With Kathy Jackson appearing in the Trade Union Royal Commission (TURC) today, Peter Wicks from Wixxyleaks reports on her former husband dropping her right in it yesterday and TURC's scandalous special treatment of this disgraced, self-professed "whistleblower".
YESTERDAY BROUGHT NEWS came of another rort involving the Peter Mac hospital, this time involving Tony Abbott who used them for a presser so he could bill the taxpayer for his trip to a Liberal fundraiser.
Have they learnt nothing from ICAC?
Meanwhile, in Sydney at TURC the wheels were falling off the team Jacksonville bus at the Royal Commission.
First witness for the day was HSU national secretary Chris Brown, and straight away there were issues.
This is the same woman who has been quite happy to sling mud in every direction, including mine and yet she continues to hide herself from any scrutiny whatsoever. In fact, last time she came under scrutiny was on the witness stand and she refused to answer. Most will remember her making the bizarrely outlandish claim that she had been ambushed because the Commission had dared question her decision to go on a quarter of a million dollar spending spree with money from a cancer hospital while its workers were short paid by Tony Abbott's mates at the Peter Mac hospital.
A coincidence, surely...
Kathy's lawyers were successful in limiting her scrutiny today on Brown's evidence as much of his evidence was redacted. More about that later.
Efforts were made to link Chris Brown to Michael Williamson, although there was little evidence to prove this. The major evidence was a tapped phone conversation that was played which showed that, at one stage, they had the common goal of removing Kathy Jackson from the Union — although for different reasons. For Williamson, it was probably out of revenge for what she was doing to him; for Brown it seems to have been more about what she was doing to the union members — which evidence appears to show as bleeding them dry of funds.
Chris Brown was not on the stand for very long and some have questioned why witnesses who may have evidence to give that implicates Jackson seemed to be rushed through the Commission or jammed into days like yesterday with 11 witnesses, while Jackson's crew were given time to spare.
Next witness, former HSU acting general secretary Peter Mylan, was similar in that regard — although unlike Chris Brown, Peter Mylan had close ties with Williamson. It is also interesting to note that Mylan received six days notice from the Commission to prepare a statement which was being asked to include information on five pages worth of subjects. Peter Mylan's statement (also redacted) can be viewed on my resource page.
Yesterday’s big drawcard, however, was Kathy Jackson's former husband and former HSU boss Jeff Jackson.
Those of us watching got to see some of Jeff’s charm and sense of humour in several his responses, involving the purchase of a Saab car that didn’t quite come off and the "very memorable day" he separated from Kathy.
However it was his recollection regarding the two payments he received from Kathy for $50,000 and $58,000 that were of greatest interest.
Kathy had previously explained away one as a loan to the Number 1 Branch of the union, despite it being paid to ex-husband Jeff directly and the other as being paid to him for electioneering purposes. Both of these payments were made from union members funds, the $50,000 payment was made using money from Kathy’s NHDA account, however records show that money had been transferred into that account from the HSU Cheque account.
When asked about the $50K payment Jeff stated:
“I believe, my best recollection was that it was payment in relation to a property settlement.”
It would seem from Jeff’s statement under oath, Union members have had the pleasure of paying for Kathy’s divorce settlement.
Lamps, child care, $3000 earrings, ski trips, divorce settlements and so on and so on — it seems there is not a lot Kathy’s members haven’t paid for by now.
After a short cross-examination, Kathy’s lawyer asked questions for what seemed like forever, but was probably about 15 minutes trying to raise doubt over Jeff’s testimony by questioning him on his memory, something which had already been established. It is worth noting that Jeff remained confident on his original response.
After lunch, some of Kathy’s faction went back on the witness stand and the wheels on that Jacksonville bus really started wobbling.
Former HSU Number 3 Branch vice president Kate Wilkinson was first up and was asked questions relating the BCOM member payments that she testified were no more than $100 a day. I mentioned in my article last time this testimony was given that this did not add up to what was withdrawn from the account.
Turns out I was right, the varying figures each month left thousands of dollars in change that went into a kitty, which was apparently kept in a steel box, was at Kathy’s disposal, and was unaudited and unregulated.
One thing was for sure, it was one well fed kitty. Some may even refer to it as a fat cat.
Wilkinson also stated that the money from the Peter Mac settlement – that some have described as a bribe – was passed to Kathy to use at her disposal for purposes for the good of the Union.
Normally, for a trade union, this would include flyers, and membership services and so on. For Kathy’s Union, it meant paying an ex-husband, child dentistry and spending at JB Hi-Fi and David Jones.
Wilkinson also testified that she had no idea that the NHDA account was not audited and when asked if she would approve the transfer of union members funds to an unaudited account, Wilkinson answered “No”.
Despite this, that is exactly what occurred.
Wilkinson also mentioned that she thought Kathy had spent some money on anti-Workchoices advertising, although Jackson has been seen to be quite at ease dining with Workchoices architect at an anti-union organisation event.
Reuben Dixon's testimony can be summed up in four words — it was all Kathy. Dixon appeared to be saying that BCOM were in the dark and that Jackson controlled everything.
Then Jane Holt came under attack for several aspects of how she dealt with cheques as the financial controller of Kathy’s Union. Holt personally signed off on in excess of $100,000 of cash cheques, with there being no record as to what they were for.
Not only that, there were blank cheques lying around the office with Holt's signature already on them — something I would have grave concerns over if I was a member and it was my money in the cheque account.
One thing was clear, members money and its security was certainly held in little regard at Jackson's branch.
While all of this was going on, in the media room we were watching with fascination at the behaviour of Marco Bolano in the hearing room. His behaviour seemed quite erratic and he appeared like he was a balloon about to burst.
After the hearing finished, several of the media went outside to see if Kathy Jackson was going to do a doorstop interview. Already outside was Marco Bolano.
As we were waiting for Kathy to emerge, Bolano took it upon himself to approach Brad Norington, a senior journalist for The Australian who has contributed excellent and thorough coverage of TURC and serious allegations against Jackson. Bolano came over and verbal attacked Norington with a raised voice in what was clearly an attempt to intimidate him.
Kathy Jackson’s $50,000 was for divorce, says ex-husband | The Australian http://t.co/MsTd0LG9yc— Dave Donovan (@davrosz) August 28, 2014
Three times Brad Norington had to ask Bolano to respect his personal space. All of this was done in front of several members of the media, all of whom watched on uncomfortably.
It seems astounding that at a Royal Commission set up to try to weed out this disgusting behaviour it is happening right outside the premises and even allegedly in the hearing room prior to this with another member of the press.
Complaints have been made regarding Bolano’s attempts to intimidate and harass both witnesses and member of the media previously to both police and to Royal Commission security. Nevertheless, the behaviour continues.
It seems the Royal Commission is powerless to stop the behaviour it has been set up to expose.
Now back to Chris Brown's evidence and its effect on the scrutiny of Kathy Jackson.
At time of publication, Kathy Jackson is being cross-examined before the Royal Commission for cross-examination.
As you watch and listen to report, it may be worth noting the following.
This will be a muted or watered down version of a cross examination. Much of what the HSU national office wants to cross-examine Kathy on she has temporarily succeeded in having redacted, supressed, or censored from Chris Browns statement and therefore cannot be questioned on these matters.
Nobody else has had the privilege of gagging their cross-examiner.
It should also to be noted that Jackson has only made herself available for one day of cross-examination.
Her lawyer has claimed that having five days was not enough to absorb Brown's statement, which I believe to be a stretch. As mentioned earlier, I wrote how Peter Mylan was given six days to prepare a detailed statement for the Commission on five pages worth of subjects — yet Jackson's lawyer can’t read one over five days.
Apparently, Jackson's lawyer claims to have been busy preparing Kathy for cross-examination. I don’t recall meeting many people who had to have vigorous preparation just to tell the truth. This is probably why some have suggested the term "coach" may have been a more appropriate word than "prepare".
Today, we will be watching a watered down cross-examination goes and hoping that there will be another chance to pursue the truth when the absurd censorship of Browns statement is lifted.
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