November 12, 2003 | Graham

Separation of powers again

I lost it just a little in an interview on Hobart radio earlier this week. Tim Cox was interviewing me about Pauline Hanson and he started talking about separation of powers. “Well, we know you are different up there…”
“Yes…?” I thought. “Where is this leading?” The tips of my ears and the back of my neck burned a little bit redder and I wondered if he was going to try the same question on me that was tried on Joh Bjelke-Petersen in 1988.
“You do have a unicameral system…”
“Mmmm, and a representative system in the lower house that is just a little more decisive than your Hare-Clarke one,” again inaudibly at the back of my mind. Where was this leading?
“And you have had the ‘Moonlight State’.” Suddenly all was clear. Pauline was allegedly convicted because hick politicians had leaned on corrupt judges and policemen to get a prosecution. I let him have it. Everyone has corrupt police, but there has never been a serious suggestion of a taint around our judiciary.
Yesterday’s debate in Parliament suggests that Tim is not alone in thinking that the Queensland system is corrupt. Apparently Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition thinks so as well, else why would they be calling for the matter to be referred to the CMC? What is going on? The attached press release may provide some of the answers. The Opposition appears to be playing to a particular constituency. Read the press release and make up your own mind as to whether this is a good strategy.

by Whistleblowers Action Group Qld [WAG]
The Whistleblowers Action Group calls for a truly independent review of Queensland’s justice system. This call follows further revelations about the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and the District Court, arising from PAULINE HANSEN’s successful appeal before Queensland’s Chief Justice and the Court of Appeal.
Mr Beattie’s first idea [AM, 7 Nov], namely to defend the ODPP against the criticisms of the Chief Justice, demonstrated his true intent about the ODPP – the Premier is happy with the performances of the ODPP. His second offer [PM, 7 Nov], of an in-house review of resourcing, was an attempt to address matters that were not the concern. The real concern is the apparent lack of independence of the ODPP – giving the Office more resources would only reward the ODPP for its performance.
Now Mr Beattie is offering an inquiry into allegations of misconduct by the ODPP. The Premier and Leader of the Labour Party in Queensland, however, has given the responsibility of that Inquiry to the major part of the problem with Queensland’s justice system, namely the Crime and Misconduct Commission. His tasking of the CMC with the pursuit of Federal Liberal Tony Abbott clearly demonstrates the Premier’s view of the CMC as a part of the political framework in Queensland. Mr Beattie does not regard the CMC as part of the justice system. His ‘Separation of Powers’ concept does not extend to the ever obliging CMC.
Mr Beattie uses the word ‘independent’ as many times in his sentences as he can when describing the ODPP and the CMC (and the Ombudsman, Information Commissioner, State Archivist, State Coroner, Chief Magistrate and now Chief Judge of Qld’s District Court). The Premier realises that the ‘independence’ of these bodies is the issue, and his every use of the word amplifies that reality.
Why is ‘independence’ the issue? – let recent events demonstrate the pattern
The Shepherdson’s Inquiry found prima facie evidence of fraudulent activities by members of Mr Beattie’s party, but none of them went to prison even for one day. The same justice system, with the ODPP leading, was able to sentence a political opponent Pauline Hansen to prison for three years, without any proof of fraud.
The CMC, formerly CJC, through its officers that now head most of the organs of justice in Queensland, excused Ministers of the Crown for destroying evidence of child abuse collected by Magistrate Heiner. The same justice system, however, is sending a Minister of God to the Criminal Courts for the same action. In the former case, the CMC, the now Ombudsman and Information Commissioner, the now State Coroner, and a serving Magistrate have all decided that the Qld Labour Cabinet and/or the State Archivist could destroy evidence before anticipated legal proceedings were started. The same justice system is not allowing the Minister of God this defence, because, in law, this defence is legal nonsense.
The allegations of multiple pack rapes of a teenage girl within the government’s John Oxley Centre have never been investigated by Queensland’s justice system. It has been twelve years since staff at the Centre informed Police and Magistrate Heiner of the crimes. When the girl sued the government for its failures in its care of her, however, that same justice system issued, served and actioned, within three weeks, an arrest warrant, sending the girl to prison for eight months.
The Forde Inquiry investigated and reported allegations of the cover-up, by Bishops of the Church, of abuse of children in their care. The same Inquiry refused to investigate allegations of cover-up by the Qld Cabinet of criminal abuse within the government’s John Oxley Centre. The refusal was made through an officer now a judge of the Supreme Court.
WAG awarded another woman, Mrs Julie Gilbert, the title of Whistleblower Supporter of the Year 2002. The Award recognised the disclosures that Mrs Gilbert brought to the attention of the public about the apparent bias in processes used by the ODPP. That Office dismissed charges of child abuse against a swimming coach well known to the ODPP’s Minister. The ODPP decided this on the simple say so of the coach’s lawyer. After a public outcry, the charges were sent to a legal authority outside Queensland for assessment. This was not done because there were not enough lawyers in the ODPP (or other resource issues), it was because the ODPP had lost any credibility to deal with the matter in an independent way.
The reason why Pauline Hansen was successful against the Chief Judge of the District Court, and why Mr Gribbin was successful against the Chief Magistrate, was that they appear to have got above any gerrymander. To get above any gerrymander, however, they had to go to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court respectively. Pauline Hansen had the financial support, and the resources of character and of national profile, to do this – to threaten to go to the High Court. It was most unlikely that the Queensland Chief Justice was going to give the High Court the opportunity of delivering upon his legal aspirations the kind of criticism that the Chief Justice delivered upon Queensland’s Chief District Court Judge. The economy of reasoning offered by that Chief Judge about contract law matches the nonsense of criminal law used by the CMC to look past the destruction of evidence of child abuse contained within the documents of Magistrate Heiner.
The Queensland Chief Justice has a large problem climbing the judicial steps towards his Chair. That problem is the sequence of nonsense legal arguments being used to decide issues involving politicians and their servants and associates.
In the end it was political and media forces from outside of Queensland that forced the release of Pauline Hansen from prison. It is Bronwyn Bishop, Alan Jones and national media who are also seeking justice for the girl allegedly raped at the John Oxley Centre. It is the Federal Parliament and the national media who are most likely to bring any current Ministers of the Crown guilty of destroying evidence of child abuse to the same dock whereat now stands the Minister of God. It is a legal authority outside of Queensland who is recommending whether the allegations against Scott Volkers should go to trial.
The Whistleblower’s Action Group first contended, at the International Conference on Professional Ethics in Brisbane last year, that Queensland’s justice system may be now so corrupted that it is unable to reform itself. WAG now is stronger of that view, as the extent of the Justice Gerrymander appears to be rising into the Queensland Courts.
Another whitewash from the Premier’s tamed and tiring watchdog at the CMC will only lead to further entrenchment of Queensland’s new Gerrymander
Mr Gordon Harris, President: 0419 724 502
Mr Greg McMahon, Secretary: 0411 757 231
11 November 2003

Posted by Graham at 2:53 pm | Comments (1) |
Filed under: Uncategorized

1 Comment

    So Queensland Premier Beattie called a snap election for 7 February 2004, and won another historic victory with the Coalition wondering what hit it. Mr Beattie caught many by surprise, while others saw it as running true to form when certain facts are known.
    He claimed to need a new mandate so that he could implement the 110 recommendations of the Crime and Misconduct Commission’s Abuse of Foster Care Children Report. Mr. Beattie assured everyone that children must always come first. Wonderful! So it seems, the welfare of abused children brought about this snap election.
    Very commendable indeed, but was it true?
    Perhaps his snap election was a little more than that? Perhaps, he had an eye on the looming political/legal/constitutional crisis that the Heiner Affair represents to himself, certain of his Ministers and others in Queensland’s public administration, all of which, ironically, just happens to find its origins in the notoriously dysfunctional Families Department which the CMC damned in its Report recommending the establishment of a new Department of Child Safety?
    It should be noted – and stated over and over – that Mr. Beattie went to the polls on Saturday 7 February 2004, some 3 days BEFORE Federal Parliament resumes with a certain hot matter known to be on the agenda of both Federal Houses: the Heiner Affair.
    The House of Representatives Standing Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, chaired by the Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, has not finished with its examination into Heiner as part of its on-going inquiry into crime in the community.
    It holds a new public document revealing the new layer of criminality associated with the Heiner Affair concerning the legal implications of (a) knowingly destroying public records containing unlawful/criminal abuse of children in a State-run institution to prevent the material being used against the careers of the staff who owed those children a duty of care; and (b) the February 1991 Deed of Settlement’s extraordinary ‘silence’ conditions about certain ‘events’ at the centre in exchange for public money.
    The Australian Senate is to vote on establishing a Senate Select Committee on the Lindeberg Grievance and consider whether or not the Queensland Government and Criminal Justice Commission (now known as the Crime and Misconduct Commission) misled it on Heiner some years ago in respect of whether:
    (a) the criminal law concerning the destruction of evidence (containing evidence of abuse of children in a State-run institution) was knowingly twisted for an improper purpose;
    (b) a relevant “access” regulation was knowingly misinterpreted for an improper purpose;
    (c) a tendered document revealing evidence of children at the centre being handcuffed for excessive periods was deliberately tampered with for an improper purpose;
    (d) a relevant file concerning the pack-rape of a female indigenous minor at the centre was deliberately withheld from the Senate for an improper purpose;
    (e) the role of the State Archivist was misrepresented for an improper purpose;
    (f) the relevant February 1991 Deed of Settlement between the State of Queensland and a public official was misrepresented for an improper purpose
    and whether contempt may have been committed in the above going to possible obstruction of justice.
    I suggest that these matters to the social/political/administrative/criminal justice affairs of Queensland are something which voters might like to have known about before casting their votes on February 7 but Mr. Beattie – ‘the rabbit on the run’ – has now cutely denied them that right by calling a snap election – and received another overwhelming majority.
    Is that the end of the story? I don’t think so….
    Kevin Lindeberg
    11 Riley Drive
    Wednesday 14 January 2004
    07 3390 3912 or 0401 224 013

    Comment by Kevin Lindeberg — February 8, 2004 @ 1:14 am

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