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(Image screenshot smh.com.au)

Fairfax's rabid wild dog attacks on Craig Thomson continued yesterday, with Heath Aston piling on more smears in an apparent attempt to ruin the former MP's livelihood and future prospects, writes Peter Wicks from Wixxyleaks.

JUST WHEN is enough actually enough?

It’s a question that I would have hoped Sydney Morning Herald 'political reporter in the Canberra bureau'Heath Aston, might have contemplated before penning the article I am about to delve into, with despair.

On Monday, via Aston and Fairfax, we learnt that the long-suffering Craig Thomson has not just been sitting at home licking his wounds — he has in fact been attempting to promote Australian business overseas. For Aston, it seems this is a crime worth reporting on.

Aston's article was full of little digs such as referring to Thomson as one of the mining industries “rough diamonds” [ha ha] and Thomson not having a company credit card [guffaw] with the firm Xbauxi for whom he was working.

To make matters worse, Aston even acknowledges that Thomson has told a court of his 'mental health problems and suicidal thoughts' — issues that have clearly been brought on by the intense media intrusion into both his life and that of his family. It is clear from Aston’s article that this is likely to continue — even, unfortunately, when there is absolutely nothing of significance upon which to report.

In the offending article, Aston makes seeks he doesn't let the facts don’t get in the way of a less than lame yarn.

Aston describes Thomson as:

'The former member for Dobell, who famously blew more than $5000 of union money on prostitutes…'

While that may sound punchy, it is more punch drunk than a serious right jab because the facts tell a completely different story.

Craig Thomson was famously found guilty of spending less than $5,000 of union funds — less than $4,000, in fact.

It is also crucially important the court found that none of the around $3,500 Thomson was found guilty of spending was spent on anything at all connected with prostitution, brothels or pornography.

Thomson being found not guilty of the vast bulk – more than 95 per cent – of the charges, including all those related to brothels and prostitution.

Aston says 'Mr Thomson narrowly avoided prison'.

By narrow, I’m guessing he is referring to the word “not” that came before the word guilty?

If being found not guilty is to be described as narrowly avoiding prison, than there are an awful lot of very lucky innocent people out there.

Thomson, who was clearly contacted for comment by Aston, defended an act that needed no defending by saying he had “two young daughters to feed”.

Since when did someone need to defend themselves for trying to earn a living to feed their family?

It would seem that Aston has appointed himself as some sort of judge over whether someone is fit to work or whether they should collect welfare. Chief Aston, Commissioner of Employability, has deemed that Thomson should be a burden on the taxpayer. Quite a judgement, given the taxpayer is no doubt still paying off the millions spent on the ridiculous witchhunt to convict him.

Journalism has clearly hit a low point and how this story managed to make it past the Fairfax editor’s desk has left many scratching their heads in bemusement.

No matter what you think of Thomson – and clearly there are a variety of views – he has a life to lead and a family to support. He has endured more than most of us can contemplate, has been driven almost to bankruptcy by legal fees and is clearly still the butt of crude jokes and smears.

But, more than that, Thomson has a family, two daughters and a wife. Add to that, he has a father and a mother who have endured years of what must feel like emotional hell.

All of them deserves more respect than this.

As do Fairfax’s readers.

Peter Wicks is an ALP member and a former NSW State Labor candidate. You can follow Peter on Twitter @madwixxy.

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