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Dyson Heydon is an honourable man, says you know who

What is notable in the impassioned defence of Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Attorney-General George Brandis, and Christopher Pyne (what’s he do again?) is the choice of descriptors such as eminent, esteemed, distinguished, above reproach, honourable . . . the list is long, but you get the idea.

While Dyson Heydon may well enjoy some or all of those qualities in certain aspects of his life and personality, we ought to know by now that such attributes in no way preclude their bearer from undesirable and even unethical actions, neither do they make those actions any the less heinous.

We know this from the frequent exposure of esteemed, respected, eminent, irreproachable, honourable men (sorry, but they are overwhelmingly men) who are publicly revealed to have a darker and more dangerous side, from the eminent legal and political members of pedophile rings, to the growing list of globally renowned entertainers who’ve sexually preyed on women and children, to the irreproachable religious leaders who’ve succumbed to worldly temptations. You think we’d know by now that the words eminent, irreproachable, distinguished, honourable and so on mean, unfortunately, absolutely nothing when used in defence of men of achievement who’ve been outed as alarmingly two-faced.

And yet Abbott et al seem to believe that the increasingly desperate enunciation of these linguistic accolades will put Dyson Heydon beyond accountability, in much the same way as Abbott’s description to the court of the convicted pedophile Father Nestor as a virtuous and upright man was intended to distract from, or at the very least ameliorate, his crimes. These blokes make mistakes but they are essentially honourable men, so come on. Yes. Indeed.

It’s beyond belief that Dyson Heydon, given his experience and eminence in his profession, could be unaware that he is required to be free of all political allegiances. If by some oversight he was unaware of the nature of the Liberal Party invitation to give the Sir Garfield Barwick lecture, rumour has it that Attorney-General George Brandis was also invited to the same event some time back in April. Surely he noticed that looming conflict of interest? No?

Indeed, did no legal personage in the ranks of Liberal lawyers grasp the ethical implications of a Royal Commissioner heading an investigation into trade unions and the Labor party simultaneously giving the keynote address at a Liberal party fundraiser? Because if they are that thick, how are they making a living?

The collapse of institutions once respected and even revered has eroded popular faith in the perceived trustworthy and honourable nature of authority, simply because it is authority. Too often those who wield the power of authority have been shown to have abused that power and we are increasingly disillusioned. Or perhaps we’re on the road to a more healthy realism and self-responsibility. Like believing in the sky fairy, trusting a man because he is eminent in his profession, no matter what his field, is, sadly, a loony and outdated idea. It belongs in the era when a man’s word was binding: how many centuries ago was that?

Besides, if Abbott found Nestor virtuous and upright that tells us everything we need to know about his capacity for good judgement.

This article was first published as ‘But he is an honourable man . . .’ on No Place For Sheep.



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  1. will


  2. townsvilleblog

    Unfortunately just the recommendation of T.A is enough to ruin this man’s reputation with the public.

  3. Lee

    Good judgement (aka lying one’s arse off) runs in the Abbott family. Margie told us before the election that Tony is good, honorable and honest, blah, blah, blah.

  4. Kaye Lee

    ABBOTT: “We’ve had people like Kathy Jackson heroically, heroically, say that enough is enough, it’s all got to stop and I think the honest people inside the union movement, the honest people inside the Labor Party will welcome this royal commission.”

    “Honest, heroic, revolutionary, and the praise kept coming. Here was fearless whistleblower Kathy Jackson, who exposed endemic corruption within her Health Services Union that landed its former leader Michael Williamson in jail for fraud.

    Her stocks then soared even higher in January last year when she strode smartly attired into a Melbourne court room to testify about the credit card misuse of another ex-union colleague, disgraced MP Craig Thomson.

    The Abbott frontbench lauded her bravery. Christopher Pyne said at the time that Jackson would be forever remembered as a “transforming” unionist……..

    The Federal Court this week has heard damning evidence implicating Jackson in allegations of large-scale theft and misappropriation of HSU funds via cash cheques, a secret slush fund and three union-issued credit cards.

    The HSU alleges she wrongfully spent $1.4 million, dipping into union funds for years to fund her own five-star lifestyle. Jackson’s alleged misappropriation is on a magnitude rarely seen before. Craig Thomson’s alleged $28,000 ($5650 when it came down to it) pales in comparison.

    Read more:

  5. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    How true Jennifer,

    assuming Heydon possesses personal insight and his Liberal barrister collegues possess intelligence, it is inconceivable that they would not have foreseen (a favourite legal term) the dire consequences of associating Heydon with a Liberal Party fundraiser on the grounds of perceived and actual bias considering he was running the Royal Commission at the time.

    The alternative, which I suggest neither Heydon nor Stoljar and his other Liberal mates would like, is that they were too stupid to see it.

    I suspect the real answer is that unfortunately Heydon and his mates didn’t consider the ramifications because they think they are above the Law, especially as they manage it in their day jobs to keep other mere mortals like us under the thumb of often inequitable, restrictive, unjust or inflexible laws.

    How the mighty do fall!

  6. Terry2

    “It is fundamental to the administration of justice that the judge be neutral. It is for this reason that the appearance of departure from neutrality is a ground of disqualification … because the rule is concerned with the appearance of bias, and not the actuality, it is the perception of the hypothetical observer that provides the yardstick.”
    Dyson Heydon 2011

    I’ll go along with that Your Honour !

  7. David

    In just 2 years Abbott and co have bestowed the glowing terminology of eminent, esteemed, distinguished, above reproach, honourable etc on three of the champions of all things Lib. Ms Jackson, as described with accuracy by Jennifer, who came to the Abbott fold late in her career, once the money flowed and the tap seemed to have a dud washer. Shame cried Social Media. She was taken with affection into the Abbot bosom….woops

    Then one Senator Arthur Sinodinos (insidious as my spell checker wants to substitute), Minster of Finance, hauled kicking and screaming by his stubby tootsies into the NSW anti-corruption hearings witness box. Sack him cried Labor, hang and quarter him Twitter demanded, throw the bum out hollered Facebook, Again the kiss of death was bestowed. lovingly upon the rosy cheek of the darling of the Abbott Cabinet, woops again.

    Then to borrow one of Rumpole’s great quips, ‘she who must be obeyed’ or be 94a’d…Kero Bronnie, the political rorter of stamina. This recipient of the PM’s endearing love of which there was much, suddenly went from High Priestess glory to Cattle Class infamy, after 3 weeks of uppity indifference to forced but phony humility. The noise of objection from Social Media became a crescendo. She too had the kiss of death bestowed upon her…woops yet again.

    The saying goes ‘lightning never strikes the same place twice’ well we can put that to bed as a myth as Commissioner Dyson Heydon seems destined to be recipient No 4 of that dreaded smooch. Unless of course Abbott can invoke a miracle of comPELLing degrees, Heydon will become another woops after woops x 3. Given the fate of those former Abbott aficionados, my moneys on the Opposition, Twitter and FaceBook, 3 out of 3 so far aint too bad.

  8. win jeavons

    It is high time we realised that there is a class system alive and well in our land . Our rulers keep all the plums and give us the pip . Time for a bloodless revolution where great wealth is seen as the crime of theft it has always been. O’Henry had it right a century ago.

  9. AndrewL

    It always amazes me why politicians are referred to as “the Honourable Liberal Member” so & so. I mean of all classes of people in Australia, it seems such an oxymoron when it is used to introduce a Liberal or National party senator.
    Talk about re-defining the word “Honourable”…

  10. Rossleigh

    “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
    I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interrèd with their bones.
    So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
    Hath told you Caesar was ambitious.
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Caesar answered it.
    Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest—
    For Brutus is an honorable man;
    So are they all, all honorable men—
    Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
    He was my friend, faithful and just to me.
    But Brutus says he was ambitious,
    And Brutus is an honorable man.
    Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
    I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interrèd with their bones.
    So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
    Hath told you Caesar was ambitious.
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Caesar answered it.
    Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest—
    For Brutus is an honorable man;
    So are they all, all honorable men—
    Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
    He was my friend, faithful and just to me.
    But Brutus says he was ambitious,
    And Brutus is an honorable man.”

  11. silkworm

    Jennifer Wilson spoilt her otherwise good article by pointing out that most offenders were male. That is totally irrelevant.

  12. paul walter

    I don’t think he is a nice man. I think he is an anal, puritan, rigid ice-cold prick; a papier mache judge whose “mildness” is a facade for all that’s left after personality and character are removed or dissolved, which is ego, smugness, anger and control-freakishness.

    Yes, I know- some would tell me to go look in the mirror, but even I can’t be any worse than this silver haired, silver tongued, supercillious slimebucket and would I have even a fraction of his wealth for dirty deeds done dirt cheap, starting with that massive scab fee for presiding over the royal commission?

    There.. a good rant..feel better, BETTER!!

  13. Florence nee Fedup

    TURC needs to stay until Kathy gets her just desserts. The one good thing to come out of Abbott’s witch hunt. Maybe her live in partner might be caught as well.

    Liberals love RC into unions. Never expose much. Each time it ids the employers that have been snared, back to the Victorian Painters and Dockers in my memory. Yes, the amazing bottom harbour schemes that had nothing to do with unions.

    It is said the original bill for TURC had to be changed, as it read as an enquiry into Labor. Someone drafting the legalisation got Abbott’s message wrong, or did they.

    The two RC were design to dirty the name of Labor, making them unelectable next time round.

    Poor Tony. none of his well planned, long term tricky procedures appear to be working. From nearly day one, he has not been able to get one foot in front of Labor. Now they appear to be pulling ahead.

    Maybe he didn’t count on Labor playing dead, while all he attempted fell over, proved disastrous. Labor never played they game as he would have, Labor was more inclined to say yes Tony, not no no no , as he would have.

  14. crypt0

    “Dyson Heydon is an honourable man”
    They would say that, wouldn’t they?
    A quote from Mandy Rice-Davies …
    I believe she knew a bit about conservative politicians !

  15. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes FnF,

    I agree that Kathy Jackson should be held to account for ripping off innocent workers; pretending to be a decent union leader; being a whistleblower in a compromised position herself; and being exposed as owning and operating a complex portfolio of properties and political associations.

    Keep the TURC open for her and her associates alone, including her barrister boyfriend who will be named and exposed too.

    Ugly people, ugly consequences.

  16. paul walter

    Silkworm, I regard you as an ally. For an intelligent person, a little bit of extra research adds colour for a final portrait.

    Wilson’s blogsite, as well as being of good substance on those things covered there, eventually offers an interesting composite of Wilson herself. Commended, truly, scales fall away.

  17. Salstarat

    The fact that this unconscionably corrupt pro-LNP hypocrite comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by the serial LIAR, CHEAT and THIEF, Phony Baloney Tony, is the most reprehensible, character assassinating action that could happen to any smug member of the judiciary! Dyson Heydon is a disgraceful charlatan who has sold his black soul to the most corrupt, nauseating little fascist to have ever crawled across the electoral line! The bogus Royal Commissions are nothing but an extravagantly expensive, cynical exercise in political expediency and a FAILED attempt to discredit and destroy the careers of three Labor leaders who had the courage to stand up against the appalling depravity, callously inhumanity and dumbed down idiocy of this horrific fascist government! Rot in hell, Heydon!

  18. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Maybe the word ‘honourable’ is due for redefinition.

  19. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    When Heydon received the note informing HIM that he was now under scrutiny for his suspicious acceptance of the invite to the Lib fundraiser, his face fell and that look one gets when they know they’ve been caught swept across his face. Then came his announcement that there would need to be a pause to proceedings. It was priceless.

    It was priceless just like rabid Abbott’s death stare when Tony Smith dared to say in his inaugural speech as Speaker that he actually got on all right with people on the other sides in parliament.

    Lucky for Bronnie, we’re laughing at Heydon now. Poor stupid, devious Tony however, is again under the spotlight for yet another self-destructive association.

  20. Ella Miller

    Rosmary,I agree.
    Honourable about …what….and to whom?
    Whilst I agree corruption should be rooted out…BUT….
    Is it corruption to stop Commission proceedings after having received a message, and leave the chamber “to attend to an important matter” which is what he said as shown by abc 24.
    No wonder the Government don’t want release emails between the “honourable Commissioner” and the Liberal Party.
    I wonder if the message recieved by him ,that day ,was that in Question Time Labor was aking many questions about his inteded attendance
    at the Liberal Party fundraiser and his impartiality? And was asked to deal with it.

    Yes what does honourable mean

  21. rossleighbrisbane

    Ella, as I quoted above:

    “For Brutus is an honourable man;
    So are they all- all honourable men”

  22. David

    @Salstarat…wow I couldn’t top that no matter how I try. Cheers

  23. eli nes

    it would be amazing if any captain’s pick would be free from bias. The rabbutt is amoral, however, and not responsible for any consequence from his actions which come from his god.
    Honourable is merely a word the politicians and judges have given themselves. The literal meaning of honourable is honoured more in the breach than in observance far as the rabbutt’s men have shown and it seems judges may be no better(just red a septic tank judges sentenced one man to writing out passages from the bible like lines we used to get at primary school)

  24. wayne johnson

    the first one is to the aim network can you check through your normal channels and find out what politicians are buying up the property around the shuniah mine near gunnedah i know that politicians are involved but i dont know who and i also find out that our friend rupert murdoch is designing a voting system it was going to be called e voting it looks like his old tricks he used in the us we desperately need a federal icac set up to deal with political corruption and the commissioner should no have any affiliation with either political party this has to be done now there is a lot of corrupt behaviour in the federal sphere starting with those politicians that allowed those mafia thugs to stay in australia one of them was wanted for murder where were the afp when this was happening and our rotten politicians im not targeting all politicians but the few that are corrupt we also need to know as we are entrusting our country to these politicians what is the association between rupert murdoch and the lnp especially tony abbot and malcolm turnbull one thing is for sure murdoch dosnt buy politicians for nothing

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