Goss's staff misled me: Dillon

by Chris Griffith
Published 23 October 1994 in The Sunday Mail


my face


Premier Wayne Goss's office was yesterday accused of dispensing information which misled a community group seeking input into whistleblowers' protection legislation introduced into State Parliament last week.

The president of the Whistleblowers' Action Group (WAG), Insp Col Dillon, said his group last month had sought input into the law, after he discovered a draft Bill had already been secretly circulated to the CJC and other government agencies for comment - some six weeks earlier.

However Insp Dillon said that in a telephone conversation on September 27, the Premier's Media Advisor, Mr Russ Morgan, said: "there's definitely been no secret bill circulated at this stage".

According to Insp Dillon, Mr Morgan said he had contacted the key government people involved who had informed him no draft Bill had been circulated.

Insp Dillon said the view Mr Morgan presented was consistent with a Courier-Mail article also on September 27 where the government was quoted as having "dismissed assertions that the legislation was already prepared".

Yet 23 days later the Premier himself introduced the Bill into Parliament, Insp Dillon said.

"The Bill's appearance in Parliament is proof we've been misled - we would have lobbied harder had we realised the laws were being finalised," Insp Dillon said.

"I feel absolutely betrayed, and outraged at the contempt and arrogance of the government which appears to have consulted everybody except the whistleblowers which this legislation is designed to protect."

However Mr Morgan said Insp Dillon had misunderstood what he said, and denied having told him the Bill had not been circulated.

Mr Morgan said he had told Insp Dillon there was no community consultation phase at that time, but there would be an opportunity for WAG to put forward its views once the Bill was laid on the table of Parliament.

Insp Dillon said he used his police training to make detailed "contemporaneous notes" of his conversation with Mr Morgan.

Insp Dillon said WAG would again ask Mr Goss to meet representatives to discuss the Bill.

He said the legislation did not protect whistleblowers who took their concerns to the media - especially from reprisals, nor did the legislation make clear where the onus of proof lay when establishing a reprisal had occurred.

"We're particularly concerned there's no independent whistleblowers authority to handle the complaints, no guaranteed channel for anonymous complaints, no provisions to prevent the destruction of records, and no legal aid."

Insp Dillon was the first serving police officer voluntarily to give evidence of corruption at the Fitzgerald inquiry.

His evidence as a whistleblower led to other police confessing to receiving corrupt payments involving prostitution, SP betting, and unlawful gaming.

Insp Dillon is currently the Officer-in-charge and State Co-ordinator of Cross Cultural Support in the Queensland Police Service.

by Chris Griffith