Dyson Heydon doesn’t have a PC … but he does have an iPhone 5


Heydonjustice (1)

blog You may recall how earlier this week it was revealed that Dyson Heydon, former High Court judge and now head of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, had admitted he did not use a computer at either of his offices and did not know how to send and receive emails. Well, the plot thickens. From SBS comes the news that Heydon actually does have an iPhone 5 provided by the Government. The outlet writes (click here for the full article):

“Information released in Senate estimates hearings showed Mr Heydon was provided with an Apple iPhone 5 – which has a sophisticated mobile email and internet capability – as were senior and junior counsel.”

Whether Heydon actually uses the iPhone 5 may be the subject of a future Royal Commission hearing. In the meantime, pundits far and wide are weighing in on whether the former High Court judge is an incurable Luddite for not knowing how to use semi-modern technology, or whether such a stance is permissible for someone of his age and standing. Electronic Frontiers Australia certainly set the Internet alight with its comments damning Heydon’s approach, writing in a media release:

“It is no longer acceptable for high-ranking public officials to not possess at least the most basic computer and electronic communication skills as are required for the most junior entry-level positions.

Legal professionals particularly are required to undertake a minimum level of professional development throughout their careers. It is therefore very difficult to understand how any legal professional could attain a high public office without having gained even basic computer literacy and a grasp of simple electronic communication platforms such as email.

There are many excellent training courses available from any number of organisations around Australia and online. Most local libraries offer very high quality free training to residents on all sorts of internet and web-based systems. There is also no shortage of daughters, sons, nieces, nephews and god-children that are more than capable of providing basic computer skills training to those in their families whose formal education occurred in the pre-digital age.

EFA would be happy to provide guidance and basic training in the use of email to any high-ranking public officials that are in need of such remedial assistance.”

Personally, as I wrote several days ago, I think Heydon should learn to use email and gain a better understanding of modern day technology — I think it would benefit him. I don’t think it’s essential, given his position and age, but I do think he is missing out substantially, and will regret such a stance as he gets older.


  1. Mr Heydon not only claims “I am incapable of sending or receiving emails”
    but he maybe does not realise that an iPhone 5 is also a sort of a computer in that it can be used for email and to open and read attachments at the click of a button.

    “there is evidence that I have no computer”

    Here’s the evidence.

    Should We Consider the Smartphone a Computer?
    DECEMBER 4, 2012

    “The idea that we’d one day have pocket computers goes back to the 1970s”
    “I think the argument can be made that the smartphone is in the same market as the desktop computer”


    “Smartphones are really miniature computers and can have all the same sorts of data on them as resides on a desktop or a laptop computer (email messages, customer contact information, company documents and spreadsheets, and so forth)”

    “The court concluded that a modern cell phone is similar to a laptop computer”

  2. Just to put the nail in the coffin from a pub and smell test perspective about whether there is evidence that an iPhone 5 can be classified as a form of computer or not the Oxford English Dictionary says


    “A device or machine for performing or facilitating calculation.”
    An iPhone 5 can do.

    “An electronic device (or system of devices) which is used to store, manipulate, and communicate information, perform complex calculations, or control or regulate other devices or machines, and is capable of receiving information (data) and of processing it in accordance with variable procedural instructions (programs or software); esp. a small, self-contained one for individual use in the home or workplace, used esp. for handling text, images, music, and video, accessing and using the Internet, communicating with other people (e.g. by means of email), and playing games.”
    Fits the description of the iPhone 5.

  3. I’m not sure I understand what the argument could be for Heydon to not need an understanding of modern technology? How can he possibly do his job if he’s incapable of understanding potentially complex webs of different communication mediums around events he is passing judgement on?

  4. I just don’t believe him , how could such a brilliant man not know how to send or receive an email?

  5. I may be delving off somewhat on a topic tangent here, but… let me get this straight…

    The guy (Dyson) who expects other people who are being questioned at a RC, to know intimate details of “every” requisition, receipt/invoice, mail, email, memo, payment etc, ever made, even those carried out by other people and even again, carried out by other people after those in the witness box had moved on… and questions their credibility when they can’t do so (as no one in any organisation or political party or whatever, rationally could).

    …Then says (apparently with a straight face) – in relation to one single email, sent to him, in the form of a glossy invitation, with Liberal Party and logo clearly emblazoned upon it, which he nonetheless accepted (until the shit hit the fan and then declined) … oh, it’s OK, I didn’t know?

    Seriously WTF? This is supposedly, one of our finest legal minds?

    Obviously, just another high flyer who believes there’s one rule for the aristocracy and another for the riff raff.

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