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Byron Shire
December 3, 2022

Gladys just doesn’t get it? Bullshit.

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The rules are lost to the dark art of time, but when I was younger, we used to play a card game called ‘Bullshit’.

I can recall that this involved imbibing and yelling out that word, left, right and centre, and the adults would frown and forbid.

But yelling out ‘Bullshit’ had a most welcome revival in my house watching Our Gladys giving evidence at the ICAC – lucky we live in ruralsville, so I couldn’t disturb the neighbours.

Recently retired magistrate David Heilpern opens up about his career. Image Jeff ‘not guilty your honour’ Dawson

I was in a decision-making role for over two decades.

Every day, people would come before me wanting competing outcomes.

Guilty, or innocent. Bail or imprisonment. Plaintiff or defendant.

Children to dad, or children to mum. Restraining order or free rein.

Just like politics really, when there are competing interests for money – gun club, hospital, recital hall verses all the other worthy funding applications and needs from Bourke to Byron to Bega.

Member for X wants this money, but member for Y says their need is greater. This bureaucrat says this project is useless, but the local member bats on.

It’s par for the course really.

But just imagine if I, as a judicial officer, determining one of those cases, had an undisclosed ongoing ‘you-have-my-key and maybe we’ll have a baby’ bonk-fest relationship with a party appearing before me…

It would, at the very least, require me to disqualify myself from the case.

Because even if I could successfully undertake the Herculean task of separating my love/lust from my judging (and who would ever know, even me?) that is not enough.

Because injustice festers in the darkness, and must be seen to be done. And of course Gladys actually knows this already, and not just because she notified of potential remote conflicts of interest involving her cousins.

She knows this because it is so basic, so fundamental, and she is not stupid and has spent most of her working life in government.

Just like all the other politicians and public servants have said in evidence – of course it had to be disclosed and managed.

Every judge and every politician, every ICAC Commissioner and every public servant or judicial officer knows this ‘Rule 101’.

If you are sleeping with someone you cannot be the decision maker, where they are involved, any more.

Especially if it is a secret.

So what happens if you don’t declare it? And you keep it secret and go ahead and use your influence to get more money for your lover’s seat by on phone call to the treasurer, and by chairing the meeting where it will be decided, and by ordering around your staff and officials?

Or, as a judge, what if you keep shtum and proceed with no disclosure? It seems to me that there are two consequences when the deficit is exposed:

The first is that you must be sacked or resign. There is no middle ground here. It is gross incompetence, a breach of public trust and a form of corruption. And the second is that, if you ever want to work in public life again, you fess up and repent.

Here you go Gladys, I have written your evidence for you:

‘I was embarrassed.

‘He was hardly a great catch to take home to mum was he?

‘Twenty-one years older, two children. I was afraid of being a laughing stock. He used me and I was blind and naive. I made nothing from it. Except for a flood of tears and the loss of my job that is’.

People are sympathetic to Gladys, we liked her school-mam pouting approach.

I stand to be corrected, but there was more than just a hint of coercive control in that relationship me thinks.

We would have forgiven and forgotten and welcomed her back in some role or other in the future.

Australians are actually great pardoners – it is part of our convict history.

But she blew all that.

Seriously, I was agape at her statement that she would not declare her relationship should she have her time again.

Did anyone actually believe that?

She has the best lawyers, a years-of common-sense persona, and tons of time to prepare a response, and yet that’s the best she can do?

A position that passes no pub test in the country?

The flaw of being human is a redeemable venial sin. The weakness of petulant, stubborn intransigence in the face of the bleeding obvious is a tragically mortal one.

And further food for thought – imagine if a legislator had two contenders for money or a contract or an appointment and one had made a huge donation to their political party – the very party where endorsement and membership is essential for the politician’s career survival…

And the decision maker and donor knew it. Well of course that would not be corruption or a breach of ethical standards.

That would be business as usual in purchase politics NSW.

And on that, I call ‘Bullshit’!

David Heilpern is a retired magistrate


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29 COMMENTS

  1. Great comparison . And argument (in my opinion, it would have been better/stronger if you’d stopped after ‘fess up and repent” . Or at least after ‘she blew all that’)

  2. All politicians should read this along with Gladys’ supporters. Integrity or it’s lack of is a form of corruption, take note Morrison. She was not sacrificed by a kangaroo court.

  3. David has summed up the situation perfectly.
    The problem with those on the right of politics(Libs and Natonals) is that they have a warped view of humanity.
    They equate their interests with those of society.
    Another way of putting it might be they lack a moral compass.

    • What a ridiculous generalisation. What about those people on the Right who do have a moral compass and for that matter, those on the Left who do not. We see plenty of that.

  4. A magnificent, down to earth, matter of fact appraisal of the utter importance and necessity of credibility and honesty in public life.
    No Ifs or Buts

  5. I fear that not many of our elected officials at any level of government even understand what integrity is or are capable of recognising a conflict of interest any more.
    It is all very disheartening watching the decline of standards in public life.

  6. Nice one, David. Our ‘parliamentary concoction’ is full of got-away with ruthless beings.
    Porter didn’t break any rules either, according to the ‘privileged committee’ since
    Morrison blocked the investigation. It’s all know how at the top end of town.

  7. As President ScamMO greases the wheels for Not my Glad / Glad the Destroyer to make a political comeback at the up coming federal election against the Zali in the seat of Warringah. Not my Glad fits ScamMO’s rules of take no responsibility or accept accountability – it’s …’The Morrison Way’.

  8. As I recollect, Gladys resigned, she was not pushed. Nothing is mentioned above of degenerate boyfriend who used her emotions to gain what he wanted. She isn’t the first or will be the last person to be misled by “love”. I feel that a lot of people have lost their humanity in the quest for getting their pound of flesh. Let those of you who have no sin throw the first stone.

    • Oh dear, another victim of Not my Glad’s whitewashing of the whole affair with her ‘celebrated’ media blitz turning the focus to “the bad boyfriend” headline.
      Misled by love, howso, when from Not my Glad’s very lips came this gem…..” I don’t need to know about that bit”. Not my Glad knew exactly what the game was.

  9. We all know Berejiklian has done wrong, especially Berejiklian. “That after all is the reason she resigned”! It’s the cowardly and vicious attack from behind the privilege of Parliament, on the NSW ICAC investigation by Morrison and the LNP coalition and it’s usual suspects in their compromised and thoroughly corrupted corporate media that is really the most disgusting part of all of this. Morrison and his Govt are undermining all respect for our Parliament, judiciary, public service, the Commonwealth and must be removed ASAP!
    “If only what was written in this article could be put on MSM in this corrupted country”, that is Australia’s greatest problem, our corrupted media, that allows Morrisons lies?

  10. Brilliant appraisal! Totally agree! This Govt is so brazen, it no longer is accountable to the ordinary public! I really despair at the corruption that is being repeated on a daily basis! Have you noticed that Scott Morrison nearly bursts a blood vessel, in parliament, when trying to blame everyone else for his disastrous decisions! About time some other honest, intelligent person took over the reigns!

  11. Glad… she’s no fool… had it coming. Anyone want to bet that Morrison hadn’t had a word
    with his old premier mate? Ah! Let’s get real. Elections 2022 – scam seat; Warringah. All
    good things come to those who wait just a little bit longer.

    • Fed Election 2022, seat of Warringah – the Zali ‘truth and Integrity’ vs Not my Glad ‘me bad boyfriend what dunnit’.

  12. Glady’s will send Zarli back from whence she
    Came along with that GetUp!! hunted in packs
    To unsettle bully, intimidate anyone remotely Conservative..some of the gross
    Things they did was absolutely wrong..
    Did the ABC call this out ? Well of course not.. yet if anyone remotely Conservative
    Were to stoop so low as did Getup against
    Zarli .. there would have been hell to pay .
    The left would have gone into meltdown..
    You just wait and see what happens at the next Election with Getup .. ? This time
    They will be met with pushback and how ..
    Misappropriation of public funds from Gladys ? Or Christian Porter? Because he did not declare where the donations came from ? Well nor Did Louise Milligan when she gladly accepted 750k from the taxpayer’s
    Did she know any of the taxpayer’s ?
    That donated to her personal vendetta against Porter ? Double standards and how..

  13. You’re right David, but…….we’ve forgiven her anyway.
    Why. Because he’s a prick and we all think that Gladys is basically a good person.

  14. Joachim Glady’s a terrible Premier?
    Prior to the Pandemic she was doing very
    Well most popular indeed .. !! Every premier’s carrying baggage Joachim
    including Mr Andrews who along with that
    Qld Premier are heartless.. how ironic that
    The left champion compassion and empathy
    Yet Mr Andrews and the Qld Premier are as cold as ice .. !! in living memory Joachim
    Ms Kenneally will be 100% the most incompetent NSW Premier of all time ..
    and it has not improved for Ms Kenneally
    Federally either..

  15. Yo Barrow, you scattering all over the place to again get off topic. NSW ICAC, thank you to Not my Glad for showing the way of ‘good governance’ / NSW Covid , thank you to Not my Glad for the events involving – Ruby Princess, Dorothy Henderson Lodge, Newmarch House, Bondi ‘Delta Outbreak’ from the initial mishandling through to the appalling two tiered Sydney Covid restrictions that scapegoated Western Sydney residents / Transport, thank you to Not My Glad for the Sydney Light RailFail of budget blow out from $1.5billions to $3billions plus and the way late project delivery that cost businesses $’s and livelihoods and the chopping down of 100 year old trees along Anzac Parade that were commemorations to WW1 Diggers , the Harbour Ferries and River Ferries debacles, the Inter City Train Sets that didn’t fit tunnels and platforms debacle. If a politician deserves popularity after these acts then please explain what acts would result in a ‘not fit to be a public official’.

  16. Brilliant synopsis Heilpern. I had to read it aloud to my partner. I watched as much of the ICAC proceedings as I possibly could. I find it extraordinarily frustrating to listen to others simply pass this off as an overzealousness on the part the ICAC or to accept that this sort of behaviour should be overlooked.

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