The HSU scandal moves at a glacial pace towards the courts …
While Mr Thomson may have been in technical breach of some of the union rules, it is expected he will argue he was acting within the normal ethical flexibility given to officials, and that the same practices occurred in every other union.
Spending union funds on prostitutes would require considerable ethical flexibility and surely there can’t be other unions displaying such flexibility. Well, setting aside the AWU, of course in the famous case where a female lawyer provided (free) legal assistance to her boyfriend of the time, in order to set up a slush fund. The lady in question is on the record as saying it was for re-election purposes of said boyfriend, she did not benefit from it, she didn’t know funds were being diverted to such ends as buying houses etc. She is not on the record regarding the answers to some questions put to her about these events.
The ALP is in no rush to set up an enquiry regarding the flexibility to be found in every other union. This is no great surprise when you consider that the Union movement provides almost all the funds for the government’s electioneering and virtually all the members of the parliamentary party. This sorry affair is still not over, but even as the Prime Minister ducks and weaves hissing slime and sleaze, more evidence of flexibility floats to the surface …
AWU Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem has reportedly confirmed that a non-profit company he runs, called Industry 2020, has raised some $500,000 since 2008 to help fund the political activities of the Right faction sub-group within the ALP.
Among the organisation’s spending was a “significant’ outlay of funds during the bitter Health Services Union (HSU) election in 2009, according to Fairfax.
As workplace relations minister at the time, Ms Gillard reportedly served as a guest speaker at Industry 2020’s inaugural fund-raising lunch, which raised about $250,000, nearly half of which was profit.
Goodness, AWU Mark ll. Senator Abetz suggests that …
“What this shows is that the Labor party are fully immersed in this culture of slush funds. That is why they are so paralysed in dealing with the HSU (Health Services Union) scandal and the (1990s) AWU scandal – because they basically know that everybody’s into it and they’re all into it together.”
Senator Abetz said it was “unbelievable” that some of the current AWU slush fund was used to finance an HSU election campaign in 2009.
While such behaviour might be technically legal it was morally wrong, he said.
“For the deputy prime minister of the time to be so associated with such an inappropriate fund is completely unacceptable”.