In alarming news for the big four, Margin Call can reveal former One Nation senator Rod Culleton has offered his legal services to Kenneth Hayne’s banking royal commission.
Culleton — a farmer turned senator turned self-taught constitutional scholar — was the star attendee at the resumption of the Hayne Show today in the Federal Court in Melbourne.
The 53-year-old Culleton took his seat in the courtroom just over the shoulder of counsel assisting Michael “Babyface” Hodge — which placed the high-profile bank hater centrescreen in the webcast — to make sure the royal commission ran on track.
“We don’t want anyone switching the lines over,” Culleton told Margin Call, during a brief pause in today’s action.
As part of his effort to keep tabs on the royal commission, Margin Call can reveal Culleton this morning volunteered his idiosyncratic legal services to Hodge and Babyface’s fellow counsel assisting Rowena “Shock and” Orr.
He was troubled by Hodge’s opening statement this morning in which he said “ulterior motive theories” in Commonwealth Bank’s scandalous Bankwest acquisition did not “warrant further consideration by case study”.
As Culleton later explained to Hodge and Orr — and has since submitted to the royal commission — he is of the legal opinion that evidence gathered by a Senate committee on which he sat in his seven months in the red house can be administered into evidence.
That committee explored the “ulterior motive theories” of Bankwest’s disgruntled customers, which the CBA is hopeful will not be further examined in the Hayne Show.
“I’m going to tender it as a document,” Culleton told Margin Call.
Matt Comyn’s CBA will hope that’s the last they hear of it.
Culleton is one of Australia’s most legally experienced — if not legally successful — former politicians.
Before today’s appearance at Melbourne’s federal court, he has appeared in WA’s district court (over a financial dispute with his former business colleagues), Perth’s federal court (where he represented himself over bankruptcy charges), the ACT’s Magistrates Court (where he unsuccessfully attempted to launch proceedings against then Attorney-General George Brandis) and NSW’s magistrates court (over the whereabouts of a $7.50 tow truck key).
And of course there was the case in the High Court — on which Hayne’s wife and replacement Michelle Gordon sits — that in February in 2017 ended Culleton’s senate career after a sensational seven months.
Most of those court appearances haven’t gone Culleton’s way.
But with another agile member of Culleton’s most detested bank — Shayne Elliott’s ANZ — soon to take the stand of the royal commission he championed, the former senator is cheerier about his latest legal encounter.
“I’m just at the hors d’oeuvre at the moment,” an enthusiastic Culleton told Margin Call. “I’ll be back for the main cause. And for desert.”