Union Rorts

If these allegations are true, then federal ALP MP Craig Thomson should resign from parliament.

THE federal Labor MP and former union boss Craig Thomson faces allegations that his union credit cards were used to pay for escort services and to withdraw more than $100,000 in cash, as well as bankroll his election campaign for the central coast seat of Dobell.

What is it about NSW central coast MP’s?

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52 Responses

  1. As I said on an earlier thread – I’ve seen the reports that can be summarised as – “union parasite creams off funds of sucked in members, for his own licentious activities and to get into a better paying job.”

    Is this something worthy of commentary? It seems like just another day.

    Although this one is notable as the official involved was patriotic enough to support our own world class domestic brothel industry. Unlike the ‘fact finding mission’ we saw last year from one of his counterparts.

    Really, you’ve got to love the attitude of these workers friends– “show me to the next trough”

    I’m looking forward to all the union blokes marching in the streets and chanting as follows –

    WADDA WE WAN???
    A FREE TRIP TO THE LOCAL BROTHEL FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!
    WENNAWEWANTIT??
    STRAIGHT AFTER A FREE LUNCH WITH A NICE SAVIGNON BLANC!!!!!!

    Union officials – always acting in the interests of their members (please refer to alternative definition of “member”)

  2. joni

    I wholeheartedly agree, not only should he resign he should face the full force of the law.

    Having said that he is strenuously denying the charges and I will presume him innocent until proven guilty as the media love nothing better than a crucifixion.

  3. Personally, I’d be more inclined to ask what’s up with this person…

    Slater & Gordon and an independent auditor, BDO Kendall, had been appointed to conduct the investigation and make recommendations. “That investigation is continuing. No findings have been made,” Ms Jackson said.

    “Given the seriousness of the issues under investigation, it is not considered appropriate to make further comment until such time as the investigation has concluded.”

    Precisely zippo, as yet, underpinning the appropriation of the public sphere to sling unfounded mud. It is “not considered appropriate” by whom, given the “seriousness of the issues” being made the subject of public comment? And who authorised the appropriateness of trial-by-media comments in advance of a one-sided ‘investigation’ being ‘concluded’?

  4. What charges, Shane? They’re allegations, and not even allegations committed to any recognised legal form, like, say, a lodged legal claim.

  5. I’m with Tom.

    He should be publicly flogged and castrated.

    Guilty or not.

  6. Well hubby has been a union official, and if he goes to a brothel during his lunch 1/2 hour then there’s going to be all hell to pay I can assure you.

  7. He’s innocent. It’s all a BIG mistake.

    He might have gone to see a prostitute, but this was only to service his member.

  8. Bloody hell, us Central Coasters really get the bad ones don’t we…

    If this proves true, the guy should be dragged out on the street and shot. Contrary to Tom’s little rant, my experience with union officials has been that people like this are rare and loathed when discovered.

    Like all organisations, there are always rats not worth the effort of stepping on, that take advantage of the hard work of others. Unions are just as susceptible to this as corporations (read: extravagant executive salaris & bonuses), political parties (Liberal, Labour, & otherwise), and religious organisations.

    Though I expect this will become a “Unions, BOO” topic as much as we tend to get a “Liberals/Labour/Catholics, BOO” whenever something like this occurs. After all, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of generalising when it reflects your own prejudices 😦

  9. Tom, my statement re hubby was a joke. We’ve been married for over 34 years.

  10. Oh goody – a public flogging!

  11. Tom of Melb, ROFLMFAO

  12. Why do men need to do this stuff? How do they expect it to be kept quiet?

    Does anyone know if women in similar positions feel a need to do so, or do they just express it in different ways eg shopaholic, home furnishings, new husband/relationship etc

  13. Documents provided to the Herald show that Health Services Union officials concluded last year that union credit cards issued to Mr Thomson

    provided to the Herald Now who was in a position to do that and for what purpose was the disclosure made? Perhaps it was a seeker after truth or perhaps someone who doesn’t like the person in question. Perhaps it was someone who doesn’t like ‘due process’.

    The agenda unfolds:

    The allegations are outlined in a letter written by the union’s national secretary, Kathy Jackson, to the law firm Slater & Gordon

    So the national secretary (clearly not a friend of Thompson) goes to Slater&Gordon. Eh? why not to the police? Or is this Plan B after Plan A failed? Who knows. And if there is electoral fraud, who not go to the Electoral Commission? No, it’s deemed appropriate to go to Slater&Gordon who, by reputation at least, get paid only if they are successful.

    The stench gets stronger.

    Mr Thompson ‘strenuously denied the allegations. but as we ‘know’ they always say that. he goes on to say I am confident that it will clear me of any allegations of inappropriate use of union funds,. Again they always say that.

    It was the national office credit card,” he said of the MasterCard. “There were a number of staff who had access to that card, but statements were looked at each month in detail by the union’s finance committee.”

    national office credit card – used by a number of staff. Easy to check. Even by the plods. But no we must have someone independent like Slater&Gordon. Finally:

    Mr Thomson said the HSU’s national president and NSW general secretary, Michael Williamson, was overseeing the audit examining the allegations. Mr Williamson is a powerbroker in the ALP’s NSW Right faction and was recently elected as the party’s national president.

    This story could have proceede in any number of ways but, as always, the most sensational was the path chosen.

    I think we should leave it to proper authorities to investigate. Best road for all concerned.

  14. He might have gone to see a prostitute, but this was only to service his member.

    His credit card statement said it was for ‘drainage’.

  15. I always liked the name that Private Eye in the UK gave to any lawyers: Sue, Grabbit & Run

  16. Why can’t they get call girls at home like the Liberals do?

  17. Nature 5 – “I think we should leave it to proper authorities to investigate. Best road for all concerned.”

    No way, there’s no fun in that.

    Firstly, we’re talking about the NSW right. Since when have they shown any restraint, particularly when it comes to utilising the services of a bordello?

    Secondly we’re observing a struggle between ambitious union hacks.

    I think the best thing to do is speculate and ascribe motives, and do so in the most prejudicial manner possible. That’s what I intend to do!

    Note to MODERATOR – please post a truncated version of defamation law, just in case.

  18. Tom try this link

    http://skepticlawyer.com.au/2009/04/defamation-for-dummies/

    For consideration.

    The basic rules are as follows:

    1. If you publish something unconfirmed, and it’s wrong, be prepared to take a hit.

    2. If in doubt, take it out.

    3. Make personal information available online at your peril.

    4. If someone refuses to confirm or deny your speculation when you do contact them, it is in your interest not to publish anything unless you have very deep pockets.

    It really is worth knowing a little bit more about the law of defamation if you are involved in political blogging. And maybe some of the media outlets involved in the Hanson photo debacle should take a refresher course too

    But the article and comments are really worth a read.

  19. Are you sure this bloke’s name isn’t Reith?

  20. BTW Tom and I know this is OT, but Noel Pearson has again used his political back-door and resigned from the far north Queensland’s Cape York Institute.

    Not someone you want in the trenches when the going gets tough. But at least he is consistent.

  21. Well after reading Nature 5’s link about defamation, I’d like to say – THIS MAN IS INNOCENT.

    He thought it was a therapeutic massage. It certainly relieved some pent up tension, and she assured him that she was qualified and personally equipped to perform the procedure.

    Disparagement is defamation? Well I’d also like to say to everyone I’ve ever exchanged views with here, um… get over it.

    Re Noel Pearson, disappointing, but he’s showing great signs for a political career.

  22. …but Noel Pearson has again used his political back-door and resigned from the far north Queensland’s Cape York Institute.

    Not someone you want in the trenches when the going gets tough. But at least he is consistent.

    I don’t know about leaving when the going gets tough, I read it’s due to a bigger cause to fight – land rights. Why is Pearson inconsistent because he goes to another job? Other people in leadership positions do it all the time.

    The combined Pearson brothers are joining a council to fight the Qld Govt over environmental issues, they say that Qld. Labor and the Greens did a deal at election time which takes away or hinders their traditional ownership of lands.

    Pearson resigns to become activist again (long time coming).

  23. Second coming for union bosses.

    A SECOND influential ALP figure has been accused of spending union money on escorts, with enemies of Victorian union boss Jeff Jackson releasing bank statements showing payments to the same Sydney brothel where federal MP Craig Thomson’s credit card was allegedly used.

    Apparently it is catching;

    The leaked Bendigo Bank credit card statements, obtained by The Australian, show four separate payments to Keywed between December 2003 and March 2004.

    The payments, one of which was made on Christmas Eve, were for amounts ranging from $330 to $405. There were two payments made on the same night on one occasion – March 18, 2004. The statement lists the Health Services Union’s No1 branch as the account holder but does not say who the cardholder is.

    Does not say who the cardholder is? Could it be of the female variety? If not, then why not?

    Oh for the days of Tilley Devine when the madam was the story and not the customer.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25311782-601,00.html

  24. Oh dear…….more of the “becoming what they oppose” so beautifully illustrated by George Orwell so many years ago. Why does a union delegate need a credit card? Who do they need to entertain in their “industry” and for what purpose? What sort of culture exists where delegates could think they could get away with these kinds of rorts? Whether it’s the alleged or someone else within the union, if I were inclined to use those services, I wouldn’t dream of using the company credit card. Because I’d be afraid of getting caught. Why weren’t those who made the transactions afraid of getting caught? Surely transactions like this would stand out like dogs’ testicles? Or do they?

  25. Lets all settle down and let the investigation take it’s course. If he is innocent, then he shouldn’t need to go through a living hell because of the questionable Australian media. If he is guilty, then he cannot keep his job, he should be charged and sentenced. To go off half cocked is no better than writing the crap without the presumption of innocence.

  26. It saddens me to see union money wasted on brothels and whatnot. I’d like to see union resources corralled for a massive campaign next election – to totally and comprehensively annihilate the Liberal Party.

  27. Caney at 12.45pm…….

    Or maybe, perhaps, used for what they are intended, like maybe, I don’t know, improving the working lives of their members? Kind of a novel idea, I know…..

  28. Smashing the miserable Liberals WOULD improve the lives of working people.

  29. On one hand it seems odd that some unions treat the members assets and funds as their personal play things.

    It is almost as if they see as their personal family business. Look at the behaviour of the Victorian Branch of this union.

    The deep division has followed a marital spat. Mr J is state secretary, while (estranged) Mrs J is national secretary. This should be a very entertaining and messy split for both them and the union.

    Still, a MAN has to treat himself occasionally. Union MEN lead very stressful lives, and need some relaxation after some political and industrial head kicking. Members need servicing.*

    It’s nothing serious, after all it is the union job causes all the stress, particularly when the union bloke is married to a union woman! So what’s wrong with the union picking up the tab for a bit of the old the stress relief?

    Yep, I’m persuaded of both his innocence, and even if he did use the union money to pay for a prostitute, having a good rort (sic) is a time honoured union tradition.

    *such a good one, I’ll keep using it.

  30. I see that certain ahem qualified individuals are telling us that this is just business as usual at bully-boy headquarters, and yet, the only story they fling at us is full of ‘allegations’.

    If this is so common why not wait until an actual event, instead of smearing the name of somebody who may in fact turn out to be totally innocent.

    Grab one of these other mutitude of cheaters and use them, not somebody who currently is ‘presumed innocent’.

  31. It may well, Caney, it may well. It hasn’t seemed to have worked in any other country but maybe Australia would be different. But I guess if that’s the goal maybe they should just merge with the ALP for the sake of efficiency?

  32. Tom R is right of course. And I’ve said all along that he is INNOCENT probably. And even if the various union officials did use the services of prostitutes, it was entirely legitimate in the circumstances of the most difficult and stressful lives they lead.

    So please everyone, stop reflecting so harshly on these gentlemen. One had a very difficult wife by the look of it, so who could blame him? (even though it is no doubt completely untrue!).

    And by the way, it seems that the union officialdom is either half populated by serial rorters (sic), or half of them are inclined to make completely unfounded and defamatory allegations against their factional opponents.

    IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER.

    Either way, it is a great win for union ethics and the reputation of union officials everywhere.

  33. It hasn’t seemed to have worked in any other country but maybe Australia would be different

    What doesn’t seem to have worked in any other country, James? The Liberal Party of Australia hasn’t been annihilated in any other country, or indeed properly in Australia.

  34. Annihilation of Conservative parties, Caney. It hasn’t worked in other countries. Sorry, I should have been clearer. I overestimated your capacity for comprehension.

  35. A liberal Party isn’t a conservative party. In other words a conservative party isn’t a liberal party.

    That’s a contradiction-in-terms. Or product misrepresentation, if I may put it like that.

    liberal:
    – having political or social views favoring reform and progress
    – tolerant of change; not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or tradition

    http://tinyurl.com/dk9fb5

    But as I was saying, I would like to see unions consolidate their resources for an all-out campaign against the illiberal Liberals.

  36. Yes, Caney, true, kind of like the ALP aligning using a word which has amongst its meanings “physical or mental exertion” but let’s not be too picky eh? So, if that’s what you’d like to see, and you’d like it to be “consolidated” then you are, I assume, advocating a merger between the ALP and the ACTU?

  37. James, you’ll have to find someone else to converse with you about the Labor Party. My beef is with the Liberals.

  38. Tom of Melbourne, on April 9th, 2009 at 1:21 pm Said:

    Tom R is right of course. And I’ve said all along that he is INNOCENT probably.

    When in fact your very first post said exactly the opposite, (and your second was very obviously an attempt at humour, which did not retract at all from your first statement).

  39. Yes Tom, these union officials may be innocent of these allegations. In which case the other union faction is inventing material to undermine them.

    Either way, it is particularly grubby. Salacious one hand, corrupt on the other.

    I’d prefer to err on the side of salaciousness. Which do you choose?

  40. Come on now, Caney, that sort of retreat could have you featuring in a documentary distributed by the North Melbourne Football Club. At least you’d get some action, I guess.

    The topic here is Union rorting. You said you wanted the Unions to busy themselves with the annihilation of the Liberal Party, well the only lawful means of that happening would be through the Australian Labor Party. So it’s relevant. But, Caney, what WILL we do with all of those pesky Liberal supporters? I mean they just keep voting for them.

  41. Come on now, Caney, that sort of retreat …

    There is no retreat. My point is clear and unchanged. I would like to see unions consolidate their resources for an all-out campaign to annihilate the illiberal Liberal Party.

    well the only lawful means of that happening would be through the Australian Labor Party.

    They don’t necessarily have to do that through the Labor Party. The Your Rights At Work campaign was not done through the Labor Party.

  42. I must admit, IF these allegation are true, then it isalmost unbelievable that the officials in question could be that dumb. They left an audit trail even Clouseau could follow.

    The evidence suggests they regularly withdrew cash advances for ‘who knows what’, but when it came to prostitutes they, sometimes at least, put it on the plastic. Surely the girls or guys in question would have preferred (untaxable) cash rather than taxable electronic transactions with GST added. How inconsiderate.

    While Corporate Cards are now common across a whole range of enterprises, one should be aware that they are a trap for young players. It is just too easy to ‘sign off’ as you leave accommodation and in so doing authorise payment for an item(s) that was a personal expense.

    Seen too many ‘trapped’ that way. Better to pay in cash, get a receipt and claim reimbursement. Of course the accountants hate it but for an individual it is a much safer course of action. And I am sure there are now two union officials who would agree.

  43. Well hopefully, Caney, they would “annihilate” the Liberal Party democratically, or are you suggesting more revolutionary means? A political media campaign in the shadow of an election is certainly related to the Australian Labor Party, not even you are that dumb.

  44. democratically, or are you suggesting more revolutionary means

    I doubt even you are dumb enough to not see that of course I mean DEMOCRATICALLY.

    How the hell else is there? Send stromtroopers round to every Liberal Party branch meeting? Sorry, James, that’s more from the fascist MO. The direction in which the illiberal Liberal Party was taken under your hero, the Lying Rodent.

  45. Tom of Melbourne, on April 9th, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I’d prefer to err on the side of salaciousness. Which do you choose?

    Actually, I would have settled simply for grubby (we were still referring to your comments I assume??)

  46. Brings back memories:

    Just who will pay Peter Reith’s $50,000 phone bill?

    PM Archive – Tuesday, 10 October , 2000
    Reporter: Philip Williams

    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/stories/s197803.htm

    Will these people never learn?

    N’

  47. Nature 5 – are you suggesting that the prostitutes were an “in house service” by the hotel? And just appeared on the bill when it came time to sign?

    Nice (and friendly) place the union officials stay at if this is the case!

    And yes Nasking, there are so many parallels between the use of union funds to pay for prostitutes and the Reith misuse of public funds for phone calls (9 years ago).

    Honestly.

  48. Tom! Knock off time is part of every working day! And what’s good for the worker is good for the …

  49. N5, I like the idea that he misinterpreted the suggestion that it was “knock off time”.

    Both thought knock off time meant… well I mean they are MEN, and MEN need to service their members.

    This seems like a reasonable defense, the union can issue a press release saying “it was all a big misunderstanding”. The warring factions can make peace. They can get back to their real job – loading up the health system with ever increasing inefficiency and cost.

    In the interests of their “members”, of course.

  50. Tom of Melbourne, on April 9th, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Tom I must admit, I am at a loss. You speak of:

    loading up the health system

    Tom as far as I can ascertain, there is no evidence of that. ‘loading’. Neither the officials nor those workers they were financially assisting, advising (after the normal working day and from the goodness of their hearts) copped a load that would burden the health system.

    Indeed, there is no evidence that any type of loading was ever involved in the transactions. No holiday loading, no wet weather loading, no higher duties loading.

    As I say, I am an innocent. But Tom, if there is anything you want to unload based on historical experience, then maybe now is the time.

    text

  51. I bet the HSU membership is happy to have their money so wisely spent.

    The SMH article says-
    HSU national office funds were used to:
    – Put a local Labor activist, Criselee Stevens, on the payroll to work for two years organising the electorate.
    – Establish a supposedly independent community group, Coastal Voice, to letter-box glossy newsletters featuring Mr Thomson throughout the electorate.
    – Enter a $100,000 sponsorship deal with Central Coast Division Rugby League, allowing Mr Thomson to hand out the trophies at the grand final.
    – Donate $10,000 to the Dads in Education group, the brainchild of a party member from the Ourimbah-Narara Valley ALP branch, which was the support base of Mr Thomson’s rival for preselection.
    http://www.smh.com.au/national/how-a-union-boss-won-the-dobell-prize-20090409-a27o.html

    So how much is all this worth? How did this benefit the members of the union?

    He has a lot of explaining to do, and it goes beyond the use of union funds to sate his licentious urges.

  52. The audit, which also queried credit card bills and union-funded trips to China, was referred to police but it is believed they found no evidence of criminality.

    no evidence of criminality. So this is plan B! And then we have:

    Key figures in the union say a vicious internal brawl has left the branch in a financial crisis after $500,000 was spent on legal fees during internal feuding.

    500,000 was spent on legal fees . Lol. But were the legal fees put on the plastic? More here.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25319013-601,00.html

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