Yesterday The Australian ran a story by Michael Pelly describing the events leading up to the media frenzy over Dyson Heydon.
As a result the ACTU sought and received a delay to the delivery of Commissioner Heydon's decision in the ACTU's recusal appliication. They'll be making submissions this afternoon.
1. Marcus Priest
Appears on ABC Green/environmental issues - http://www.abc.net.au/news/5042984
And the LlinkedIn page for him has this as of now
2, Chris Winslow
Chris's LinkedIn profile also lists the causes he cares about and the organisations to which he gives support. Including The NSW Greens where he is a candidate for the seat of Greenaway in the upcoming federal elsection.
Causes Chris cares about:
- Poverty Alleviation
Organizations Chris supports:
- Australian Wildlife Conservancy
- Australian Conservation Foundation
- World Vision Australia
- Australian Red Cross
- Greening Australia
- The NSW Greens
According to The Australian's account of the conversation, Priest's phoned Wilsow to ask about the April 2015 Bar Association's alert, or promotional mention of the Sir Garfield Barwick address to be delivered in August:
Priest asked Winslow about a bar association alert, put out in April, about the Sir Garfield Barwick lecture — the one that had Dyson Heydon, who was conducting the politically sensitive royal commission into trade unions, as its keynote speaker.
Here is that alert:
Note no mention of the Liberal Party connection. The internet link takes you to this on the Bar Association's publication - it's been removed. By whom we don't know, but the Publications Manager might be alogical starting point.
However we do know that for previous years (along with a forward looking statement for future years) the event was specifically shown as not being a fundraiser, rather the price covered the costs of the event only with no intention to raise an excess for the P:arty.
According to The Australian's account of the conversation, Priest first introduced the topic of the Liberal Party connection to the event.
Priest expressed surprise that Heydon had agreed to speak at the event because of its connection to the Liberal Party and asked for a copy of the invitation.
Recall that the alert (above) on which his enquiry was based does not mention the Liberal Party and certainly doesn't mention fundraising. But he'd obviously raised a connection in Winslow's mind.
Just after 7PM that night, the Bar Association's Greens candidate Winslow emailed Jeremy Stoljar:
The Australian is very kind to Mr Winslow. It says:
as he headed home that evening, Winslow thought about the conversation and alarm bells rang. Was a story was about to appear in the media? Perhaps the lecture, which was due to have been given last night at the Castlereagh Hotel in Sydney, would be affected?
As an officer of the bar association, Winslow felt he had an obligation to inform the commission about a possible ambush. He emailed Jeremy Stoljar SC, the counsel assisting the royal commission, just after 7pm:
Winslow's letter to Stoljar doesn't "inform of an ambush" - it doesn't say as one professional group to another that there's media interest in the matter. It puts on the Bar Association record a false or misleading statement by a Bar Association official "the Garfield Barwick Address, which Heydon is to deliver, is a Liberal Party Fundraiser".
Few people would have known the precise words Stoljar used in the email in reply. One of them was Mr Winslow - another is The Australian's reporter.
At 9AM the next morning, 13 August Stoljar met for morning briefing with the Commissioner JDH. He made a diary note of the contents of their conversation which has been typed up below:
The Commissioner produced the email from the man who organised the event and was a member of the Liberal Lawyers branch saying it wasn't a fundraiser. That was accepted by each of them as the accurate description, however because of any doubt raised, at 9.23AM the Commissioner's PA sent this email to Burton:
Just to backtrack on other plans other people had made for that day, at 7.20AM that morning this gentleman started his day with this message to the world.
« He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king. » Saint Augustine http://t.co/AyNalAOGwY— Philosophers quotes (@philo_quotes) August 13, 2015
Keep that in mind as we move forward.
That morning in the House of Representatives the MPs were in the middle of a formal Commemoraation of the Centenary of Anzac with members delivering speeches in memory of our fallen. Sadly, there wasn's much media attention from the Canberra Gallery.
But the Gallery was there and ready when Tony Burke walked into the chamber at 11.20AM
Burke didn't get up. Shortly after that, the Commissioner released a definitive statement to say that he wouldn't be doing the speech.
So the issue was dead. He pulled out. Up until them there seemed to be glee amongst the Labor ranks who may have anticipated he would meet his advertised commitment and appear at the trap - the Liberal Party function. They would have been deflated - unless they had planned a response to him pulling out.
Perhaps there's some insight into Labor's strategy from that point in the Mr Evil tweeter we spoke about before, because within minutes of Dyson Heydon announcing he had refused to deliver the speech (actual bias), Mr Evil tweeted this and it started to get retweeted.
Apprehended Bias hey. Immediately Mr Evil had pressed send there were other fingers poised above Twitter accounts to get the message out and send it viral.
Which brings us full circle to the end of the beginning in the saga. It started with Marcus Preist, former adviser to Labor's Marcus Dreyfus QC who phoned The Greens candidate Chris Winslow to ask about "the Liberal Fundraiser". Next thing you know, the Bar Association's email letterhead is used to write to Commissioner Heydon "a Liberal Fundraiser" which wasn't.
On the morning it broke Commissioner Heydon speedily killed the bias story by pulling out way in advance of giving the speech. And within minutes of that announcement, off went PLAN B. the "Public Perception of Bias" strategy.
Part one was a simple viral message that would go viral - but couldn't come from a Labor source.
It came from a bloke who had tweeted at 7.30AM that morning that "he who is evil....be a king". Very Machiavellian. At 11.44AM Mr Evil hit the send button. At a moment in time so close that the time stamp couldn't differentiate them - one Marcus Priest retweeted.
Machiavelli had nothing on this lot.
PS - It was John Greybeard's post with a link to Mr Priest's Twitter account that triggered these investigations, thanks John for the tip.