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23 May 2007
Official misconduct the Fitzgerald Inquiry missed?
I noted your account of the difficulties that The Courier Mail experienced in its creditable efforts to expose police corruption in Queensland in the 1980s.
My interpretation of your article: Courier Mail and ABC were regularly exposed to Stopper Writs in 1980s - and there was fear of legal action in relation to Phil Dickie's exposure of who controlled brothel industry in Brisbane. Many writs were issued to inhibit inquiries. Phil Dickie was often at risk in the course of investigations, and others reporters were harassed. Fitzgerald was uneasy about media investigations once inquiry had started. After the inquiry the task of monitoring the reform process and helping to rebuild confidence in shattered institutions followed. (Chamberlin G., 'No stopping judgment', Courier Mail, 19-20/5/07).
Unfortunately the later efforts to rebuild confidence in previously shattered institutions that you referred to may have contributed to the cover-up of ongoing problems, as:
Furthermore I also noted an anonymous article adjacent to yours in The Courier Mail on 20/7/07 which implied, on the basis of various legal points, that the destruction of the Heiner documents was only a trivial matter.
My interpretation of that other article: Former Fitzgerald whistleblower, Col Dillon, has revealed that his forthcoming book will focus on the Heiner affair. He suggests that claims by government and law enforcement agencies that the affair had been fully investigated is a self-serving myth. Dillon claimed recently that he would expose further police corruption - and claims that Heiner matter exposes prima facie evidence of corruption. The Heiner inquiry was improperly constituted as it provided no legal protection for those who took part, and on legal advice cabinet destroyed the evidence collected - an act which some have held to be illegal ('Dillon campaign over protracted Heiner inquiry', Courier Mail, 19-20/5/07).
I should like, through you, to draw the attention of the author of that article to the fact that:
An aside added later: An inquiry has found that sexual abuse of children in state institutions has been widespread in South Australia