OPINION: Royal commission or witch hunt?

BILL Shorten called this royal commission a witch hunt from the outset, and at first I was inclined to agree.

Ordered by Abbott, funded by taxpayers and directed solely at the Liberals' arch nemeses. The dreaded unions: covens of cackling stand-over crones, the lot of them.

It was surely a stunt. A despicable misuse of public money to further Tony's political ambitions and discredit those contemptible lefties on the wrong side of parliament.

But things started to look different when the Labor leader admitted he had not disclosed the $40,000 donation of a campaign staffer's wages while running for the 2007 Federal Election.

Making a clerical error amid the excitement of winning an election for the first time is understandable.

Stupid, yes, but ultimately pardonable.

But putting in the missing paperwork eight years down the track - three days before you front a royal commission - and claiming it was just a coincidence?

Sure, Bill.

"Were you waiting to see whether this would emerge in the royal commission?" he was asked.

"Not at all," Shorten responded.

Stranger things have happened, I suppose.

Former NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell was forced to resign after failing to declare the gift of a $3000 bottle of plonk and lying about it.

At least Shorten admitted he received the donation (not that he had much choice) but eight years is a long time.

J.K. Rowling was still finishing her last Harry Potter book in 2007, and Taylor Swift was still singing her twee brand of country music.

That was yonks ago.

Shorten has been battered but not quite burnt at the stake over this mess.

Let's not forget our Prime Minister survived after forgetting to declare $710,000 in mortgage loans in 2010.

The royal commission might still turn out to be a witch hunt, but I can now envisage a screeching Bill Shorten with a broomstick between his legs.

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