Heydon to decide his fate over bias claims
FORMER High Court judge Dyson Heydon will reveal on Tuesday whether he will step down as head of the royal commission into trade unions over allegations of his own apprehended bias.
If he does, Prime Minister Tony Abbott faces having to appoint another commissioner, potentially requiring some evidence to be taken again. The inquiry is hearing evidence about alleged union corruption and it has questioned Opposition Leader Bill Shorten about his time at the Australian Workers’ Union.
If Mr Heydon does not excuse himself, the union movement will likely take the matter to a higher court to topple him. If that happens, questions will be asked as to whether it would be appropriate for Mr Heydon to keep taking evidence while a superior court considers the case against him.
Mr Heydon is under fire for agreeing to speak at the Sir Garfield Barwick address, in which funds are raised for the NSW Liberal Party. He pulled out of the address but unions pounced, saying the average person in the street may consider him to be biased.
For almost three hours yesterday he heard arguments about why he should step down. Three separate submissions from seven unions have been tendered.