Fair Work Australia

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 »

Dodgy Union Boss charged

Craig Thomson has been charged:

FAIR Work Australia has laid charges against independent MP Craig Thomson, alleging he broke industrial laws and union rules in splurging hundreds of thousands dollars of union funds on prostitutes, spousal travel, and high living.

FWA spokeswoman Diana Lloyd confirmed to The Australian that civil charges were filed in the Federal Court this morning, and are due to be served on Mr Thomson.

Ms Lloyd said FWA would be seeking “pecuniary penalties, as well as compensation” from Mr Thomson.

The move follows FWA’s three year investigation into allegations Mr Thomson, when he was Health Services Union national secretary between 2002 and 2007, misused his union credit cards for cash advances without receipts, the services of escort agencies, and air tickets for his then wife Krista…

Victorian police are examining whether the alleged misspending of union funds by Mr Thomson constitutes fraud.

NSW police Strike Force Carnarvon is examining allegations raised by Ms Jackson and other union officials claiming Mr Thomson, and Mr Williamson, received secret commissions in the form of credit cards on the account of a graphic designer who had a $680,000 a year contract with the union, John Gilleland.

A dodgy union boss

The Australian

Craig Thomsons financial rorting of union funds is continuing to embarrass. We can see some of the same behaviour like the failure to file proper audited accounts happening inside our own unions:

PAYMENTS and cash withdrawals on Labor MP Craig Thomson’s union credit card were not properly accounted for and he hired several people without the required authority, the Fair Work Australia investigation report into the alleged rorting has claimed.

Among the people Mr Thomson is alleged to have appointed to an industrial position in the Health Services Union without the authority of the union’s national executive is his half brother, Struan Robertson.

The Australian can reveal key findings of the 1100-page report prepared by FWA investigator Terry Nassios concerning the national office of the Health Services Union from 2002 to 2007, when Mr Thomson was national secretary.

They are contained in a letter from Mr Nassios to the HSU national office, which details the alleged contraventions against it as a registered industrial organisation.

In his letter, obtained by The Australian, Mr Nassios says the alleged breaches are contained in his report which will be considered for action by FWA general manager Bernadette O’Neill.

Ms O’Neill has yet to decide what she will do about more than 100 alleged civil breaches, but she has referred findings of suspected criminal activity to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Nassios’s letter alleges numerous breaches by the national office of laws governing union finances and procedures, and of the union’s own rules.

Mr Nassios finds the national office, during the watch of Mr Thomson and national president Michael Williamson, failed to hold a number of properly constituted meetings of its national council.

He says the national office did not appoint a national auditor in some years in the required fashion, and failed to produce an annual financial return to FWA within the required reporting period for 2006-07.

Mr Nassios alleges Mr Thomson hired Mr Robertson, and the son of Labor figure Leo McLeay, Mark McLeay, without the authority of the national executive.

A dodgy union rep

Sydney Morning Herald

Craig Thomson is a dodgy union and now an MP who is propping up the Gillard Government.

Mr Thomson has been under investigation by Fair Work Australia for over three years for alleged misuse of union members’ funds.

He has been accused of using a union credit card to hire prostitutes and make cash withdrawals. He has denied the claims, and this afternoon released a statement reaffirming his innocence.

Fair Work’s general manager Bernadette O’Neill announced the referral to the Commonwealth DPP in a press statement today, saying she had received the 1100 page report last Wednesday and had been examining it since.

I am sure as we pick apart union finances here in New Zealand we are going to find similar dodgy financial practices by union bosses.

MUA being sued for bad faith bargaining

The Maritime Union says they are heartened by the illegal support of the Maritime Union of Australia.

We can see from news in Australia that they really are different sides of the same coin. Currently they are being taken to the equivalent of our Employment Court,  “Fair Work Australia” , because the MUA has failed to uphold the principles of good faith bargaining.

RAIL and ports operator Asciano will take its ongoing dispute with the Maritime Union of Australia to Fair Work Australia.

The company’s Patrick Terminals division said it will go to the industrial umpire in a bid to finalise a new enterprise agreement with the MUA and resolve all outstanding issues in the 18-month dispute.

Asciano said the union has prompted more than 60 stoppages and work bans at Patrick operations across Australia in the past year-and-a-half. The company has also been notified of more strikes at its Fremantle terminal from next week.

Patrick Terminals and Logistics director Alastair Field said the company is going to FWA out of frustration with the MUA.

“We are disappointed that despite 18 months of negotiations and the in-principle agreement reached with the union last November, the MUA has been dragging its feet and has implemented delaying tactics on various occasions,” Mr Field said in a statement this morning.

Asciano said recent action had cost it $15 million in lost opportunity and incremental costs in the first half of the financial year.