The Courier-Mail


Com­mis­sioner vows to stay on and fin­ish job of in­quiry into unions

- STEVEN SCOTT Corruption · Society · Politics · Justice · Crime · Law · Liberal Party · Sydney · Queensland · Bill Shorten · Tony Abbott · Australia · Arbeidersparty · Tanya Plibersek · Scott Morrison · Partido Laborista Australiano · Peter Cosgrove · Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union · Brisbane · George Brandis · Anthony Albanese · National Union of Workers

THE royal com­mis­sion into trade unions will con­tinue to­day af­ter for­mer judge Dyson Hey­don re­jected calls for him to stand down over al­leged pro-Lib­eral bias.

But unions will step up ef­forts to de­rail the in­quiry with a pos­si­ble ap­peal, and La­bor will move a mo­tion in the Se­nate on Mon­day ask­ing Gover­nor-Gen­eral Peter Cos­grove to re­move Jus­tice Hey­don.

Jus­tice Hey­don re­jected unions’ calls for him to stand down over rev­e­la­tions he planned to speak at a Lib­eral fundraiser ar­ranged by a lawyers’ group, say­ing the “fairminded lay ob­server” would have no rea­son to think he was bi­ased against La­bor.

Jus­tice Hey­don said there was no proof he was a Lib­eral Party sup­porter.

“It was not to be a po­lit­i­cal speech. It was to be a le­gal speech,” Jus­tice Hey­don said in a 67-page state­ment.

“It could not ra­tio­nally be con­cluded that a per­son who merely agrees to give a le­gal ad­dress at such an event, al­beit or­gan­ised by the lawyer branches of the Lib­eral Party, be­lieves in, sup­ports or has any rel­e­vant as­so­ci­a­tion with the Lib­eral Party.”

As he re­jected union ar­gu­ments that emails be­tween the or­gan­is­ers and him­self showed he knew the event was a Lib­eral fundraiser, Jus­tice Hey­don re­vealed he did not use a com­puter.

“I have no com­puter and all email cor­re­spon­dence is sent and re­ceived by my per­sonal as­sis­tant,” he said.

“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.”

Af­ter tak­ing just over a week to de­cide on his fu­ture af­ter calls from the ACTU, CFMEU and AWU for him to stand down, Jus­tice Hey­don yesterday read a state­ment dis­miss­ing the ap­pli­ca­tions.

The royal com­mis­sion will re­sume to­day in Syd­ney to con­tinue an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ACT branch of the CFMEU, with fur­ther hear­ings sched­uled this month in Bris­bane to in­ves­ti­gate its ac­tiv­i­ties in Queens­land. Unions are now seek­ing le­gal ad­vice about a pos­si­ble ap­peal.

ACTU na­tional sec­re­tary Dave Oliver said Jus­tice Hey­don’s rul­ing was un­ac­cept­able.

“The re­al­ity is that this royal com­mis­sion is now ter­mi­nally tar­nished and any rec­om­men­da­tion out of this com­mis­sion can’t be taken se­ri­ously in re­spect of look­ing at it in terms of the po­lit­i­cal na­ture of this com­mis­sion,” he said.

This royal com­mis­sion is now ter­mi­nally tar­nished and ... can’t be taken se­ri­ously ACTU na­tional sec­re­tary Dave Oliver

Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten is­sued a sternly worded state­ment last night in­di­cat­ing La­bor would con­tinue its push to dis­credit the in­quiry.

“Aus­tralians can see right through this, they know bias when they see it,” Mr Shorten said. “Ev­ery­thing the royal com­mis­sion says may as well have a Lib­eral Party logo stamped on it.”

As La­bor plans a mo­tion in the Se­nate when Par­lia­ment re­sumes next week to dis­miss Jus­tice Hey­don, Mr Shorten said: “Tony Ab­bott’s fail­ure of lead­er­ship means it’s up to the Par­lia­ment to act.”

At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Ge­orge Bran­dis sprung to Jus­tice Hey­don’s de­fence, de­scrib­ing him as “one of the most in­tel­li­gent peo­ple in Aus­tralia”.

“Dyson Hey­don is to the union move­ment in Aus­tralia to­day what Tony Fitzger­ald was to po­lice cor­rup­tion in Queens­land in the 1980s,” he said.

“There’s no doubt Bill Shorten and the La­bor Party and union lead­ers like Dave Oliver and oth­ers will do ev­ery­thing they can to throw muck at this royal com­mis­sion be­cause they have so much to fear. It is time they got out of the way and let the truth be known.”

Mr Shorten yesterday re­fused to dis­cuss a spe­cial union slush fund used to as­sist his fight against An­thony Al­banese for La­bor’s lead­er­ship.

His deputy, Tanya Plibersek, proudly stood by La­bor’s in­ter­twined re­la­tion­ship with the union move­ment in the wake of rev­e­la­tions Mr Shorten re­ceived $5000 in undis­closed do­na­tions from a union slush fund called IR21, as­so­ci­ated with the Na­tional Union of Work­ers.

Se­nior Cab­i­net min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son ac­cused La­bor of us­ing the union move­ment as an ATM.

Dyson Hey­don is to the union move­ment in Aus­tralia to­day what Tony Fitzger­ald was to po­lice cor­rup­tion in Queens­land in the 1980s

Sen­a­tor Ge­orge Bran­dis

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 ??  ?? HIS VER­DICT: Royal Com­mis­sioner Dyson Hey­don ar­rives at the com­mis­sionyester­day.
HIS VER­DICT: Royal Com­mis­sioner Dyson Hey­don ar­rives at the com­mis­sionyester­day.

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