But he is an honourable man…

15 Aug

Dyson Heydon

What is notable in the impassioned defence of Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Attorney-General George Brandis, and Christopher Pyne (what’s he do again?) is the choice of descriptors such as eminent, esteemed, distinguished, above reproach, honourable…the list is long, you get the idea.

While Mr Heydon may well enjoy some or all of those qualities in certain aspects of his life and personality, we ought to know by now that such attributes in no way preclude their bearer from undesirable and even unethical actions, neither do they make those actions any the less heinous.

We know this from the frequent exposure of esteemed, respected, eminent, irreproachable, honourable men (sorry, but they are overwhelmingly men) who are publicly revealed to have a darker and more dangerous side, from the eminent legal and political members of pedophile rings, to the growing list of globally renowned entertainers who’ve sexually preyed on women and children, to the irreproachable religious leaders who’ve succumbed to worldly temptations. You think we’d know by now that the words eminent, irreproachable, distinguished, honourable and so on mean, unfortunately, absolutely nothing when used in defence of men of achievement who’ve been outed as alarmingly two-faced.

And yet Abbott et al seem to believe that the increasingly desperate enunciation of these linguistic accolades will put Dyson Heydon beyond accountability, in much the same way as Abbott’s description to the court of the convicted pedophile Father Nestor as a virtuous and upright man was intended to distract from, or at the very least ameliorate, his crimes. These blokes make mistakes but they are essentially honourable men, so come on.  Yes. Indeed.

It’s beyond belief that Dyson Heydon, given his experience and eminence in his profession, could be unaware that he is required to be free of all political allegiances. If by some oversight he was unaware of the nature of the Liberal Party invitation to give the Sir Garfield Barwick lecture, rumour has it that Attorney-General George Brandis was also invited to the same event some time back in April. Surely he noticed that looming conflict of interest? No?

Indeed, did no legal personage in the ranks of Liberal lawyers grasp the ethical implications of a Royal Commissioner heading an investigation into trade unions and the Labor party simultaneously giving the keynote address at a Liberal party fundraiser? Because if they are that thick, how are they making a living?

The collapse of institutions once respected and even revered has eroded popular faith in the perceived trustworthy and honourable nature of authority, simply because it is authority. Too often those who wield the power of authority have been shown to have abused that power and we are increasingly disillusioned. Or perhaps we’re on the road to a more healthy realism and self-responsibility. Like believing in the sky fairy, trusting a man because he is eminent in his profession, no matter what his field, is, sadly, a loony and outdated idea. It belongs in the era when a man’s word was binding: how many centuries ago was that?

Besides, if Abbott found Nestor virtuous and upright that tells us everything we need to know about his capacity for good judgement.

15 Responses to “But he is an honourable man…”

  1. Michaela Tschudi August 15, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    Abbott has no capacity for good judgement, thus rendering his claims to good government invalid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hudsongodfrey August 15, 2015 at 8:08 pm #

    Concern about the issue raised by the Union Royal Commission seems to divide along fairly strict partisan lines. That’s usually a fair sign there’s a witch hunt going on.

    It’s a pity in a way because clearly there are issues with the way some Unions have been run in the past. From Kathy Jackson’s behavior and Craig Thompson’s indiscretions, to Wilson and Blewitt of the AWU in Gillard’s time and all the way back to Norm Gallagher, the movement has certainly had its rogues. Some of the questions for Heydon might well centre on why the focus is constantly drawn back to those in political office rather than the ne’er-do-well aparatchiks and back room boys that unions would be better, and stronger, without!

    Apparently, and this is only my guess, Heydon has no interest in the Royal Commision resulting in a stronger Union movement….. Why am I not surprised?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. doug quixote August 16, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    Very true, Genevieve. I cannot imagine how Heydon can remain Royal Commissioner.

    The pathetic excuse for a government will have asked him not to resign until they have found a replacement. Expect his replacement in the next few days.

    This was of course another captain’s pick by the terminal captain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson August 17, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

      I don’t think the LNP has the guts to get rid of him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michaela Tschudi August 21, 2015 at 12:20 am #

        TURC, offshore processing of asylum seekers, threats to lock up health care professionals and others who report sexual abuse in offshore detention centres, anger from Indigenous Australians re constitutional recognition, Border Farce, travel rorts…LNP have done all this to themselves! They’re losing people in their so-called blue-ribbon seats, their heartlands. No plan, no guts, no vision – nothing will save them.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson August 17, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

      Guinevere DQ, not Genevieve 🙂


      • doug quixote August 20, 2015 at 8:01 am #

        You are sure you don’t want another change of name? Sorry Jennifer.

        I am amazed that Heydon is still there. No, the Looters Party won’t remove him; but I thought he had enough integrity to resign or to recuse himself.


        • Jennifer Wilson August 21, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

          No, DQ, Guinevere is lovely, I want to keep it. 🙂

          I’m not shocked that Heydon hasn’t thus far recused himself – I will be very shocked if he does.
          But I’m cynical, and mistrustful of honourable men.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Alphonse August 17, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    “Indeed, did no legal personage in the ranks of Liberal lawyers grasp the ethical implications of a Royal Commissioner heading an investigation into trade unions and the Labor party simultaneously giving the keynote address at a Liberal party fundraiser? Because if they are that thick, how are they making a living?”

    It’s reported that the invitation was the work of this formidably ethically endowed Liberal lawyer:


    Liked by 2 people


  1. But he is an honourable man… – Written by NO PLACE FOR SHEEP | winstonclose - August 15, 2015

    […] 15AUG […]


  2. Presenting the 88th Down Under Feminists Carnival | The Conversationalist - June 22, 2018

    […] Place For Sheep writes about the bias and ethics  scandal surrounding Dyson Heydon as head of the Royal Commission investigating trade unions and with them the Labor Party. […]


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