THE DECISION by Dyson Heydon to dismiss an application from the unions to disqualify himself from the Royal Commission into union corruption is welcome, and is a victory for decency over unethical apologists for criminal misconduct. A tasteless stunt has been terminated, with the prospects for any appeal seeming limited indeed. Now, the business of weeding out and prosecuting criminal thugs in union ranks must continue unimpeded.
It is impossible to feel any sympathy whatsoever toward loathsome unions which — so hellbent on preserving their freedom to act as lawless filth — would set about destroying the reputation of one of Australia’s most distinguished legal figures on the flimsiest and the shabbiest of pretexts.
Namely, the fact Dyson Heydon accepted an invitation to deliver a law lecture in honour of the former Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Garfield Barwick, only to withdraw his acceptance upon understanding the event was staged in benefit for the Liberal Party, hardly amounts to damning proof of political “bias” let alone satisfies the test of apprehended bias the deranged and frenzied onslaught against Heydon was synthetically contrived to satisfy.
Let there be no mistake: in trying to tear Heydon down as the head of the Royal Commission into alleged criminality in union ranks, Labor and the unions have blundered very, very badly; as half-arsed as it was, the attempt to have Heydon recuse himself from further proceedings was the only wild, desperate hope the unions had to shield the miscreants in their midst from justice.
There are some this morning who are attempting to mount in the press the spurious case that as Heydon himself heard the application brought against him by the ACTU, on behalf of the violent CFMEU and the similarly lawless AWU, that his findings are tainted; such a “case” panders to base ignorance of legal process in the wider community, for such applications of bias are routinely heard by the very target of their endeavours, and the findings delivered must be legally sound if they are to avoid being overturned on appeal.
It is to this end, however, that the “biased judge determines biased result” claptrap speaks; and should the unions elect to pursue further legal action in their ambit, spiteful and contemptible campaign to have Heydon replaced (or the Commission shut down altogether) it seems unlikely such a frivolous enterprise could succeed.
Heydon has spent decades delivering judgements at law; it is implausible, in this case especially, that he would have chosen to find in his own favour on baseless grounds. But bloody-minded and utterly desperate to protect criminals in their ranks, an appeal by unions should surprise nobody if it eventuates.
That said, a possible clue to the wholly ambit nature of the stunt the unions have engaged in to date can be found in the fact the ACTU did not send legal counsel to TURC yesterday to hear the ruling on its application to dismiss Heydon: hardly the act of parties certain of their legal standing, or readying for an appeal based in fact if they lost, which they did.
Unhappily for the ALP and the unions, Dyson Heydon stands no guiltier of “bias” today than any other legal practitioners whose professional discipline and training require them to set aside personal opinion — be it in matters political, commercial, criminal, environmental or familial.
Indeed, Heydon’s explanations — that he does not use email and does not own a computer, and that his emails are printed for him by an assistant — are not only plausible, but simply enhance the position he has consistently maintained, that whilst he was prepared to deliver a lecture in the name of his late and esteemed colleague, Barwick, he withdrew as soon as it became clear the undertaking was potentially a financial benefit to the Liberal Party.
This is not the action of a “biased” lawyer, and if the ALP and the unions want to blame anyone — not that I advocate those lawless entities going hunting for scapegoats — the idiot at the NSW Liberals who saw fit to issue the invitation, and whose actions put Heydon in a potentially compromising position that Heydon himself extricated himself from at the earliest juncture, is the person they should be focused on.
Yet they won’t: for the sole, base reason that destroying that individual would not and cannot get their criminal brethren off the hook and prevent the evidence that might support prosecutions against them from fully emerging. Only destroying Heydon can do that.
If there is a message at all from this tawdry and tasteless attempt to assassinate the character of a good man, it is a message to the court of public opinion: to the ordinary and decent men and women of Australia — many of whom are members of unions, some of whom have been ripped off and shafted by union officials purporting to act in their interests, or have been victims of union bastardry, violence and thuggery — and that message is a simple one.
Brutally, when the noise and abuse and mock “outrage” from ALP and union quarters over the past three weeks is stripped away, the people of Australia have witnessed an indecent and ruthless quest to shield criminals, excuse illegal actions, and to destroy those who would stand in their way.
The total lack of ethical or moral weight with which the campaign against Heydon has been conducted should give many pause for thought, for the true extent of the lengths Labor and unions have been prepared to go to in order to protect the lawless and shaft the decent have been laid out for all to see.
Prepared to trash anything and anyone in its quest to serve morally bankrupt union masters, the ALP now proposes to politicise the role of the Governor-General in a bid to have him intervene and sack Heydon himself: good luck with that, although I would add the utter vandalism Labor is prepared to wreak on Australia’s institutions on union orders is breathtaking, and should serve as further notice — were any required — of just how rotten the ALP-union axis really is when weighed against any reasonable test of integrity.
In fact, the conduct of both Labor and the unions during this process of seeking Heydon’s head is an object demonstration of why he must be allowed to continue his work at the Royal Commission.
To that end, hearings into the ACT branch of the CFMEU commence at 10am this morning; we wish Heydon and his staff well as they resume their odious but crucial task.
Perversely, the union movement stands to be cleaner, stronger and more decent at the end of the Royal Commission process and after any prosecutions that result from it are finalised: a prospect that should be welcomed and relished by the overwhelming majority of union members who are not crooks, are not violent thugs, and who do not purport to act as laws unto themselves.
It is imperative the Commission’s aim to identify, root out and prosecute the insidious filth in union ranks that give the movement as a whole such a dreadful reputation — and the violent, malicious thugs who are their ringleaders banished from unions and any other positions of responsibility altogether, especially at the ALP — now continue in line with its reasonable terms of reference, and the eye to public expectations of decency and probity that sit counter only to the interests and agenda of the lawless, and the rogue.
It is a free country, and the ALP and unions today can do as they choose in response to the Heydon decision.
People of fair mind and good will, however, will be satisfied with the outcome as it stands, and support the Commission as it completes its work.