Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union


Opinion: PM Must Disband Royal Commission

Paul Bastian - National Secretary 

It’s now clear that the Abbott Government must immediately disband its Royal Commission into Trade Unions, after revelations that Commissioner Justice Dyson Heydon has continued to dally with the Liberal Party.

Any credibility this union witch hunt might have had with the public is now laid bare for the truth – an inquiry that exists solely to attempt to discredit the union movement – the strongest force in Australia against the Prime Minister.

The arrangement for the Royal Commissioner to speak at a Liberal Party legal dinner fundraiser has exposed the commission to ridicule and clear bias against the movement from the start.

Since it began we have said that the Commission was an unnecessary, taxpayer-funded hunt into the PM’s enemies. Union members and the general public have had enough - $80 million in taxpayers money has already been wasted.

Justice Heydon has left himself open to the claims of political bias, which by any standard - including his own - would undermine public trust in the Royal Commission and discredit its findings.

Nothing that the Commission says or does can ever be taken seriously - or believed to be impartial. 

We’ve always believed that the Commission was conceived by Tony Abbott as part of a wider attack strategy on unions, to divert officials and to try to weaken our ability to improve wages, conditions and jobs for working people.

It’s even clearer now that this is the case.

If Mr Abbott fails to terminate the Commission it will be yet another instance where he has defied the community’s expectation of the leadership a Prime Minister is expected to show.

Much of the Commission’s work has been a political show trial, particularly the lengthy and inconclusive interrogation of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

And there is no excuse for the continual leaking of Commission evidence, exposing union officials to trial by media, full of accusations days before they had the opportunity to defend themselves in the witness box.

The fact Justice Heydon’s office was in contact with Liberal Party apparatchiks over this engagement is in itself enough to put in doubt the public’s perception of his neutrality and his judgement.

It’s time to end this farce of a Royal Commission immediately.


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