SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HEYDON
An independent inquiry by the High Court of Australia has found that former Justice Dyson Heydon, a High Court judge from 2003-13 and head of the 2014 royal commission into trade unions, sexually harassed six young female associates.
An investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald has further uncovered allegations of an “open secret” of Heydon’s predatory behaviour, including from a judge who claims she was indecently assaulted, and other women who report leaving the profession entirely due to the former justice’s institutional power.
Through his lawyers Speed & Stracey, Heydon — who the Herald has separately profiled — has denied “allegation of predatory behaviour or breaches of the law”, apologised “for any offence”, and notes that the “internal administrative inquiry was conducted by a public servant and not by a lawyer, judge or a tribunal member”.
PS: Sources “close to the affair” have further complained at The Australian ($) that the inquiry was not run by a lawyer and did not allow Heydon to cross-examine his accusers — although, at a glance, those qualities would appear to be the inquiry’s point.
VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS STRONGER MEASURES TO CONTROL COVID-19
According to The Age, Victorian police will enforce stay-at-home directions if outbreaks cannot be suppressed before July 19, as the state government considers stronger measures after yesterday ramping up police patrols, extra testing and pop-up clinics, and “door-to-door” health checks across six hotspots.
While the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned against travel to Melbourne and Scott Morrison has offered military assistance following breaches at two state-run quarantine hotels, The Herald Sun has clarified that there are no official new intrastate travel bans.
However, with Victoria recording 16 new cases yesterday and officials expecting double-digit reports to continue this week, residents have been told not to travel if sick and, for those in hard-hit areas, to reconsider trips if possible.
LABOR TO PUSH FOR ROBODEBT ROYAL COMMISSION
The ABC reports that Labor will today call for a royal commission into the federal government’s robodebt scheme, weeks after the Greens called for a similar investigation into how hundreds of thousands of people were issued unlawful, poorly-automated and often fake debts.
It also comes ahead of a looming class action lawsuit, a decision by the Morrison government to repay $720 million, and — completing a three-year cycle of Coalition reactions to the scheme ranging from denial, anger, bargaining and sadness — an apology from Scott Morrison for “any hurt of harm”.
GOOD TIMING: Elsewhere, The Guardian reports that the Morrison government will today unveil $86 million for primary producers hit by the Black Summer bushfires and the pandemic — a move timed, curiously, just weeks away from the July 4 Eden-Monaro byelection.
US POLICE GET CARTOONISHLY EVIL
In just one of the latest horror stories emerging from America’s fourth week of Black Lives Matter protests, witness allegations and supporting video suggest that police in Columbus, Ohio pepper sprayed a double-amputee before disconnecting and taking the man’s prosthetic legs.
Worryingly, while Columbus’ mayor last week told police not to tear gas or pepper spray protesters, the local president of the hilariously/terrifyingly-named “Fraternal Order of Police” appears to have politely declined that order.
STILL AN OZ PROBLEM: According to The Guardian, a WA police officer has escaped sanction after being caught on CCTV dragging a handcuffed Indigenous teenager to the ground, causing him to hit his head, while, in Sydney, an Indigenous man has been repeatedly tasered in the face, chest and neck during arrest.
STATE VIRUS WATCH: ENTER PHASE FOUR
- The Western Australian government yesterday announced plans to enter Phase four of their roadmap this Saturday, June 27, which, amongst other changes, will:
- remove all existing gathering limits other than the 2 square metre rule
- remove seated service and patron registers at food and licensed venues
- permit all events except for large scale, multi-stage music festivals
- create a 50% capacity rule for WA’s major sport and entertainment venue; and
- potentially lead to Phase five on Saturday, July 18 — removal of that 50% cap — while Phase six, removal of the hard state border and remote borders, now depends on Victoria’s success in controlling their outbreak.
- According to the ACT government, a contact tracing digital training program developed by ACT Health and ANU has been shared with public health departments in the USA, Germany, the European Union and the Mediterranean
- Finally, a day after Western Australia announced joint federal-state “JobMaker” shovel-ready infrastructure and road projects with the federal government, the Queensland and Northern Territory governments have announced similar schemes funded at $415 million and $53 million respectively.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
First of all, the government has neither confirmed nor denied any operation in respect of East Timor. Leaving that aside, if an operation was indeed carried out, it would not have been a crime.
Former ASIO Director-General Dennis Richardson
Well, if the federal government hasn’t confirmed all that very public evidence they diverted counter-terrorism resources to bug Timor-Leste’s cabinet in order to swindle gas for friends at Woodside — and the then-ASIO boss says whatever did happen, is all g — then that’s good enough for us.
It would, however, make all those indefinite, shadow whistleblower prosecutions a little obsolete…
“Once News Corp spots an ideological enemy, there is no development, no angle on them, that will be left unexplored. And as this example shows, it billows out into the rest of the media, until it passes for an actual national discourse.
“Thorpe is an Indigenous woman from Victoria representing the Greens, a combination of words that News Corp editors wake up screaming after their worst sleep paralysis. So don’t expect this to be the last of it.”
“As the line between work and home continues to blur during the coronavirus pandemic, a landmark ruling has brought into sharp relief the potential responsibilities of Australian employers to thousands of workers who are experiencing violence.
“The NSW Court of Appeal upheld a Workers Compensation Commission decision late last month, stating that the two children of Michel Carroll, who was murdered in 2010, will receive $450,000 in death benefits.”
“A second lockdown would be an economic double-tap — shuttering services and business just as they were reopening, accelerating the rise in unemployment and likely sending a lot of small businesses, which barely survived the first lockdown, into bankruptcy. All while the second round of employment impacts in areas like construction are only just becoming manifest.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Dyson Heydon finding may spark a #MeToo moment for the legal profession — Kcasey McLoughlin (The Conversation): “That the chief justice acknowledged the difficulties that victims of sexual harassment have in coming forward is significant. There are all kinds of disincentives in bringing a formal complaint in sexual harassment, and these have been examined in the numerous reports and inquiries interrogating the deficiencies in the current legal framework, and devising strategies for reform. Fear of not being believed. Fear of being branded a troublemaker. Limiting career and employment prospects.”
Why it’s not the time for a pay rise ($) — Mark Wooden (AFR/The Australian): “During a recession, and especially one as severe as the current one, what is most critical for the incomes of workers and their families is securing a paid job that provides adequate hours. In my opinion, the requirement to provide an adequate safety net for workers means the FWC should, in the current environment, be prioritising jobs and hours over a wage increase.”
Coronavirus Victoria: Did protests cause Victorian COVID-19 spike? — Samantha Maiden (news.com.au): “When thousands of Black Lives Matters (BLM) protesters marched across Australia a fortnight ago, health experts warned these ‘dangerous’ and ‘risky’ events could endanger lives and cause a second wave of COVID-19 cases. Protesters insisted they would wear face marks and practice social distancing and health authorities spent a nervous fortnight watching and waiting to see if a super spreader event was occurring that would spike cases.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The Senate inquiry into the government’s COVID-19 response will hear from unions including the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA); Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA); United Workers Union (UWU); and Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).
The Wheeler Centre will host Writing Blak, a discussion with four emerging First Nations writers from the centre’s Next Chapter program — Jasmin McGaughey, Racheal Oak Butler, Lorna Munro and Meleika Gesa-Fatafehi — to be hosted by Goorie-Koori poet Evelyn Araluen.
Day one of Australian Progress’ two-day 2020 conference “Virtual Progress”, to feature ACTU president Michele O’Neil, writer Benjamin Law, Australian Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow and more.