Conrad Liveris

Dyson Heydon made correct decision to continue

Image: AAP

Amidst the rising sea of complaint swirling around Dyson Heydon’s decision, Conrad Liveris offers a pinch of salt into the mix.

Undeniably, Dyson Heydon is one of the great legal minds of our nation. The collection of people who hold his achievements are but a small number. Clearly the man who became a professor before 30, a dean of a faculty before 35 and a Queen’s Counsel a handful of years later, clearly has control in his area of expertise.

From the beginning of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, I somehow knew it would not end well for one of the modern High Court’s most curious thinkers.

But that, friends, is Dyson Heydon. He will step up and charge when he sees it necessary. Heydon is a private man, who is not one to profess his politics publicly, or obviously. The decision that Dyson made yesterday, to remain in charge of the Commission, I feel is ultimately the right one. Now whatever one thinks of the Commission itself is one thing – and there are no shortage of views there – however in reading Heydon’s decision, it is easy to see how he came to such a conclusion. He made the decision as himself.

At the centre of this is his lack of computer literacy, for a chap of 72 years we can hardly blame him. Some on Twitter launched into farcical comments claiming that was not good enough.

Well, actually, it is.

People in senior roles across the country of Heydon’s vintage are not au fait with technology as, say, Twentysomethings on Twitter. I am in contact with someone who is of a similar age who hand writes response to emails for their assistant to scan and send via email.

People are not dead or exempt from public life or duty because they cannot use a computer or email, but they must be supported properly. Heydon made a decision to attend a function without all the facts, the untrained eye would forgive such.

While the Union’s plan to appeal the decision, The Royal Commission will wind up soon. At the very least, I trust Heydon’s team is printing everything as we speak.



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  1. Phantom said:

    On the one hand you say he should show respect to the principles he upholds. On the other, you say he should have stepped down to protect how the public perceives him. These are not compatible together or even correct on their own.

    To uphold his principles and the rule of law, he had to stay on.
    To step down simply to save face would not be a show of principles, it would have been a failure of principles.

  2. Brendan said:

    I do believe that Dyson while probably making a reasonable choice is actually doing a grave disservice to himself by staying on. By stepping down, he would have shown respect to the institution and showed his respect to the very principles he upholds. By not stepping down he is saying he has done nothing wrong, and while I agree Conrad that this has been a witch hunt almost, I think he should have stepped down if only to protect how the public perceives him.

  3. KimMJ said:

    Dyson is one of Oz’s most fascinating minds and I am torn on this one. He really should learn how to email though lol

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