When Dyson Heydon delivered his report, as royal commissioner, of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, he claimed that his findings represented “the tip of the iceberg”. At the time, I commented that, given the nearly $50 million of public money spent on the commission, plus its lengthy hearings governed by the exceptional powers of a royal commission, the Australian public was entitled to expect the whole iceberg.
It turns out that I was too charitable. In the months since the commission reported, a string of the charges he recommended have been thrown out or withdrawn. In fact, six months later, there has only been one conviction, resulting in a suspended sentence. The only big fish to be caught since the establishment of Heydon’s star chamber has been the commission’s own star witness, Kathy Jackson.