Does anyone here remember a man called Craig Thomson?
Time was when he was pretty much the most important man in the country. Although under investigation for misuse of a HSU credit card, he managed to stay in Parliament during the hung Labor government, thus avoiding the spectacle of an early election.
He was also given the opportunity to speak to Parliament about the accusations.
In that speech - which lasted an hour - he cried. He told Parliament his life and work history, and about all the good he'd done in the union movement. He attacked former HSU colleague Kathy Jackson and accused her of having access to endless perks which were, he implied, a possible misuse of union funds. He implied he had been set up by internal enemies. He claimed that on some of the occasions he was accused of booking prostitutes, he wasn't even in the places mentioned.
Thomson also had an interview with Laurie Oakes in which he claimed he had been set up.
And above all, he maintained that there simply wasn't enough evidence for anyone to accuse him of anything.
Except that there was, which is why he was finally arrested on charges - 145 of them, in fact - relating to all of the above. And lo and behold - his lawyers had to drop the line that he had been set up, and that a mystery person had faked all the phone calls, the visits to prostitutes, the porn movie hire, and the other stuff.
In fact, his lawyers made it quite clear that they'd be arguing that Thomson had the right to use his union credit card for all these perks, which is in effect arguing that Thomson did these things but that they weren't wrong or illegal.
So much so that they struck a deal to make sure that a horde of sex workers and brothel owners didn't have to appear for the prosecution, because the defence was no longer contesting the truth of Thomson's use of the cards for exactly these services.
This is probably a good thing for other reasons, as some of the sums spent on these ladies are rather large - in fact, rather too large for just one customer.
a) So who was with Thomson on those jolly nights of roistering?
b) And is that person's identity critical to understanding the three-year go-slow by Fair Work Australia, the media free pass given to Thomson, the kid-gloves treatment in Parliament, and Thomson's continual smug grin throughout, convinced he was going to get away with it?
On this blog, I have repeatedly affirmed that I didn't believe a word of Thomson's excuses:
I did the same at Quadrant Online:
Today, I feel vindicated. I know he'll probably get a slap on the wrist and 300 hours community service, but I can only hope it involves cleaning toilets in a hospital somewhere - like the HSU members he defrauded.