Is the royal commission into trade unions a complete waste of time and money? 322



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Labor is calling on Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon to resign or be dismissed from the inquiry into trade unions, following the revelation that he had booked to speak at a fundraiser in support of the NSW Liberal Party.

Justice Dyson Heydon will be forced to give up an annual salary of close to $1 million if he steps down from his position amid continued controversy.

The question is, could he simply be replaced or would his whole inquiry need to be dissolved? That would surely involve a great deal of time and even more expense, when many think that the royal commission was a complete waste of money in the first place.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) will lodge an application today to disqualify Heydon because of alleged Liberal bias. The union movement’s attempt to disqualify the royal commissioner for bias follows months of labelling the inquiry a “political witch hunt”.

That application to disqualify him will be heard by Justice Heydon himself, he will then have to decide whether he should stand down. If Justice Heydon finds himself presiding over a submission calling for his own resignation, will he be able to make an unbiased ruling?

Professor Nicholas Cowdery QC the former New South Wales director of public prosecutions told Lateline that he thought it was possible, because while a lay person might find it bizarre that Justice Heydon had to decide his own fate, it was normal legal process.

It has been revealed Justice Heydon initially agreed to appear at the Liberal-linked Sir Garfield Barwick lecture to be held in Sydney later this month, but has since decided not to attend the function saying he overlooked the connection between the Liberal Party and the event.

Professor Cowdery told the ABC he did not think the revelations about the Sir Garfield Barwick address were grounds for Justice Heydon to disqualify himself. However he said the royal commission would likely continue to be attacked politically.

It may be normal legal process for Justice Heydon who gets paid $1 million per year to decide whether to sack himself but is it right? Is The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption a complete waste of time and money?


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  1. Me thinks that the cunning tricks dept of the ALP is more cunning than that of the coalition at present.. Corruption in all areas is a blight on our society.Mr abbott’s attempt to politicise the royal commission has done society no favours. A pox on all crooks whether Union or the other end of town.

  2. Of course it’s a waste of time and money, our money I might add. I really hope there’s a RC into the Liberals rorting and wasting our money on witch hunts when they lose power. Both sides of politics need to have their entitlements reined in, it’s gone beyond ridiculous

  3. Judging by what has been uncovered so far, the answer is no it’s not a waste of time and money. Corruption and illegal activity needs to be exposed and eliminated wherever it occurs, be it government, private enterprise, trade union movement, religious organisations or the various political parties.

    12 REPLY
    • Whether politically motivated or not, it has exposed some serious breaches, just as the Royal Commission into child sex abuse by the clergy has exposed serious abuse of authority. Corruption and illegal activity needs to be exposed and eliminated wherever it occurs. No one is complaining about the cost of the latter.

      1 REPLY
      • Peter Leotta I think it’s poor judgement on Abbott (as usual) to call a RC on Unions. It is politically motivated as he wants to win the next election by fair means or foul.
        Why did he take money out of the RC on child sex abuse to fund the Union RC?? Methinks as a follower of Abbott you’ve been brainwashed.

    • You do realise money was pulled from the RC into child sex abuse to fund this RC?

    • I would agree that the RC is doing an unbiased job if I heard of a few business heads rolling as well for offering bribes corrupt payments and favours and screwing their workforce.

    • So what? The RC is still going on, but with limited funding. I don’t suppose you care that the funding cuts coincided with the RC demand that the immigration dept hand over finding regarding the accusations of sex abuse to children in detention? While we’re about it, why don’t we have a RC into the Liberals being funded by the mafia

      2 REPLY
      • Labor should have had this when it was going on not waited tillLibs got in, So forget about it, wasn’t important then .

      • Excellent idea Sue Todd. Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out how much the Mafia is actually donating?

    • Let it run its course and see what happens. It has exposed the grubby Cleanevent “sweetheart deal” with the AWU. I hope that charges and convictions follow!

    • Sue Todd, I would welcome a Royal Commission into links between the Mafia and any political Party. I want to see corruption exposed and eradicated from all facets of society!

    • Maybe you do, but the point here is that Heydon cannot be seen as un-biased. That makes the whole thing suspicious. 20 million spent over $40,000, the biggest thief turns out to be a Liberal buddy. There’s a pattern emerging with these RC’s

      1 REPLY
      • I am glad you agree a pattern is emerging as I said the same thing about G Triggs and her bias at RC into asylum seekers, she wasn’t a fit person. Even consulted with Bowen & Burke on whether to release a letter from Doctors on Nauru received in March 2013, decided to leave it till after election , Was brought up 12 months later. Briggs is for Labor party AND therefor should not have been on RC SO many say Heydon is above reproach and B Carr & GG Quentin Bryce chose him,

        1 REPLY
        • Dawn Bruce I don’t believe Bill Shortens’ mother-in-law GG Quentin Bryce had anything to do with the selection of Dyson Heydon. It was another poor captains’ pick of the mad Monk!!
          Do you really think he would choose anyone who wouldn’t do his bidding so he knew the outcome from the beginning? And do you seriously believe he would consult a former Labor premier?? Give me a break and start reading an independent paper then you might learn something.

    • Do you think there would be any investigation into Union corruption under ALP? No, it would just go on and on. Someone has to do something. If there’s nothing to hide just get on with it.

    • I’m looking forward to the Royal Commission into the Liberals, their donations from big business and miners and the subsequent big end welfare and promotion at Australia’s cost in terms of financial and environmental. Also their changing of laws to suit their agenda, the coverups, the promotion of crooks as “decent, law-abiding citizens” and so much more. But most of all, their anti-Australian agenda.

  4. The Liberals should have had more political sense than to invite Heydon to be the Commissioner & Heydon should have had more legal sense than to accept. Both parties should have seen at least a perception of bias. Again the perception of bias is there if Heydon presides over the application to disqualify him. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be some sort of inquiry (the least expensive one) into trade unions to clear the air of the stink about some of them.

    1 REPLY
    • If I heard right it was Bob Carr & another Labor person who chose him. I heard it was the Governor General Quentin Bryce, By the way,the ACT says any person who speaks out or defames Commissioner or Commission can be fined $220 OR 3 months jail, very old act. and only the GG can sack him. BUT we hear today 2 Labor judges HAVE done the same thing Kirby & McEwan I think, AND that vile lying woman Gillian Triggs is speaking at some meeting in November & she is on RC into Asylum seekers. Seems AGAIN its those that can shout the loudest get away with doing what they like.

  5. It exposed Kathy Jackson. I don’t think this pin up union girl for Abbott was called to give evidence so that she could dob herself in.

    15 REPLY
    • She is arrogant , she expect to be protected because she blew the whistle and she had Abbott and the shock jocks on side

    • And the Commissioner tried his best to protect her. He called recess when she was giving evidence which was incriminating to her.
      This is just the civil action. The criminal action is next.

    • Jackson was another Abbotts bad Captains calls, he got up on tv and in Parliament with nothing but praise for this theif

    • Whiney also gave her a resounding endorsement, just shows they’re not good judges of character

    • Hey! Let’s all vilify her. She exposed our darlings Craig Thomson and Michael Williamson and brought discredit on the HSU and the Labor Party. Let the crucifixion begin!

    • Peter Leotta have you ever been in a Union? I think not, those union members , low paid workers were rorted while Jackson lived the high life. No one wants to see this happening but when the person who exposed all this is a bigger thief that the people she was exposing, in my mind there is no justification for Abbott to protect her. He is as bad as she is, he used her to advance his own Political career while those hospital workers footed the bill

      1 REPLY
    • Let’s get this in context Thompson was a grub yes. He stole around $35,000 from his union.
      Jackson stole over $4 million!! Tony Abbott now looks like a very poor judge of character and a poor decision maker …again.

      1 REPLY
      • Stephen Merchant if you’re going to defame Craig Thompson get your facts right and pleeease stop reading the Murdoch papers and you might learn the truth. Craig Thompson was acquitted of most of the charges against him and was only convicted on thefts of less than $5000. Not that I’m supporting what he did but considering Kathy Jackson stole close to $2,000,000 from the HSU and Abbott supported her it just shows again Abbott’s poor judgement.

    • Strikes me that everyone is ripping off people….Unions, business people, politicians. No-one can be trusted any more. Judges are just as bad when it comes to lack of principles. Heydon should stand down.

    • Peter you act like the Liberals are squeaky clean, and after the findings of the NSW ICAC I’d bet my boots they’re not. I have no problem with dishonesty being exposed, and I don’t care which side of politics they’re on. This is about the integrity and lack of bias on the part of Heydon, and it’s fairly obvious he has close ties to the Liberals.

      1 REPLY
      • And with Tony Abbott, in particular. Not just jobs for the boys, but also maybe, payback for promoting TA for the Rhodes Scholarship. When there were three others who had a much better right to the scholarship. This rorting in TA’s life goes back a long, long way. No wonder he believes he’s born to rule.

    • She exposed herself. Whistleblower no! She blew the whistle on the others in order to cover up her own embezzling. How did she ever think she would ever get away with it. It’s simple if you haven’t earns it it’s not yours.

    • Libbi Elliott, for your information and not that it’s any of your business, to my regret, I have been a Union member in the past. Perhaps you shouldn’t make assumptions.

    • then you have little understanding of union members Peter Leotta . We don’t want corruption in our Unions but we don’t want thieves praised by The Government either and we don’t want the Mafia contributing to the Liberal Party.. how much drug money did they contribute?

    • Katy Jackson had already been exposed – do not claim her downfall as an achievement of RC.
      Also three other union officials who took a bribe was already public knowledge before RC – reason they have never been charged is because the employer who paid the bribes cannot be charged because of close ties to LNP.

    • What it did was expose firstly more damning evidence of what will be proven no doubt as criminal acts by herself. It now has also exposed more evidence of bias by Heydon as a Commissioner and that leads back to Abbott and his poor leadership.

  6. This Royal Commission has been nothing but a political witch hunt, Heydon should disqualify himself BUT he won’t. The Police should be dealing with these matters, that is why we pay Police !! I can imagine this will have caused a precedent for the ALP, when they get into Government to have a Royal Commission on the Liberal Party, $80 million is to high a cost to taxpayers to down a political opponent

    8 REPLY
    • He should stand down, but if he does the RC will have to start again from the beginning. Another 80 million down the gurgler? What happened to our ‘budget emergency’, or did that only apply to pensions and welfare. It certainly doesn’t seem to apply to pollies entitlements

    • Your so right Sue, how can they justify this? when they want to target the poor? that Commissioner is getting $3 million of taxpayers money to sit there and be biased. What a bloody hide and they think Aussie’s will say sure fine..wrong

    • That is way to much Greg Price, when taxpayers are footing the bill, we have many other things that money could be spent on

    • Don’t forget the 20 million on the pink batts RC, and the 3 million to chase Slipper. The spending just goes on and on when it suits them

      1 REPLY
      • That’s exactly right Sue, it’s when it suits them – the LNP. The cost is borne by taxpayers but it’s just a politically biased witch hunt. We’re wise to you Tony Abbott. Even some of the LNP voters I know are saying this. You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the time.

        Let the police run these investigations, we already have laws that cover these things. And keep the political parties out of it. Anything they touch is tainted.

    • I want a Royal Commission on the Mafia involvement with the Liberal Party, the money they donated was the proceeds of crime

    • 1.5 million missing from the Liberal coffers. The dishonesty of this mob and their associates runs deep

  7. I don’t believe it has been a waste of time. Waste of money yes but what is absolutely obvious is that unions like businesses should adopt and implement the ISO Quality Management System, 9001 in order that some rigor over record keeping is adopted. I note that unions are most definitely not alone in knowing what is a record and what records should be retained as both live and archived records. Almost everywhere I have worked has management who have no idea and don’t even know they should have for their own protection!

  8. It has always been a Politcal excersise to insure after their horror budget that people would be turned off the ALP. But they underestimated the revulsion people would feel when they targeted the poor and left the rich alone. Dyson Heydon should be sacked

    12 REPLY
    • no they wanted to destroy or turn people off the ALP, they before the got into Government they knew were going to attack the poor and pensioners . Hockey was in GB bragging about it months before the election . They needed a distraction and This Royal Commision was it. The Liberal Party are corrupt, look at the Mafia involvement.

    • DJ, your a muppet….. Do you ever read the crap you write? The facts are that Unions are being shown/proven to be corrupt. You condone the unions actions.? Irrespective of any political following, corruption is unlawful…..

    • Phil Twigg if I am a muppet your a bloody dingbat mate, get your head out your behind where the air is clean and clear and look at what is really happening

    • DJ, what about my statement is untrue. ? NOTHING. But you cannot see the wood for the trees……..

    • That is so funny David James , hilarious actually . I know you believe what you say ! That’s why it’s funny .

      1 REPLY
      • Carolyn Brown you’d be hilarious too if you believe in the Liberal party. It is well known only intelligent people support the Labor party. Didn’t you know that??

    • not interested in your comments Phil Twigg, go plant a tree and get the rest of the forest and you bet I do Carolyn Brown and so do many others 🙂

    • The police union wouldn’t allow an attack on the ALP , no matter how unlawful they were, that’s why it’s called RC into Union corruption .

    • Carolyn. Well, what will happen if criminal charges are brought – are you saying the police will not act? I do not understand your reasoning.

    • Phil Twigg
      What about the $M2 that has disappeared from the liberal government funds in victoria. If labor hadn’t got in this never would have been discovered.

  9. Well once again the Libs have been so stupid ! They did not think anyone would think a independent person should run thinks really!

  10. And how much taxpayer dollars are being wasted,while the poor ,ill and unemployed keep being targeted

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