Ex-Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen allegedly thought that Indigenous people infected with AIDS should be left to die, former Premier Mike Ahern told the Courier-Mail.
Bjelke-Petersen felt that AIDS was a punishment from God and tried to stop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from being screened for the disease.
After receiving advice that AIDS could wipe out entire Indigenous communities in the state, Ahern ordered blood tests despite his premier’s wishes.
“Joh was aggressive towards me in relation to this,’’ he said.
“He felt that somehow or other God was punishing these people and I should leave it alone and let God look after his own. I said I can’t do that.”
Ahern says he started safe-sex education program and sent people who’d tested positive for HIV to Sydney for specialist care.
There was no epidemic,” he said.
“And we saved hundreds of lives.”
The AIDS revelation is amongst many explosive allegations in the Courier-Mail article, including that there were attempts to thwart the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption, that minister Russ Hinze was a gambling addict and that the man jailed for the Whiskey Au Go Go fire that resulted in 15 deaths was jailed.