When I decided to do a bit of research about the person heading the Royal Commission, Dyson Heydon, I noticed that he was born in Canada, but it was only when I decided that perhaps Wikipedia wasn’t enough research that I found that he wasn’t some Canadian boat person but rather the son of a public servant working overseas who’d married his Canadian secretary. His Wikipedia entry seemed strangely shy about mentioning his father, who’d worked in the Canberra Public Service and is described by the Australian Dictionary of Biography thus:
“On 6 November 1961 Heydon succeeded Sir Tasman Heyes as secretary of the Department of Immigration. To his new department he brought a broad appreciation of the workings of government, a network of contacts in Australia and abroad, and a concern about the public standing of the immigration programme He won respect and admiration for his businesslike approach to administration, his tactical sense, his appreciation of what was viable, his capacity in drafting ministerial submissions and his ability to inspire confidence. Conscientious in attending to his duties, he identified priorities, formulated staffing levels, set high standards and developed esprit de corps.”
But his father is not our concern here, in spite of his obvious close connection to the Liberal government throughout the sixties. He was a public servant, and public servants were neutral weren’t they? They just gave the governments advice, and when Labor came to power in 1972, many of the public service were confused because the Opposition was now trying to pretend that somehow it had a right to govern just because they’d won an election.
No, instead we turn to the son, who Abbott appointed to head the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. (Was this another “captain’s pick”?)
On his appointment to the High Court, the Liberal Attorney-General Daryl Williams described Dyson Heydon thus:
“Your honour’s personal work habits are extraordinary. It has been said . . . that you have always taken on a workload that should have been outlawed by some post-Dickensian Factory Act, and I trust that such an allusion will gratify you.”
So we can clearly see why he’s emminently qualified to look out how those pesky unions may be resorting to corrupt practices, as well as trying to prevent the reintroduction of the Factory Act and The Poor Law.
But hey, this just a “storm in a teacup”, as Mr Pyne tells us, because well, at $80 a head this is hardly a “fundraiser” because that barely covers costs and the only funds that were being raised on the night were from people donating. Which seems an interesting distinction to me, and I’m wondering if some lawyer may one day fight a charge of theft on the grounds that the money stolen was hardly enough to cover the taxi fare back home after the theft, so therefore it can’t be considered profitable enough to be against the law.
Not that any laws have been broken, of course.
But it is a bad look when the person heading a corruption inquiry is speaking at a fundraiser that’s not a fundraiser even though it clearly states on the invitation where funds raised will go. The argument raised by “The Daily Telegraph” that we should all move on because he pulled out when discovered that it was a Liberal fundraiser even though it said so on the invitation raises more than a few questions about the judgement of the judge.
Justice needs to be seen to be done, and this is one Justice who may have been well and truly done.
As Heydon himself said of Julia Gillard’s testimony:
“Julia Gillard was in many ways a satisfactory witness, But the manner in which she uttered these words denying what Athol James said seemed to be excessive, forced, and asseverated.
“There was an element of acting in her demeanour. She delivered those words in a dramatic and angry way, but the delivery fell flat.
“She protested too much. She chose to fight him. It was a fight in which there could be only one winner. Unfortunately, she lost that fight. Athol James’s testimony is to be accepted over hers. He was a witness of truth. His version of events was correct.”
Mm, it seems to me that, rather than a legal background, this Royal Commission needs someone with a dramatic background who can judge who’s telling the truth based on his or her delivery of the lines. I nominate film directors, Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorcese.
But at least this is taking our attention of the Same Sex Marriage, “Let’s Have A Referendum On It, Even Though I Said That We Shouldn’t” Fiasco. And when Tony Abbott says let’s have a vote he doesn’t mean with the next election; he means at some future date when he can say that really the election gave him a mandate because it was very clear that he took a policy of no gay marriage to several elections, so who needs a costly referendum?
And the same sex marriage debate took everyone’s mind off the pathetic 26% emissions reduction target , which we’ll achieve by a number of measures which we’re yet to work out, but after careful deliberation we came up with a number, using the science of Goldilocks and picked one which decided wasn’t too high and wasn’t too low, but was “just right” and we hope you gobble it all up.
And not only have they found the Goldilocks number, the Liberals are promising to achieve it without actually adding to any costs, or indeed, changing anyone’s behaviour in any way whatsoever.
And the “action” on climate change has taken everyone’s mind off the fact that unemployment hit a high not seen during the entire GFC. (Anyone heard the phrase, “Budget emergency” any time recently?)
Which took everyone’s mind of the leadership speculation…
Oh wait, No, it didn’t.
Checking the latest odds:
Abbott Callling Election to Head off Leadership Spill Evens
Abbott Losing spill in the next fortnight. 2-1
Abbott Winning Spill By Insisting On Secret Ballot Which Frances Counts 3-1
Abbott declaring war on the Falklands 3-1
Liberals Organising “Harold Holt” Memorial Swim For Tony 4-1