Former "heroic" whistleblower Kathy Jackson has played the courts again, pushing the criminal hearings against her out into 2019. The indomitable Peter Wicks reports.
WAY BACK in May 2012, a bloke called Psy was showing us Gangnam Style, Hollywood was showing us its diversity with Men In Black 3, and one of our current backbenchers was an Opposition Leader who was telling us all about the virtues of a heroic whistleblower named Kathy Jackson.
It was a controversial time in politics.
True friendships were evolving in the Coalition. Clive Palmer was the Coalition's largest donor.
Since then, of course, the coal miner went on to do preference deals with the Greens and headed a Party with a shelf life of one term.
Former Speaker Peter Slipper had his career ruined and his reputation shattered over some cab fares. In hindsight, he should have summoned a helicopter, as that’s apparently okay. His accuser now flies a reportedly dubiously funded small plane for a rightwing Party founded on bigotry and the bizarre.
Kathy Jackson was touted as a whistleblower, but she was really a blunt tool used to try to dislodge an MP that Tony Abbott thought vulnerable. That MP, Craig Thomson, was finally found not guilty by a criminal court on all of the brothels and prostitution claims smeared through the papers for three years. He now works as a lawyer.
Abbott’s heroine Jackson, on the other hand, now awaits trial for 166 charges related to allegations of theft and fraud.
Yesterday, Kathy Jackson once again arrived on the arm of her beloved Michael Lawler. Lawler is the man who was appointed by Tony Abbott and was paid about $400,000 a year of taxpayers' money as a vice president of the Fair Work Commission — the very organisation that investigated Craig Thomson and the union formerly headed by both Thomson and Lawler’s beloved Kathy.
Lawler, of course, went on to achieve fame as the guy who reinvented the term “the reach around” to mean a manner of taking a phone call, as he demonstrated on Caro Meldrum-Hanna's sensational exposé on Four Corners.
So why has it taken so long to get this far and what the hell was yesterday all about?
The wheels of justice turn slowly for some in this country, depending on your connections and your wealth. Pinch a Mars Bar from the local 7 Eleven and you’ll probably find yourself before a judge within a month. Face charges of misappropriating over a million in workers union funds, and it will drag on for several years.
One of the problems in Kathy Jackson’s case is that nobody was really interested in looking into her. The mainstream media and, in particular, the Sydney offices of Fairfax and The Australian, gave her a mouthpiece and actually set out to publicly denigrate or legally threaten anyone that dared come forth with an alternative view.
Kathy Jackson and Michael Lawler’s Wombarra beachside mansion was raided by the Organised Crime Division of the police on 7 October 2015. Both before then, with Federal Court Civil case and since, with the criminal case, Jackson has made a mockery of the legal system and often turned court appearances into a circus.
We have had self-imposed stays in psychiatric facilities, mystery fires at the house, an attempt for Michael Lawler to act as Jackson's legal representative via phone from the house over the sound of seagulls, a houseguest of Jackson and Lawler found dead on the property and another houseguest talk of how he had a cache of firearms hidden somewhere or other.
Endless delays to the legal process have brought us finally to the commencement of yesterday’s committal hearing. Except it was not to be.
Some were surprised at Jackson taking up the option of a committal hearing, as it would involve the prosecution laying out their case and the only benefit for Jackson would be the ability to cross-examine witnesses and maybe cut a deal with the prosecution at the end.
Had Jackson not elected to go through a committal hearing, we would likely be reading about her trial now — or at least nearing the date for one. Kathy Jackson’s plea of not guilty to the 166 charges and electing to go straight to trial means the process is stretched out once again, with a trial not expected until the end of next year. Bear in mind she can still appeal the result from a trial then, which could see the matter dragging on into 2019.
For anybody who has doubted Jackson’s manipulation of the media and now the court system, yesterday was yet another shining example.
In Melbourne yesterday, outside the Magistrates Court, many long-suffering union members gathered in the hope that justice would finally prevail. They were, once again, let down.
All they saw was a phony whistleblower and a now useless Coalition wrecking ball continue to beat around the bush.
But her day will come.
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What an evil parasite on the movement she has been and it's good to say judgement day coming .. https://t.co/YcZ31VzTJa— C.S 🇦🇺 (@oroubos) November 20, 2017
Blow the whistle. Subscribe to IA.