… in the Politician of the Year contest has emerged in the Queen’s own state.
But first a walk down memory lane. A previous winner has withdrawn from a civil case against him on the grounds that defending himself is endangering his life. The man who concluded the lying defence of his venality with the assertion that Tony Abbott wasn’t fit to be in the parliament has decided not to contest the case brought by the Fair Work Commission. The Commission are seeking to recover $5000 of HSU funds spent on prostitutes and about $350,000 used for his campaign for the seat of Dobell. Craig Thomson asked the court to dismiss the case because it increased his risk of self harm. Not an entirely original strategy …
The new guy is Billy Gordon. As far as can be determined from the media a combination of malign influences exerted by Tony Abbott and the Catholic Church caused Mr Gordon to beat up a couple of his wives and his mother and avoid making child maintenance payments. His rap sheet includes some other minor matters such as breaking and entering.
Billy was first preselected for the federal election of 2013 and endorsed by Kevin Rudd as a seriously good bloke. This despite the fact that his extensive criminal history was known to the Bligh Labor Government at least as early as 2008.
It has to be noted with considerable approval that Premier Bucket of Queensland has acted decisively to excise this cancerous growth from the Labor body politic, waiting only long enough to secure his vote in last Friday’s confidence motion and for him to resign. It will be six weeks before parliament sits again. If that seems of dubious virtue, she is a paragon when compared with Julia Gillard’s handling of the Thomson affair or Ted Baillieu’s sheltering of Geoff Shaw.
Williamson, who ran the HSU as his personal fiefdom from 1995 until 2011, pleaded guilty to several counts of defrauding the union of close to a $1 million and enlisting family and friends to cover up his crimes.
What Williamson has been jailed for was only the tip of the iceberg. He had been defrauding the union for almost two decades.
Michael Williamson, former federal president of the Australian Labor Party, has been sentenced to 7½ years in jail with a five-year non-parole period. Craig Thomson, former ALP member of parliament currently on bail pending an appeal against his conviction for dishonesty, was his protegé at the HSU. You can read more <HERE>.
I wonder if the Obeids will one day join him.
Craig Thomson is sentenced …
The man that Labor propped up so that he might prop them up goes down. Not for his insouciance but for using Health Services Union money for his own purposes, including paying for prostitutes. He will appeal and will apply for bail.
Thomson was sentenced to one year in jail but the magistrate ruled that would include nine months suspended jail time.
Thomson, 49, showed little emotion as Victorian magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg handed down the sentence before an overflowing courtroom this morning.
Mr Rozencwajg said he was in “no doubt” imprisonment was the only appropriate sentence, referring to Thomson’s “blatant dishonesty” and “flagrant and insouciant” behaviour.
Mr Rozencwajg said Thomson had exhibited a brazen sense of entitlement and lack of concern for any accountability.
“These offences were committed by you in a position of trust,” he said.
Mr Rozencwajg said Thomson had been charged with protecting and advancing the interests of HSU members and his crimes were “a breach of trust in the highest order”.
My first thought is that a suspended sentence ought to involve a noose, but that is a little harsh (especially since I await sentencing for denying the climate). But really what is the point of decorating an inadequate jail term with a few months of make believe jail time?
Turning to credit cards and escorts, I have consistently from day one denied any wrongdoing in relation to these issues. I make it clear—and I hope I have already by painting a picture—that I had many enemies in the HSU, many enemies who did not like increased transparency, many enemies who preferred that there be no national office. I was the subject on numerous occasions of threats and intimidation. I had my door of my office graffitied. The national office shared an office with other Victorian branches of the Health Services Union.
An extract from Craig Thomson’s address to parliament.
Mr. Thomson was found guilty today of theft and obtaining financial advantage by deception after using the cards to pay for sexual services and to make cash withdrawals while he was national secretary of the Health Services Union.
He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
“Victoria Police has charged a 45-year-old Frankston man with 23 charges of obtain financial advantage by deception and one count of misconduct in public office,” Victoria Police spokeswoman Cath Allen said.
“The charges relate to an investigation into allegations of misconduct in public office by a serving member of the Victorian Parliament in 2011.”
Mr Shaw has been summoned to appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court on 8 October. <HeraldSun>
The parallels between the federal government propped up by the execrable Craig Thomson and the Victorian state government and Mr Shaw are uncanny. The leaders concerned both put their government survival ahead of any thoughts of ethical behaviour, whilst both alleged miscreants will find themselves in court fairly soon.
Mr Shaw has apparently repaid $1250. Which brings us to another interesting parallel …
JULIA Gillard wrote a personal cheque for $4243 to the Department of Finance because her partner, Tim Mathieson, had misused her taxpayer-funded car to drive around Victoria selling shampoo and other haircare products in breach of parliamentary rules.
Documents released to The Australian under Freedom of Information laws yesterday show that Ms Gillard made the payment on March 9, 2007, as deputy leader of the opposition because of concern over a breach of rules forbidding the use of the car for commercial purposes. The documents were provided yesterday after a 10-month battle by the former prime minister and her office to prevent the Department of Finance from following through on its decision to release the material. <TheAustralian>
Can we look forward to Miss Gillard’s appearence on similar charges?
OUSTED MP Craig Thomson will not dispute specific facts of the allegations that he used union credit cards to pay for escort services and pornographic movies, a court has heard.
Mr Thomson is fighting 173 criminal charges over allegations he misused hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds for prostitutes, high living and air travel for friends and relatives while he was national secretary of the Health Services Union. <The Australian>
Yesterday’s bushfires in NSW are rumoured to have been started by some pants on fire.
It’s a long time since I read it but I do recall that Guy Du Maupassant wrote a very elegant and touching story concerning a young man, a courtesan and a raffle.
Compressed into 25 words or less it goes something like this. Nearing the end of high school the boys put in a franc each and the one whose name was pulled out of the hat got to spend the jackpot on a high class hooker at a high class bordello. Once the deed was done the lucky winner explained the means by which he had come by such a princely sum. The lady, both touched and amused, declared that she couldn’t possibly take his money … and gave him back one franc.
Perhaps the first known case of crowd sourcing for hookers. If you’re inclined you can contribute to the modern version <HERE>.
Had to ban the Women’s Pathetically from the waiting room …
The paen of praise for our prime minister is permissible, freedom of speech is dear to me, but reasonable disclosure of the author’s relationships should have been made.
Zoe Arnold wrote the piece, she is Craig Thomson’s wife, they have two children. When she told her own story in the same magazine it was pointed out to the reader that she was pregnant with their first child when accusations that the Labor MP had been using union funds to pay for prostitution first surfaced.
That would be the same child she was pregnant with when she bought the family home. She didn’t admit to a relationship with our Craig then either. That would have knocked the first home buyer privileges right on the head.
Jules announced the election date yesterday, an extraordinarily early release. Graham Richardson thought it a pretty dumb move because it enabled the Liberal Party to plan its timetable with precision. He was moved to say …
I just can’t follow why this Labor government and this Prime Minister does what it does. It is a mystery to me and to millions of Australians as well.
Among the reasons bandied about as to why, were a couple that made sense, it makes it harder for a challenge from Mr. Rudd and it provides an excuse for deferring any by elections until September. Hence the government can’t be brought down if one of the people it relies on should be hauled off to jail.
Today one of those people was arrested and it seems will soon be facing 149 cases of fraud. His lawyer stressed that only a small proportion of the alleged offences involved paying for prostitutes with other people’s money.
So, remarkable timing from our Julia … does she have contacts in the NSW Police or perhaps Channel 7?