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.?

Gillard is going to find the heat of the feds coming down on her. On top of that the unions are coming under teh cosh as well.

When Thomson delivered his maiden speech on February 19, 2008, he thanked three key Labor machinists, Mark Arbib, Karl Bitar and Sam Dastyari, as crucial to his support, and added: ”The support I received from the entire union movement but in particular from Unions NSW, the TWU [Transport Workers Union], the CFMEU [Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union] mining division, the PSA [Public Service Association] and, of course, the Health Services Union, was phenomenal.”

Three of these unions, the TWU, HSU and CFMEU, are named in the terms of reference of the pending royal commission into union corruption.

The Abbott government is setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Union corruption.