Craig Thomson's allegations about being "set up with hookers" by Kathy Jackson's standover man Marco Bolano gain more credibility after an extraordinary doorstop interview on Friday.
CHARITY SHAGS, turbo spa’s in the Red Room brothel and judicial gang-rapes — an alternate universe for most of us, but just another day for Kathy Jackson.
Friday's Royal Commission hearings into the HSU had been a boring affair, particularly given the outlandish events the previous day.
However, things certainly turned from mundane to insane when Kathy Jackson stopped for a doorstop chat with the press with her shadow Marco Bolano.
Mark Irving must have been scratching his head when Jackson referred to him as a charity shag, saying;
"Forget the former lover stuff. Everybody makes mistakes and has a charity shag along the way.”
Actually Kathy, not everybody does.
Jackson’s own affidavit states that the affair lasted eight weeks, which seems more than charitable to me.
The "judicial gang-rape" comment is highly insulting and offensive on so many levels and is a comment that shines a spotlight on the character of this extremely hostile witness.
Most of those reading this will remember Craig Thomson’s address to parliament, which was written off by most as a conspiracy theory. One of the most alarming claims was that he had been threatened by Marco Bolano that they were going to destroy him by setting him up with hookers.
This claim was ridiculed by virtually everyone in the media and Christopher Pyne even went to the effort of putting and passing a parliamentary apology through parliament for defaming Marco's "good character".
Those who still think that this is a ridiculous claim may want to listen to the sound file recorded at the doorstop interview on Friday.
As Norington asks her a question about misusing funds, Jackson fobs it off then goes on the attack:
"...and Mr Norington, and Mr Norington, were you there in the Red Turbo Spa Room with Mr Thomson?"
A stunned Norington replies:
"I beg your pardon?"
Then Bolano joins in:
"After a lunch with Mr Williamson?"
They continue baiting Norinton, with Bolano even asking the journalist if he is going to
"... pay back HSU members for the hospitality."
Brad Norington is a senior and extremely well-respected journalist from The Australian. He is also the quintessential family man.
For Jackson and Bolano to throw accusations of him being in a brothel with, of all people, is ludicrous. To put him in that brothel with Craig Thomson is simply madness. To have the two of them in the brothel after a lunch with Michael Williamson is just sheer insanity.
Nobody took the claim seriously at all, however this public outburst and accusation would make even the country’s biggest sceptic look at Thomson’s claims in a whole new light.
The motive behind it is obvious — Norington is one of a handful of journalists that have a thorough understanding of the HSU case and who is able, in his articles, to provide the context behind the Jackson spin.
Jackson and her supporters are making a not so subtle threat — that if reporters do not run with her distraction tactics, rather than what they seek to distract us from, they run the risk of being smeared in a malicious, distateful and utterly reprehensible fashion.
However these were not the only ridiculous things that Jackson told the press at her remarkable doorstop press conference.
Jackson was asked what she would like to see come out of this Royal Commission and her first response was to make union officials accountable. Jackson was quick to tell the press that she believes that all unions should be investigated for the slush funds she says they run and the way they fund election campaigns.
All unions except hers, of course.
This is comical when we see just how uncooperative she has been with both the Federal Court and the Royal Commission. It is clear that she refuses to be accountable at all; there is one standard for her and another for everyone else it seems. That is why we are witnessing the circus we are watching now.
Jackson also talks a lot about Mr Irving, the HSU National offices barrister. She refers to him as a combatant, and as “having skin in the game” — as if he has been a major part of the scandal.
These HSU legal matters have been going on for years — all the time with Mark Irving representing the HSU National Office, however Jackson has not mentioned him previously. Suddenly, as he is about to cross-examine her, Jackson suddenly wants to portray him as the centre of the HSU universe.
At one stage in the interview a reporter asks;
“Point blank, you did not corruptly use member’s funds to travel to America?”
Her answer starts out
“Point blank, no.
Then she tells the press that BCOM had approved the funds.
Kathy and Jeff Jackson, on a study tour to Cuba for the HSU?
These apparent BCOM approved funds equate to $80,000 of union members money, which were transferred into an account that was “off-line”, as Jackson described it — meaning unregulated and unaudited. The exact type of account that BCOM member Reuben Dixon testified just days earlier he would not approve of members funds being transferred into. No records exist of the approval of this transfer as all of the copies of the minutes of this meeting are missing — gone in the most selective flood in human history.
Jackson claimed most of this expense was down to attending Harvard for a Trade Union course, remember we are talking about $80,000.
Today the course is more expensive than it was in 2004, and it now costs a grand total of $14,000. That also includes accommodation, text books, and class materials.
The only extra expenses listed that may be incurred are:
'Additional expenses include transportation to and from Boston, meals, laundry, recreation and incidentals.'
So going off these numbers which are higher than 2004, where did the other $66,000 of members funds evaporate to.
Kathy said her memory was vague, but Jeff may have popped over for a week — although apparently the members didn’t pay for that.
As you may recall, Kathy has also testified that once members money left the Union's account and entered hers it was no longer union members money. So I guess she has an extra $66,000 windfall of “her” money to dip into — perhaps for trips to Cuba and Mexico.
For what was a six week course, Kathy spent $11,000 a week with the change from her course, it would seem.
One of the funniest things Jackson claimed was that it was Chris Brown causing the distraction that the last two days became, due to his choice of barrister.
Brown did not file an application to have Irving taken off cross-examination — Jackson did.
Brown did not write a lengthy affidavit describing his past sex life — Jackson did.
Brown did not go out to the press talking about charity shags— Jackson did.
At the end of the recording, you will hear Jackson being asked if she has ever used a union slush fund for personal purposes. Jackson answers with a firm “No”.
So, who was spending NHDA money at JB Hi-Fi and David Jones, then — or does Kathy not think the NHDA account is a slush fund now?
I wonder if she will ever put together a straight story?
I won’t be holding my breath.
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