BY a single-vote margin, the NSW Legislative Council hasmoved to throw light on what may well be the greatest cover-up ofmaladministration and corruption among the most senior police officersin NSW.
Although members of the Carr-Iemma government tried to block themove, Liberal, National, Greens and independent MLCs succeeded onThursday in demanding that all papers relating to Operation RETZ beprovided to the Upper House by December 7.
If this is not done, the Opposition has no alternative but to demanda recall of parliament. Operation RETZ began in the 1990s, but itsreport has been buried by a succession of politicians and senior policebecause of its capacity to destroy the reputations of some of thehighest-ranking officers.
Although John Della Bosca, who represented the Government inopposing the presentation of the RETZ files to parliament, told theUpper House "the Government has been open in these matters'', that ismost definitely not so.
For 10 months, the Government and Police Commissioner Ken Moroneyhave been in defiance of Justice Johnson's January 28 order in the NSWSupreme Court to hand over Operation RETZ files to former former NSWdetective Tim Priest, whose reputation has been grossly traduced bymedia figures Chris Masters and Mike Carlton.
Justice Johnson did not come to his decision lightly. He took eight months to read all the documents and consider his opinion.
The Government had the option of taking his decision to the Court of Appeal, but has not done so.
The stonewalling cannot be permitted to continue. The reportincludes the official diaries of lightweight former commissioner PeterRyan and former deputy commissioner Jeff Jarratt, whom Ryan wrongfullydismissed.
It largely centres on the extraordinary behaviour of formerassistant commissioner Lola Scott, who was the subject ofapsychological review in 2000 that found she made either "a consciousand deliberate attempt to subvert due process'' or had "an inadequateunderstanding of the limits of her proper authority''.
A related report by Chief Inspector Jeff Tunks into events atCabramatta from 1991 to 2001 should also be tabled. State and federalLabor MPs have an inglorious history of trying to block inquiries intoNSW police corruption.
One objector has been federal MP Darryl Melham, who repeatedlyinterrupted testimony by former undercover officer Glen McNamara to theHouse of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and ConstitutionalAffairs in 2003.
Despite Melham's constant complaints, McNamara told the committeeabout corrupt police officer Larry Churchill and the standover rackethe ran protecting drug dealer Allan Saunders and notorious pedophilesRobert "Dolly'' Dunn and Colin Fisk.
Dunn and Fisk were then engaged in manufacturing amphetamines tofinance their criminal sexual activities. During his evidence, McNamarasaid he had seen a set of priest's robes the pedophiles said Dunn worewhen he met the parents of the boys he used for sex - and during sexwith the boys.
McNamara said he replayed taped conversations with the two men topolice internal security officers Lola Scott (subsequently appointedassistant commissioner by Ryan) and Ken Watson, but they refused hisrequest to make immediate arrests.
McNamara said his undercover role was subsequently revealed andScott recommended that he be charged with crimes based on allegationsmade by Saunders and Churchill, but that Dunn fled.
The chargesagainst McNamara were later dropped, and he received an apology fromthe NSW Ombudsman. When Churchill, Saunders and Fisk were arrested, allpleaded guilty. Dunn, whom Scott had given an indemnity fromprosecution, was traced to Lombok, then Honduras, where he wasarrested.
McNamara said that when Scott applied for Dunn's indemnity, she didnot mention the undercover tape, nor tell a judge she had seen videosof Dunn having sex with boys. That, he said, was proof of perjury andconspiracy by Scott to pervert the course of justice.
Scott refused to be interviewed about the indemnities she soughtfrom then head of police internal affairs Mal Brammer. She was notcharged with refusing to obey a lawful direction because then deputycommissioner Ken Moroney intervened and named a lowly sergeant toconduct the interview.
McNamara said Moroney curtailed the interview when Scott began tocry. Brammer filed a complaint about Moroney's behaviour with thePolice Integrity Commission, but it has still not been resolved.
The Government's attempts to block investigation of Operation RETZare in line with its recent attacks on Opposition Leader Peter Debnamfor raising questions about NSW Attorney-General Bob Debus's handlingof the corrective services ministry.
A thorough investigation of Operation RETZ could be the triggerneeded to flush out government cover-ups and move on corrupt police.