The Destruction of the ‘Heiner Documents’ and the Accountability of Cabinet in Queensland

  • Charles Lawson Griffith Law School, Griffith University
  • Aaron Day Griffith Law School, Griffith University

Abstract

The ‘Heiner documents’ were made in the course of an inquiry and the Queensland Cabinet later decided that they be destroyed. Their destruction arguably prejudiced and/or frustrated potential litigation. The issue addressed by this article is if a present day Cabinet was to make such a decision what administrative recourse might be available to challenge that decision? The article concludes that such a decision could again be made and that recourse to the various administrative reforms including the Public Records Act 2002 (Qld), the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) and the Constitution of Queensland 2001 (Qld) provides no comfort. The episode demonstrates that by giving Cabinet documents a special preserve of confidentiality there is a cost that challenges the foundations of responsible government.

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