Daryl Kerrigan needs to be telling the ALP a few home truths over their denials that the corruption inquiry has not damaged Bill Shorten.
Labor MPs are privately acknowledging the Opposition Leader has “lost some bark” during his appearance at the royal commission into union corruption, but they maintain the damage is not serious.
Bill Shorten has spent two days giving evidence at the commission hearing in Sydney, about his time as the Victorian and national secretary of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) before he entered politics.
He may also be recalled to give further evidence before the commission’s final report is due at the end of the year.
During the inquiry, Mr Shorten admitted that the Labor Party failed to declare a business donation of a senior staff member to his 2007 parliamentary election campaign.
The party only made the disclosure this week, eight years on.
It was just resting in the account…channelling Father Ted.
He has also been accused of a potential conflict of interest, because the union accepted $500,000 in payments from a glassworks company for ‘fees’ and ‘training’ while negotiating pay deals for workers.
The commissioner, Dyson Heydon QC, further criticised Mr Shorten for providing “long and extraneous” answers, and over his credibility as a witness.
Government frontbencher Eric Abetz said he thinks most people would be “horrified” by some of the evidence exposed through the royal commission.
But Mr Shorten has strongly rejected the accusation he has acted improperly.
At the end of the marathon hearings he fronted reporters to defend his reputation and declare he had “no conflict of interest whatsoever”.
“There was no evidence demonstrated of any conflict,” Mr Shorten said.
“The truth of the matter is that every day I was a union rep I was standing up for our members.”
Sources within the Labor Party have told the ABC that Mr Shorten has “lost some bark” through the process, and that it is “unhelpful” for the alternative prime minister to be hauled before the inquiry and the cameras.
But they do not think the damage to his credibility is serious and maintain there was “no smoking gun” or “hanging offence” in the commission hearing.