I dunno, maybe I'm just reflecting my own judgement about this appalling government, but with all the TURC controversy going on, I strongly suspect that the public view of the Royal Commission has turned in a serious political negative for Abbott. I think the Labor movement has succeeded in its PR to cast it as a political witch hunt, and that voters are thinking it is a sign of a government that is politically self indulgent and has no idea about getting on with more important priorities. That the Abbott commissioned enquiries could backfire as political revenge over-reach was always on the cards, and I think it has indeed worked out that way.
And why does Tony Abbott even answer questions about bias of the Commissioner by praising him? By doing so, he makes it sound all the more to the public that he has (or wants) the Commissioner in his pocket. Surely the wise politician (yes, I know, we're talking Abbott) would take more a line of expressing confidence in the Commissioner making appropriate decisions regarding the conduct of the Commission, and leave it at that. But Abbott goes further - much further - and hence worsens the self inflicted wound.
Much the same can be said about the Abbott approach to same sex marriage. It seems that people really like the idea of a plebiscite (about 80% in favour in this morning's Newspoll of Canning), and that doesn't surprise me. But Abbott wanting to not hold it until 2 or 3 years time? - as with the Royal Commission, this will all too obviously come across as mere playing politics. Isn't that clear to Abbott's political advisers, especially when an election in 12 month's time is the obvious opportunity when the plebiscite could be conducted, at minimal cost?
PS: having viewed a bit of Heydon's conduct of the commission yesterday, I think his skill and talent for this type of work may well have been (actually no, has been) over-estimated. Telling the ACTU barrister that he had an hour to decide whether to apply to disqualify himself? It was a tactic that could only make Heydon look more biased. He backed down, but it was a bad look that could only hurt himself. Again, wasn't that kind of obvious? He may have been great in other forms of jurisprudence, but I see no clear sign that he has a talent for this line of legal work.