Peter Wicks found the Temby Report into the HSU rather disappointing — so he has produced his own “Wixxy Report”, which is shorter, cheaper, more informative and far more entertaining.
THERE IS NEVER a dull moment in Jacksonville, it seems.
Kathy Jackson, apparently, has tired of the idea of taking on the Federal Court’s Justice Flick and his idea of appointing an administrator to the HSU, yesterday dropping her appeal against Flick's ruling. Now that so much of the members’ money has been wasted on the process, apparently she has walked past a café and smelt the coffee. The best option now, she says, is to call HSU elections as quickly as possible!
I wonder, does this mean she has recently found new factional allies? I have heard murmurs of her doing deals with some of those running tickets that, until this announcement, I would not have thought were likely bedfellows at all.
My gut tells me, and it speaks loudly at times, that this new move is primarily to do with the Temby Report’s release this week.
You see, now that the much awaited Temby Report is out, Kathy may believe she has some clear air to make a dash for the elections. After all, Kathy has been claiming proudly that the Temby Report exonerates her and shows she was right all along.
No and no. It doesn’t do either of those things.
Because the dismally disappointing Temby Report did not go into any of the allegations, actions, or operations of the Victorian branches. Branches like the HSU #1 Branch and the #3 Branch merged with HSU NSW and formed HSU East. While the investigation went into allegations regarding Michael Williamson, pre-merger in NSW, nothing into the Victorian allegations was looked into whatsoever.
For Kathy Jackson to claim this report exonerates her is totally and utterly ridiculous. This is like a historian doing a report on the history of European war crimes and leaving out Germany entirely, overlooking anything that occurred after 1938, and then claiming the report exonerates Adolf Hitler.
Yes, Jackson's claims are that ludicrous.
As for Temby's report showing that Kathy was right about saying there was corruption within the HSU — well tie me down and call me Nancy! What a revelation that was. One only has to take a look at any newspaper on any day to see that it seems rife with corruption. Temby pointing out the bleeding obvious doesn’t exonerate anyone, it just shows one has powers of observation at least on a par with the average 2 year-old. In fact, Craig Thomson was talking about internal corruption long before Jackson and long, long, before Temby.
Seeing as the Temby Report is now out, I thought a “Wixxy Report” might be in order. I'll warn you, though, I'm not a QC and I’m not paid in 5 minute increments, so I won't bother to bore you with 91 pages of superfluous crap. I have, however, been looking into the goings on within this Union for quite a while now and have some points that others seem to have missed — despite possessing considerable advantages in time and resources.
My report may not be as formal as others, but you’ll be pleased to know that it is no less opinionated than the Temby Report. I just like to think my brief report will be easier to read and will waste less ink and paper if someone deems it worthy of printing. (Note: please don’t print it — read it online and help save the planet.)
The one thing I know HSU members will love about my brief report is this: it won’t cost them jack. Some people will say that is what it’s worth, but hey — at least I’m trying to provide value, a little bit of bang for no bucks.
So here it is:
The Wixxy ReportThe Temby Report
Yes, coming in at 91 pages and $465,300 ( approximately $5113.18 per page) is the Temby Report.
For this, Ian Temby QC was paid $223,300 and his bean counter, Robertson, $242,000 (including GST).
Kate McClymont of Fairfax, however, despite having clearly contributed vast amounts of the information to this report received nothing!
If I was Kate, I'd be shooting off an invoice. Her work seemed to be the basis of much of this report and I reckon she has been hard done by.
For the Union members, the cost must seem outlandish. In fact, given that the paper Kate McClymont (pictured right) writes for, the Sydney Morning Herald, costs $1.70, the Union could have just purchased a copy of the paper each day. And they could have done this for over 749 years and still saved themselves money. (Plus they would have had pictures and TV guides.)
The Temby Report suggests that there should be more tenders for services provided to the Union. Given the quality of this report, and the fact that there was no tender process involved when Temby was appointed the job, he may be onto something.
In true professional manner, Temby has chosen to include a few things in his report that others may have neglected. Things others would consider private, like home addresses and the salary details of employees who are not executives or elected officials. Charming.
However, just when you think it can't sink any lower, there is a former employee named – for no apparent reason, it would seem, other than to smear them – who retired in 2002. I would suggest that this is bad form, except for one thing — the person mentioned passed away 4 years ago. What was the point?
The Temby Report had guidelines, which are detailed in the document, below details of the Union Council Motion.
Special Union Council Meeting Sept 2011
The report, it is clearly stated, is to be on HSU East — not any other branches. However there is a point that raises the possibility of Temby looking into related branches that merged to form HSU East — branches such as HSU NSW and the number 1 and 3 branches in Victoria. Or, as it says:
"Other matters as determined appropriate by the Independent Panel."
With that in mind, the "Independent Panel" decided that it was not appropriate to look into the older branches like Branch 1 and Branch 3 — the ones run by Jeff and Kathy Jackson.
However, further displaying their independence, in the investigation into NSW, things were run a little differently. In looking at the HSU NSW branch, run by Michael Williamson, it suddenly became entirely appropriate to go beyond the report parameters, it seems. Well, past them, in any case.
The companies listed below were investigated, and have had outstanding payments withheld in some circumstances. All of these companies were dealing with the HSU before HSU East was formed.
- Access Focus
- United Edge
- Mah Chut Architects
- Studio 19
- Imaging Partners
Former General Secretary of the HSU, Michael Williamson.Some of these companies are owned, or partially owned, by the Williamson family – such as Canme, United Edge and Studio 19 – so I guess that is fair enough to delve into. But why the others?
Also, why not investigate Koukouvaos Consulting, Neranto #10, and Pinpoint Training? They are all owned by the Jacksons, and all seem to have large amounts of union money going through them. That would show independence.
Maybe independence was just an aspiration for Temby — one that doesn't seem to have played out in practice.
Later in the report, wage rises are mentioned. After amalgamation, Peter Mylan received a lucky 13 per cent increase for performing a monumental task of holding the Union together through its biggest crisis. Michael Williamson received a 25 per cent increase that seems questionable at best.
Kathy Jackson, meanwhile, received a whopping 66 per cent and Marco Bolano an utterly obscene 70 per cent increase — for, from what I can see, absolutely nothing whatsoever.
One notable thing that did – or, more accurately, didn’t – come out of the report was the total lack of any evidence concerning Craig Thomson.
Temby talks scathingly about nepotism throughout the union, like it is a disease that plagued it— in NSW. Of course, there are Jackson family and friends scattered throughout Victoria and Michael Lawler’s kids were even employed by Jackson on handsome hourly rate, yet none of this was worthy of a mention by Temby?
Temby, it seems, does not like to see friends, or particularly family being promoted in the workplace.
However, the Cupco flyer, pictured below, was allegedly attached to documents circulated by Temby to HSU staff. The idea being to promote his son Luke at his upcoming “doll” exhibition.
What good form from the QC, and what a fine display of taste also — to attach a flyer advertising a display of “Paedophiles, Bitches, Shitler, Gadaffi”. Sheer elegance personified.
In my view, far from the Temby report being a smoking gun, as some hysterical media organisations have sought to portray it, in fact the final report bears more of a resemblance to a steaming …. well, I’m sure you can finish that thought.
The Fair Work Australia Investigation
One of the longest investigations in Australia's history was, at long last, finally thrust into our faces on the 7th of May 2012.
The investigation’s parameters appear to have been broad — to find corruption in the HSU by anybody whose surname was not Jackson.
The investigation by Fair Work Australia has seen the President of FWA, Iain Ross, repeatedly refuse to endorse it in any way. The investigation has also launched a Senate Inquiry.
The Secretary of the union supposedly being investigated, Kathy Jackson, told the world on ABC’s 7.30 program how she used to discuss the investigation in depth with her fiancé at home, and a PDF file even shows she accessed a FWA computer during the investigation. Could that be because her fiancé is the second most senior officer in that organisation?
Michael Lawler, the vice president of FWA, Tony Abbott appointee, son of Sir Peter Lawler (Liberal Party legend as well as board member of a Catholic Political Lobby group) is now best known as the fiancé of Kathy Jackson.
Michael Lawler is also the man who Jeff Jackson had allegedly complained to the FWA President about, concerning conflicts of interest due to his involvement with the HSU and Jackson’s wife at the time — Kathy Jackson. Lawler is also the man that General Secretary, Peter Mylan, complained to FWA about him repeatedly interfering in Union business.
Lawler's fiancé, and HSU secretary, Kathy Jackson, was also the one who delivered boxes of evidence to the investigator, Terry Nassios. Of course, Nassios also complained — that these boxes he had been delivered arrived opened, so therefore any evidence was compromised.
It should therefore come as little surprise that the findings seemed to totally miss the mountains of documentation that raised questions about Jackson. The documentation IA found part-time in a few day with no money and almost no resources.
The FWA investigation, despite taking years, is worth next to nothing in my view. It relies on hearsay, evidence that has now been discredited by its own source, and used documentation that was allegedly tampered with.
FWA investigator Terry Nassios said it best at the Senate Committee hearing last week, when when he said his investigation "would not stand up to police scrutiny".
What was the point of it, then?
Wixxy's Opinion and Recomendations
Facing court in Victoria currently, are Pauline Fegan and Shaun Hudson. These people are bit players, however justice should run its course and we should wait and see what the courts decides their fate should be.
Also facing court in Victoria is Jeff Jackson. Jeff, however, is not a bit player — not at all.
I would recommend a forensic audit of the entire HSU number 1 Branch — Jeff's old branch. There are many questions raised in my earlier posts about credit card expenditure on things such as brothels, travel, restaurants, and even Foxtel subscriptions — all of which appear on Jeff's Union credit card statement. There are also issues concerning Jeff's entitlements after his employment ceased at the HSU. For example, why did he still have a company car until April 2012 and why was he allegedly still receiving payments from the Union years after finishing there? The forensic audit should go back to a year before Jeff Jackson became secretary, in my opinion.
Craig Thomson should be left alone, at least by the media. If he has, in fact, done something wrong – and I'm not saying at all that he hasn't – it would appear to have been minor. The media talked up the allegations against him, plastering them all over the front pages, but largely ignored the explanations that have so far cleared him. He has been investigated by everybody but Inspector Gadget and yet no charges have ever been laid. If there is something there with substance, let’s save his poor family the death by a thousand cuts and deal with it in the appropriate forum. Otherwise, let's build a bridge and move on.
When it comes to Michael Williamson, I don't know how much more needs to be done. Michael has more questions to answer than a contestant on Jeopardy so let's just get on with it without any more delays and dragged out investigations. There are many people who would like nothing more than to get on with their lives. Unfortunately, their fate is tied up with the Michael Williamson investigation through no fault of their own, with no suggestion they did anything wrong. They are the most tragic victims of this whole affair.
There is, seemingly, a mountain of evidence for the courts to wade through, so let's roll up our sleeves, grit our teeth and let rip. If we need more investigators, let's get them; this whole mess has taken way too long.
As for Kathy Jackson, well, I think she is 100 per cent right about one thing — she is overpaid. The HSU number 3 branch needs a forensic audit and a forensic investigation into its activities, its expenditure and, above all, its management and leadership.
Kathy Jackson should be investigated as heavily as Michael Williamson. With the sheer amount of unexplained expenditure allegedly connected to her, I do not understand what is holding things up.
To demonstrate the concerns, below is a letter sent to the Victorian Police Commissioner from Peter Mylan, which details items that need police investigation.
See the Vic Police Letter in PDF
My investigations have uncovered more information on some of these queries, as have internal HSU investigations, however it is well past time for the police to ramp up their efforts. I am aware Victoria Police are investigating, however again things are moving far too slowly.
A Judicial Inquiry is required to look into the FWA investigation, which has become a farce, with the President refusing to endorse it and the investigator claiming it would not stand up to police scrutiny. Indeed, it was released under Parliamentary privilege because there were fears it could spark defamation actions. Questions have been raised, such as: why was the investigation so weak? Why did it take so long? Why did the Union secretary have access to FWA computers? And why did Michael Lawler become so involved in HSU affairs? These questions need to be answered promptly and forensically.
A Senate Inquiry has failed to address these issues. Indeed, one member of that Inquiry, Eric Abetz, has had his name appear on Jackson’s phone records for the period the Inquiry was sitting. Another reason a Judicial Inquiry is vital.
I would also recommend a Royal Commission or an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption into any Liberal Party involvement or influence over any of the investigations. (Perhaps this could also take in the James Ashby - Peter Slipper affair, which has a similar smell about it.)
We have seen phone calls and texts from Jackson to Eric Abetz's staff and NSW Finance minister Greg Pearce. Tony Abbott has been making passionate speeches in Parliament praising Jackson. We have also seen Jackson making speeches at HR Nicholls Society events.
I would also like to see Rob Elliott stop receiving a wage, despite not having worked at the Union since 2002. Marco Bolano's right hand man, Jamie Martorana, also still receives payments despite no longer working at the HSU. This is not good enough; members money should be spent defending members, not paying mates.
For anything less than the above to occur is going to deliver a half-arsed result and is, in my view, only going to confirm suspicions about corrupt practices at work.
It is also worth noting that this union controls over 600 delegate votes at ALP conferences. That is quite a substantial number and quite a lot of power.
The Union members are predominantly left leaning, however the votes under the management of Michael Williamson have propped up the ALP Right’s vote.
I, for one, would like to see the members delegates vote in a way that that reflects the wishes of the members — not the leader, and especially not one who is being investigated for corruption.
The members — because, after all, that what it's all about, isn't it?
Some of you in the Union hierarchy may remember them.
The ones who pay your wages?
If you would like to see the total investigation, so far, into the HSU scandal, check out our dedicated Jacksonville page.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License