We’re part of the union …

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.

Slush puppies …

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”.

 

More charges …

2009-2010 National President for the Australian Labor Party, Unions NSW Vice President and Finance Committee Member, and member of the ACTU executive. The very epitome of a Labor man …

Former Health Services Union boss Michael Williamson has been charged with 28 more offences that include defrauding the organisation of $620,000 paid to his wife’s company for services never provided.

More charges are expected and more senior union staff will be charged in the coming weeks, police say.

The 59-year-old appeared briefly in a Sydney court on Wednesday charged with a total of 48 offences, following his arrest on October 4.

Court documents allege CANME Services, registered in Williamson’s wife’s name, received 47 cheques totalling $620,326 from 2001 and 2009 for work not performed.

He has also been charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime, or money laundering, in relation to $400,000 of that money.

NSW Fraud and Cybercrime Squad commander Colin Dyson said investigations by Strike Force Carnarvon are far from over.

‘These are the first charges of what I believe will be a series of charges in respect of allegations of fraud committed upon the Health Services Union,’ Detective Superintendent Dyson told reporters outside Waverley Local Court.

He said at least two other senior union staff members will be charged in coming weeks with fraud and hindering the police investigation.

Slow and steady …

Fair Work Australia takes yet another slither forward …

The FWA, which spent three years investigating Mr Thomson’s lavish spending as HSU national secretary from 2002 to 2007, said it will be seeking “pecuniary penalties, as well as compensation” from the embattled MP.

Mr Thomson is accused of misusing his union credit card for cash advances without receipts, while the FWA also found the MP had splurged hundreds of thousands of dollars on prostitutes, air travel and other personal spending without authorisation. (Herald Sun).

In response Mr Thomson …

“Clearly Fair Work Australia has felt pressured into responding this way given the political process which it is part of.”

The proceedings against Mr Thomson will begin in the Federal Court in December.

We await with bated breath.

Good to see Mr Williamson back in the news

In July, the Temby report, an internal investigation into allegations of corruption within the union, found that nepotism and cronyism resulted in Mr Williamson, his family and friends reaping millions of dollars from the troubled HSU during his 15-year reign.

The report found that companies controlled by Mr Williamson and his family had received $5 million from the union over the past four years.

He was arrested this morning and charged with twenty offences. At first glance it seems they are mostly in relation to possible attempts to cover up his previous actions. Investigations are continuing. Will we see charges of embezzlement?

LOL I resign …

Mr. Williamson has resigned his position as HSU President … by text message, what a guy. It might have had something to do with the Temby report, which according to my ABC

… details salaries for Mr Williamson of almost $400,000 …

The report found the salary was not the only income Mr Williamson received from the union.

The union contracted a company belonging to him to provide IT services, and the report suggests the union was its only customer.

It was paid nearly $4.7 million from 2008 to 2011, and was located rent-free at the union’s offices in Sydney.

The report also alleges that five members of Mr Williamson’s family were among the union’s best paid employees.

It claimed his wife was given $350,000 to scan documents over a three-and-a-half year period.

The report also alleges a warehouse in Sydney, which was bought with union funds, appears to have been converted in to a recording studio to be used by Mr Williamson’s son for commercial benefit.

The report does not mention the former national secretary, Craig Thomson, except to say that he was seen as Mr Williamson’s protégé.

Makes you wonder if there are other unions paying scant regard to the expenditure of their members’ money.

A, B, C …

Mr. Thomson gave his explanation to parliament yesterday, today we have had the post mortems.

Mr. Oakeshott was glad to see him stand up. And I agree he did stand up and his performance was not the worst parliamentary speech I’ve heard. Standing up though is merely the equivalent of writing your name on the exam paper, it’s what you write on the answer pages that get you the marks. The Herald Sun, I thought, did a pretty good job of demolishing the content.

Mr. Thomson, himself, also gave us a clue. In the phone cloning claims he gave the example of criminals conversing by phone, the cops had a warrant to listen in to calls between phone A and phone B, only to discover that the call was billed to phone C. Problem is Craig your phone was phone A – the calls were billed to you.