Monday, 14 May 2012

The Craig Thomson Saga: He's in another universe?

Jackson (left) and Thomson (right)

Health Services Union officials have rejected Federal Independent MP Craig Thomson’s claim that he was set up by a member/s of the union with regard to allegations currently being investigated by NSW Police – one even saying that he’s in another universe.

Certain political commentators are also tending to openly scoff at the MP's claim.

However, it may pay to tread carefully because Thomson’s claim bears a remarkable similarity to another HSU official’s claim in 2009. The fact that there are two individual claims in a short time frame tends to support the idea that dirty tricks may be part of the internal life of this union. The Jackson allegations were also allegedly investigated by police.

The Weekend Australian article concerning allegations against Jeff Jackson, April 2009:

The statement of a Bendigo Gold Visa card allegedly issued to Jackson shows expenditure on services that fall far outside his normal duties. It includes a string of prostitutes, designer clothes, dental work, gourmet food and drinks at a favourite Melbourne hotel. Jackson challenges the authenticity of this credit card account and dismisses allegations he has misused any funds as part of a "dirty tricks campaign" mounted by opponents within his union…..
Last year Jackson granted himself a 9 per cent pay rise, more than double the percentage his members received, after instructing his office manager Rita Wills to give him $15,000. This additional money was officially described on the union payroll as "back pay". When Jackson's junior official and friend Alex Hicks took leave without pay last October, he ordered that she get a one-off payment of $5000. Jackson told his office manager to record the sum as a political donation because Hicks was "campaigning for
Barack Obama".
Over a 15-month period to November last year, Jackson was reimbursed $19,000 for branch expenditure…..

The Australian article concerning allegations against Craig Thomson, April 2009:

A FEDERAL Labor MP and former union chief is facing allegations that his union credit cards were used to pay for escort services and to withdraw more than $100,000 in cash.
Fairfax newspapers report today that Craig Thomson allegedly also used union credit cards to bankroll his election campaign for the NSW seat of Dobell in 2007, but that this use of the cards had not been disclosed under electoral law.
Mr Thomson, 44, is a former national secretary of the Health Services Union, officials of which had made the allegations, it was reported.

Thomson is to make a personal explanation in the House of Representatives during the week beginning 21 May 2012.

Photographs found at Google Images


I acknowledge that I have played internal union and ALP politics for 20 years - and played it hard according to the grubby rule book of those environments. [National Secretary of the Health Services Union and Executive President of HSUeast Kathy Jackson, Is Kathy Jackson a hero?: a personal explanation, 1 February 2012]

And now journalists keep ringing her, wanting to ask about the political storm she accidentally sparked the previous night on ABC-TV's 7.30 Report when she accused the Government of interfering in the investigation into Thomson being carried out by the independent industrial umpire Fair Work Australia. It was an accusation she had not planned to make, and one that was especially awkward given her partner Michael Lawler is vice-president of FWA. She now concedes she has no firm evidence to back up the allegation. "That just sort of happened," she giggles as she lights a cigarette.......
[The Australian, Union dues,18 February 2012]

On  21 December 2011 Joint Vice-President of Fair Work Australia and past Howard Government appointee to the former Australian Industrial Relations Commission which adjudicated under WorkChoices legislation, Michael J Lawler, makes a formal complaint to NSW Police in a private capacity against certain officials in the HSU, after Fair Work Australia received complaints about alleged inappropriate contact and interference by Lawler in union matters on behalf of Kathy Jackson.

Further update:

Wixxyleaks on the subject of Michael J Lawler 17 May 2012:

I contacted Fair Work Australia today after anonymous sources informed me that he had been stood down. Initially I spoke to Michael’s PA, who informed me she knew nothing, only that he was not in the office all day.
I again contacted FWA as rumors persisted. late this afternoon I was contacted by FWA’s Communications Manager, Judy Hughes who informed me that Michael was on “Long Leave”. Not Long Service Leave, Sick Leave, or Holidays, “Long Leave”.
She would not expand on this, citing “privacy reasons”, however based on my earlier conversations with both her and Michael’s PA, I was left with the impression that this decision had been taken rather suddenly. I was also left wondering who actually made the decision, as when I asked Judy if Michael had chosen to go on leave, I was told that Judy ”did not have that information”.
Reasons for his “Long Leave” are, as yet, unclear — however questions are being raised as to whether it is connected with the HSU investigation in which his partner Kathy Jackson was the Union “whistleblower”. Questions have been raised about Lawler’s relationship with Tony Abbott, and how this may have had an influence on any investigations taking place in FWA which involved Craig Thomson.

Updating the updates:

In which Kathy Jackson stretches credulity about what is fact, what she would have known about her ex-husband and admits to an inappropriate discussion....

The Telegraph online 2 February 2012:

Also included in the file is an affidavit from Lynne Russell, an HSU councillor, alleging Ms Jackson's ex-husband Jeff had blown the whistle on the shovel incident, which is the subject of a police investigation.
Ms Jackson claimed the shovel was left by union opponents as a warning for her to keep quiet over the allegations of financial wrongdoing.
In the November 23 affidavit, Ms Russell said to Mr Jackson: "I read about Kathy being admitted to hospital, are her and the kids OK?"
Mr Jackson was then alleged to have replied: "Yeah, they're OK, the f ... ing shovel has been in the shed for the last 10 years."
Ms Jackson denied the allegations and said she was "not commenting about any affidavit that I have not seen"

Excerpts from ABC TV 7.30 21 May 2012:

CHRIS UHLMANN: Are you aware of any union officials before Mr Thomson be accused of consorting with prostitutes?

CHRIS UHLMANN: Has Michael Lawler ever been involved with you in any of the strategy meetings with the HSU about any of the actions that you have got going?
KATHY JACKSON: Well obviously as my partner I talk to Michael about what I’m doing and as my partner I talk to him about not just HSU issues but other issues as well.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Is it that appropriate?
KATHY JACKSON: I think it’s very appropriate as my partner that I ask him advice and assistance. But he is not running the case for the HSU. I tell him what I’m doing, not the other way around.

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