Friday, 5 February 2016

Labor called Turnbull Government's bluff - now ordinary voters should demand their right to know

When Dyson Heydon decided to permanently conceal from public view one volume of the report produced by the Royal Commission into Union Governance and Corruption, he did a grave disservice to the democratic process.

Opposition and cross-bench parliamentarians are starting to demand access to the secret 'facts' a commissioner (trailing apprehended bias allegations behind him) relied on, before they consider new government legislation. 

Now in this 2016 federal election year it's time that Australian voters also fight for access to a copy of this volume with individual/company/place names redacted.

It may be a hard fight as I rather suspect that Heydon's hidden hyperbole won't stand up to close public scrutiny.

The Australian, 18 January 2016:

Labor has written to the Turnbull government to formally request access to the secret volumes of the Heydon royal commission report on trade unions, as it accused the Coalition of selectively using the inquiry’s recommendations for its “immediate political interests”.
In a letter to Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, obtained by The Australian, opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor says the government must provide access to all sides of parliament — “and potentially to other interested parties” — if it seeks to use the chapters “to make the case for legislation”.
It comes after The Weekend Australian revealed the government would take the extraordinary step of providing crossbench senators with redacted versions of the confidential volumes in a desperate bid to end the stalemate with the independents over its industrial relations reforms.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is arranging a viewing of the secret parts of the report after independents Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus demanded to see the full document before deciding on the government’s stalled IR bills.
“If your government wants to rely on these secret volumes to make the case for legislation, the opposition is of the strong belief that the government must, at a minimum, provide them to all sides of the parliament, and potentially to other interested parties,” Mr O’Connor writes……
Royal commissioner Dyson Heydon has recommended a volume of the interim report be kept confidential to protect the physical wellbeing of 29 witnesses and their families. He has also urged for a sixth volume in the final report to remain confidential.
Mr O’Connor, who has slammed the royal commission as a “political witch hunt”, said it appeared the government “only respects the royal commission’s findings when it suits your immediate political interests”.
“A failure to provide the opposition with an opportunity to access the confidential volumes will only confirm this,” he says.

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