Kathy Jackson and the proceeds of crime

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Tony Abbott's "heroic" whistleblower and "lion" of the union movement (Image via @selga55)

With Kathy Jackson facing Federal Court over allegedly rorting the HSU for $1.4 million and her Fair Work Commission partner Michael Lawler trying desperately to get hold of her assets, maybe it is time Tony Abbott has a long think about the quality of his friends. Peter Wicks from Wixxyleaks reports.

There appears to be no end of criticisms that can be directed at Tony Abbott. And that chorus of criticisms has become louder, of late, with Abbott refusing to answer questions on whether he has made payments to people smugglers.

This week, two of those close to Abbott had their integrity once again called into question.

Kathy Jackson, the woman Tony Abbott saw fit to praise uncategorically on the floor of Parliament, has made yet another desperate bid to have the $1.4 million matter against her thrown out of Federal Court. As those who have followed the case would be aware, this matter has been delayed for over a year now and Kathy will be finally forced to stand trial on 28 June.

It should also be remembered that this is just the civil matter against Jackson. At present Victorian Police are still investigating Jackson's actions and many are expecting criminal charges to be laid after the civil matter is out of the way.

If criminal charges are laid against Jackson and she is found guilty, then much of her wealth could be viewed as the proceeds of crime.

Long before that happens, though, the long suffering members of Kathy Jackson’s former branch – a branch that has gone forward in leaps and bounds since her faction was voted out of power – will be hoping some of their money can be retrieved via the Federal Court.

One thing is clear, those in the Jacksonville camp are not confident about the outcome of the Federal Court case they have succeeded in delaying for around a year. If confidence were something Jackson’s team were overflowing with, the matter would have been dealt with long ago, instead there have been breaches of court orders, dialing in a lawyer from what sounded like the beach complete with seagulls, admissions to luxury psychiatric facilities and a litany of failures to provide the correct documentation or attend listed hearings.

However, this week perhaps the greatest sign of impending doom from the Jackson camp has become known and, lo and behold, it involves one of Tony Abbott’s childhood friends and court appointees.

That's right, Michael Lawler, the man Tony Abbott appointed as vice president of Fair Work Australia – now the Fair Work Commission – has once again entered the fray.

Lawler is partner of self-proclaimed HSU blower Kathy Jackson. It has emerged this week that Jackson has started the process of transferring her $1.8 million property into Michael Lawler’s name, although the process has yet to be completed. Attempts are now being made through the courts to prevent the transfer from happening.

This is the man whom we have been repeatedly assured had nothing to do with the HSU saga. Perhaps these assurances have come due to his convenient and close proximity to the Fair Work Australia investigation that was the basis for his partner Jackson’s self-proclaimed whistle-blower status over the media trial and public bloodlust for Craig Thomson, who was eventually found not guilty of virtually every charge in court, with the only charges sticking being ones for paltry amounts that had nothing to do with prostitution, brothels, pornography or any of the other unproven and wild allegations so beloved by Australia's media.

Abbott’s mate Lawler has seen his reputation being slowly torn asunder, with last weekend's The Australian detailing much of what regular readers here have known for a long time now. Details of the enormous amount of time off Lawler has been taking from his $430,000 per annum taxpayer funded role at FWC, the ludicrous intervention in Federal Court proceedings on Jackson’s behalf and even the snail's pace at which Lawler’s publicly funded hearings proceeded.

Although claims were made that he has had nothing to do with the HSU matter, despite being the partner of a central figure  and being vice president of the organisation that kicked the whole matter off, these claims have proven to have a strong stench about them. A stench that must be all too familiar to the man who appointed him, Tony Abbott — arguably the country's most notorious breaker of promises and promoter of his own strange and unique brand of "gospel truth".

Early articles credited Lawler with starting Operation Carnarvon after allegedly calling to intimidate a HSU employee on Jackson’s behalf. Since then, there have been court appearances, evidence emerging of the sharing of HSU and FWC computer equipment, a computer with a username Michael Lawler attempting to access the HSU computer network, verbally abusing MSM journalists in the lobby at the Trade Union Royal Commission, sons given jobs at the union over Christmas, his refusal to co-operate with the KPMG in its independent assessment of the condemned FWA investigation, and now him seeking to have Jackson’s principle asset put into his name so, presumably, the Federal Court can’t force the property's sale to give the money back to members.

Nothing to see here

In Michael Lawler, we have a Tony Abbott appointed, taxpayer funded fat cat who, based on reports in The Australian struggles to even show up for work, and when he does have hearings they proceed at a pace that makes glacial movement look like a high-octane drag race.

Despite all this, he still holds his role at FWC as nobody within parliament has moved to have him dismissed.

Surely in Joe Hockey’s world of "lifters and leaners", Lawler is one leaner that should be removed from suckling on the public teat.

With Abbott once again struggling in the polls, maybe he will soon tire of being mentioned every time Lawler is mentioned and finally decide to remove this anchor from around his ankle.

It must be weighing a ton by now.

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

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