Strange days in Jacksonville

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Today, Fair Work Australia launched civil action against Craig Thomson based on a flawed investigation that has already been totally discredited. Peter Wicksreports.

Click on this image to date on the this Thomson affair by visiting our dedicated ‘Jacksonville’ page, featuring all our articles on this topic — and more.

Today, everybody acted all shocked and surprised when Fair Work Australia announced its claims against Craig Thomson.

These claims were based on the Fair Work Australia investigation that took what seemed like an eternity to complete ― such was its total and utter mismanagement and mishandling.

This afternoon Bernadette O'Neill announced 37 alleged breaches of rules for officers of registered organisations such as unions, and 25 alleged breaches of the rules of the Health Services Union, of which Craig Thomson was secretary.

Craig is not the only one to have had allegations of breaches of union rules levelled at him ― you may remember Kathy Jackson faced similar allegations not that long ago.

For a start, we need to understand that these are civil claims, not “charges” as the propaganda pieces in The Australian are already calling them. There are no such things as "civil charges". Civil matters, civil cases, civil proceedings, and civil claims are real, but not civil charges. They don’t exist; it is like referring to hot ice ― total fiction.

Leave it to The Australian to create new terms like “civil charges” in an effort to incriminate Thomson over a civil matter.

Craig Thomson has denied all of these findings, and seems to believe that they are politically motivated. Who knows? Maybe he is right; maybe it is something to do with senate estimates, I don’t know, and frankly I’m not going to say I believe that as I haven’t given it much thought. I don’t really think that it matters.

What does matter, and what really surprises me, is how soon everybody seems to have forgotten the KPMG Report regarding the sorry excuse for what Fair Work Australia, loosely referred to as an "investigation". Although, as I write this, someone at the ABC has remembered, I’m assured.

I say “loosely referred to”, as FWA President Iain Ross seemed to want to distance himself from it when he appeared on 7 30 with Leigh Sales.

Just the fact that KPMG were asked to look at the investigation and produce an independent report should set alarm bells off. The KPMG report was thorough, and left the FWA Investigation looking somewhat less than amateur. For those who have forgotten, there is a link to the full report below:

[KPMG review FWA]

The KMPG report was completed with the co-operation of all of the FWA staff except one, Michael Lawler, Kathy Jackson’s fiancé and appointee of Tony Abbott. However, Michael has stated that he had no involvement in the investigation, despite evidence that seems to dispute that claim.

So if the KPMG Report is to be dismissed, as Eric Abetz seems to think, then one can assume that the only flaw could be due to the fact that FWA Vice President Michael Lawler didn’t co-operate with KPMG. Does that mean that Abetz thinks Lawler influenced the investigation? After all, Lawler refused to hand over his laptop, the same one that had allegedly accessed HSU’s network.

So, if we take the results of FWA’s own independent report into the investigation at face value, than to say that investigation was flawed is an understatement. How can any of the claims that come from a totally discredited investigation be taken in any way seriously?

To say that a flawed investigation ended up at the right conclusion is like hoping to reach your destination by heading off in the wrong direction.

Once the dust-storm around this has settled, and Eric Abetz has finally calmed down, people will understand that these are just civil matters, the bulk of which Thomson has defended successfully previously. What really matters are the criminal matters and charges ― like those being faced by Michael Williamson.

However, I’m sure there will be those hoping to gain mileage out of today’s events.

People like Katrina Hart, Marco Bolano and Fluer Behrens will no doubt have plenty to say about Craig Thomson being appointed by Michael Williamson, and accusing everyone but themselves of being factional.

But they should remember that their backer and factional leader Kathy Jackson was also appointed by Williamson, and is currently being investigated by Victoria Police on numerous matters.

Katrina Hart, in particular, likes to tell everybody how anybody who ever passed Williamson in the street is irredeemably tainted, and that when it comes to cleaning out the union:
“There is only one way to be sure”.

On that statement, I totally agree ― don’t vote Hart, Bolano, or Behren’s; indeed, it's the only way to be sure.

Thanks for the heads up, Katrina.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
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