MILITANT, LAWLESS unions are calling in debts from their ALP stooges today, with the mad rush to nobble Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon and/or trash his inquiry into union criminality ramping up with wilful disregard for the laws of the land. Now, miscreant Labor has hatched a plot for Governor-General Peter Cosgrove to dissolve the Commission. The move will backfire spectacularly, and in ways it has clearly not foreseen or would choose.
Those who follow me on Twitter (@theredandblue) will know that over the past week — ever since the revelation of unbelievable stupidity involving NSW Liberals inviting trade union Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon to address a function they were organising became public — I have repeatedly made the point that if all the Heydon Commission really was is a politically motivated witch hunt, there would be no need to clamour to have it closed down: there would be nothing to find. Or to hide.
And those readers who have been with me over the journey in this column will have heard me say, many times, that Labor cares about power, not people: although in the present circumstances the obvious exception is people who happen to be lawless union thugs on the run from justice.
It hardly befits a party masquerading as fit to govern Australia, irrespective of what you think of the Abbott government.
I stand by the article published in this column on Monday, and apologise once again for the dearth of comment I’ve provided of late: the event that occurred in the skies over Sydney last Tuesday night continues to leave me drained and a bit rattled, and combined with a nevertheless unrelenting schedule the time for writing content has been scant.
But the central point — to use the vernacular and, to be blunt if crude — that whoever the fucking idiot at the NSW Liberals was who saw fit to invite Heydon to a Liberal Party function (irrespective of the semantic declamations that have since emerged) ought to be run out of the party remains valid, and the fact such an invitation would inevitably result in the mother of all shitfights with a Labor/unions opponent prepared to fight to the death using virtually any conceivable tactic was foreseeable makes it inexplicable the invitation was ever issued.
Any doubt around this can be dispelled by a simple viewing of most Twitter feeds (even the ones not ostensibly selected to provide political news) and/or the most cursory reading of any newspaper in the country: Labor and the unions have gone on the warpath over the Royal Commission in a way they have rarely — if ever — done previously, and even the possible exception of the events of November 1975 struggles to match the raw fury and self-obsessed, terrified, base survival instincts they are exhibiting now.
Yet speaking of 1975 and the inescapable allusion to vice-regal power, it seems the ALP might have finally overreached in its response to its manufactured debacle over Heydon’s agreement to give the Garfield Barwick Lecture; its newly-minted attack plans are likely to explode spectacularly in its collective face, and backfire on both the Labor Party and the unions in ways they obviously have failed to consider.
I read last night with some amusement a piece in the Herald Sun from Andrew Bolt, which detailed a Labor plot — led by arch-socialist and left wing Senate leader Penny Wong — to use a long-abandoned mechanism, avoided by convention in modern times lest the office of Governor-General be politicised, to empower present viceroy Sir Peter Cosgrove to dissolve the Royal Commission into the trade union movement on the grounds Dyson Heydon had “failed to uphold the standards of impartiality” expected of him.
I was amused by this because I didn’t think even a desperate ALP obliged by its puppeteers and paymasters at the unions to do something, anything to get the arses of the crooks in their midst out of the sling would be so stupid as to try to revive an obsolete legal mechanism on such a dubious pretext, and at such obvious risk to its own reputation as a political outfit purporting to readiness to win the trust of the Australian public at an election — the damage to that end already having been done by the confessed liar, self-evident grub and sleazy shyster in Bill Shorten as its “leader” notwithstanding.
It seems, however, that the Wong threat was no laughing matter; Bolt himself provided a link to a companion article from The Australian which elaborated on just that theme: and once people have read the explanation in that piece, I’m sure they will agree with me that the precedent Labor now seeks to cite, based on the circumstances in which the Senate last “addressed” the Governor-General in 1931, is a very flimsy rationale indeed, although I don’t doubt for a moment it is legal: the Constitution is filled with arcane powers that enable the monarch or his/her representative to act, sometimes independently with regard to prevailing circumstances (as in 1975), and sometimes in concert with Parliament.
But that doesn’t make it right: and not to put too fine a point on it, so brazen are Labor and the unions in trying to destroy the Royal Commission and its Commissioner in any way possible and so desperate are the vested interests who stand to be prosecuted (and presumably heavily fined and/or imprisoned for lengthy periods) that they are now prepared to hack away at the very pillars of ordered government in Australia to try to achieve those ends.
As the piece from The Australian notes, it would also constitute a grave and timeless hypocrisy on the ALP’s part, for it has long argued (and did, in 1975) that the “proper” function of the Governor-General is to accept advice from his/her Prime Minister and from no-one else.
This arrogant and presumptive interpretation of vice-regal power underpins Labor rage over the decision by Sir John Kerr to dismiss the Whitlam government in 1975 to this day; its apparent preparedness to itself seek to engineer a departure from that formula now — in the name of lawless thugs in its own ranks whose most useful community service would be rendered behind bars — starkly illustrates just how intellectually bankrupt, and how utterly amoral, the Labor Party today really is.
Were the Senate to vote to “address” Cosgrove, the Governor-General would be under no obligation whatsoever to accede to its demands; indeed, the likeliest response would be to tell Wong and her cohorts — e’er diplomatically — to get stuffed, although it is to be hoped such a riposte would be delivered with the bluntness Cosgrove was revered for as a soldier.
It may be that this has occurred to Wong, who yesterday indicated the opposition would defer its motion in the Senate until early September to allow Prime Minister Tony Abbott to “show some leadership,” which is code for sacking Heydon. Again, Abbott can and should refuse to budge. It is a bit rich for someone like Penny Wong to be talking about leadership at the best of times, let alone when she is party to an attempt to trash decades-old conventions of governance and to undermine the very system of government in Australia.
Yet even so, the fact this is playing out at all reeks of the stench of an artifice that is rotten to the core, and the fact Labor and the unions — irrespective of the validity or otherwise of the “smoking gun” they think Heydon’s (withdrawn) agreement to give the Sir Garfield Barwick Lecture offers — are, at root, fighting to stop criminals in their ranks being identified, comprehensively outed, and prosecuted.
There is no “principle” underpinning the actions of the unions and the ALP. It is just that simple.
Former Howard government staffer Chris Kenny — now a columnist at The Australian, and certainly no friend to Labor — nonetheless published one of the most sober and rational perspectives yesterday; I would go so far as to distil the ridiculous nature of the ALP’s behaviour even further: what Labor and the unions are trying to sell people on is the contention that Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon giving a law lecture at a Liberal Party function shows bias and disqualifies him from impartially presiding over any official forum in public life.
What is fails to explain is how Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner (and acknowledged socialist activist) Gillian Triggs similarly appearing at ALP fundraisers is any different.
But then again, the ALP has never had any compunction over shameless hypocrisy when it suits its own grubby ends.
In the end, Labor doesn’t care about the laws of the land; it doesn’t care about ethics and accountability and probity, be it in government or in institutions like the unions; it couldn’t care less how much damage it does to the fabric of democracy in this country or the offence it gives to decency and integrity: if the filth that is the criminal union thuggery from whose collective teat it suckles are at risk of being brought to justice for their lawless outrages, Labor will trash anything — anything — in its grimy quest to conspire in their evasion of prosecution.
As Bolt noted, if Cosgrove does tell the ALP — under the guise of the Senate “addressing” him — to bugger off, the assault that will be launched against Cosgrove and his office will make it appear that Dyson Heydon has merely been trifled with in jest: anyone who thinks Labor and the unions have reached full flight just yet are kidding themselves.
Really, Labor doesn’t care about Dyson Heydon either: he’s just the unfortunate patsy who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and under the harsh glare of a media frenzy that was only possible for the ALP to whip up because of some dickhead in the NSW Division of the Liberal Party. But such a patsy is all the ALP needs to justify its own slimy actions to itself.
Ironically, the greater threat to Labor and union self-interest lies in what many regard as the lesser of two evils.
And that, simply stated, is that the ACTU succeeds in its bid tomorrow to have Heydon recuse himself from proceedings, and the Royal Commission continues under a new Commissioner; as one observer has already noted, the Abbott government would be free to appoint whoever it liked: and whilst Heydon might not exactly be a poster boy for the circles of the Left, someone like retired High Court judge Ian Callinan QC would be the last thing they would want.
Such an appointment, should it come to pass, would be no less reward than the unions deserved for their trouble.
But there’s something else Labor seems to have failed to foresee in embarking on its field trip toward Yarralumla in an attempt to co-opt the Governor-General to do its dirty work — getting a lynch mob of criminal union thugs off the hook — and it is this.
Should the Wong move succeed, it will have been possible to realise such an anti-democratic injury to due process and the rule of law under the very system Labor wants replaced by a popularly elected republican model of government under a popularly elected (and, by its very nature, inescapably political) President as Head of State.
If such an obscenity can be perpetrated under arguably the best system of constitutional government in the world, what vile outrages might be possible in an Australian republic?
I’m no republican — staunchly monarchist to my bootstraps, in fact — but it does rather seem that Wong, by her actions for and on behalf of her party and union thugs, is writing a goodly portion of a slam-dunk, lay down misere case for a “No” vote should the question of a republic ever be put again at a referendum to the Australian people.
Yes, Liberals in Sydney have provided Abbott with an additional crisis he needs like a hole in the head on top of all the self-inflicted nonsense his government is reeling beneath, and the ALP is understandably running hard with it.
But Labor should consider very carefully just how extensive the consequences of what it is doing might prove. Its thuggy mates are still likely to be prosecuted. The electorate may — should — awaken to the disgusting apology for institutionalised criminality and corruption it is making, killing off the cretin Shorten’s prospects for winning an election, and the ALP with them.
But by dragging the office of the Governor-General into this, the stakes are raised; history, precedent and the Constitution itself dictate that in the end, Labor is set to lose more than any other party to these distasteful events.
The price of protecting criminal union filth will be a high one for Labor to pay. Its repercussions may take years to be fully felt, and in ways it would not choose; and which it either cannot, itself, have foreseen or considered, or about which it simply couldn’t care.
After all, Labor cares about power, not people. It may rue these disordered priorities to its detriment.