"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." Richard P. Feynman

Thursday, May 10, 2012

ALP financially supported embattled MP on sleaze allegations to preserve Government

ALP members and unions who have financially supported the ALP will be happy to learn that more of their funds have been going to defend Craig Thompson against allegations he misused up to half a million dollars for prostitutes and other personal use as detailed in the 1100 page Fair Work report. It is time for a royal commission to investigate how union funds are used, not just in the HSU. It is difficult to believe that HSU is the only rotten apple and all the rest are squeaky clean. Corruption has been a problem in unions historically and the HSU debacle should be a wake-up call to Australia. The mega-salaries union officials pay themselves to represent the poorest workers is obscene and should be included in any investigation.
It seems that the assistance given to Thompson has not been declared on his Parliamentary register which is a serious breach.


FORMER Labor MP Craig Thomson is embroiled in a new controversy, with revelations he has "for months" been receiving legal assistance from the ALP to fight his sleaze allegations.
The ALP last night confirmed it agreed last September to engage lawyers Holding Redlich to assist him in the Fair Work Australia inquiry, which found he improperly spent $500,000 of Health Services Union funds.
Mr Thomson appears to have broken parliamentary rules by failing to declare the assistance in the MPs pecuniary interest register.
He updated his register last night after The Daily Telegraph began making inquiries into the breach.
Mr Thomson last night claimed he had not broken parliamentary rules because he had only received financial assistance from the ALP "within the last two weeks".
"I am well within my timeframe. The rules are that you make a declaration within 28 days and I have amended it tonight," he said.
But a spokesman for the NSW ALP said last night: "The ALP finance and administrative committee resolved to provide him assistance in September last year."
The spokesman said the assistance had been provided by Holding Redlich "for months" and the lawyers had been paid regularly.
He said Labor stopped paying Mr Thomson's legal bills when Prime Minister Julia Gillard suspended him from the party last month. A spokesman for Ms Gillard last night said she "was not aware of Mr Thomson's legal arrangements".
Failure to disclose financial benefits is deemed a serious offence and traditionally triggers an official parliamentary inquiry.
Under the rules, Mr Thomson has to update his register within 30 days of receiving a gift or donation.
Meanwhile Paul Sheehan of the SMH has also had enough of the "charade".
Let us pause for a moment to enjoy the majesty of Craig Thomson's magnificent gall, the gall on which Julia Gillard and her government have relied for the entire time Gillard has been Prime Minister.
The Thomson defence: Someone else misused his union credit card. They also misused his driver's licence. Then forged his signature on receipts. They misappropriated his phone and made calls near his home and from hotels where he was staying. The phone was used to call escort agencies. The $250,000 allegedly spent by Thomson to help get into Parliament but never declared was not spent on electoral matters.
He can also explain why his credit card, driver's licence and phone were never reported stolen. And why bills that included receipts from escort agencies and cash withdrawals were paid under his authorisation.
To appreciate the scale of the damage done to the reputation of the government, the Parliament, the Labor Party and the federal bureaucracy, the timeline is key. It is shocking.
FWA has a case to answer. The Australian Electoral Commission has a case to answer. So does the Prime Minister. And the Labor Party. And two independents, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, who have repeatedly voted to prolong this appalling charade.
More than three years have passed since Mark Davis broke a story in this newspaper on April 8, 2009, which began: ''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.
''Documents provided to the Herald show that Health Services Union officials concluded last year that union credit cards issued to Mr Thomson - and other financial resources - were used for election campaign spending. These had not been disclosed under electoral law.''
Thomson initiated defamation proceedings against the Herald. In April 2011, shortly before the trial was to begin, Thomson's lawyers filed a notice of discontinuance. It was revealed the Labor Party had paid $150,000 to Thomson for his legal fees to keep the matter open for two years and stave off bankruptcy, which would have obliged Thomson to resign his seat.


 


2 comments:

  1. In the USA, Congress might be reticent to do so, but elected members have been the subject of harsh disciplany action for errors in judgment. Seems like in Australia, the party in power bends rules and regulations at its whim. I have friends who used to make remarks at the expense of Americans; their gullibility, their beer. The Labor Party is making one BIG joke of every Australian. What an embarrassment!

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