When Kathy Jackson's personal slush fund was paid $250,000 by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in a deal related to unpaid employees' wages, the affected workers received nothing. Peter Wicks from Wixxyleaks reports.
THIS WEEK, Ben Schneiders of Fairfax Media made startling new revelations in the HSU matter and one sure to raise many questions when and if Kathy Jackson is cross-examined before the Trade Union Royal Commission.
Giving evidence before the Trade Union Royal Commission, Kathy Jackson declared under oath that the $250,000 – used for what some have described as the NHDA "slush fund" – came as a payment from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre after the Union discovered millions of dollars in unpaid entitlements for cancer workers and brought this up with the hospital.
I say 'some have described' it as a slush fund, because we only have Jackson's word it was ever used for union purposes at all and her word is proving less reliable each day. The only “Union purposes” that the money was used for were conveniently paid for using cash from cash withdrawals that she claims memory lapses of and a bizarre set of circumstances has seen all the evidence as to what the related to go missing. The rest of the expenditure is on what would appear to be personal spending at places like Bunnings, David Jones and JB Hi Fi.
Far from being a "slush fund" bank account, the account is, in fact, a personal bank account in which the only authorised names are Kathy and Jeff Jackson, with the address for the account listed as a private residence. The NHDA it is not a registered organisation or incorporation, as is normally associated with slush funds. The only references to it at all are in HSU financial statements and on the bank account itself.
Unfortunately for Kathy Jackson, financial records obtained by Schneiders from Peter MacCallum appear to paint a completely different picture to that portrayed at the Royal Commission by Jackson, Kate Wilkinson and her other allies. They indicate there was no pay-out of millions in entitlements to workers at all. That's right — despite Jackson's sworn testimony, workers allegedly received none of the unpaid wages back.
Perhaps even more alarming is that there was also no financial record of the quarter of a million dollars being paid to the union, despite there being individual records of vastly smaller individual expenses. This would appear to indicate the payment by the hospital was hidden — raising even more serious questions as to why this would be the case.
Rightwing blogger Michael Smith, who has been a loyal companion of Kathy Jackson to the Royal Commission as well as seen with her at court proceedings, published the below picture on his website:
This picture is what Smith describes as a
'... detailed billing account rendered by the Clerk of Mr Langmead's chambers to the Victoria No 3 Branch of the HSU in relation to the "Peter Mac" matter.'
Detailed billing account?
Now I may be just a layman, however it looks like words and numbers typed on a blank document to me. It does not have any identifying features such as a letterhead or a signature – it has no invoice or document number and nor does it show any GST calculations.
If this is what Michael Smith calls a detailed billing account, I'm glad I'm not his accountant.
However, using this figure, we can assume that Kathy Jackson has spent roughly $33,000 of union members funds on a barrister to give advice and provide a 'deed of release'.
This is allegedly something that would normally be handled by an industrial officer, usually costing around $3,000. However, the decision was made to use a senior barrister instead, at more than 10 times that cost to members — which begs the question: why?
What exactly did the members get for their $33,000?
There is no suggestion Mr Langmead did anything illegal or improper, however the end result seems to be that the members got screwed.
As part of her evidence to the Royal Commission, Kathy Jackson provided the Memorandum Of Advice from David Langmead, which is linked to below.
This memorandum tells us that the appointment of an expensive barrister ensured no member would be paid back their entitlements.
Peter MacCallum scientists miss out on millions as HSU leader Kathy Jackson cuts deal #turc #auspol http://t.co/8dzfcPEfCj— Bob New (@BobNew8) July 20, 2014
As the Memorandum states:
'As part of this settlement HSUA is agreeing not to pursue any claims in relation to the alleged breaches, and will not assist or encourage claims by others.'
Maybe I’m naïve, but I would have assumed that the entire reason for a union's existence would be to encourage and most certainly assist members in receiving their entitlements?
Instead, the Union paid ten times more than necessary for a barrister to assist the employer in encouraging the members to sign away their rights. This would seem to make the Union not only complicit in the workers losing their entitlements, but actually being an active participant in the deprivation of those members they claimed to represent.
Michael Smith alleges David Langmead made the following assertion in a discussion he had with him:
It is untrue and defamatory to suggest that any union official, officer, legal advisor or other person associated with the union received any money that was due to be paid to workers.
Well, maybe Langmead is technically correct in saying these people did not receive money owed to the workers, but some of them certainly received payment from a firm owed money to its workers and didn’t pay them as a result the advice given to them by you and the aforementioned union officials.
So, just who is David Langmead, apart from a Barrister who at that time representing Jackson's Branch of the HSU on legal matters?
Well, David Langmead is also the husband of a woman by the name of Beth Jensen.
If Beth Jensen’s name sounds familiar, you are right. Beth Jensen is not only one of Jackson's closest friends, she is also the person responsible for Kathy Jackson and Marco Bolano’s exorbitant salaries.
Langmead’s wife was paid $27,000 as a so-called “independent” consultant to recommend Jackson receive a 66% pay rise, Bolano a 70% pay rise, and huge pay rises to other staff close to Jackson at the time — including a 25% increase for Michael Williamson.
David Langmead is also allegedly a close friend of Iain Dick, who some of you may also remember was the auditor for the Number 3 Branch at the time. The pair allegedly even used to frequently go on road trips together.
How nice it must be to have such good friends.
So, from what I can gather and judging from the evidence presented to the Royal Commission, the beneficiaries from the millions owed in entitlements to the cancer workers would appear to be Peter MacCallum, who got off cheaply without needing to pay back workers; Jackson's private NHDA bank account, which they paid $250,000 for arranging this deal; and David Langmead to the tune of $33,000.
To the cancer workers whose entitlements were being chased? They got nothing.
To add insult to injury, I have been told that the money owed to workers by Peter MacCallum was due to an increase in the pay rate from around three years earlier, which was never passed on to employees.
The reason this pay increase was not passed on was because the union that looked after these employee’s had failed to update the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. When there is a doubt on pay rates, the Human Resources department will refer back to the EBA as its bible.
The Union that allegedly failed to ensure the EBA was updated so that workers received their pay rise? The HSU Number 3 Branch, run by Kathy Jackson.
It seems obscene that Kathy Jackson has allegedly directly profited from the underpaying of the members she was elected to represent.
This is the individual Tony Abbott described as being a woman of "great honour".
I wonder what sort of honour that is; honour amongst thieves, perhaps?
Catch up on the full saga on our Jacksonville page. You can follow Peter Wicks on Twitter@madwixxy.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
Jeff and Kathy Jackson: the only parties authorised to access the NHDA "slush fund".