Mark Arbib

Corruption scandal won’t go away for Labor

The corruption and fraud trial of Craig Thomson is over and he is staring down the barrel of five years in prison.

Labor may think the problem is going away but it won’t…there is just so much dirt yet to come out.

Anyone who thinks that the conviction of Craig Thomson for fraud brings this scandal to a conclusion, pending sentencing, does not appreciate the magnitude of the deception involved. The five years of silence, suppression and delay around this scandal embroiled former prime minister Julia Gillard, the leader of the Greens, Christine Milne, the Fair Work Australia agency and numerous present or former federal Labor MPs.

Long after Thomson’s conduct was exposed by the Herald, the Labor Party began secretly paying his legal bills, helped fund his defamation action against the Herald, re-endorsed him for the seat of Dobell, deployed large resources to that campaign and suppressed revelations in the Senate. After his re-election in 2010 saved the Gillard government, the prime minister recorded her gratitude in Parliament on August 16, 2011: ”I have complete confidence in the member for Dobell. I look forward to him continuing to do that job for a very long, long, long time to come.”

The prime minister’s droll cynicism fed into a pattern of delay, dissembling, secrecy and suppression.  Read more »

Thieving ALP ratbags all having a sook

Thieving ALP ratbag Craig Thomson is having a big sook about being treated like every other charged criminal. Not for these union and ALP ratbags it seems…they want to be treated special:

More and more information is coming out about Thomson, the man who props up Julia Gillard’s government.  Read more »

More Dodgy Union Scum

The unions in Aussie are getting a goodly dose of negative press, and here is another, who curiously, backed down from their no smoking stance after some serious entertaining.

Coincidence, or another union leader with his nose buried in the trough?

THE secretary of the NSW hospitality workers’ union, Mark Boyd, was entertained by the Crown casino lobbyist Mark Arbib at an exclusive AFL grand final event weeks after he signed an agreement with James Packer’s company over its proposed hotel and casino at Barangaroo.

Mr Boyd, the state secretary of United Voice, was Mr Arbib’s guest at a function at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 29 during the grand final between the Sydney Swans and Hawthorn.

Dignitaries present included the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, the NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell and the NSW Sports Minister, Graham Annesley.

On September 4 a memorandum of understanding was signed between United Voice and the Packer company Crown Ltd, which saw the union drop its opposition to smoking in high-roller gambling rooms.

The agreement says smoking by high rollers would be a ”commercial necessity” at the Barangaroo complex, which would target the lucrative Asian gambling market.

It was a radical departure from the union’s position in June, when it accused the NSW government of ”gambling with the health of casino workers” by not supporting an opposition push to ban smoking in the high-roller room of the Star casino.

Labor’s life of shame

ᔥ Brisbane Times

Labor’s judgement day is looming. Their union rorting, cheating chickens are coming home to roost:

A constant stream of Labor heavies came through Dobell and Robertson, led by the opposition leader Kevin Rudd, to support the Labor candidates: Craig Thomson in Dobell and Belinda Neal in Robertson. Former prime minister Bob Hawke visited Dobell four times.

”I had never seen so many shadow ministers coming through. We had one every day,” said another Liberal campaign worker, who preferred not to be named. She saw plenty of the Labor field general in Dobell, Michael Williamson.

Williamson was operating from deep within the Labor machine. He was, and is, the national president of the Health Services Union, where Craig Thomson had been national secretary for five years. He was on the executive of the ACTU. He was a vice-president of Unions NSW. And a director of the SGE Credit Union. He would be elected national president of the ALP in 2009.

After Julia Gillard became prime minister, she employed his daughter, Alexandra, as a media adviser. Senator Mark Arbib, believed to have been a key figure in organising political and legal protection for Thomson, rented a Canberra apartment with Alexandra Williamson for two years.

In the 2007 election campaign, Williamson concentrated all the resources he could marshal on Dobell. He spent much of his time operating out of the Thomson campaign office at Long Jetty. He deployed resources from the HSU, Unions NSW, the ACTU and the ALP. He organised scores of union members into the electorate and booked dozens of motel rooms for campaigners.

Many of the details of the 2007 campaign can be found in the report by Fair Work Australia into the activities of Thomson. The Dobell campaign office was largely financed by the HSU with help from the Transport Workers Union. Staff from the HSU national office were seconded to the campaign. The ACTU set up a Work Choices campaign office across the road from Thomson’s headquarters.

So blurred were the lines between Thomson, Williamson, the unions, the ACTU and the Labor Party that when Thomson gave his first speech in federal Parliament on February 19, 2008, he said: ”The support I received from the entire union movement but in particular from Unions NSW, the TWU , the CFMEU [Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union] mining division, the PSA [Public Service Association of NSW] and, of course, my own union, the Health Services Union, was phenomenal. Michael Williamson, the HSU national president, was a marvel in relation to the long-term support he provided to me.”

The Thomson scandal has now busted all that wide open, but Labor feels it owns Thomson after helping him so much. But Thomson is set to name names at 2pm our time:

Labor would do it all again in Dobell in 2010, more than a year after the Thomson scandal was exposed by this newspaper. Thomson re-contested and won Dobell in 2010, a victory that saved the Gillard government.

Labor owns Craig Thomson. In every way.

Strange, then, that Thomson is now accusing Williamson of being one of those who engaged in an improbable conspiracy to ruin his reputation through associations with prostitutes and misappropriation of union funds.

Last week, when the Victorian police fraud squad invited Thomson to name those he believes are involved in the conspiracy, he declined to do so. Responding via the Labor Party’s law firm, Holding Redlich, he said he would name people in Parliament.

That day has come. Thomson is scheduled to address Parliament at midday. He will seek to place reasonable doubt into the narrative that has thus far condemned him. The level of scrutiny and scepticism will be intense.

The whole soap opera around Thomson has succeeded in postponing any legal day of judgment until after a full three-year term has run its course. Thanks to these tactics, used by the Prime Minister on down, and thanks to the support of Thomson by the Greens and independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, the Labor-Greens-Windsor-Oakeshott coalition appears unlikely to ever breach solidarity over Thomson.

Bucket loads of popcorn are required this arvo, to watch this unfold.

GUBU

Aussie politics is robust, and splendid at the same time. Check out this about GUBU:

As a follower of Irish politics, the Liberal Party’s federal director, Brian Loughnane, is a fan of the acronym GUBU.

Wheeled out in Ireland on occasions of scandal and disrepute, GUBU stands for ”grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre, unprecedented”.

Last Monday night, after Julia Gillard saw off Kevin Rudd in the leadership ballot and then Mark Arbib quit the Senate, Loughnane thought GUBU an apt term to apply to the state of the Labor government. And that was before events turned really strange on Tuesday, when the Herald online exposed the attempt to lure Bob Carr to Canberra as foreign affairs minister and silliness ensued before Gillard salvaged the situation on Thursday.

It will be days, if not weeks, before the impact of the events of the past fortnight filters through in the opinion polls. Despite a few brainless attempts to impute otherwise, Rudd had nothing to do with the on-again,off-again, on-again Carr saga. Consequently, his followers felt smug vindication as it dogged the government. More SNAFU than GUBU, they reasoned. And while, superficially, the Carr coup looks a winner, it and the whole cabinet reshuffle have caused internal consternation.

 

Why I could never be a Politician, Ctd

The faceless man, Mark Arbib, has taken a lot of flak for quitting. Immediately people suspected he was getting hammered behind the scenes.

‘There aren’t any bombshells,” Mark Arbib says. ”No one has threatened me. No one has cajoled me. No one knew I was going to resign until I went to the PM.”

Readers will remember Sen Arbib quit in part because his daughter burst into tears and told him not to take the job when he said he had a promotion and would be away from home more.

“I find it incredible that people are cynical about politicians who leave for family reasons. What other reason is so important?” Arbib asks, which only serves to make that question stand out even more than it does already.

All too often you go to National Party events and see spouses putting on a brave face when you know they hate the way their family is disrupted by politics. They try hard but anyone who can see through the veil knows they are hating it, and hating the selfishness of their spouse putting them and their family through it.

There is a lot to hate. Time in Wellington every week, everyone in the electorate wanting a piece of you, never being able to be just a normal citizen, and some old biddy of an MPs wife telling you that you can’t go to the supermarket in jeans because you are an MPs wife – when you know full well the old biddy’s husband’s political career never reached its peak due to his attempts to run one up half the women in the parliamentary precinct.

I couldn’t put my wife and family through this. And I admire Mark Arbib for putting his family first, and hope that the cynicism around his resignation can be tempered by people realising that for some of us, families are more important than a political career.

Why I won’t ever be an MP

ALP factional boss Senator Mark Arbib resigned. He gave a long statement to a press conference about letting Labor heal, and the toll being a politician takes on your family.

Was Mark Arbib’s decision made off the back of a mid-life crisis? The senator said despite what some might think, being a politician was a seven-day-a-week job.

“The time away from your kids, the time away from your spouse is incredibly hard,” he said.

Many years ago he promised his wife he would reassess his own professional life when he turned 40. He reached that milestone last November.

When he was promoted to assistant treasurer in December, he shared the news with his family over dinner.

“My daughter said to me, ‘Dad, is it going to mean more time away from home?’,” he said.

“I told her it will, she started crying and said, ‘Don’t take the job Dad, don’t take the job’.

“For me that says everything about the life of a politician, it says everything about the stress on family.”

MPs make huge sacrifices for their careers and often families have to bear the brunt of these sacrifices. I would never be able to make these sacrifices, because I would not be able to leave my family behind every week to go to Wellington.

I’d also be troubled because I think I would fail the good man test. I wouldn’t be able to help out my mates when they needed a hand moving house, or be there if their wife died, or their kids were in trouble and they needed a mate to look out for them. As an MP I’d be too busy fighting meaningless petty battles that contribute little to the greater good.

Much of what happens in Wellington is pointless. Winning minor tactical victories means losing focus on what matters. In the crazy filibustering of some silly legislation Labour took an urgent sitting through until the Saturday afternoon. One MP missed their daughter’s third birthday party because of this filibuster.

Maybe it was worth it, but they will never get the opportunity to go to their daughters third birthday ever again.

Being an MP in exchange for missing my daughters third birthday party simply wouldn’t be worth it to me. I once quit a high paying job in Sydney one Monday morning and flew back to Auckland on Thursday night because if I stayed working for that company I would have missed my son going to school on his first day. I wouldn’t compromise for that and I sure as hell wouldn’t compromise for flying to Wellington every week to listen politely to people I neither respect or even want to sit with.

The Brutality of Sussex Street

If Goff won’t go quietly some of these guys will take care of him no worries. They rolled leaders with a degree of low bastardry that was as beautiful as it is brutal.

Rees’s only qualification for the job, according to one of many detractors in his party, is that he was a “westie” and not a “wog”, apparently an asset when appealing to voter parochialism. The way he was plucked from obscurity to take the state’s top job is a glimpse into the empty heart of NSW Labor today.

The then ALP general secretary, Karl Bitar, and his predecessor, Mark Arbib, now a senator and parliamentary secretary, wanted to replace Iemma because of his electricity privatisation policy.

Ironically, their focus groups at the time were negative about the “wogs” in cabinet – Iemma, Michael Costa, Frank Sartor and Joe Tripodi, and a cynical idea emerged that a “skippy”and “westie” like Rees, who had done nothing objectionable in his limited time in the portfolios of utilities and emergency services, would win the electorate’s heart.

These blokes make Fat Tony look like Tweety Bird, and H2 look like Tinkerbell.