Did Jackson, Lawler and Abbott tangle Thomson with the HSU? Who else is involved and why?

Gerry Georgatos
The Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper dramas have been used to threaten the toppling of the incumbent government however whether this happens or not the dark pall of aspersions, the eerie shadow over Australian politics and the spheres of influence that are imputed to underlay the manifest of government and its orchestrations are increasingly deeply questionable to many folk - however what are the questions for there to be the pursuit of answers - where do we start looking?

For many folk it appears the manner in which the HSU scandals have been portrayed, and with various news media imputing inextricable links to the highest offices in the nation, are a never-before-seen-public-spectacle, unfettered.

For many it appears that the conduct of Mr Craig Thomson, the member for Dobell, has been deplorable and that his front to the people of Australia with accusations of a conspiracy are unbelievable. For many it appears that the NSW Labor right faction is complicit in keeping Mr Thomson as the member for Dobell as far back as five years ago when with a majority government that the ALP enjoyed at the time with the Kevin Rudd led government Mr Thomson could have been stood down, and if there was a sniff of his guilt in these circumstances someone is usually stood down, however he was not - at that time there was no hung parliament, no contractual coalition between the Australian Greens and the Australian Labor Party. Others have questioned why was he not stood down from the 2010 federal elections considering the gravity of accusations against him - many have been stood down or dis-endorsed for much, much less unproven innuendo and rumours.

The Peter Slipper sorry saga is a tale of two cities, involving knowledge on both sides of the floor of Mr Slipper's "colourful" history and of previous allegations against him however the ALP spent months considering how to render a buffer in the House of Representatives in the event they were not able to keep on side and aligned Mr Andrew Wilkie. It was Mr Anthony Albanese who with the (kitchen) Cabinet's blessing and various discretion consulted with Mr Slipper for him effectively to switch allegiances and back the ALP through the vicarious instrument of the Speaker of the House - however the ALP knew of the issues the Liberals and Nationals were increasingly being tormented by some of Mr Slipper's alleged conduct and the disassociation pending between the Coalition and Mr Slipper.

The ALP has inherited much of the alleged conduct of Mr Thomson and Mr Slipper, and rightly so, and this inheritance has perceptually modified how the ALP is viewed by the Australian peoples, however how much of what the ALP now owns actually belongs to others?

The following is an interesting article entitled "How Jackson, Lawler and Abbott tangled Thomson with the HSU" published on the Independant Australia Website and which Indymedia Australia is reposting on our site. Indymedia Australia has not investigated nor lays claim to support any of the content within the article, however neither do we distance ourselves from some of the questions within it and in the interests of independent and fair news media we have decided to publish it - there are always an impost of inter-relationships within the fabric of society however many of the relationships that have been described in this article have rarely, if ever, been publicly declared and certainly they have not been explained. With the highest offices of a nation there is a demand by the people, and often proscribed in various governance and the rule of law that various relationships are declared, explained and understood and where appropriate various demarcations ensured.

Whether Mr Thomson and Mr Slipper are guilty of various improprieties, misconduct, wrongs and breaches of law, whether they are guilty of the worst of what has been alleged it is nevertheless important for all of us to question the relationships behind the political landscape and the institutions it is subsumed by and subsumes and dig deep with questions that bring to the light of day whether these relationships in the manner they are conducted undermine the proscribed governance and the intentions of the rule of law within our nation. It's one thing if there is a rotten apple in the barrel and it is another thing if the whole barrel is rotten.

There has long been the call to register lobby groups and think tanks and to a certain extent this is the case, and may be relationships, of every nature, not just pecuniary, however in every way, needs to be declared and registered and in the argument of demarcated bodies as arbiters considered - bona fide demarcated arbiters not what we have now where instutions and various offices - including some of the highest officials in our nation from the Governor-General, Governors, High Court Justices, Commissioners, and Arbiters are appointed by the government of the day.

(Posted 16 May on the Independent Australia website, 2012 by Peter Wicks)

There are many suspicious features about Craig Thomson’s Health Services Union imbroglio, but notable among them are the apparently close links between HSU “whistleblower” Kathy Jackson and Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Peter Wicks uncovers a very tangled web that includes Fair Work Australia vice president Michael Lawler, and his partner, HSU “whistleblower” Kathy Jackson.

The major saga embroiling the Federal Government at the moment, besides the curious Peter Slipper and James Ashby affair, is the Health Services Union (HSU) debacle.

Firstly, let me start by saying that I do not endorse anyone spending over $6,000 on prostitutes on a union credit card — that is reprehensible behaviour. Nor do I endorse not declaring vast amounts of money to the Electoral Commission on election campaigns. However, these allegations are yet to be proved — and are vigorously denied.

In any case, I think I smell a rat.

Union whistleblower Kathy Jackson has been ripping into both the Labor Party and the former (until February 2012) President of Fair Work Australia, Geoffrey Giudice, for months now over the goings on within the embattled Union and the investigation resulting from her claims.

Kathy Jackson has caused the union movement untold damage and brought the Federal Government to the brink of collapse. One would assume that the public may be interested in knowing a little more about her and any conflicts of interest she may have.

One vital piece of information that is not widely known about her is that her partner is a man named Michael Lawler.

Who is Michael Lawler?

For starters, according to reliable sources, Michael Lawler is friends with a man named Tony Abbott. Apparently, the two of them socialise regularly. Conveniently, Tony Abbott is also the leader of the political party making so much ground out of the claims Michael’s partner is making.

Michael Lawler works for an organisation called Fair Work Australia, where he is a Vice-President on a salary of $400,000 a year. The only person higher than him at that organisation is Iain Ross, who just replaced Geoffrey Giudice – the one who Tony Abbott and Lawler’s partner Kathy Jackson were attacking daily – as President of Fair Work Australia.

On the 11th of October 2002, according to the FWA annual report, Michael Lawler was appointed Vice President of Fair Work Australia — although back then it was called the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Previously, Lawler was a barrister who made his mark representing employers in employment disputes. The man who appointed him to the AIRC was none other than Tony Abbott — who at the time was Employment and Workplace Relations Minister under John Howard’s Coalition Government.

On his appointment, Tony Abbott gave a speech praising Lawler in a remarkably personal and intimate fashion. Here is some of what he said that day:

“Intellect combined with common sense, compassion tempered by realism, ideals shaped but not dimmed by experience, some grasp of the nobility and waywardness that contend in every man: these, in my view, are some of the qualities which Vice President Lawler will bring to the demanding and often lonely life that lies before him.”

At a function to farewell Tony Abbott from his position as Employment and Workplace Relations minister the following year, Lawler was one of just four members of the AIRC to attend.

Independent Australia requested confirmation from Tony Abbott’s office about the relationship between the Opposition Leader and Michael Lawler, but had not received a response by the time of publication.

The Opposition always refer to Fair Work Australia as Julia Gillard’s “baby”, but Lawler was certainly Tony Abbott’s appointment.

Of course, all these things may be purely coincidental…

However, it does appear strange that Mr Lawler seems to have become involved in factional battles within the union on his partner Kathy’s behalf.

Carol Glen was the Victorian Divisional Secretary of HSU East for three years before resigning recently. At the time, Kathy Jackson was National Secretary of HSU East, and Michael Williamson was the General Secretary of HSU East.

Carol resigned due to the factional fighting within the union, particularly between Jackson and Williamson.

However, Jackson clearly did not want Carol to resign, as she feared that Williamson would replace her with a Divisional Secretary loyal to him.

This is the point where Lawler became involved in the factional battle within the Union, even though he was not a part of the HSU himself.

Carol Glen, in a written complaint to former Fair Work Australia President Geoffrey Giudice, alleges she received an “aggressive” phone call from Lawler, who told her:

“You can fuck off and take sick leave if you don’t want to do the work and still be paid, but you can’t resign.”

Michael Lawler did not work at HSU East, and this complaint went directly to his only superior in Fair Work Australia, Geoffrey Guidice.

Then, just a few days later, Lawler made corruption allegations against Carol to NSW Police and Strikeforce Carnarvon was born.

It is odd that this type of complaint would come from Lawler — as he was not part of HSU East or even a member of the Union.

As part of his complaint of corruption, Lawler made reference to a cheque that was being picked up by Carol — something he said she had mentioned in an email. The inference was that this cheque was some sort of pay off.

The Australian details the claims made by Lawler and the subsequent reaction by Glen:

Mr Lawler claims Ms Glen may have been given an inducement to give false evidence, noting that in a private email exchange with her partner in December, she had referred to a cheque she was going to pick up.

“I had ordered a bank cheque to pay my rent,” Ms Glen said, questioning how Mr Lawler had obtained her emails. She says she finds it extraordinary that Mr Lawler, the second highest industrial judge in the land, would engage in such a campaign.

Mr Lawler’s associate said it would be inappropriate for him to comment.

So, in fact, the cheque was a bank cheque ordered by Carol to pay her rent — totally innocent and unrelated to any Union business at all.

However, the question remains: how would Lawler know about the cheque? Given he mentioned a “private email exchange”, it would seem certain that he somehow had access to Ms Glen’s emails. So, how did Lawler have access to Glen’s private emails?

We don’t know, because as soon as he was asked about this detail, Lawler’s associate clammed up.

All decidedly suspicious.

On the 2nd May, police officers from the NSW Fraud and Cybercrime Squad raided the HSU East headquarters in Pitt Street, Sydney, in a much publicised operation.

However, my inside sources have pointed out a few anomalies about the official story of the raid that was reported in the press. Police were offered the option of using the service elevator and the rear entrance to the building to make things simpler, safer, and faster for officers — but this offer was rejected as the police were reportedly keen to use the main entrance, where the press had been assembled. Sources also state that the large number of boxes shown on TV being carried out by officers were all virtually empty — it was allegedly all done for show, to make it look like there were mountains of documents seized. Also, sources say, the story about HSU boss Michael Williamson trying to sneak out a back door with evidence was total rubbish — done presumably to implicate guilt. In fact, Mr Williamson left the office via the entrance the police were offered access to, as his car was parked in the car park opposite; the things he was carrying were taken by police as a routine part of the operation, as were his personal items — and probably a sandwich as well.

Of course, Kathy Jackson has acted very strangely for a so-called union boss.

In Melbourne, Jackson has hired Stuart Wood, a former Vice President of the HR Nicholls Society, as her lawyer. The HR Nicholls Society is a right-wing lobby group with close ties to the Liberal Party, set up as a think tank dedicated to Industrial Relations “reform”— much of which fed into the architecture of the Howard Government’s infamous “WorkChoices” policy.

It would seem valid to question why the Secretary of a union would hire a solicitor that is anti-union — and, indeed, one whose ideas you have apparently spent your whole working life fighting against. A quick look at HR Nicholls Society’s website shows just how close its ties are with the Liberal Party. Former Howard Government industrial relations minister Peter Reith is a board member, for example, and other notable names on the list of who contributes to this Society are Tony Abbott (there’s that name again), Eric Abetz, Peter Costello, Michael Kroger… the list goes on and on — even Andrew Bolt gets a mention.

Even more strangely, for a union rep, Jackson is due to be guest of honour and give a speech at the HR Nicholls Society annual dinner on June 12th. Strangely, Mal Brough – who has been accused of being implicated in the allegations against Peter Slipper – fronted the HR Nicholls Society only a week or two ago [note below video].

And, in yet another strange coincidence, Peter Slipper accuser James Ashby is using Kathy Jackson’s Sydney lawyers.

On the 14th May, on the Chris Smith programme on radio station 2GB, Kathy Jackson said that rumours of the Liberal party paying for her vast team of lawyers were rubbish. These lawyers, expensive lawyers, were all working for her for free – pro bono – she stated. Chris Smith, however, chose not to pursue the matter…

People can say whatever they like about Craig Thomson’s credibility and his explanation of events, however most people would find it totally unbelievable, and absolutely inconceivable, that these right wing lawyers, one of them from a Liberal Party aligned union busting “think tank”, would provide their services free to a union boss — especially one who pays herself a $270,000 salary.

So, it would seem there are many questions to be asked — and not just of Craig Thomson.

The mind boggles as to how someone who is a former employers’ barrister in their disputes with unions and was appointed to the AIRC by Tony Abbott as well as allegedly being a personal friend, is able to allegedly hack the emails of a Union official and then make a criminal complaint regarding this Union even while being the Vice President of the organisation actually in charge of investigating the same Union — as well as being the partner of the Union whistleblower most deeply enmeshed in the whole affair, who is soon to speak at a function for a union busting Liberal Party-aligned think tank, and who is being represented in all her actions against the union for free by the Liberal Party’s favourite lawyers — and yet none of this is widely reported in the media, or seemingly of any major interest to police?

Talk about conflicts of interest.

What is really going on here?

In my mind, all this puts question marks over the entire investigation — and makes me wonder about the Coalition’s direct involvement. After all, George Brandis repeatedly kept pushing for more investigations. If nothing else, Jackson, Lawler, Abbott – and the NSW police – have some serious questions to answer.

I don’t know how deep this runs but, like I said, I smell a rat.

(This is an abridged version of a longer story on Peter Wicks’ blog WIXXYLEAKS.)


On the slippery slope with Slippery Pete - James Ashby’s allegations against Peter Slipper appeared to be the golden goose for the Coalition, but it has turned around to bite them, says Dr Benjamin Thomas Jones.

Fair Work australia vice-president Michael Lawler drawn into HSU row - "You can f . . k off and take sick leave if you don't want to do the work and still be paid, but you can't resign," Mr Lawler allegedly told her

Health Services Union head Michael Williamson was stopped allegedly trying to remove documents as police raided his Sydney offices this morning

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/union-head-allegedly-tried-...

COINCIDENCE? Kathy Jackson’s Sydney lawyers are the same as Peter Slipper’s sex harassment accuser’s

In an astonishing move, a leading Melbourne union-busting barrister Stuart Wood, who is a former vice-president and board member of the HR Nicholls Society, has emerged as the HSU’s chief crook Kathy Jackson’s lawyer, on a pro bono basis

AEC clears most of Thomson spending

Mr Pyne has twice this week been forced to alter his account of his dealings with James Hunter Ashby after he said at the weekend his contact with Mr Slipper's former staffer had been brief



The James Ashby and Peter Slipper sexual harassment saga looks dodgier by the minute… even Barnaby Joyce thinks so

CRAIG Thomson risks a contempt of parliament investigation by the privileges committee and a possible suspension if he makes unsubstantiated claims when he names in parliament on Monday people who allegedly set him up with prostitutes

NO matter how vehemently Craig Thomson claims he was set up, it simply will not be convincing unless he takes his claims to the police. If I, or anyone else, had been the victim of such a dastardly plot, I would have notified the police as soon as possible. Even after a few years, Thomson has mystifyingly refused to engage the relevant authorities who could pursue those allegedly behind this effort to blacken his name

SENIOR Labor figures say the party needs to disclose how much money the NSW branch gave Federal MP Craig Thomson to cover his legal expenses

DOUBTS have been cast over three of the six witnesses Craig Thomson provided to Fair Work Australia to back up his defence that rival unionists allegedly threatened to ruin his career by setting him up with prostitutes


AND TO BALANCE THE LEDGER, commentary from the other side:
The Bolt Report:

Part 1

Part 2



Independent Media? Lefty more like it.

No matter how you spin it Thompson did some horrid stuff and was protected by Gillard. Both need to pay for their sins and both deserve the condemnation heaped on then by the general public!

Your article draws a long bow to encompass Abbott, Jackson, Lawler or the Police; in short your publication does little to eliminate the guilt of Thompson and the incompetence and shiftness of a prime minister desperate to hold on to power at any cost.

It's all spilt water under the bridge but the members money has been flushed down the drain and bank loan looks possibly similar . No one is responsible , nothing is wrong,no charges will be laid ,administrator writes the money off. Meanwhile in the land of equality a great-grandmother is facing a jail term .

It just goes to show you how well Labor is doing if this is all the opposition can find to try and take Labor down.Australia's economy is one of the best in the World, unemployment is down,the Aussie dollar is strong, interest rate's are low,inflation is low.Do I care if Peter Slipper puts the hard word on some bloke or if Craig Thomson goes to the whores?No. Slipper is Liberal anyway, at least the Labor bloke chases the women that's pretty normal, don't listen to the crap the media speak it is all a non Issue, the Australian economy is the issue and that's doing well, don't let the media tell you how to think,Just remember if you are rich Abbott and Liberal will look after you, and you would be stupid not to vote Liberal.If you are a worker and not so rich Gillard and Labor will look after you, and you would be stupid not to vote Labor.If you are into Land rights for homosexual whales and too lazy to work, you are stupid, so waste your vote and vote for the Greens they have no good economic policies, they just want to wreck the industries that support this country during the GFC if they had their way there would be no coal or mining industries that's how smart those clowns are!

How dare this article spread , FUD about the coalition who are in the ones who being honest in this

I have enough of the non newsltd spreading this fud , Mr abbott and mr pyne are in control thats is annoying the non newsltd media

A likely story! Peter Wicks' article is a crude attempt at guilt by association. Despite appearances Mr Wicks fails to establish that: (a) any of the findings in the FWA report were in any way flawed or factually wrong and (b)Jackson, Lawler and Abbot actually met and conspired for the purpose of promoting false claims about Mr Thomson. He seems to prove that Jackson and Lawler know each other, and relays rumours that Lawler knows Abbot on a personal leve, but he despite claiming to smell a rat, Wicks cannot prove anything other than the opportunity presented by Thomson being exploited by Coalition. He goes on about the lawyers being used by Jackson. So what? What about ALP-linked lawyers are backing up former Coalition member Peter Slipper? That the legal and propaganda struggle has become partisan, does not mean the essential allegations are untrue or are the result of a LNP conspiracy as Mr Wicks would like to imply on slender evidence.


All dredged up and nowhere to go

Michael may have been shrunk, but at least he wasn't disappeared, as Glenn Milne's column was from the Australian online last Monday.

Instead, we got this:

"THE AUSTRALIAN published today an opinion piece by Glenn Milne which includes assertions about the conduct of the Prime Minister.

The Australian acknowledges these assertions are untrue ...

— The Australian online, 29th August, 2011"

Much of the story behind The Australian's abject apology is detailed in a long article in the Weekend Australian.

"Inside Story
Ewin Hannan

— The Weekend Australian, 3-4th September, 2011"

There's a link to it on our website.

Read the full story

Hannon rightly says that the allegations about Julia Gillard that Milne - and as we'll see, several others - have been tossing around this week ...

"... are ancient, and have been rehashed numerous times by critics of Labor and Gillard over the past 16 years.

— The Weekend Australian, 3-4th September, 2011"

The allegations concern Gillard's relationship, while she was a lawyer at Slater and Gordon in the early 90's, with a union official, Bruce Wilson.

At the time Wilson is alleged to have been embezzling large sums of money from the Australian Workers' Union.

But Hannan's article glosses over, or ignores, the role of several players in last week's saga, which we think are interesting.

In his column, Glenn Milne referred to months of hard work he'd done on the Bruce Wilson story back in 2007. What he wrote then for News Ltd Sunday papers, he said, was...

"... the most heavily lawyered article I have ever been involved in writing.

— The Australian, 29th August, 2011"

Read the Sunday Times story from 11 November, 2007

And he went on...

"What the lawyers would not allow to be reported was the fact that Gillard shared a home in Fitzroy bought by Wilson using the embezzled funds.

— The Australian, 29th August, 2011"

Well, the lawyers wouldn't allow Milne to report that in 2007 because it wasn't true.

Julia Gillard has strenuously denied that she shared a home with Wilson; and there's no evidence that she did. And yet according to the editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, that claim, and indeed the entire column,

"... was not sent to lawyers before publication. He said the column should have been legalled ...

— The Weekend Australian, 3-4th September, 2011"

That's the understatement of the year so far. And who was responsible for not getting it legalled? The Australian's Opinion editor, Rebecca Weisser, that's who. And she also let through several other glaring errors. For example, Milne claimed Bruce Wilson was convicted of fraud. He was never even charged.

It's amazing that Ms Weisser is still in her job.

Next, the role of Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt. On Saturday morning, he wrote this on his widely read blog - it's since been taken down:

"A tip on something that may force Gillard to resign

On Monday, I'm tipping, a witness with a statutory declaration will come forward and implicate Julia Gillard directly in another scandal involving the misuse of union funds ... I suspect a friend of mine in the media will be authorised to release it first.

— Herald Sun, Andrew Bolt Blog, 27th August, 2011"

That blog post prompted Julia Gillard to call News Ltd boss John Hartigan on Saturday morning.

Ewin Hannan writes ...

"Gillard apparently believed Bolt's "friend" was Steve Price, as they work together at Melbourne radio station MTR.

— The Weekend Australian, 3-4th September, 2011"

So John Hartigan asked the editors of his Sunday and daily tabloids in Sydney and Melbourne whether Bolt or Price were planning to pursue the story.

News Ltd tells Media Watch that he

"found that neither journalist nor their mastheads were intending to publish anything on the matters raised by the Prime Minister. John called the Prime Minister and informed her accordingly.

— News Ltd, 3rd September, 2011"

But some time on Saturday, Andrew Bolt posted an UPDATE on his blog which did take the story a lot further. It revealed, for a start, that his 'friend' was not Steve Price.

"Michael Smith of 2UE has read out from this statutory declaration, drawn up by Bob Kernohan, the former President of the Australian Workers Union, in August last year.

— Herald Sun, Andrew Bolt Blog, 27th August, 2011"

The new post showed extracts from the stat dec and a long passage from Glenn Milne's 2007 story. It listed various allegations about Gillard and Bruce Wilson, and Gillard's repeated denials of wrongdoing. And it ended ...

"There is no suggestion at all that Julia Gillard has done anything illegal or condoned any illegality by anyone ... The issues go entirely to her judgment, and, more widely, to a union culture that helps better to explain the Craig Thomson affair.

— Andrew Bolt Blog, 27th August, 2011"

Well, that's all very well. But if I were the PM, that would certainly look like Andrew Bolt 'publishing something on the matter'. Especially when, the next morning on his TV show, Bolt talked about an interview Michael Smith had conducted with Bob Kernohan

"Andrew Bolt: Kernohan says when Gillard was a Melbourne solicitor she set up bank accounts used by her then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, the AWU branch secretary, to siphon money from employers for himself.

— Channel Ten, The Bolt Report, 28th August, 2011"

An old allegation, as Bolt concedes. Gillard has admitted that yes, she did do the legal work on setting up those accounts, but that she didn't know what they were to be used for. Bolt ended with his mantra ...

"Andrew Bolt: So there's no allegation of misbehaviour by Gillard. The issue is her judgement, and whether Labor can afford more bad publicity of this kind.

— Channel Ten, The Bolt Report, 28th August, 2011"

Bad publicity? Who's giving the PM bad publicity? Remember, the boss of News Ltd had told the Prime Minister that Andrew Bolt was not planning to pursue the matter.

Gillard's fury was compounded when she saw Glenn Milne's column on Monday morning. Ewin Hannan says she told The Australian's Chris Mitchell that

"... she believed Bolt and Milne had worked together to circumvent her understanding with Hartigan and get the allegations back in the public arena.

— The Weekend Australian, 3-4th September, 2011"

News Ltd have denied that to Media Watch. But it's certainly true that long extracts from Milne's column immediately appeared on Bolt's blog.

"UPDATE: Glenn Milne adds a detail about Gillard...

— Herald Sun, Andrew Bolt Blog, 29th August, 2011"

In the circumstances, News Ltd had little option but to cave in to the Prime Minister's demands, take down the column, apologise - and take down Andrew Bolt's posts too.

But Bolt was furious. In his column last Wednesday, he essentially accused his employer of caving in to the threat of a media inquiry.

"I have not the slightest doubt that Gillard's suggestions of an inquiry greatly worried News Limited, and influenced its overreaction to the Prime Minister's fury these past days.

Whether Gillard specifically mentioned the threat of an inquiry in her "multiple" calls to News Limited executives I do not know.

— Herald Sun, 31st August, 2011"

Well, Andrew, I reckon News Ltd was in a pretty weak position because of some spectacular own-goals. And for what it's worth, we got this response from News Ltd this week ...

"The Prime Minister did not make threats to John Hartigan or Chris Mitchell about a media inquiry.

— Greg Baxter, Director of Corporate Affairs, News Ltd, 2nd September, 2011"

Read Greg Baxter’s response to Media Watch’s questions

And it added...

"There is no concerted campaign by News Limited against the federal Government in general or against the Prime Minister in particular.

— Greg Baxter, Director of Corporate Affairs, News Ltd, 2nd September, 2011"

Well, believe that or not as you choose, one thing is sure: the prime mover in reviving the Bruce Wilson affair was not Andrew Bolt, or Glenn Milne. In fact he doesn't work for News Ltd at all.

Michael Smith is the afternoon host of Sydney radio station 2UE, owned by Fairfax Media. And the Friday before last, he launched into readings from Bob Kernohan's year-old stat dec ... Smith either didn't know, or didn't care, that every allegation in it has been aired, and dealt with publicly by Julia Gillard, multiple times ...

"Michael Smith: Now, Ms Gillard, if this isn't true, if Bob Kernohan's sworn statement is untrue, would you please come on and explain it for us?

— 2UE, Afternoons with Michael Smith, 26th August, 2011"

Gillard has already explained herself in Glenn Milne's 2007 article. She's denied any wrongdoing many times, going back to when the allegations were first raised in the Victorian Parliament in 1995 ...

""Each and every allegation raised about me is absolutely untrue, there is not a shred of truth in any of it," Ms Gillard said.

— The Australian, 13th October, 1995"

Read the full story from 13 October 1995

She denied wrongdoing again in 2001, and in an interview for the ABC's Australian Story in 2006 ...

"These things aren't true I mean absolutely untrue and it gets raised in state Parliament and it gets raised without any notice to me ... but nothing you can do about it except sort of just issue the denials and move on.

— ABC 1, Australian Story, 12th March, 2006"

Read the Australian Story transcript

But unlike Andrew Bolt, Michael Smith didn't accept the earlier denials. On the contrary, for hour after hour, day after day, Smith demanded that the Prime Minister come on his program and submit to a public interrogation ... On Monday ...

"Michael Smith: I want to ask you some questions: Ma'am did you set up these entities? Did you set up the accounts? Did you know what they were about? Did you make inquiries to find out what they were about?

— 2UE, Afternoons with Michael Smith, 29th August, 2011"

On Tuesday ...

"Michael Smith: Did you receive any monies from any of those accounts? Did you pay any monies back? Ma'am did you receive any clothes paid for by any other person or entity from the business known as Town Mode of Melbourne Fashion House?

— 2UE, Afternoons with Michael Smith, 30th August, 2011"

Same thing on Wednesday and Thursday. Over the previous weekend, Smith had interviewed Bob Kernohan. Day after day his listeners were promised a bombshell. Day after day, 2UE's lawyers stopped him from airing it. Smith was outraged.

"Michael Smith: I think it impugns his integrity to suggest that there is something that he has to say that should not be heard.

— 2UE, Afternoons with Michael Smith, 1st September, 2011"

But 2UE management have told Media Watch ...

"... we do not have sufficient evidence at this time to support the interview.

— 2UE, 2nd September, 2011"

Read 2UE’s response to Media Watch’s questions

See Michael, that's how defamation law works. However honourable your source, if you make defamatory allegations in this country you have to be able to prove that they're true. It's a tough hurdle, but it's been that way for a very long time.

Late on Thursday, we sent Michael Smith some questions. And there was a dramatic change of tune.

"Michael Smith: The story is gonna be told, you know, whether you like it or not it'll come out. It's much bigger than just the Prime Minister, she's really a, she's a bit of a side issue in it.

— 2UE, Afternoons with Michael Smith, 2nd September, 2011"

A side issue! And he told Media Watch ...

"I just want to help a good bloke who wants to get his union members their money back.

— Michael Smith, 2nd September, 2011"

Read Michael Smith’s response to Media Watch’s questions

He said much the same to drive host Paul Murray on Friday afternoon ...

"Michael Smith: I probably was off the track earlier on, but ...

... it's about working men and their money and getting their money back to them. There are peripheral issues including the Prime Minister's involvement in it - that'll come out, that'll all come out in the wash, these things do. But that's not the focus for me.

— 2UE, Afternoons with Michael Smith, 2nd September, 2011"

Peripheral. Not the focus. Well goodness me! What a change of tune! For days, Julia Gillard's role was almost all he could talk about.

Andrew Bolt will be deeply disappointed with this program.
He wrote to us that ...

"Lately, the issue has become the Prime Minister's attempt to close down some reporting. It is the responsibility of every journalist involved in political commentary to note this.

— Andrew Bolt, 3rd September, 2011"

Read the Andrew Bolt’s answers to Media Watch’s questions

But Nine News's Laurie Oakes, who knows a thing or two about political commentary, disagrees:

"Laurie Oakes: The question is why it's been dredged up again and the answer to that, I think, is people just are trying to, people who don't like Julia Gillard and want to bring her down are beating it up.

— 3AW, Mornings with Neil Mitchell, 31st August, 2011"

The irony, of course, is that they didn't need to. The High Court has, with its decision this week, raised far more pertinent questions about Julia Gillard's judgment and authority. What happened sixteen years ago has indeed become peripheral.

We've posted some long and interesting responses on our website.

Pay it a visit, and leave your comments. We always read them.

Until next week, goodnight.

Comments (59)

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Gerry Georgatos :

03 Dec 2011 9:20:04am

I am not here to cast aspersion or imputation upon Julia Gillard however Media Watch's effort on this is mind boggling - as if you are acting as PR or as a hired legal team - this was an appalling piece of journalism (or lack of it) - why did you do this? This appalling effort by Media Watch beggars one question after another - there was no substance in what you've portrayed, and it's repetitious banality is dismaying when we expect better from you.

You say, you read our comments - well good then.

I often say that our ability to discover the truth is outstripped by our ability to manifest deceit.

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Julius :

04 Oct 2011 11:31:56pm

It's a copnstant source of wonder why people like Michael Groves (in Comments) and Michael Smith feel this compelling need for a witch-burning. Hey guys this is the 20th century not the 14th! If something is untrue then it's bloody well untrue. Get over it, get real, stick to facts. As for the carbon tax that the likes of Groves like to dredge up again and again because they're so pigheaded and selfish, action againmst climate chzaneg has been fairly and publicly on Labor's agenda for eons, and certainly since the 2007 election at the very least. Now there's an email going round that says the PM is suppressing free speech and democracy is at stake! For heaven's there is nothing even remotely of the sort happening! Everything is the same as it ever was and after carbon pricing comes in it will still be the same. It's all in your crazy deluded self-important heads guys! Grow up or go and see a shrink and start analysing how you became so sexist and how you developed these illusions of grandeur.

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Denis :

24 Sep 2011 1:14:03pm

Michael Groves, who is Robert John Kernighan you mention?
Thank goodness for libel laws in this great land. Step 1 Michael check the facts of the expressed views of ABC/Media Watch and then use the correct names of those in focus. That's the best way to remain accurate and objective.
Glad you did comment though and you see Media Watch showed us all how clumsy material might easily wrongly accuse others of stuff they had nothing to do with.


The Minister for Industry and Employment, Mr Gude, told State Parliament an investigation by the National Crime Authority and Victoria Police into allegations of misappropriation of union funds at the Australian Workers Union involved Senate candidate Ms Julia Gillard, a partner with law firm Slater & Gordon

The piece rehashed 16-year-old claims — vociferously denied by the Prime Minister whenever they are dredged up — suggesting Gillard had lived in a house with Wilson bought using illegal cash

It concerned the embezzlement some 20 years ago of union funds and the subsequent fraud conviction of one of Ms Gillard's old boyfriends, a former Australian Workers Union official named Bruce Wilson


Glenn Milne's retracted article in The Australian- 29/08/11: "PM A Lost Cause For Warring Unions"
by John Howard on Sunday, August 28, 2011 at 7:01pm ·
Julia Gillard has lost all authority within the broader Labor movement


Call me mad but I think Craig Thompson is innocent after listening to his statement in Parliament.One thing that is missing is the Prostitutes where are they?How much money do you think the media would pay for one of the prostitutes to speak out?I would have thought that would be easy money for them, and we would have had a least one cash in by now.

Emotional MP Thomson speaks of threats
AAP Updated May 21, 2012, 11:08 am

Federal MP Craig Thomson has again denied using union funds to pay for prostitutes.

A Fair Work Australia (FWA) investigation report found Mr Thomson - the former national secretary of the Health Services Union (HSU) from 2002 until his election as a Labor MP in 2007 - misused almost $500,000 in members' funds on escort services, cash withdrawals and electioneering.

However, under parliamentary privilege, Mr Thomson named HSU East deputy secretary Marco Bolano as the union official who had threatened to set him up with hookers.

Mr Thomson said he had many enemies within the HSU who didn't like increased transparency he had instituted.

He was the subject of threats and intimidation on numerous occasions, parliament heard.

"There was, though, a particular threat that was made that I thought was just part of the routine threats that were constantly made in working in this environment," Mr Thomson said.

"That was a threat by Marco Bolano, that, words to the effect, that he would seek to ruin any political career that I sought and would set me up with a bunch of hookers," he said.

Mr Thomson also told parliament this threat started in the office of his successor, Kathy Jackson.

"The rant went right down the corridor, was witnessed by many people, then was also the subject of a report, a letter was written to the Jacksons and to (HSU National President) Michael Williamson complaining about this incident and putting, very importantly, this instance on record," he said.

Mr Thomson said some years later Mr Williamson said in front of a number of witnesses: "This is the way we deal with people in the Health Services Union when we have problems."

Mr Thomson also said he, his family and staff had received death threats after the allegations that he had misused union funds.

He has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight the alleged contraventions of workplace laws and union rules in the Federal Court.

In his first statement on the issue to parliament on Monday, Mr Thomson read from emails and letters and transcripts of the phone call received.

"Go cut your wrists or better still hang yourself," Mr Thomson read.

"You are dead - a bullet between the eyes will save taxpayers money."

Mr Thomson pointed to the opposition benches and press gallery as he said: "You have unleashed the lynch mob. And you have fanned it. And for that you all ultimately are responsible."

Mr Thomson said he had professed his innocence since the allegations were first raised more than three years ago.

Mr Thomson said he had wanted to make a statement for some time but on the advice of colleagues, friends and legal counsel had not done so.

In hindsight he regretted that but said he didn't realise the matter would drag on for almost four years.

"I'm very conscious that in the eyes of many of the public I've already been charged, convicted and sentenced," he said.

Mr Thomson said it was important to remind the house he had not been subject to any convictions.

"None of the allegations have been tested in any court or tribunal," he said.

Mr Thomson took a swipe at the media, saying it was dominated by "self-important commentators" not reporters.

Mr Thomson also said when he joined the HSU as the national secretary in 2002 it had a "very poor history of "infighting, factional fighting" and its debt levels were close to $1 million.

"There was no accountability for the way in which money was spent," he said.

"It rarely had national executive meetings, they rarely met, it didn't have budgets," Mr Thomson, who is suspended from the Labor party and currently sits as an independent, said.

Mr Thomson argued he would not have acted to make the union's administration more transparent and accountable if he had wanted to rip it off.

He conceded the changes might not have been "A1, benchmark accounting practices" but the union was starting from a base of nothing.

The FWA report was a report by one man and its so-called findings were nothing more than assertions, Mr Thomson said.

He found it curious FWA general manager Bernadette O'Neill was not prepared to release the report publicly for fear it may be defamatory.

"She instead released it to a Senate committee so it would be protected by parliamentary privilege," Mr Thomson said.

"Given that truth remains the defence to defamation in this country, this suggests that Fair Work Australia either does not consider the report to be accurate or it is incapable of substantiation by admissible evidence or both."

Mr Thomson singled out alleged perks his successor Kathy Jackson received, including a union paid for Volvo, gym membership and childcare.

"She's had numerous overseas trips none of which, as national secretary I was aware, visited any unions," he told parliament.

"Within weeks that I left, her salary almost doubled from the salary I received - to $270,000."

He told parliament she collected fees for sitting on the HESTA superannuation board but rarely attended meetings.

Ms Jackson quit the position when the union decided it should be pocketing the board fees, Mr Thomson said.

She got an $84,000 golden handshake from her union branch when it formed the HSU East Branch, he said.

"This certainly isn't someone who comes to this issue with clean hands," he said.

Mr Thomson said she was accused of paying money to contractors and then receiving it back privately.

But he also said she was entitled to the presumption of innocence.

Mr Thomson said the HSU branches of NSW and Victoria were not happy with the new transparency rules he had put in place.

"They didn't like this scrutiny," he said.

"In fact, I was approached by the now national secretary Kathy Jackson and Michael Williamson, saying 'what are you doing, why don't just collect your salary and do nothing.

"That was what they expected you to do in relation to these issues."

Mr Thomson said he has only ever had one interview with FWA, two years ago.

"I myself had only one interview with Fair Work Australia close to two years ago. That was it," he said.

Mr Thomson said he had written to the FWA general manager last year asking for investigating officer Terry Nassios to be removed from the inquiry.

"Mr Nassios ... was selective and biased," he told parliament.

He alleged Mr Nassios had an outcome he was trying to achieve despite there being no body of evidence to support his position.

"This can be borne out by the witnesses that he didn't speak to - more than half a dozen that we suggested should be spoken to," Mr Thomson said.

Mr Thomson also said questions that needed to be answered related to Ms Jackson's partner, Michael Lawler, who works at FWA.

"The body that is investigating these issues, the main accuser, their partner is second in charge," he told parliament.

"The question the deputy president has to answer is what influence did he have in relation to the writing of the report?

"What influence did he have in terms of the timeline that it's taken. What relationship if any does it have with the Liberal Party?"

Mr Thomson also criticised the FWA report for using the wrong tax tables in reaching its conclusions about misuse of union funds for travel and expenses.

Mr Thomson said of the seven occasions alleging the use of prostitutes "three of them could not be me".

On two occasions he was with other people.

On one occasion he was in Perth, "not being in Sydney for the month around the alleged incident".

Mr Thomson urged authorities to "get the footage" to prove once and for all who was at the brothels.

"I raised this issue two years ago with Fair Work Australia," he said.

"Get the footage see who was there on those days."

Mr Thomson spoke of a conspiracy theory surrounding calls allegedly made on his mobile phone, saying it was easy to intercept phone calls and police acknowledge it is a common practice by criminals.

"Certainly, if you're looking to set someone up it is a very easy process," he said, producing a wad of printouts from websites on how to intercept phone numbers.

Mr Thomson said FWA failed to investigate the possibility of his phone being intercepted.

He referred to a phone call made from his mobile at Bateau Bay, on the NSW Central Coast, to an escort service.

Mr Thomson said he did not move to Bateau Bay until 2009 - four years after the call was made from Bateau Bay.

"I wasn't actually even living on the Central Coast when this phone call took place," he said.
"I don't know how that phone record is on my record but one would have thought these would have been of issue, these would have been things, that Fair Work would have looked at."

Craig Thompson talked about being able to make phone calls appear they came from his phone but another phone used to make the calls.He said you can find how to do it on the internet this is what I found,Caller ID spoofing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caller_ID_spoofing.
Makes you wonder what else can be done!

1pm May 21, 2012

Federal MP Craig Thomson has broken down in tears describing the pressure his family has received over allegations he misused union funds.

Mr Thomson lashed out at some members of the media, becoming tearful mid-sentence describing the way Channel Seven reporters allegedly treated his family.

"What you don't expect is for Channel Seven reporters to be hovering, hovering underneath the bathroom window ... while my pregnant wife is taking a shower," the MP said, wiping away tears.

"There is a great responsibility in reporting — you need to take that seriously."

Channel Seven has denied such an incident took place.

"We have spoken to reporters who visited his home and they vigorously deny any such behaviour," a Seven spokesperson said.

"All they did was knock on the front door."

Mr Thomson also criticised Fairfax Media for running 12 stories making accusations against him, without asking him for comment.

A Fair Work Australia (FWA) investigation report found Mr Thomson - the former national secretary of the Health Services Union (HSU) from 2002 until his election as a Labor MP in 2007 - misused almost $500,000 in members' funds on escort services, cash withdrawals and electioneering.

Read more:
Thomson drowning in delusion: Bolano
Jackson gobsmacked by address
Court best to assess Thomson: HSU
Labor stymies Thomson debate

Mr Thomson, the member for the NSW seat of Dobell, has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight the alleged contraventions of workplace laws and union rules in the Federal Court.

In his first statement on the issue to parliament, Mr Thomson read from emails and letters and transcripts of the phone call received.

"Go cut your wrists or better still hang yourself," Mr Thomson read.

"You are dead - a bullet between the eyes will save taxpayers money."

Mr Thomson pointed to the opposition benches and press gallery as he said: "You have unleashed the lynch mob. And you have fanned it. And for that you all ultimately are responsible."

Mr Thomson said he had professed his innocence since the allegations were first raised more than three years ago.

Mr Thomson said he had wanted to make a statement for some time but on the advice of colleagues, friends and legal counsel had not done so.

In hindsight he regretted that but said he didn't realise the matter would drag on for almost four years.

"I'm very conscious that in the eyes of many of the public I've already been charged, convicted and sentenced," he said.

Mr Thomson said it was important to remind the house he had not been subject to any convictions.

"None of the allegations have been tested in any court or tribunal," he said.

Mr Thomson talked about his career, going back to the time when he was a young industrial officer.

He said he was proud of his achievements as a union man, negotiating agreements for ambulance officers in NSW and gaining a 17 per cent pay rise for public sector workers.

"I've had nothing but letters of support from HSU members, both past and present."

Mr Thomson said in the last federal election there was a swing in votes toward him, despite an overall trend vote against Labor, and that he had secured valuable government funding for his NSW Central Coast electorate.

Mr Thomson took a swipe at the media, saying it was dominated by "self-important commentators".

He said he understood the value and importance of an independent and robust news media.

"However, all of us that have regular dealings with the news media, we know that the news media can often get it wrong, and sometimes seriously so, particularly as today the media is dominated by self-important commentators not reporters," he said.

But Mr Thomson made particular mention of reporters he found treated him fairly, including Nine's Laurie Oakes.

Mr Thomson also said when he joined the HSU as the national secretary in 2002 it had a "very poor history of "infighting, factional fighting" and its debt levels were close to $1 million.

"There was no accountability for the way in which money was spent," he said.

"The rules of the union, at that stage, set out that the national council would meet only once every two years."

Half a dozen people would sit around every two years, and proxy votes were allowed.

"It rarely had national executive meetings, they rarely met, it didn't have budgets," Mr Thomson, who is suspended from the Labor party and currently sits as an independent, said.

The MP said he had changed the level of accountability and transparency within the union

Speaking under parliamentary privilege, Mr Thomson said the role of Mr Lawler - the partner of his “main accuser”, HSU national secretary Kathy Jackson - should be looked at

CRAIG Thomson's long-awaited statement to parliament has resolved nothing and ensured the sorry saga of allegations against him will continue to plague the Gillard government.
The now independent MP for Dobell presented his hour-long case to parliament confidently, competently and with appropriate anger and emotion.

HEALTH Services Union national secretary Kathy Jackson says she is "gobsmacked" by Craig Thomson's statement to parliament and has accused him of failing to comprehensively address allegations he misused union funds



The media spied on my pregnant wife while in the shower

This is just an unbelievable disaster. I think that parliament should step back from lynching Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper, both should keep their positions, though stood from other parliamentary duties till allegations resolved but not from representing their seats. I think Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne should lay off for now and allow justice to do its business. I think Julia Gillard should apologise for not having stood them down from duties other than representing their electorates and voting in parliament. I think both sides of parliament stink and odious stench. I think that Craig Thomson should have to account for his actions in court and through this then any allegations against others he has named can bring the question of accountability about them. I think that Julia Gillard should account about her dealings with her ex-partner and Union boss. I think there should be a Royal Commission into some of these union allegations but not to lynch unions and the Commission should also investigate the relationships and behind the scenes deals which are alleged in these articles.

I think the Australian people deserve better and I think Indymedia did good here to bring us this information even before Craig Thomson spoke in parliament!

I think Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard should push for a Royal Commission but lay off what they have no legal and parliamentary business to do.

If I had done something wrong, or if I had not done anything wrong but was accused of having done something wrong, or if someone else was accused of having done something wrong and I wanted to know whether or not they had done something wrong, who would I turn to, Abbott and Pyne and the parliament of Australia, or the judicial system?

We have courts of law for a reason. it doesn't matter if I think Thompson is innocent or guilty. We should not repeat what happened to Lindy Chamberlain and try Craig Thompson on the whims of a media circus or a media beat up. We should allow the due process of law to take its course.

These are the institutions our diggers, black and white, have fought for. We elect Parliamentarians. But we appoint judges. And we have juries so that 12 sensible people can arrive at the truth in a court of law. Whether you like our democracy or not, this is what we have to work with.

Craig Thompson, if he has committed a crime, must be dealt with in the courts. It is in the interest of the Coalition to muddy Thompson's name, but it is in no-one's interest if they also muddy our democracy. The Coalition is bringing the parliament into disrepute by saying Thompson is guilty without due process. Indeed, it is unlikely that this will ever go to trial simply because the Opposition has made it impossible for Thompson to be tried fairly.

The Parliament has no cause to suspend the Member for Dobel. Historically, suspensions have occurred for behaviour within the house, not outside of it, when the House has been been treated with disrespect. This has not been the case in this instance.

By trashing protocol to try to bring down the Gillard Government Abbott and Pyne has put self interest before the national interest, and have caused an erosion in the public's faith in our democratic institutions. The Parliament is not a court of law. Nor ought it to be one.

Noel, your desparate bleating for your beloved Labor won't help them. Two (known!) sleaze bags keep them in power. Just.

I can't understand why they haven't been turfed by a no-confidence motion. All that occurs to me is that the Independents and anyone else who could provide the numbers for it are protecting the perks they'd likely lose in a new election.

In any other profession, like the law or medicine, anyone under such a giant cloud of suspicion would be stopped from practising by their governing bodies until all had been cleared up.

Here two (known!) highly questionable people can hold to ransom the government and by extension all of us governed.

Just imagine: anyone on the government side, minister, former minister, former prime minister or backbencher, disgruntled about anything, can blackmail the leadership by threatening to break ranks to end Labor government. How many vile deals must be being made....

No wonder Juliar sounds more abrasive, dismissive and crankier by the day.

Craig Thomson is a first rate ratbag
Peter Slipper is a second rate ratbag
Julia Gillard is another ratbag
Parliamentary question time is all about ratbags
our politicians are a disgrace
Australia despairs

The window under the word "Subject:" is accessible to you to do that.

It would save the editors a lot of time.