Labor calls for commissioner Dyson Heydon to stand down

Labor calls for commissioner Dyson Heydon to stand down

The Labor Party is calling for Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon to stand down, following revelations he agreed to speak at a Liberal Party fundraising event.

The former High Court judge and head of the Royal Commission in to Trade Union Governance and Corruption was advertised as the guest speaker at the $80-a-head Sir Garfield Barwick address in Sydney later this month.

Invitations to the event, which was organised by the NSW Liberal Party, advertised Justice Heydon’s appearance, and encouraged any donation checques to be made “payable to the Liberal Party”, saying proceeds would be “applied to state election campaigning”.

The Federal Opposition has jumped on the revelations, after already labelling the trade union royal commission as a political “witch hunt” against Labor.

It is demanding Justice Heydon stand down as commissioner, after being hand-picked by Prime Minister Tony Abbott as an “impartial” judge.

Manager of Opposition  Business Tony Burke says its now clear the commissioner has strong partisan links and deep bias.

“He is conflicted, he is biased, the royal commission is a farce,” Mr Burke said.

“Dyson Heydon is in a position now where he cannot remain in that role.

“The sham — that we have said for so long this royal commission was — has now been found out and exposed.”

Justice Heydon has now withdrawn from the event, but emails reveal it took him nearly 24 hours to make that decision, after being reminded it was a Liberal fundraising event.

But Attorney-General senator George Brandis has defended Justice Heydon, saying the retired judge would never lend his name to one side or the other of politics, and has done the right thing by withdrawing.

“So, Mr Heydon, of his own initiative, before this was even raised in the public arena by the Labor Party, had done the very thing that they said he ought to have done,” Senator Brandis has told the ABC.

Mr Abbott has also defended Justice Heydon, and says the government will continue to defend the integrity of the union royal commission.

Image: AAP

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Libby Dreyer
Libby Dreyer 1729 posts

Libby has worked as a Senior Journalist at National Radio News since February 2011. She graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Canberra in December 2010.

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