Peter Wicks reviews the evidence against Craig Thomson, speaks to the HSU auditor and considers Kathy Jackson response to this series of reports.
Over the past couple weeks, we have learned a lot about the HSU, Kathy Jackson, Michael Lawler, and seen the type of behaviour and carry on, that we now know we can expect from the Coalition front bench more often.
Unfortunately, what we may have to look forward to as yet, however, is learning about Craig Thomson’s prowess care of a prostitue that A Current Affair has conjured up from somewhere or other. One who remembers Thomson from seven years, and umpteen hundred customers, ago. If she is so certain of his face, we will wait and see how her memory stacks up with Craig’s rumoured tattoo…
[Editor’s note: In a statement issued last night, ACA have decided not to proceed with this interview.]
One of the things that I haven’t delved into too much, is the evidence provided by Fairfax regarding the pictured credit card, the transaction slip, the driver’s license, and the sample signature.
Let’s start with the driver’s license. Many people have sent me messages querying the license, saying that the picture doesn’t look like Craig. I agree; the picture does have a “not quite right” look to it. However, I hate to disappoint, but it appears the license is legitimate. Craig Thomson has told me directly that he did provide his license during his court case with Fairfax. He said he had nothing at all to hide and wanted to be completely transparent — so he volunteered his license in good faith.
Signatures can alter somewhat each time and I am not a signature expert. I can assure you my signature differs most times I scrawl it on something. Therefore, I don’t think we should try to claim that there were forged signatures used, as it is too hard to prove either way.
Sorry to all those conspiracy theorists out there…
What I do find interesting, however, are the handwritten numbers at the top of the credit card slip. On the right hand side is, of course, the date. However, it is the numbers in the centre top that interest me.
Those who have ever used the old clunky credit card imprinter machines may remember that, for larger dollar transactions (usually over $50), the vendor would call the bank and receive a 6 digit authorisation code — that is what those 6 squares on the slip are for. For a transaction the size of the one Thomson is alleged to have made, an authorisation code would have definitely been required, otherwise the bank may not have honoured the charge. I don’t believe that brothels are the charitable types when it comes to free service, though I am not speaking from experience.
It is strange, then, that instead of a 6 digit number, there is a 3 digit number there instead: 211. We thought this may be something to look into. So we did, via the merchant services department of some of Australia’s major banks.
The 211 is actually a rejection code. Looking at the codes via this web-link, it is quite clear that this transaction, for some reason, has a rejection code written on it. This is also odd, because, if a transaction was rejected, normally the slip would just have been thrown in the bin — not filed and saved. To me, this throws a cloud of doubt over the evidence provided by Fairfax, as it all hinges on the authenticity of that slip; a slip with no authorisation code, a rejection code written on it, and a misspelt surname. It is also interesting that the code and date is written in a blue pen, apparently something of a "no no", as banks normally require them to be completed in black ink for authorisation.
Also, it is important to note that there has been an update since our previous article, that we would like to make you aware of in the interests of full disclosure.
In our previous article we made mention of a 2010 Auditors Report of the HSU No. 3 branch that stated that Kathy Jackson received a payment of $522,570. I have today contacted the Director of the Auditors Report and the Partner who signed off on the report, Mr John Agostinelli to confirm the figures.
John confirmed the amount was correct, however the wording was not, and should have read that the figure was in fact the total to all employee’s INCLUDING Katherine Jackson.
This makes a considerable difference; her bonus was, in fact, just over $74,000 according to John. He also stated that no updated Auditors report was released and apologised for any misunderstanding as a result of their clerical error.
Still, $522,570 is rather a lot to be paying out as staff bonuses. It is about a third of the membership fees taken that year. Whose decision was it to pay out this obscenely excessive amount as bonuses?
I can’t help but wonder how the workers, including some of the lowest wage earners in the country feel about paying for such excessive bonuses.
It is also worth remembering that Kathy accepted this bonus at the same time as she stated on the ABC’s 7.30 that she wanted a $100,000 pay cut. This does not make a lot of sense, considering she also had her hand out at the same time for a $63,000 honorarium payment.
It is also interesting to note that none of our other findings have been challenged or denied in any way.
But another thing I wanted to do in this post was pass on a big thank you to someone very special — Kathy Jackson herself.
Some of you may find that surprising, but allow me to explain.
Yesterday Kathy was kind enough to pay both myself and Independent Australia a huge compliment. Kathy accused us of mounting a successful smear campaign against her.
Now before I point out the flaws in her accusation, I would just like to thank Kathy for considering us in the “big league” of smear campaigns. I mean for somebody who appears to have spent a great deal of time and energy in this pursuit, as Kathy has with respect to Craig Thomson, to consider me as being in her league is really quite an honour.
Instead of denying, disputing, challenging or rejecting any of our findings, the best response she can make, it seems, is to label our six previous investigative articles as just a “smear”.
If this is a “smear campaign”, as Jackson claims, then some things don’t make sense. Smear, in my humble opinion, is using opinion as some kind of flimsy evidence and making false accusations based on not much more than a hunch.
I could have gone down that route, but that is not my style. Instead, I have repeatedly stated that I am not declaring Jackson’s – or anybody else’s – guilt or innocence. I might add here, that this is a statement that Jackson and most Coalition members could not make.
I am just here to ask questions, questions I feel I am entitled to ask. Judging from the amount of correspondence received by both myself and Independent Australia, there are a great many people who seek answers to just the same questions.
Contrary to being motivated by smear, these questions have been raised by evidence. Evidence of transactions, payments, and decisions made by Jackson and Lawler.
If Jackson truly thinks I am out to smear her, then she must believe that I have been part of a grand conspiracy that goes back over a decade?
If using her decisions is part of my smear campaign — would that mean I had to have played some sort of sinister part in her making those decisions?
Given that this seems to be her defense currently, I thought it best I give some alibis and categorically deny any participation in events, or in any decision-making process that led to any of these alleged events or actions.
In the late 1990′s, I was, in fact, backpacking around the UK and Europe — as the Department Of Immigration will verify if needed.
Being in Europe, I was in no way responsible for, or had any influence in Kathy’s decision to set up companies such as Koukouvaos Consulting or Neranto No.10 and then invoice HSU branches for “consultation services” she performed whilst also collecting a wage from the HSU.
Furthermore, I had no connection whatsoever in Kathy’s decision to marry Jeff Jackson, or for Jeff’s alleged decision to visit a brothel and charge it to the Unions credit card. Similarly, I can claim no influence on Kathy’s hazy memory when it comes to recalling her ex-husbands apparent use of a brothel and Union credit card. Neither can I claim any responsibility for her shady memory of conversations, such as the heated argument between Craig Thomson and Marco Bolano — for which, although Craig and Marco Bolano differ on the details, both have a vivid memory. Kathy on the other hand, denies the conversation ever took place.
Although I have attempted in the past to act as a match maker – once successfully, I might add – I had no part in matching Kathy with anybody as I did not know who she was at the time. This means, I had no part in Kathy Jackson becoming the partner of Michael Lawler, Vice President of Fair Work Australia.
I did not request that Kathy Jackson personally collate, organise or deliver the only documentation from the national office received by the FWA investigator. I also played no part in Kathy allegedly losing some of those documents along the way, many of them seemingly crucial to Craig Thomson’s case.
I can, however, confirm that I will not be writing her a reference — or be recommending her for any future job as a courier.
I reject any allegation that I in any way encouraged Kathy to claim honorarium payments, Key Management Compensation, huge travel and postage costs, or make payments to child care centre’s she uses, seemingly disguised in the HSU books as “staff benefits” or for “staff uniforms” where uniforms are not worn.
I can also state that, as much as I would like to have some influence in the Liberal Party, I do not.
Given this fact, I reject entirely any suggestion that I had anything to do with the providing of free legal services to Jackson by any lawyer also providing free services to James Ashby (when he’s not out on the town with Christopher Pyne, that is). Nor, for that matter, am I a member of the Liberal Party “think tank” the HR Nicholls Society with Peter Reith – where Tony Abbott, Peter Costello, Eric Abetz and many others often contribute – therefore I could have in no way influenced Stuart Woods to also provide free legal services.
In fact, I will go so far as to say, I have never actually met any of the players in this saga, let alone influenced anything.
But, if publishing facts and asking questions constitutes a smear campaign — then I am guilty as charged.
All I am is a source of information, really. Kathy Jackson has made the choice to try to attack the source, rather than dispute the facts. In my humble opinion, the more one attacks the source, the more one endorses the facts….
Who I am makes no difference at all — the facts speak for themselves. The facts don’t have any bias, the facts don’t lean in any direction, the facts don’t need a legal team, but the facts need to be known. And this is where I have come in.
I should also add, I don’t know Michael Williamson, have never met him, or spoken to him, let alone conspired with him….
A smear campaign… really, is that your best shot?
Attacking me or Independent Australia will not make these facts go away. In fact, it just leads to another question…
What are you trying to hide, Ms Jackson?
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