Thursday, January 30, 2014

Craig Thomson case craters

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.
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.
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.

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.


  1. All but. The magistrate openly sided with the defence on the major point of the case in closing remarks.

  2. A post that would have had much reaction at Catallaxy.*

    To be honest, I have not been following the case closely at all, and simply had the impression from the radio news I heard that Craig was a goner.

    I am sure that is the impression the public must have, after seeing headlines about the prostitute who confirmed he was her client, etc.

    *By the way, Sinclair really was saying the silliest things about anti-Semitism yesterday in his Barry Cohen post. Eg:

    and his next comment.

  3. I had been waiting for the defence but like Steve not taking a lot of notice about it!
    One benefit is much stronger corporate governance at that Union.

    It should be the case for ALL organisations!

  4. With Jackson in charge, there has not been much corporate governance at the HSU.

  5. If it is confirmed the prosecutors have stuffed this up entirely, it will also raise serious questions about the quality of advice the Victorian detectives are getting in their investigation of Gillard/Wilson.

    I strongly suspect it will be shown up eventually as a scandalous matter that the police have chosen to pursue Gillard on 20 year old allegations on an allegation (the possible incorrect witnessing of a document) which would normally be dealt with as a matter of professional misconduct only - not a criminal matter.

  6. If they can't even nail Thomson on this, Gillard has nothing to worry about.

  7. Oh look - Morgan has Labor on 53% TPP.

    Monty, you could probably run open threads where exiles from catallaxy can post such stuff. Some of the non exiles would probably join it too.

  8. Yeah steve, I have been thinking of that. Something like a fresh meat thread?

  9. You know, loaded dog, fresh meat to chase, i.e. open thread. :)

  10. Steve, just caught up with that comment by Sinclair, he really cannot lie staright in bed can he?
    Who owned the property before it was illegaly taken?

  11. Sinclair's following comment, that he can't understand how Jews can support left-ish "big government" because the Holocaust was a big government program also sets some sort of benchmark for silliness, even if he is trying to be half funny. (It's often hard to tell, given that some of things he says are so unbelievable.)

    Pedro accused him of "just being obtuse" further down. Quite true.

  12. Sinclair obviously doesn't know the Nazis had a privatization program.

    Turkey didn't need a Big Government to have a Holocaust did they?

  13. Strangely, I feel this thread will now only be complete when JC or someone turns up with some sweary abuse...

  14. LOL steve, that's the sign of a battered spouse. :)

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Nice bit of exposure as to how you compromised your integrity in order to be published by letting the boosters at IA substitute the word "venal" to "alleged".

    "Slightly tweaked" is misleading.

    You let IA convert you from someone who obviously loathes Thomson to someone who is equivocal towards him. Did you at least put up a fight with Donovan?

  17. for sale = monty


  18. He is within his rights to change language according to his legal needs. He probably feels more pressure on that score from his enemies.

    I was paid nothing, nor did I ask anything.

  19. you didnt even sell your principles, you gave them away freely, that is sad.

    and for what, a pat on the back.

    that is sad.


  20. Whereas you, anonymous internet troll, are the apotheosis of principle.

  21. Gee, that worked out well, guilty! Perhaps time to move this post to the start of ya blog corcky. Lets see, boats stop - check, Thomo guilty - check, is this a contrarian blog corky? Whatever you think may happen, the opposite does, do you have any stocks advice?

    Apotheosis?? Good grief corky, who are you trying to impress? LOL, you sad fuck, do big words pre suppose intelligence ? LOL.

  22. FORMER MP Craig Thomson must have known that using his Health Services Union (HSU) credit card to pay for escorts was illegitimate, a magistrate says.

    Thomson, 49, has been found guilty of theft and obtaining financial advantage by deception after using the cards to pay for escorts and make cash withdrawals while he was the union's national secretary.


    Wow mOnty... Wrong again (as usual).... You fat imbecile.

  23. He won't go to jail, the case will peter out with some minor fines.

    If they start jailing executives for misusing corporate credit cards, you'd take out the entire banking industry. Which might not be a bad idea, come to think of it.

  24. he is guilty you halfwit, contrary to all ya BS.

    Ya post had nothing to do with executives.

    You are a disgusting man.

  25. (a) I never said he was innocent, just that the charges were flawed;
    (b) My post was all about executives, you moron. That's why the pic is of Mr Burns. "The money at stake here is pocket change compared to the vast amounts of shareholder funds wasted on executive benefits in Australia every day."

  26. You obviously did not read your own article before your post at 9.40am on 19 Feb.

    Whatever little credit remains should be used to withdraw the slur on the prosecutors as to their motivation


    Your Mr Wrongologist title remains intact.

  28. "He won't go to jail, the case will peter out with some minor fines."

    wrong, always wrong. you are such a halfwit.

  29. "(a) I never said he was innocent, just that the charges were flawed;"

    here is a heads up, apparently, the charges were not flawed.

    dear me, what you will do or say for a bit of attention, farkin catspole.