The collapse of the Craig Thomson case is no surprise.
Mr Rozencwajg said instead of alleging a deception of the Health Services Union, the charges alleged a deception of the Commonwealth Bank and Diners Club, the lending institutions that issued the cards at the centre of the alleged offending.Obviously, the object of the case was never to actually convict Thomson, since this flaw in the charges should have been plain to all before it got underway. The surprise was that it ever got to court. That was the win condition for the prosecution, since the whole point of the case was solely to produce media coverage like the Daily Telegraph front cover this week shouting I HAD SEX WITH CRAIG THOMSON. Smear was the game, not justice.
But he said he couldn't see how either institution had been defrauded.
Any alleged fraud, Mr Rozencwajg said, would have been committed on the Health Services Union.
One has to ask why it is that the Health Services Union didn't bring a civil case, as the magistrate suggested. The answer no doubt lies in Thomson's successor Kathy Jackson, who doesn't want the publicity because she's a far greater example of the kind of financial behaviour that got Thomson into hot water.
As became clear from evidence during the trial, the amount of money at stake here - less than $30,000 across five years - is dwarfed by the amount of money which is drawn out on HSU credit cards in cash by Jackson on an annual basis with no accountability. In addition to the $100,000 in cash she now withdraws every year no questions asked, she went on a $22,000 ski trip with her husband to Mt Hotham on union coin in 2005.
When the right talks about this case and are presented with these facts, their attack normally turns to accountability for union spending, as if this case will be the moral catalyst for the dissolution of all left wing unions. However, what Thomson and Jackson have been doing is no worse than what happens in a lot of Burnsian corporate environments. All of the sins of the corporatised union movement were learned from the gorilla-vested original sinners in Martin Place and Collins St. The money at stake here is pocket change compared to the vast amounts of shareholder funds wasted on executive benefits in Australia every day.
That is not to condone this waste; both types of greed are distasteful. It would be disingenuous to bring the opprobrium only on unions for hosting venal graspers like Jackson, Williamson and Thomson. The problem is the lack of accountability for all elites. Pretending that it is a union-only problem will not solve it.
UPDATE: This article has been tweaked slightly and reposted at Independent Australia, after they asked nicely.