, and I am happy to provide these as exhibits for the committee. I am not sure whether you are aware of this issue, which has been covered by Piers Akerman in Sydney. On the other side of it, I have had to put up with adverse commentary from the Australian newspaper on this matter. I am supposed to be obsessed about the Heiner affair because I have pursued it. I have not let go. Notwithstanding I lost my job, I think the principles are important in this affair. On the one hand APRA are prepared to put it up, you have universities prepared to talk about it, but we are all wrong. Perhaps it is the politics of the thing and I want to get politics out of it.
CHAIR - I hear what you are saying.
Mr LINDEBERG - But you cannot take politics out of politicians, most probably.
CHAIR - I hear what you say. As you are aware, we cannot prosecute New South Wales -
Mr LINDEBERG - No, I understand that.
CHAIR - But what we can do though is listen to the matter that has come before us. It is certainly a question of who governs the government; I accept that. My personal belief is that there still needs to be a body for people to come to and that body has to have the faith in its people if it is going to work for those people to come to it.
Mr LINDEBERG - Can I just make a couple of points in conclusion if we are winding up. I made a number of other recommendations in my submission - for instance, people who are members of political parties ought not to be put into positions of high office in these integrity tribunals. I think that is a matter of worth that you should consider. As I said in my submission, if it is good enough to do it for the Electoral Commission, the Electoral Act, and I am not sure what Tasmania is like but I would suspect it is the same, I believe it ought to be the case in here so that you can as far as you possibly can get politics out of it, at least in terms of the public perception.
I believe also that serious consideration ought to be given to supporting public servants in terms of blowing the whistle. There ought to be additional rights put into their contracts of employment, they ought to be guaranteed a corruption-free workplace and if they have to blow the whistle to bring the Government back to obeying the law there ought to be an avenue where they can sue the Government at the Government's expense. Might I respectfully seek to have the Rofe audit tabled, to be made a public exhibit, so that both you and the public may see the seriousness of this particular issue? I have given it to you in an electronic form because it is a very big audit. It is nine volumes, but I would respectfully ask that the committee take it into public evidence and make it a public document.
CHAIR - As Shane was just saying, because we are a subcommittee of the select committee we can certainly take it back and put that before the full committee and then decide whether it should or should not be taken into evidence. We can do that.
Mr LINDEBERG - I would appreciate that. I know that until that is done it will be treated with the utmost confidentiality but I do believe that in terms of what I have said here today you need to see the evidence to back it up. All the evidence has been gathered together in electronic form, not just the submissions but the supporting documentation.
CHAIR - I understand what you are saying.
Mr LINDEBERG - The other thing, might I suggest that you have to be careful of in establishing these commissions, is what might happen if it turns out that somebody has engaged in cover-ups, in abusing their office; what happens to them when they become judges? That's a question which has been raised by the Federal Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity. Who then investigates them and so forth?
CHAIR - Thank you for giving us of your time and experience.