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Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry

News and updates from the Commission of Inquiry can be found in this News Section of The Heiner website.

Heiner affair Quotable Quotes


“…Some time ago I made you aware of a complaint I received from the Hon A. Warner and the fact that she believed your attitude to negotiations with respect to the “Coyne case” was inappropriate and over-confrontationalist. She claimed that your method of operation showed a lack of understanding for how such negotiations should be conducted. When I raised the issue with you the day that I received the complaint you totally denied the allegation indicating that there was no real problem. I do not believe that to be the case.”
The complaint used to dismiss QPOA Organiser Kevin Lindeberg on 30 May 1990 which caused him to deny, resist and fight back.

“…Mr. Berry made it quite clear that there is still an intention to proceed to attempt to gain access to the Heiner documents and any departmental documents relating to the allegations against Mr. Coyne and that they have every intention to pursue the matter through the courts.”
Mr Coyne’s solicitor placing the Queensland Government on notice of foreshadowed judicial proceedings on 14 February 1990

"...It will go down in the record of this Parliament as the petition with the least number of signatures on it." and "....There is no audience for this issue. There have been more inquiries into this issue than we have had hot dinners. The answer is: no, no, no, no, no and no. It is done. It is finished. It is over." Premier Peter Beattie ridiculing the 84-page Lindeberg Petition on 28 October 1999 [see State Hansard p4502]. The Lindeberg Petition was a symbolic "one-man" petition.

 “…The criminal law only carries a moral and constitutional basis of authority and respect in a democracy if it is applied equally by government against all citizens who transgress it. That is government by the rule of law. If, however, the law becomes an instrument of sectional application by government for government, such conduct is unfair and oppressive and sets government in conflict with democracy itself and the rule of law. That is tyranny.”
Kevin Lindeberg NSW Parliament Theatrette 9 October 2007

“…I believe one person’s stand can make a difference if he endures and if we all stand together in common cause, we can move mountains for the better. I hold firm to the principle of equality before the law for all. To me, it is a non-negotiable value of this nation because it underpins our freedom. I will hold firm to that principle irrespective of time in the political election cycles or person involved.” 
Kevin Lindeberg NSW Parliament Theatrette 9 October 2007

"…that some boys and girls were being forced into sexual activity against their wishes, for the benefit of others; that illicit drugs and prescribed medications were being brought into the Centre, sometimes by staff and sometimes by detainees who had simply walked out and returned apparently without any permission; that some staff were physically and sexually abusing children in their care…"
Statement by Cooper Government Families Minister the Hon Beryce Nelson dated 15 May 1988 regarding matters to be investigated by Mr Noel Heiner. Tabled in the Queensland Parliament on 25 August 1998 Hansard p1872

“…What do you want to me do, charge the entire Cabinet with criminal conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.”

Statement by Barrister Noel Nunan, contracted CJC officer, during interview with Kevin Lindeberg at CJC Headquarters, Toowong  on 11 August 1992

“He was a mate, recommended by a mate (i.e. Mr. Barnes) to investigate a mate.”

Kevin Lindeberg’s Submission to the Senate Select Committee on the Lindeberg Grievance dated 28 May 2004

"No power ought to be above the laws."
Cicero, de domo sua, 57 B.C.

“…If the public understand, and value, the rule of law, then that is the best safeguard against excessive use of power.  The best way to encourage people to value the rule of law is to point out the alternative, which is a society in which the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.
Chief Justice Gleeson on “LEGALITY - SPIRIT AND PRINCIPLE” – The Second Magna Carta Lecture, NSW Parliament 20 November 2003

" is enough that an act has a tendency to deflect or frustrate a prosecution or disciplinary proceedings before a judicial tribunal which the accused contemplates may possibly be implemented..."
Chief Justice Mason in R v. Rogerson and Ors (1992) 66 ALJR 500 at p.502

"...Legal institutions are interdependent. In the area of criminal justice, the police force, the prosecution and the judiciary have a symbiotic relationship in which the performance and the functions of each depends to a substantial degree on the capacity and integrity of each of the others. The same kind of relationships exist in other areas of the law, involving 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 e.g. to serve the interests of those who wield the power, the whole system is distorted, indeed perverted."
NSW Chief Justice the Honourable James Spigelman speaking extra-judicially at the ICAC/Interpol Conference in Hong Kong on 22 January 2003.

 "….So far as public confidence in the administration of justice is concerned, the position is even worse if, as is usually the case, the law enforcement agents or those acting on their behalf are not brought to account for their criminal acts. In cases of that kind, the courts are brought into greater disrepute because they give the appearance of sanctioning illegality. And that appearance is given even if criticism is made of the police conduct involved. Indeed, criticism may well appear to be mere humbug and, itself, lead to a further erosion of confidence in the courts. "
Justice Gaudron in John Anthony Ridgeway v The Queen F.C. No. 95/016 (1995) 129 ALR 41 (1995) 69 ALJR 484 at 39

"...I submit the facts show the Heiner Inquiry went horribly wrong, and public officials and union officials could not acknowledge or accept that I had a legal right to challenge complaints made against me both in the inquiry and in the court. So a course of action was then entered into where the Queensland Cabinet made a decision that the Heiner inquiry documents were to be destroyed - destroyed despite being fully aware that these documents would be required in judicial proceedings.”
Mr Peter Coyne’s Submission dated 1 May 1995 to the Senate Select Committee on Unresolved Whistleblower Cases

"...The significance of shredding "public records" with haste is, to say the least, monumentally indefensible in our system of justice."
Submission by Mr Roland Peterson, Counsel for Messrs Lindeberg and Coyne, dated 26 May 1995 before the Senate Select Committee on Unresolved Whistleblower Cases

"…It was put to me by union officials that I just keep claiming time in lieu: "Put down anything you want. Claim anything you want.  Just put it down, they will pay it."
Mr  Peter Coyne’s evidence to Senate Select Committee on Unresolved Whistleblower Cases in the Queensland Parliament on 5 May 1995 Hansard p536

"…The real point about the matter is that it does not matter when, in technical terms, justice begins to run. What is critical is that a party in possession of documents knows that those documents might be required for the purposes of litigation and consciously takes a decision to destroy them. That is unthinkable. If one had commercial litigation between two corporations and it emerged that one of the corporations knowing or believing that there was even a chance that it might be sued, took a decision to destroy evidence, that would be regarded as conduct of the greatest seriousness - and much more serious, might I suggest, if done by a government.” 
Oral submission by Mr Lindeberg’s counsel, Mr. Ian D. F. Callinan QC, before the Senate Select Committee on Unresolved Whistleblower Cases in Brisbane on 23 February 1995  Senate Hansard p3

“…Our democracy requires that political decisions can or should be taken only within the framework of upholding and respecting the rule of law. In this regard, the Senate, as its view stands concerning certain conduct by Government and other public officials in the Heiner Affair, appears to suggest, on the Parliamentary record, that Executive decree can be placed above both legal considerations or consequences when arguably it is open to conclude that certain sections of the Criminal Code (Qld) may have been breached in respect of those same Cabinet and related decisions.”
Submission by Mr Robert F Greenwood QC dated 9 May 2001 to the Senate President regarding the Lindeberg Grievance

“…It was not necessary that the appellant knew that the diary notes would be used in a legal proceeding or that a legal proceeding be in existence or even a likely occurrence at the time the offence was committed. It was sufficient that the appellant believed that the diary notes might be required in evidence in a possible future proceeding against B, that he wilfully rendered them illegible or indecipherable and that his intent was to prevent them being used for that purpose.”
Honours Davies, Williams and Jerrard JJA at 15 in R v Ensbey; ex parte A-G (Qld) [2004] QCA 335 on 17 September 2004

 “...Whilst we are of the view that the events which occurred between January 1990 and February 1991 involve very grave and serious matters, we are even more concerned that those matters have remained successfully covered up for so many years. In what is commonly referred to as the “post-Fitzgerald era”, there are many people in our community who feel a measure of confidence that serious misconduct by senior public officials cannot go undetected. Even the Criminal Justice Commission’s strongest supporters, like Mr. Clair and Mr. Beattie, must now have cause to reconsider their confidence in the exhaustiveness - to say nothing as to the independence - of the Commission’s investigation into this matter.”
Barristers Morris QC and Howard’s October 1996 Report October 1996 on “the Lindeberg allegations” p215

“…The professional associations - the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) and the Records Management Association of Australia (RMAA) have long argued the propriety of submitting records disposal practices to professional review in the interests of public accountability (not just preservation of an historical record).  Nowhere has the opposing case (that governments are free to destroy records at their own discretion subject only to a consideration of historical value and that State archives authorities have no role to play in support of accountability) been so strongly and persistently placed on the public record.  It cannot be allowed to stand.  ASA and RMAA should take up the challenge and do whatever is necessary to place on the public record their opposition to the stance taken by the Queensland authorities in the Heiner case.”
An Appreciation of the Heiner Affair – Mr. Chris Hurley, former State Archivist Victoria 1996

 “…It is respectfully submitted that it would not be in the public interest or in the interest of truth if this Commission of Inquiry could only investigate and make recommendations on the substance or otherwise of "shredded JOYC child abuse allegations" and not concern itself with the far greater offence that such evidence in the possession of the Crown at the time was deliberately destroyed by order of the Goss Cabinet (in the name of the Crown) to obstruct justice and to cover up unacceptable suspected child abuse against children in the care and protection of the Crown.”
Kevin Lindeberg’s 18 September 1998 submission to the Forde Commission of Inquiry into the Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions

"Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subject to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously.  Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher.  For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.  Crime is contagious.  If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy."
Mr Justice Louis D Brandeis, Dissenting in Olmstead v United States, 277 U.S. 438, 475 (1928).

“…A mockery would be made of the criminal law if accused persons could rely on, for example, erroneous legal advice, or their own often self-serving understanding of the law as an excuse for breaking it…”
Callinan and Hayden JJ Ostrowski v Palmer [2004] HCA 30 (16 June 2004)

“…The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."
Thomas Jefferson, Drafter of the United States Constitution

“…if one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can. That means first chaos, then tyranny. Legal process is an essential part of the democratic process.”
Justice Felix Frankfurter, United States Supreme Court

“…I aim for higher mountains and refuse to live in deep valleys of despair, fear and cynicism…”
Kevin Lindeberg’s Opening Statement to the Senate Select Committee on the Lindeberg Grievance in Parliament House Brisbane on 11 June 2004

“…The Rights of the Parliament of Queensland, and of the sovereign people of Queensland who empower it, have been abused by a disregard of the laws of its Parliament. Disregard of law by executive branches of governments in any nation or state, when and where it may occur, amounts to tyranny and a mockery of democracy. “
Passage from the Preamble of the Lindeberg Petition tabled in the Queensland Parliament on 27 October 1999

“…When such abuse occurs, it is a dagger in the heart of democracy with all its allied dangerous consequences, and simply must be resisted and corrected. The Heiner Affair (Heiner) is such a spectacle writ large. Over and above losing my job for daring to blow the whistle, Heiner stirs me because I believe that equality before the law is non-negotiable and a birthright which is so deeply rooted in our national psyche as to be the foundation of our national spirit of openness and our much vaunted deprecatory larrikin streak of calling a spade a spade – a propensity to prick pomposity….”
Kevin Lindeberg’s Special Supplementary Submission dated 1 July 2003 to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee

“…Whether we are all equal before the law is a first-principle which free men and women everywhere want answered before they bow to those placed in positions of authority over their lives and liberty to administer the law entrusted to them either through the ballot box or by appointment. It is the ultimate contract of trust in any democracy, but it has limits because we know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. “
Kevin Lindeberg’s Opening Statement to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Brisbane on 23 October 2003.

“…The task that I have as an academic is no more and no less than that which applies to all academics whether they are in journalism, botany, microbiology, physics, the law or wherever. The task is the search for truth, and so, to my detractors who criticise me and have criticised me over the years, I wish to say: I couldn’t care less. My search is not for circulation nor listeners nor viewers nor mates nor to lead the charge to trumpet the wonders of Queensland or whatever it might be that directs their efforts; my journey is the search for truth. And we are getting there, but there is much more to be done, and so the search goes on.”
University of Queensland Journalist-in-Residence, Mr Bruce Grundy’s Opening Statement to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Brisbane on 23 October 2003.

“…it seems to me that the view that was expressed—that this should be used to read down the clear words—was, indeed, ludicrous. I had actually said that, if it were written in a first-year law assignment as reasons for the conclusion, you would end up with a low fail.”
Queensland University of Technology, Law Faculty Senior Law Lecturer, Mr Alastair MacAdam’s Opening Statement to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Brisbane on 23 October 2003.

“…Is the committee aware of Mr Lindeberg’s one-man petition? It is an 80-page petition. I have read that petition. I do not think that Mr Lindeberg knew what he was writing at the time. But it seems to me that that petition and a little bit of further thought draw us to the conclusion that, in this particular matter, where it is alleged that very senior people have committed moderately serious criminal offences, all the bodies that are established to protect us against the excesses of executive government have failed. Rather than carry out their duty in an independent manner, it seems to me that they have collapsed around the executive government and said that the executive government can do no wrong.”
Queensland University of Technology, Law Faculty Senior Law Lecturer, Mr Alastair MacAdam’s Opening Statement to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Brisbane on 23 October 2003.

“…Our society relies on public confidence in its public institutions otherwise good government can disintegrate into chaos. Maintaining that public confidence is the highest duty of public officials. Perception and reality should not divide on this duty, moreover, it cannot afford to. While we may all have different political and philosophical views about the role of government and life in general, the heritage given to us by those who have gone before, has decreed that we can all play the political game without hindrance so long as we stay within the framework of the rule of law under our Constitutional Monarchy.”
Kevin Lindeberg’s Opening Statement to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Brisbane on 16 March 2004.

“…the resignation or jailing of a Minister, and perhaps even, the jailing an entire Cabinet and senior public officials involved in a serious cover-up, although painful to see, will better secure our democratic future and stability in the long run than turning a blind eye to high level corruption in the short run because it sends the message to all that no one is above the law.”
Kevin Lindeberg’s Opening Statement to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Brisbane on 16 March 2004.

“…Our public recordkeeping has reached a crossroads in Queensland. We are on the brink of a world without evidence when it comes to government, or evidence being properly protected for pending and anticipated judicial proceedings?”
Kevin Lindeberg’s Opening Statement to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Brisbane on 16 March 2004.

“…I refuse to live by those rules. It is fascism or totalitarianism by another name where Executive decree replaces the rule of law. The marrow in my bones tells me that I must fight against such abuse and bullies, as all good men and women should.”
Kevin Lindeberg’s Opening Statement to the Senate Select Committee on the Lindeberg Grievance in Parliament House Brisbane on 11 June 2004

“…I refuse to accept a cynical view of politics which can engender a dangerous indifference to the political process and invite contempt for all politicians. I want to protect the political process. I want respect for public life and those who enter it.  I care deeply about our nation’s democratic wellbeing and its future. I refuse to accept defeat and be worn down by abuse of power and the passage of time in a struggle to see the great democratic principles embodied in the Heiner affair prevail. I reject completely the cynical view of “ can’t beat them, you may as well join them.” That is not the Australia I want for myself, my children, and their children, nor for others.”
Kevin Lindeberg’s Opening Statement to the Senate Select Committee on the Lindeberg Grievance in Parliament House Brisbane on 11 June 2004

“…if history teaches us one thing, it is this: There is a time for everything. There is a time when lies can be sowed, and there is a time when their bitter crop will be reaped. There is a time when the seeds of truth sowed by one farmer may perhaps wither and die under the oppressive dry heat of indifference and lies, and his hopes of success ridiculed when nurturing his seed against the apparent overwhelming hopelessness of massive abuse of office and indifference. But, as happens and the seasons dictate, the optimistic farmer knows that the rains will eventually come, and his faith will be rewarded. But for the truth to prevail, the farmer’s abiding task is to endure, and endure, the hard years. …”
Kevin Lindeberg’s Opening Statement to the Senate Select Committee on the Lindeberg Grievance in Parliament House Brisbane on 11 June 2004

“…It [the Heiner affair] is a test to see whether we can either grasp its harvest and advance our democracy and values such as equality before the law for all, or whether we will squander it through lack of courage and political will, and bow to its bitter taste…”
Kevin Lindeberg’s Opening Statement to the Senate Select Committee on the Lindeberg Grievance in Parliament House Brisbane on 11 June 2004

“…We believe that it is the democratic right of every Australian to expect that the criminal law shall be applied consistently, predictably and equally by law-enforcement authorities throughout the Commonwealth of Australia in materially similar circumstances. We believe 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…. To do otherwise, we suggest would undermine the rule of law and confidence in government. It would tend to place Executive Government above the law.”
The August 2007 Judges’ Statement of Concern about the unresolved Heiner affair

“…The affair exposes an unacceptable application of the criminal law by prima facie double standards by Queensland law-enforcement authorities in initiating a successful proceedings against an Australian citizen, namely Mr. Douglas Ensbey, but not against members of the Executive Government and certain civil servants for similar destruction-of-evidence conduct. Compelling evidence suggests that the erroneous interpretation of section 129 of the Criminal Code (Qld) used by those authorities to justify the shredding of the Heiner Inquiry documents may have knowingly advantaged Executive Government and certain civil servants.”
The August 2007 Judges’ Statement of Concern about the unresolved Heiner affair

“…It is certainly the case that if one has regard to the principles of responsible government alone it can be persuasively argued that a Governor must always follow the advice of the Ministry. But the application of the principles of the rule of law leads to a different conclusion. The rule of law also imposes an obligation upon a Governor to see that the processes of the Executive Council and the action being taken are lawful and to refuse to act when they are not. That duty is not confined to refusing to be a party to an action which is unlawful in the sense of being contrary to say the criminal law but includes acts which are beyond power or acts which are within power but are being exercised irregularly as was the case for example in FAI v. Winneke “
Former Tasmanian Chief Justice and Tasmanian Governor the Hon Sir Guy Green in his 1999 Sir Robert Menzies Oration entitled “Governors, Democracy and the Rule of Law” at the University of Melbourne

“…For too long, good men have done nothing about the Heiner Affair. The danger in it continuing is clear; that it continues to live 17 years on, is proof it must be addressed now for our society and the leaders of our institutions upon which we depend, to have any credibility.”
Phillip Enright President, Queensland Chapter, Institute of Management Consultants – Media Release - 3 October 2007

"In recent years there have been a number of instance of serious disregard for the integrity of public records in Australia. Some examples include those highlighted by 'W.A. Inc' Royal Commission, the 1994 destruction of Special branch records in New South Wales and the so-called 'Heiner affair' in Queensland. This trend is a matter of profound concern to the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) and should also be of the gravest concern to society as a whole."
ASA's submission to the Senate Select Committee on the Lindeberg Grievance on 28 May 2004.

"The circumstances of the Heiner affir are not only of tremendous interest to the archival profession, they are also of critical importance to the operation of a just and democratic society in Queensland. The operation of a free and democratic society depends upon the maintenance of the integrity of the public record. Public records are a key source of information about government actions and decisions. They provide essential evidence of the exercise of public trust by public officials. This in turn helps ensure public accountability and protection of the rights of citizens."
ASA's submission of 8 Octobeer 1999 to Parliamentary Criminal Justice Commissioner Julie Dick SC calling for the appointment of an independent Special Prosecutor to investigate the unresolved affair. If formed part of the ASA's submission to the Senate Select Committee on the Lindeberg Grievance on 28 May 2004

Labor Government destroys evidence into child abuse. Ministers pervert course of justice by illegal shredding of documents. Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan support Goss cabinet decision to shred.

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ABC Radio Richard Fidler Conversation Hour 17/03/2009
Brisbane radio 4BC 20/03/2009
Alan Jones radio interview with Piers Akerman.
Alan Jones radio interview with Peter Beattie
Alan Jones radio interview with former QLD union official Kevin Lindeberg

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Inquiry into Harmonising Legal Systems

Tasmanian Parliament Joint Select Committee on Ethical Conduct

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