Trade union royal commissioner Dyson Heydon will remain at his post and re-commence the $60 million-plus corruption probe after dismissing the claims against him as unfounded. Mr Heydon’s 67-page judgement explained why he rejected the union’s application for recusal and suggested that the Sir Garfield Barwick Address was a “legal event”. He also claimed that he was unaware of the Liberal Party sponsorship of the event.
It is expected that Labor will now launch a parliamentary vote in the Senate, which is likely to gain the support of the Greens and enough of the various independents calling for Mr Heydon’s removal as royal commissioner.
“Tony Abbott has failed to act to remove Dyson Heydon from Tony Abbott’s own royal commission. It’s now left for the Parliament to act,” said Labor’s shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus.
ACTU secretary Dave Oliver believes that Tony Abbott’s royal commission is now terminally tarnished by Mr Heydon’s decision. “What we are left with now is a multimillion-dollar royal commission that is tainted – everything that has happened until now and everything that will happen in the future is stained by these events,” he said.
In his judgement, Mr Heydon made it clear that he had an aversion to computers and a fear of emails.
“Indeed, it is notorious among the legal profession that I am incapable of sending or receiving emails. The consequence is that I read emails only after they have been printed out for me,” explained Mr Heydon.
“Having glanced through the email on the front page, noting the time, date and place of the dinner, and noting that I was to be the guest of the organisers, it was not necessary for me to read the attachments explaining how those who were to pay would pay.” he said.
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The royal commission into trade union corruption should be about cleaning up the unions and removing corruption. But how can any verdict be considered with Dyson Heydon as royal commissioner?
While it may be easy to forgive Mr Heydon’s involvement with a Liberal Party event as a simple lapse of judgement, it’s difficult to look past the revelation that Mr Heydon had been on the committee that chose Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a Rhodes Scholar.
There is no question in my mind that Mr Heydon is conducting the royal commission into trade union corruption without bias. Unfortunately, his involvement with the Liberal Party fundraiser and, more importantly, his past involvement with the man who pushed for this royal commission, Tony Abbott, are such significant factors that Mr Heydon should not remain as royal commissioner.
What do you think? Should Dyson Heydon remain as the trade union royal commissioner? Will the findings be compromised by the involvement of Mr Heydon as royal commissioner? What should now be the response from the ACTU and the Labor Party?