And who was the chap who he was having lunch with? Turns out it was Douglas, who also would not respond to questions about whether he would represent the former High Court judge in court if it was ever required.
Indeed, it’s difficult to determine who Heydon’s counsel is given Speed and Stracey, the prominent tax lawyers who have represented Heydon, are no longer responding to journalists’ inquiries.
OFF THE LIST
Heydon lost his licence to serve as a barrister this week after failing to renew his practising certificate with the NSW Bar Council ahead of its expiry on June 30. He is not the only high-profile silk in the non-renewing category.
As of July 1, former Australian chief justice Murray Gleeson, QC, had not renewed his practising certificate with the NSW Bar Council, nor had former High Court judge Michael McHugh, SC. The NSW Bar Council did not respond to repeated requests for information regarding the two senior justices on Thursday. McHugh’s Eleven Wentworth Chambers did not respond to a question regarding his certificate and whether he planned to renew.
Of course, the High Court investigation into Heydon’s alleged misconduct recorded a claim that Gleeson and McHugh were told of their colleague’s behaviour. Gleeson headed the court for a decade until 2008, while McHugh served on the court from 1989 until 2005.
Details from the report included an account of how McHugh’s then-associate Sharona Coutts claimed that in 2005, Heydon’s associate Rachael Patterson-Collins had said “Heydon tried to kiss me and I had to push him off me!” Coutts told the investigator she had informed McHugh, who allegedly replied that he was “truly shocked”. A day later, McHugh allegedly told her he had passed the information on to Gleeson. Gleeson has rejected an account of the events as “false”, without going into detail.
Rio Tinto boss Jean-Sebastian Jacques has injected some fresh blood into the miner’s top ranks, which are still dealing with the fallout from the company’s destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site.
Rio announced this week that London-based Hungarian-Australian Peter Toth will now be in charge of what passes for Rio’s strategy and development as of October 1.
Rio even mentioned Toth’s previous role as CEO of manganese miner OM Holdings as part of his vast mining experience, which is very relevant to its current woes. Toth was OM’s boss in 2013 when it was fined $150,000 by the Darwin Magistrates Court for desecrating an Aboriginal sacred site in the Northern Territory. According to reports at the time, it was one of the very first convictions of its sort.
Cracks started to appear at the sacred site near OM’s Bootu Creek mine soon after the company used explosives to break up ground in the area in 2011. OM didn’t respond to requests for comment about it’s old boss on Thursday. In a public statement following the judgement at the time in 2013, OM said it had contested the charges of desecration arguing it had never intended to damage the site.
“The company never intended to harm, damage or disrespect the sacred site. We sincerely regret the damage and the hurt caused and unreservedly apologise to the site’s custodians and traditional owners,” Toth said at the time.
JS could not have put it better himself.
In fact, CBD doesn’t think he did with his statement last month. “We are very sorry for the distress we have caused the PKKP (Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people) in relation to Juukan Gorge and our first priority remains rebuilding trust with the PKKP,” was the JS version of an apology.
STOCKING THE SHORTEN BAR
Here’s one to file under “Politicians, they’re just like us”.
Locals in former Labor leader Bill Shorten’s home electorate of Maribyrnong spotted the opposition frontbencher on Tuesday night at a Dan Murphy’s liquor store buying a bottle of Grey Goose vodka. And probably with good reason too, given a lockdown in Melbourne’s COVID-19 hotspots includes Shorten’s home in Travancore.
A litre of French-made Grey Goose will set you back about $90 at Dan Murphy’s. We suggest a man of the people should be drinking Red Square vodka ($44 per litre).
The Daniel Andrews-imposed lockdown means the disabilities spokesman will have to make do with cocktails at home over the next two weeks. It’s also prompted him to shelve a trip to Sydney next week to meet with disabilities advocates. They’ll now meet on Zoom.
Meanwhile, Victorian Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger reckons he picked his timing just right. The former state president left Melbourne for a week in Sydney on Tuesday.
He was spotted in Woollahra’s Bistro Moncur on Tuesday night, supping with former NSW Liberal president Michael Yabsley and two others. Apparently it’s Yabsley’s 64th birthday this week. Felicitations!
Samantha is the The Age’s CBD columnist. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp, and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review.
Colin Kruger is a business reporter. He joined the Sydney Morning Herald in 1999 as its technology editor. Other roles have included the Herald’s deputy business editor and online business editor.