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Where is Labor?

Today’s press conference about the findings of the Trade Union Royal Commission by a diplomatic Turnbull, a smirking Brandis, and an overly enthusiastic Cash (the cords on her neck were standing out), gave perhaps the strongest indication that we will be going to an early election.

They are using the findings to reintroduce to Parliament two previously rejected Bills – one about oversight of registered organisations and the other about the reestablishment of the ABCC. Turnbull said, if these Bills aren’t passed, they will fight the next election on union corruption.

There are many inconsistencies and questions that arise from today’s proceedings.

Justice Haydon, despite no experience in the building industry, rejected union claims of poor workplace safety measures on some sites being the reason that union representatives were there even though they provided photographic evidence. In fact, workplace safety seems to have been ignored in the inquiry even though there have been, as at 24 December 2015, 186 Australian workers killed at work this year.

Heydon used perjorative language such as “louts, thugs and thieves” in his report to describe union officials yet had no criticism for the companies who allegedly paid the bribes.

After deflecting questions about Mal Brough by saying he should not be tried in the court of public opinion, and Brandis refusing to answer a question about an individual who has been referred for investigation saying it would be inappropriate, George was however eager to point out that Bill Shorten, despite no adverse findings against him, was the leader of the AWU during the time when some alleged questionable practices occurred. He then went further to say that future investigation may uncover a direct connection to wrongdoing by Mr Shorten. Double standards there George?

Michaelia has come up with a new three word slogan which she repeated several times – “deny and distract”. Apparently, despite the RC just making referrals for further investigation about things that “may” have happened (the word “may” being used 15 times in the first three pages of Hayden’s report), Michaelia has decided there can be no denying the widespread corruption and no distraction from this finding will be tolerated. So much for judicial process.

They have called for a strong independent regulator for registered organisations who must be transparent and accountable for their financial dealings. How about some transparency and accountability for the various registered organisations that raise funds for the Liberal Party? How about a federal ICAC into the widespread corruption among politicians as shown by the NSW ICAC? How about some transparency into the funding of the IPA and how they spend their money on supposedly charitable endeavours?

Turnbull announced they are putting together a taskforce including various government bodies like the ATO, AUSTRAC, ASIC and others to expose corrupt, illegal and unethical conduct by unions. How about a taskforce to look into the conduct of the many businesses who pay no tax through dubious profit shifting? How about the bribes paid by the AWB and Securency?

Brandis was big on saying that union officials should not use the dues paid by its members as their personal piggy bank. What about the widespread practice of politicians using entitlements as their personal piggy bank like Julie Bishop spending $30,000 to fly her and her latest lover back from WA? Or the countless times that politicians have used their entitlements for family holidays? Or the many occasions when they have repaid money due to “clerical errors” by their staff?

They talked about the conflict of interest of union officials accepting payments from businesses. What do they call donations from property developers and mining companies to political parties?

One recommendation from Dyson was for the government to be able to veto some people from being elected as union officials. I fail to see how the government has any legal right to decide who union members vote for.

The thing I cannot understand about the TURC is, if they had evidence of criminal behaviour, why waste time with a Royal Commission who has no powers of prosecution and whose evidence cannot be used in a court of law. The investigations will have to start all over to satisfy the requirements for admissible evidence. Why didn’t they just pass the information onto the existing bodies that do have the power to investigate and prosecute?

With all these questions that should be asked, the response from Labor’s Brendan O’Connor was woefully inadequate, just repeating the old news about Heydon offering to speak at a Liberal Party fundraiser and saying witch hunt over and over. If that is the best Labor can do then they really aren’t even trying to win the next election. Are they lazy or just incompetent?

 

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  1. Catriona Thoolen

    There is big funding from the AEC after an election…how about we give both the big parties a fright by nobody putting them first…one of them will win anyway and form government, but they will not get the big payout from the AEC

    2013
    Liberal Party of Australia $23,884,672.94
    Australian Labor Party $20,774,690.55

    Neither are listening to the voters….LNP are atrocious but Labor needs to return to their roots and support the working person.

  2. Andreas

    To me they are neither lazy nor incompetent: They are complicit.
    What a pigsty…

  3. Ruth L

    Thank you Kaye Lee for your 2015 blogs; may they continue to keep us’ politically obsessed readers ‘ fully informed in 2016.

  4. leonetwo

    Big mistake for Bill Shorten to be on holidays when the final TURC report was released. He knew it was coming, but chose not to be available. He should have been out there today doing pressers and speaking to the media, instead of leaving it all to Brendan O’Connor who clearly was shoved in front of the cameras before he had time to look at the reports.

    Turnbull outfoxed Labor on this, with The Messiah announcing he was not going to take leave over Christmas. We knew why, he wanted to give the first proper presser in his time as PM to talk about union corruption and evil union leaders. Shorten should have seen this coming, or at least, his advisers should have been alert.

    Bad move, Labor. Do you want to win the next election or have you already decided to default to the government.

  5. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Where’s Shorten’s response to the humiliating demotion of Brough and Briggs? Perfect fodder to counter-claim against union corruption accusations.

    As for O’Connor, he’s usually a waste of space anyway and should not be trusted with the important portfolio of employment.

  6. Mark Needham

    Yes, the Royal Commission did no investigation into the Good that Unions do.
    They were on a “witch hunt” only looking for bad stuff.
    Why wasn’t the Commission given instructions to look for the ”Good, that is interred with their bones” instead of the Evil that lives after them. I mean any Royal Commission would find error in any organization, if they dig deep enough.
    A sham, a shame, a blight on investigative arts.
    Wondering,
    Mark Needham

  7. David

    Shorten justifies my continuing criticism of him as a pathetic incompetent leader by his absence (obviously planned conveniently), at what he knew bloody well would be one of the Govts major triggers to call an election and demanded his presence.
    Unless this gutless Opposition stand up to him tell him in no uncertain terms he has lost the majority of Caucus support, they are in for a major defeat and deservedly

  8. Clean livin

    Dangerous play thing for the current government.

    I am sure they realise “what goes around, comes around”, and what is “good for the goose, is good for the gander”!

    Reintroducing the bills to curb unions will create a bit of noise, however an amendment to the bill, adding business corruption will take the flame from the fire, indicating to Joe Public that “fairness” is not a word the current mob comprehend.

    Also, I just cannot believe the next Labor government would not respond with a RC into dubious business activities, and their roles with tax minimization, etc, just for “starters”!

    Plus, I also feel confident they will persue Abbott for whatever reason, after all, he started these shenanigans, and he does have form.

  9. kerri

    Well said as usual Kaye Lee.
    My first thought was to ask where the Federal ICAC was?
    What about the corrupt political donations???
    Turnbull has little credibility. Heydon even less!
    And as for Brandis? Heydon did an excellent job meaning he did as he was instructed.
    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    The real leader spoke in place of Shorten. Plibersek.

  10. kerri

    Catriona Thoolen? Spot on!

  11. richard grant

    Lies, dam lies and politics how hypocritical .

  12. diannaart

    Kaye Lee asks:

    “How about some transparency and accountability for the various registered organisations that raise funds for the Liberal Party? How about a federal ICAC into the widespread corruption among politicians as shown by the NSW ICAC? How about some transparency into the funding of the IPA and how they spend their money on supposedly charitable endeavours?

    Turnbull announced they are putting together a taskforce including various government bodies like the ATO, AUSTRAC, ASIC and others to expose corrupt, illegal and unethical conduct by unions. How about a taskforce to look into the conduct of the many businesses who pay no tax through dubious profit shifting? How about the bribes paid by the AWB and Securency?”

    These above mentioned antics make unions look like a bunch of amateurs at the game of corruption, deceit and bribery.

  13. Sen Nearly Ile

    you may be too harsh with little bill, It is best he is absent. Torpid tanya got her chance to push forward and she was quite competent today.
    Unfortunately only the few who watch the abc heard her.
    So over the new year we can laugh at the rabbott, wonder where little billy is and watch whilst turnball has free access to the voting public with the old liberal lies about the economy. labor debt and the new beauty ‘from budget savings’
    One of my memories was the rabbott bragging that it was his leadership that made the budget and it was(list the men)’s budget. When the cuts were announced they came from health and foreign affairs the portfolios of the women. Where was plibersek and wong???
    I( have my own house and have made sure my children have a freehold house and a good education(abeit my daughter still has hecs- she had the family- her husband has no hecs he worked)
    The tragedy is labor is wedged by turnball managing the loonies and has only enough powder for one grape shot.
    There are many targets that little billy could drag into the open to get the autocue journos excited enough to go frenzy over the wounded. But these pollies are too interested in maintaining the status quo of their ‘arses’ to risk exposure on 7 or 9.

  14. diannaart

    Let’s all remember Kathy Jackson as her most ardent supporters remember her:

    He (Commissioner Dyson Heydon) also referred Ms Jackson, the former national secretary of the Health Services Union, to prosecutors for possible charges over obtaining property and financial advantage by deception.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/trade-union-royal-commission-refers-cesar-melhem-kathy-jackson-to-prosecutors-20151230-glx10n.html#ixzz3vnMJxjBn

    There is always some light somewhere…

  15. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    kerri,

    I once (not all that long ago) was calling Plibersek, the rightful Labor leader too.

    But alas, she has been too quiet on important, potentially heart-warming issues that show the true mettle of reforming politicians, namely the vulnerable on welfare and in detention.

    She strikes me now as too much of the sweet girl next door, who doesn’t really need to show the feisty protect-the-litter-bitch when it is called for.

    Catherine King, Shadow Health Minister, might be a worthy replacement to Billy Shortcut. I’d like our enlightened commentariat to discuss this possibility in the light of a collaborating Alliance with other Left, Centre, Progressive, Alternative Parties, Independents and Voices.

  16. John Kelly

    While the LNP think they are on a winner, I am inclined to think the broader community see through the politics and have long since turned off on this.

  17. John Kelly

    Jennifer, if I was looking for one who could take it up to the government and the media, I would be inclined to look the way of Mark Butler.

  18. jim

    No worries unions will be all gone and we’ll all be working for $10 dollars per hour IMO thats what the Liberals plan is.

  19. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    John Kelly,

    true, Mark Butler does have charisma. But I’m not sure of his political commitments.

    I apologise if I’m wrongly accusing him but I strongly suspect that he also fits nicely into the neo-conservative mould that answers to the Big End of town when pressured, and who won’t effect any true institutional reforms to our unfair and unrepresentative system in all matters social and economic that will tip the balance in the favour of the 99%.

  20. Kaye Lee

    You can always rely on Eric Abetz for a quote….

    “We in politics, we are the volunteers, we’re the ones who go into battles, but when we muck up it is the families and children that suffer,”

    If they are volunteers why the hell are we paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars? And could I suggest Eric, when you “muck it up” it is ALL of us that suffer. Excuse me if I find it hard to have compassion for the families of Brough and Briggs when you have indefinitely incarcerated families in a hellhole for your own political gain when they have done nothing wrong other than to ask for our help.

  21. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Beautifully encapsulated Kaye Lee.

    As I worry that Eric Abetz might miss your astute correction, might I be so presumptuous as to ask you to send this directly to him insisting on a response?

  22. John Fraser

    <

    Turnbull polishing the TURC.

    Uncle Otto Abetz calling for the idiot Abbott to be recalled to the front bench.

    Truss deciding to resign and let Barney in as Deputy P.M.

    its all just simmering below the surface with the coalition.

  23. Douglas Evans

    Kaye Lee You raise good points. I don’t quibble with any of them but unfortunately to me you overlook the key point. Union corruption is endemic and widespread. Does anyone doubt Heydon’s assertion that this is just the tip of the iceberg. I am no fan of either the TURC or commissioner Heydon but I don’t doubt this. This cannot be condoned and the unattractiveness of the accusers cannot conceal this. The greedy, stupid, thuggish (and almost certainly criminal) behavior of what after all appears to be a fair number of Union officials across a range of unions AWU, CFMEU, HSU (to name just those I can call up at the moment) and the odd Labor Polly (don’t forget Cesar Melhem) has delivered the entire labour movement into the hands of its enemies and the forces of the right will not lose this opportunity to dismantle or at least seriously damage it. The legacy of the deranged Kathy Jackson et al may well be the destruction of what remains of effective organized labour in this country. Complaints about aspects of the TURC process, its main figures, its government backers are as nothing against what has been revealed. Witch hunt it may have been but what a coven it has turned up. The ALP has certainly known what has been going on within the Union movement – this has not just popped up out of nowhere. Well may you ask where are they? Where have they been? They are utterly complicit in the grievous damage that has now been done to what remains of the Party’s power base. Along with the bloody Coalition the ALP stands condemned. Where are they you ask? They are in denial as they always are when they are caught out or when they bugger something up.

  24. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Good on you Doug, for saying it as it is.

    It’s just been a battle between the monoliths. On one side, Labor and the Unions both of whom traditionally have been known to represent the working public.

    On the other side, LNP pansies and the Corporate Blood-suckers both of whom only represent monied interests.

    God help anybody who falls between the cracks. This is what both of these moronic groups fail to recognise.

    That’s why I call for an Alliance coz then every public interest can be represented in a Proportional way by elected members.

  25. lawrencesroberts

    Thank you Kaye Lee for doing the hard yards as usual. The Labor Party is smug and complacent. i am sure they enjoy being in opposition. Clean hands and no heavy lifting.
    No one has mentioned the third alternative.

  26. Wun Farlung

    Douglas and Jennifer
    perhaps you have been listening and reading too much MSM today. Good to see that ‘Our ABC/SBS’ are toeing the “TEAM Straya” line
    Widespread, deep-seated, louts, thugs, corruption… same could be applied to the majority of businesses large, medium and small in Australia but I doubt that we will ever see a Royal Commission into the aspirationals- tony’s tradies- mega corps
    One day as in all empires there will be a “let them eat cake” moment.
    All we need is a few more job loses and a small rise in mortgage interest rates

  27. Matters Not

    Douglas Evans, I agree entirely with what you assert,Union corruption is endemic and widespread. And yes it needs to be confronted.

    But let’s not kid ourselves, the sins of the Unions and the individuals identified (as a partial representative of the labour movement), real as they are, pale into insignificance when compared with the sins of ‘capital’. Yes Jackson, Thompson, Williamson and the like ought to be condemned and subject to the full force of the law but their ‘sins’ are relatively minor when compared with the ‘sins’ of corporate criminals.

    While one could point out any number of differences as to ‘treatment’, could I just point one important distinction. When ‘unions’ break the law, generally, it’s individuals who are prosecuted and punished. When ‘corporations’ break the law, generally speaking, it’s the corporations that are prosecuted and escape with fines, large as they may be. The significant difference is that corporate ‘individuals’, generally speaking, escape incarceration.

    Then there’s the definition of ‘corruption.

  28. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Wun Farlung,

    don’t EVER accuse me of listening too much to the MSM. Your comment proves to me that some of the commentariat can only ever see the duopoly flipflops of LIBLAB.

    Think outside the box before you start making stupid accusations.

    When your laid-back Labor Lite get their act into gear, we might actually see a fair dickum Fed ICAC that will scrutinise all the misspent public money of LNP expenses plus ill-gotten donations from suspect LNP donors.

    But then for all that to happen, it will take an alert, energetic and brave Labor lot to do the job.

    So I ask you, Is Labor up to the task?

  29. Wun Farlung

    Jennifer
    I’m calling how I am reading it. You commented about sides.
    I want everypart of our society brought under scrutiny.
    Some (very small some) of the Union movement have been caught out.
    What about the rest?

  30. Matters Not

    So there’s an election on the horizon and the overwhelming odds are that the ALP will again get thumped. It’s a fairly safe bet if that election is fought on personalities, as it usually is, then it’s already ‘game over’.

    Shorten is no match for Turnbull in the media stakes, and never will be. Tanya is no match for Julie in the media stakes, and never will be. Bowen is no match for Morrison in the media stakes, and never will be. King is no match for Ley in the media stakes, and never will be. And so on.

    For Labor to be competitive, then it must develop tactics, strategies and the like that centre on policies as opposed to personalities. It’s ‘policies’ that are important, not personalities.

    How to achieve that is a major problem because it contradicts the ‘common sense’ of electioneering these days.

  31. Wun Farlung

    Matters Not
    Can’t see it happening in the narcisistc Facebook age

  32. Sen Nearly Ile

    short on opposing doesn’t need to match he just needs to st up the questions for the autocuists to ask ie his captain picks, copper, climate vulture tax avoidance and pump these in answer to any question. any reference to the loonies can be laughed at by the weird voting with the coalition, debt, climate change, private companies less than $200million.and ask what were they promised for their vote?
    ps policies are jack s… over slogans too dificult to understand and too long to remember.

  33. Wun Farlung

    They’ve gotta keep them slogans to 3 words or less

  34. mars08

    Is this what a functioning democracy is supposed to look like?

  35. Michael

    from Manzanillo – doth complaineth and blameth too much – it is easy when effort can be expended so easily to picture as always someone else’s fault especially if it can be directed at a monolith – all that is being achieved is helping Mumbles & Co – they plant a (? to be named) seed and we gleefully provide the water and fertilizer and all they and their media sycophants do is sit back and watch it grow – it is us who are providing the oxygen while they gleefully stoke – it is at this time we use self restraint and patience and stop providing the oxygen except selective and targeted lateral tid bits until majority realise that the oxygen has all been used up and empty vessels remain ready to be buried – it is those amongst us (61% in my abbottland) who fell for the two card, pea and thimble trick, three word slogan and “sit back as we (LNP) will make it so easy for you because you deserve it” at the last election.
    Time to reflect and regroup?.
    Beunos dias y Próspero Año Nuevo (wish you a good day and prosperous new year)

  36. diannaart

    @Matters Not

    Agree with with Douglas Evans, but you have pointed out the elephant in the room – corporate/political corruption far exceeds corruption of unions – however, unions are the easier target.

    Tired of this roller-coaster of blame and counter-blame, ultimately it is the community which suffers the most.

  37. Terry2

    What is already dulling the coalition’s assault on unions is the obvious question, now being raised by various commentators : if there is a problem with corrupt payments – bribes from employers to unions – and I’m not saying there isn’t a problem. Then it seems obvious that robust criminal sanctions should apply to those soliciting the bribes and those paying the bribes.

    If you are looking at the prospect of ten years in the pokey then it would be a very courageous employer who would pay a bribe to a union and similarly a union official on the receiving end. From what I can see, the so called ‘bribes’ are not particularly large amounts but I think we can all agree that the practice should be discouraged but in doing so the government could be opening up a much bigger can of worms.

    So called facilitation payments – free lunches, paid holidays, round the world airline tickets no questions asked – are used in business circles to secure contracts: that is also soft bribery and it doesn’t involve unions but should be classed as illegal payments – sham scholarships given out by private colleges to dodgy politicians falls into the same category.

    The other main finding of the TURC focuses on the use of union funds by union officials for non union purposes ; as practiced by Kathy Jackson and others at the HSU. But, it was not the RC that uncovered this rorting it was the dedicated pursuit of these people by the HSU itself in the civil courts. How these criminal activities are handled by the criminal justice system remains to be seen.

  38. Kaye Lee

    If they had evidence of criminal behaviour, why not refer it to the police in the first place? Why this expensive circus? If accounting practices were inadequate, why not just audit their books? The TURC didn’t lead to prosecutions – the unions did that. The CFMEU sacked those guilty of taking bribes and expelled them from the union. Why was Dave Noonan, head of the construction side of the CFMEU, never called? Why has Kathy Jackson been protected whilst Craig Thomson was crucified? Weeding out malpractice is a good thing but this was political from the get-go.

  39. Zathras

    I really can’t see this as being a major election issue, considering it was released during the “dead news” period. It may have made a bigger impact if released closer to an earlier election.

    The investigation was likely intended to implicate Gillard and Shorten but it failed to do so.

    There are still avenues that the ALP could pursue – such as the explicitly narrow terms of the investigation that did not consider the employers’ or corporate aspects.

    Were bribes demanded or were they offered? It takes two groups of people to conspire.

    I still think voters will be more concerned with health, education and employment matters when the time comes.

  40. Roger

    When asked to look at who should be leading the ALP, only one name comes to mind – Greg Combet!

  41. Kaye Lee

    I have been treasurer for several organisations over the years and I must say that every time I have taken over I have had to completely overhaul their recording and accounting practices. Twice, when doing this, I have found significant irregularities which eventually led to referrals to the police, and I was a volunteer so cost them nothing.

    If there were bribes, those paying them should also be culpable. If there were threats of violence then they should have been directly referred to the police who have the capacity, unlike the TURC, to prosecute. Evidence from the TURC is not necessarily admissible so the investigation will have to start all over. Waste of time and money.

    Lost in all this is the good that unions continue to do. By all means, clean up practices but I think that could have been done more effectively through existing mechanisms rather than this debacle.

  42. lawrencewinder

    My thoughts, too on seeing the rehearsed venom of the attack. I scanned through the RC report and thought , Wow, pretty slim pickings for $60,000.000.00. But as that harpy Cash said, it’s all about distraction; distraction from Sinodinas, Brough, Pyne, the Bishop’s, Christensen, Joyce, Rabid-the-Hun, banking fraud, Mantach, …. .lordy where do you stop?
    What a mongrel country this ruling rabble are turning us into.

  43. Kaye Lee

    I am actually flabbergasted by the language used by Heydon.

    He said it was clear there was room in the union movement for “louts, thugs, bullies, thieves, perjurers”.

    He also said “It would be utterly naïve to think that what has been uncovered is anything other than the small tip of an enormous iceberg.”

    As Dave Oliver said, if there was an “enormous iceberg” of misconduct then a 21-month Royal Commission that grilled 505 witnesses should have been able to find it.

    He said unions were willing to discuss reform with the government but called on Mr Turnbull to “allow some time and space for these discussions to occur, and not try and rush through any kind of legislation in the first part of next year”.

    How come big companies that have been found to engage in tax avoidance are being given time to work with the ATO to improve practice?

    How come all those politicians identified by the NSW ICAC have not been referred for prosecution for taking donations/bribes from property developers and for cooking the books?

    How come, when the Royal Commission into the Australian Wheat Board bribes to Saddam Hussein recommended that criminal proceedings commence against 12 people, the criminal charges were dropped by the Australian Federal Police?

    How come when it was revealed that Securency had for years paid kickbacks to a wide range of officials in Vietnam, Indonesia, Nepal and a number of other countries, DFAT put an injunction on reporting about the case?

    How come politicians misusing their entitlements is not seen as a problem? If you get caught pay it back if they force you to or just try to bluff your way through….unless of course you are Peter Slipper.

    The amounts involved in all these scandals vastly out weigh the “tens of thousands” discussed as being inappropriately paid to unions.

  44. Douglas Evans

    Matters not
    Of course the other side is at it too. I was responding to Kaye Lee’s article not writing a general critique of the state of the world. Any way finger pointing and shouting ‘they’re doing it too’ is not really an adequate response. Not paying particular attention to this issue but if I remember rightly the TURC also referred some employers to the DPP for possible charges.

    Kaye Lee
    Kathy Jackson has not been protected. According to the ABC:
    “More than 40 individuals and organisations have been referred to various authorities, including police, directors of public prosecutions, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Fair Work Commission. Among them was former Health Services Union national secretary Kathy Jackson, with the commission referring her to authorities to consider whether she has committed criminal offences. It said she had used union funds for her own purposes and may have committed a crime by obtaining $250,000 from an employer by false pretences.” She will get her day in court and unless found to be mentally unfit to plead I would guess that she will probably serve time.

    Craig Thomson was not crucified. He was tried and found guilty of serious crimes. If the ALP had not been so stupid as to parachute him into Parliament when his little problems were if not well known at least widely rumored within both the Party and the wider Union movement we would never have been discussing him. But that’s the ALP for you. Again according to the ABC:
    “Justice Christopher Jessup upheld a number of claims pursued by the Fair Work Commission including that Thomson paid for escort services on several occasions in 2005, 2006 and 2007, using union funds in contravention of his duties as an official.
    Justice Jessup wrote in his 46-page judgement Thomson made “improper use of his position to gain advantage for himself”.
    The judgement found Thomson misused his union credit card on numerous encounters with escorts, including a night in June 2005 with a prostitute in at the Surry Hills brothel Tiffany’s Girls.
    Thomson paid an additional $190 for use of the Red Turbo Room Spa.
    The judgement revealed these were listed as “meetings” or “teleconferences” on official union paperwork.
    The judgement detailed unauthorised spending by Thomson totalling tens of thousands of dollars for advertising fees, charitable donations, campaign mail-outs, and furniture for his campaign office and office services.
    He also spent money on personal travel for himself and his wife in 2005, as he sought to relocate from Melbourne to the NSW Central Coast to run in the election.
    The judgement was also critical of Thomson’s 2005 hiring of Criselee Stevens, who was paid by the HSU, but did little work for the union.”

    You ask ‘If they had evidence of criminal behaviour, why not refer it to the police in the first place?’ The harrowing tales coming out of that other Royal Commission into child abuse suggest that referring matters to the police is not always an adequate guarantee of a just outcome. The size of the tip of Justice Heydon’s ‘iceberg’ of union corruption amply justifies the calling of a Royal Commission. Of course it was a witch hunt. Of course the terms of the Commission should have been wider. Of course Heydon is outrageously partisan to sit on such a Commission. of course corruption is rife at the big end of town also. Of course corruption, nepotism and sexism is rampant in the Old Parties of the Coalition. None of this is germane to the point here. I expect that. That’s why I have never considered voting for that side of politics. But the Left is supposed to be better than that. When I discovered a decade ago that the ALP wasn’t I stopped voting for them. Luckily there is a progressive alternative. And with an election coming the inescapable conclusion is ……?

    You state: ‘The CFMEU sacked those guilty of taking bribes and expelled them from the union.’ After they had been exposed by the Royal Commission. Let’s not kid ourselves that the left hand of the CFMEU did not knows what the right hand was doing before the TURC. They moved only after they had been publicly exposed and I suggest would not have done so if they hadn’t.

    Let’s not forget how blurred the lines between the dwindling rump of the Trade Union movement and the Parliamentary Labor Party have become. Would the number of Labor MPs who are not former Union officials outnumber the number who are I wonder? If not it won’t take long. In Victoria that former TU dick head now State MP Cesar Melhem has been caught, creating a serious problem for what seems to be a pretty good Labor government under Daniel Andrews. Melhem has always been tight with Shorten and Conroy. Does anyone imagine that they were unaware of, or perhaps benefited just a teensy bit from what he was up to? I certainly don’t. Big fish little Bill Shorten wriggled through Heydon’s net. Does that mean his fins are clean? Of course not. This goes right to the heart of power in the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party. Let them know we demand better. The only way to deliver that message so that it is heard is at the ballot box. Don’t vote for them. Given the vagaries of our election process, a vote elsewhere on the left will in most cases end up in the tally for the Labor candidate so a fall in the primary vote will not seriously affect the 2PP vote. However if the fall in the primary vote is substantial enough maybe, just maybe it will help to move Shorten on and they will start to address these problems.

  45. Douglas Evans

    Kaye Lee
    ‘The amounts involved in all these scandals vastly out weigh the “tens of thousands” discussed as being inappropriately paid to unions.’ Of course. So what. It alters nothing to finger point and shout they are at it too and they are worse than we are. All it does is excuse the inexcusable and condone the ‘race to the bottom’ in public ethics.

  46. Michael Lacey

    Remember work choices is on the agenda more than ever a new angle of attack! We use a Royal Commission who’s neutrality can be questioned to bring down a decision that allows us to reintroduce Work Choices! Work choices was their plan from the beginning together with the dismantling of Public Education funding and Universal Health Care. Corporate capitalism seeks to privatize all aspects of government service, Fire departments, ambulance services, Criminal justice you name it . It will be banquets for the rich and austerity for the poor! Unions are one of their last obstacles! Don’t worry we will all be all Greeks soon!

  47. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear Kaye Lee @10.02am. Your observations are the things we need Labor to show leadership on and advocate now, and then address when in an Alliance Government with other reforming political bodies.

  48. Kaye Lee

    Not at all Douglas. What it does is point to the double standards. This has been an attempt to demonise all unions as is clearly shown by the perjorative language used which, quite frankly, is completely inappropriate for legal documents.

    My point is that all of these matters are now being referred to the very groups who should have been investigating the complaints in the first place – FWA, AFP, Victorian police, ASIC etc etc. They cannot use the RC findings. They have to start all over. That is a ridiculous waste of time and money.

    The RC had nothing to do with Craig Thomson being prosecuted and your lurid reminder that he spent money on prostitutes is irrelevant and sensationalist. Michael Williamson was brought undone by an independent report commissioned by the union well before the RC was ever established.

    I am in no way excusing the corrupt practices that have occurred. The unions themselves were the prime mover in exposing them in many cases.

  49. Kaye Lee

    I definitely want transparency and accountability regarding union finances and practices. But how can they call for that while legislating to cover up corporate tax evasion? How can they call for that when the government refuses to follow the same standard for their own practices? Why is the charitable status of environmental groups under attack while the IPA refuses any form of scrutiny of their supposed charitable works and income? If we want to stamp out corruption then lets do it properly, not by demonising some while protecting others. And Kathy Jackson was most definitely treated differently, not having to appear when she didn’t feel like it, being coached by Stoljar, being given time to dispose of her assets when her wrongdoing became apparent so she could pull the old “bankrupt” excuse.

  50. Judith W

    It seems to me that there is widespread corruption in almost every aspect of our community, especially where public money is up for grabs. Why stop at unions? Personally I’d like to see where forestry & mining subsidies go.

  51. Douglas Evans

    Kaye Lee Your article asked ‘Where is Labor?’ It did not discuss the wider ramifications of corruption throughout society. I responded to your article. In your most recent comment you ask: “How can they call for that when the government refuses to follow the same standard for their own practices? Why is the charitable status of environmental groups under attack while the IPA refuses any form of scrutiny of their supposed charitable works and income?” The answer of course is that they can do it because they are a right wing Coalition government and they have control of all the levers. I expect no better from this mob. Do you? If so you will be eternally disappointed. You write: “If we want to stamp out corruption then lets do it properly, not by demonising some while protecting others.” And who is that will bring about this state of affairs? Why that would be the ALP – the Party of the fair go – who claims to be better than this. The Party which we all expect (and need) to be better than this. Unfortunately we now see that they aren’t. We would like to change this and help them clean up their act. The only slight possibility of this as I have been harping on for years is not to vote for them. This involves people changing the habit of a lifetime. This they are loathe to do. If you imagine that you are not discouraging this courageous act by finger pointing and trumpeting about the failings of ‘the other mob’ – the ‘they are worse than we are Miss’ response so common in the schoolyard – you are not thinking very clearly.

  52. Anon E Mouse

    Labor doesn’t seem to want to win the next election – Shorten is hanging us out to dry.

    Perhaps his benefactors of the lib-light, oops I mean Labor right, are wanting Labor to play dead and cede the game.

  53. Anon E Mouse

    I would also like to see an inquiry into the electoral commission – because something smelled fishy in the last election. The WA senate fiasco indicate that all is not right.

  54. mars08

    You have to admit… it’s a cunning way to drive a wedge between the ALP and the big unions.

    Will Shorten avoid any conflict with the government… in the hope of shielding his election chances? Or will he confront the Coalition on this subject, and risk being tagged as a union stooge?

  55. Terry2

    Quite a number of the referrals – for possible further action – are to the Fair work Commission under Division 2 dealing with ‘General Duties in relation to the financial management of organisations’, specifically sections 285, 286 and 287 of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations )Act 2009 (Cth).

    These are potentially civil sanctions if proved with maximum civil penalties of 100 penalty units for Bodies Corporate or 20 penalty units for others : a penalty unit is $180. So, if one of the individuals under referral is found to have breached the provisions of the act the maximum penalty is 20 x $180 = $3600 or a Corporation 100 x $180 = $18000.

    As far as I can see we are not talking about particularly egregious matters here. Those referred for criminal investigation are quite separate and could face jail (that includes Jackson) : the referrals and the matters for further investigation are here :

    https://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au/reports/Documents/Final-Report/Volume-1/V1-Appendix-2.pdf

    One of the reasons the government are going hard at a time when their is little or no media scrutiny is that there is not much that the RC has actually turned up and they are hoping that nobody actually bothers to read the Report.

  56. Douglas Evans

    Anon E Mouse
    I have wondered if Shorten wasn’t told beforehand that his role is to keep an eye on the shop for this term of government then quietly step back if or when the election is lost thus retaining his credibility within the Party. This would enable him to go on manipulating and managing, away from the public eye. He is far better suited to this anyway than being front and centre as Opposition Leader. Something like this scenario might explain his detached passivity as Opposition Leader. Of course, should the miracle occur and Labor win the next election power will have been delivered into the hands of the Labor Right (wouldn’t that be wonderful) and Shorten’s right wing Union backers could expect recompense for their investment.

  57. Anon E Mouse

    Douglas, that is a thought that I have been too fearful to express.
    Shorten certainly does look like he is overseeing Labor take a dive in a rigged match.

    We truly do need a federal ICAC or CMC – with the likes of Dyson Heydon not elligible to apply as they should be appointed only with aprovals from all sides.

  58. Kaye Lee

    Whilst on the topic of corruption, one thing I cannot understand is why Kathy Jackson went so hard as the ‘whistleblower’ when she was one of the biggest rorters. It would appear she felt immune from any action against her.

    She addressed the H R Nicholls society which is Australia’s most conservative IR club formed by Peter Costello – an unusual venue for a union boss to say the least

    KATHY JACKSON: I believe there is a very strong case for extending to the full extent possible and applicable the same governance, investigation and enforcement provisions that apply to other corporations, generally those registered under the Corporations Act, to unions. (Liberal Party policy)

    KATHY JACKSON: Do I need to point out that Minister Shorten is an international grand master in the process of using unions as chess pieces in ALP factional warfare? Bill Shorten as the Minister of Workplace Relations is the most obvious example of Dracula in charge of the blood bank that one can imagine.

    KATHY JACKSON: Things rarely work out well for the whistleblower and I didn’t enter into my current endeavour in the expectation of arriving at glory days for me. My expectations are far more modest. I want to see wrong-doing exposed and I’d like to see reforms made to make union’s leaderships more accountable to members and which would protect against future financial and political corruption.

    I would very much like to see any correspondence between the Liberal Party and Ms Jackson before she went on her ‘heroic’ campaign to clean up “financial and political corruption”.

    What a joke.

  59. Anon E Mouse

    Kaye Lee, I think she foolishly trusted the likes of Abbott, Pyne etc. She should have been smart enough to know that once her usefullness was up her immunity and entry to the inner-circle would be cancelled.

    Mal Brough may yet fall to the machinations of Abbott – he has a lot of history of devious manipulations.

    What is called corruption in other countries (non-white) is referred to as ‘normal business practice’ in civilised Westernised countries.

  60. Wally

    Kaye Lee

    “Justice Haydon, despite no experience in the building industry”

    You make an extremely valid point, unless you have experience in the building industry and in particular worked on large construction sites you really are not qualified to comment. Most sites have a builder or construction manager and several other companies are contracted to complete the work. All the contractors want is to complete the work quickly and make a profit, safety usually comes last on the list of priorities unless being unsafe costs them money or slows down progress.

    Unions priority is to protect workers rights and safety takes the highest priority, good builders with good unions provides the balance that an extremely dangerous industry needs. The founders of the Grollo empire knew this and they had an impressive safety record that has been badly compromised by the next generation. Grollos son has proved that he is prepared to dodge red tape and make compromises on safety to increase profits. Where is the Royal Commission into the death of 3 innocent people.

    The Grocon subsidiary was fined $250k but that is a small fine for 3 deaths and why were the companies owners/directors not prosecuted? And as a builder Grocons site safety responsibilities include ensuring work performed by all sub contactors is safe, the exclusion of a union safety representative places the entire blame on the Grocon.

    “He said the early guilty plea, which helps victims achieve closure, and Grocon’s “sincere and appropriate” apology were factors in reducing the size of the fine. The guilty plea saw the company admit fault only in assessing the risk, not in causing the three deaths.”

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/grocon-subsidiary-fined-250k-over-swanston-street-wall-collapse-20141121-11r5fp.html

  61. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes Grocon is a good example of the private players that can be added to the list for investigation and severe punishment after the Fed ICAC enquiry demanded from either of the LIB/LAB flipflops, or preferably the sensible Alliance that will take the reigns of responsible government after the annihilation of the LNP.

  62. Kaye Lee

    There are many examples of this farce of an RC ignoring evidence before it to produce its predetermined findings. The ACT court threw out the case against John Lomax. Somewhat apologetically, the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions wrote to Lomax’s lawyers this month saying it would “offer no evidence” when the case went to court – conceding, in effect, there was no case to answer.

    A waste of taxpayers’ money, a waste of time, and an extraordinary overreach by the AFP and Dyson Heydon’s royal commission.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-22/long-why-is-no-one-questioning-the-turc-narrative/6868102

  63. Matters Not

    subsidiary was fined … owners/directors not prosecuted

    The GFC was caused by individuals making criminal decisions yet there hasn’t been one conviction of an individual (to date at least). And certainly no one is in jail. Sure companies have been fined but companies don’t go to prison.

    There are all types of explanations from the law enforcers about how expensive and difficult it is to pursue individuals and how much better value it is (for the taxpayer) to pursue corporations but the fact is that individuals engaged in criminal activity on a grand scale and walked away scot-free, reputations intact and fortunes untouched.

    Talk about moral hazard.

    As an aside. Always remember the case of a poor Aboriginal man in remote North Queensland who stole two (2) loaves of bread to feed his hungry family. He was convicted and sent to the ‘big house’ for a spell. The magistrate said stealing one (1) loaf to feed his family might be justified but the stealing of two (2) was clear evidence of greed.

  64. Kaye Lee

    We have mandatory sentencing for children but corporate thieves get off scott free

    “According to the authorities, 15-year-old orphaned Aboriginal boy “Johnno” Warramarrba was found in his cell on February 9, 2001, hanged by a bed sheet. He had been taken from his remote community in the Northern Territory and imprisoned 800 kilometres away in Darwin for stealing property worth less than $90.”

  65. heatherex

    A little bit of Michaelia Cash goes a long way. She is a very ‘shouty’ person. I cringe and turn off the radio when she starts shouting at us. I think we will hear way too much of her between now and the coming election.-

  66. Kaye Lee

    heatherex,

    “shouty” is a very apt description. I want to tell her to calm down all the time. It feels like an assault.

    Where are people like Tony Windsor and Ted Mack and Gillian Triggs? Strong, calm, confident, willing to listen, determined to look out for others, principled.

  67. Florence nee Fedup

    I believe it is clever for Shorten to take his holidays over Christmas/New year period. Shorten has released comprehensive IR policy to deal with anything that rises out of TURC report released. Nothing new has been revealed.

    This way, questioning of Shorten can’t be used to distract from what is in report or said by the PM.

  68. Florence nee Fedup

    I wonder id Lawler will be handling any of the referrals made to FWC?

  69. Mark Needham

    So there it is.

    What.

    Missed that one.

    nah, didn’t happen.

    Cheers All,
    Mark Needham

  70. guest

    We might well ask where is Labor, but we might also ask where is the Coalition. There is no point in asking why Shorten was not present to respond to the RC reports; he knew what they would say. No doubt Bill is getting on with responses to be delivered at the appropriate time, not in midst of the holiday chaos.

    There is much he can talk about as Kaye Lee has so thoroughly outlined here. More will emerge as the RC reports are more closely examined. But what we have here are political manoeuvres between two sides trying to prove the other side has more outrageous sins than their own.

    That there is a lack of impartiality is only to be expected, but when the adjudicating judge makes statements about louts, bullies and thieves and suggests that the findings are only the tip of the iceberg, this from a judge who was preparing to speak before a Coalition fund-raiser while still administering the RC, we know that any appearance of impartiality is suspect.

    We might compare the comments of this judge with the judge who proclaimed that those who went against Slipper were conspiring to bring down the government of the time. We might also well ask why Slipper was not allowed to pay back the $900 whereas other parliamentarians were allowed to pay back thousands. Others were not required to pay back any extravagant expenses at all.

    So we have this tit-for-tat argument going on, but I for one will not be abandoning Labor. For 35+ years I voted for the Coalition out of habit until I realised what John Winston Howard was up to. And then we had Abbott and now the Thespian Malcolm Turnbull – without having to delve too deeply I believe that whatever the faults in the mechanics of government displayed by Labor 2007-13, their policies were more fair and visionary for all Oz than the narrow self-serving polices of the Coalition. The matter is about more than Shorten vs Turnbull.

    The Coalition has set out to destroy everything Labor stands for and is setting out to destroy the fabric of Oz through its retrograde conservative vandalism. Think climate change, big coal, privatisation of every public facility, reduced wages including penalty rates, protection for the real louts, bullies and thieves in society, some of which are not even Australian.

    Think about how the Coalition set about trying to pin blame on the Federal government over 4 deaths in the Pink Batts program, despite clear evidence of where the real blame lay. Think about the fact that 186 workers have died in the work-place this year – and hardly a murmur. Think about how Coles was fined $10m for bullying suppliers – and hardly a murmur.

    The attack is on the unions. The story is that only 15% of workers belong to a union. The claim is that they do not represent the majority of workers. But I would suggest that while some workers have individual work-place agreements, when the unions go in to support the 15% of that industry, they are also supporting the non-union workers as well. Work safety might be one issue.

    I am tired of the negativity of people purporting to be Labor supporters. By all means offer positive supporting ideas. When the critics talk of backing some other party or groups of independents, ask yourself what that will achieve in a scene involving only two major parties. To deliberately throw away votes as some kind protest is very dangerous. Be careful what you end up voting for.

  71. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    guest,

    I’m not arguing with your concise comparisons between Labor and the LNP, which only show the LNP to be bereft of any conscientious and conscionable concerns for the community and the environment.

    As a former long-time Labor supporter myself and a never-time LNP supporter, I am dismayed by Labor’s abandonment of conscience issues, which tend to circulate the most vulnerable in the community: the un-employed, under-employed, people on welfare, people in gulags on Nauru and Manus etc and other prospective asylum seekers.

    I won’t be throwing away my vote. I will be carefully deciding who represents the more socially, environmentally and economically reformed policies and usually that’s the Greens these days. But I will only vote for whoever if confident that the preferences will flow towards Labor and far away from the LNP.

    Using our democratic rights to maximise the effects of the prefential voting system is the modern name of politics when you are not in favour of either major party in particular. This encourages minor voices to be heard as well and it keeps the major parties on their toes by vying and negotiating for the favours of the minor political forces. Remember the important contributions of Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie and often some other sane Independents.

  72. Wally

    guest

    “The story is that only 15% of workers belong to a union.”

    That is a very interesting and somewhat misleading claim, in some industries the majority of workers are union members.
    It really depends on what conclusion is wanted/needed to arrive at from the information.

    When numbers of union members are quoted the number of members of industry associations should be included. Any body that represents a group of workers should be considered the same regardless of wether they call themselves a union or an association.

  73. Anon E Mouse

    Guest, Labor could mention all you have plus much more, but they don’t.
    Social media is more of an opposition than Labor under Shorten because they remind people how callous the LNP are and how they are ripping from the poor and working classes to give to their wealthy benefactors.

    I too am tired. I am tired of Shorten and his wet rag approach. Shorten is more me-too than Beazley was.
    Shorten could be brave and say something like ‘if you privatise medicare, welfare delivery, etc’ when Labor gets into power we will renege on those deals that are so anti-Australian. It worked for Qld and Vic. Shorten is trying to keep his working class, union, persona, while also keeping in sweet with the big end of town.

    If Labor continues with Shorten as leader then it must accept the fact that some who want to vote Labor, simply will not.

  74. Anon E Mouse

    Shorten could actually stick up for the unemployed and bring back the CES.

    Shorten could put up plans for a Federal anti corruption entity like ICAC or CMC.

    Shorten could … but he doesn’t.

  75. mars08

    guest:

    The Coalition has set out to destroy everything Labor stands for…

    Ah. Everything Labor STOOD for. These days, what they stand for isn’t exactly clear.

  76. randalstella

    I thank Kaye Lee for her fair assessment. However comments by some here constitute virtual concession to this contrived Liberal Party show-trial.
    The language of this TURC thing is loaded with bias. It is entirely inappropriate to a legal document, making claims that are merely the expression of bias with no evidentiary backing. The generalising abuse of Union officials is grievously improper and unjust, and designed not for sober legal assessment but for headlines. It shows the Commissioner was completely unfit for such a position – except as a political appointment for a political end. It is totally inappropriate for a legal proceeding to make claims of a ‘tip of the iceberg’, when those proceedings were heavily funded to reveal the iceberg – ostensibly through laws of evidence. These comments make the TURC not even quasi-judicial.
    The appointed Liberal Party partisan seems to have a highly inflated view of his own legal competence. If you adopt his approach you could say it shows the type that lurks in the law, when people have a right to expect equity and justice. This fellow has spent all his years ‘in the law’, and no one has told him what they think of his presumptions about the workings of the law? This suggests a tightly cocooned existence and a far too ‘conservative’ ethos among the fraternity.
    I find particularly unfortunate the comments here of Doug Evans, who shows he has not followed the cases he deems it appropriate that he make colorific comments on. For example he seems not to have followed the extraordinarily punitive approach taken against Craig Thomson. during the parading of Kathy Jackson as ‘hero of the Union movement’. Thomson was convicted on charges amounting to less than $5,000. If you wish to make a comment on his accountability at law. you should show your own regard for accountability by not blustering criminal liability with the civil finding. Thomson contested the criminal case against him, and could not/did not contest civil charges. The use of the criminal law to soften up a target for civil punitiveness is a real concern for anyone concerned for non-prejudicial equity. Headlines in the MSM are no way a purpose of a properly functioning legal system.
    About the place, especially on a particularly rancorous and delusional ‘independent’ site, there is a stream of opinion that the Greens don’t have a keen enough regard for how and how much the Liberals are the enemies of anyone not ‘corporate’ in their interests. Enemies of fair equity, such as tax dodgers. Doug’s comments here would not help the reaction against the Greens. The Greens are the Party that I will be voting for a the next election, and thus I express my concern about animosities – especially irrationally based – among anti-Liberal opinion.

  77. Adrianne Haddow

    Where are the royal commissions into big business donations for the LNP, gross misuse of parliamentary entitlements, incarceration and deaths in custody of indigenous youth, the lies that were told and acted upon with Howard’s intervention in indigenous communities?

    Where are the investigations into the never-ending approval of mining ventures and CSG licences in prime farming land and national forests, the revoking of native titles to accommodate foreign-owned mines, and the payments to countries such as Nauru for accommodating concentration camps?

    Where are the royal commissions into tax avoidance by the big corporations?

    The neo cons congratulate themselves on the results of their highly suspect royal commissions into past Labor government actions but manage to evade scrutiny on their own dodgy dealings.

  78. diannaart

    Adrianne

    If I receive a golden opportunity in 2016, to ask anything of Malcom Turnbull I would ask your questions….. and I wouldn’t leave until he gave actual answers, not rhetoric, obfuscation or outright lies.

  79. Backyard Bob

    Kaye Lee,

    This has been an attempt to demonise all unions as is clearly shown by the perjorative language used which, quite frankly, is completely inappropriate for legal documents.

    Indeed! But here’s the thing – the TURC report is not a legal document, nor is a Royal Commission a legal proceeding in the sense we usually understand such a thing. Whilst, curiously, RC witnesses are required to take an oath or, you know, the other thing, and can be referred to other authorities to be prosecuted for perceived acts of perjury, RCs do not operate under normal legal standards. There are no onus of proof principles applied, for example. Normal principles of evidentiary logic do not apply to RCs. This from the report itself:

    C – COMMISSION’S APPROACH TO FACT FINDING AND REACHING CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

    Findings of fact: standard of proof

    15. A Royal Commission is not a court of law. There are no civil or criminal proceedings before it. The rules of evidence do not apply. The concept of the onus of proof does not apply. Strictly, it follows that neither the civil standard of proof nor the criminal standard of proof applies to the Commission.

    16. However, the Terms of Reference clearly contemplate that the Commission will make factual findings. It is therefore necessary to
    apply some standard of proof. The need is reinforced by the fact that findings made by a Royal Commission may cause serious damage to the reputation of an individual, company or organisation.

    17. The general approach which has been applied in previous Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry1 has been to apply the civil standard of proof, namely proof on the balance of probabilities, in accordance with the principles explained by Dixon J in Briginshaw v
    Briginshaw.

    This, for me, is very instructive with respect to how we should perceive and accept the findings of this Commission. As has been noted, many of Heydon’s report claims are anything but judicial. They involve supposition, extrapolation without basis or actual evidence, hearsay, glaring composition fallacies (i.e. these few, therefore all these others), myriad examples of well-poisoning rhetoric, claims of perjury without evidence for such – the list goes on, but, ultimately, precious little, given the scope and cost of the inquiry of actual referrals for various forms of prosecution. The Commission provides no basis whatever for any factual, probability based or even intuitive claim for the existence of any ice-berg. And nor, for that matter, nor do the rest of us. Be suspicious all you want, but don’t make claims you really don’t have any basis for making. You may think your neighbour is committing adultery, but don’t claim it unless you really know it.

    Yes, of course, corruption and dodgy practice exists across the vast expanse of the Union movement, as it does across the business and political divide. But really, if you think Unions are ripping off the community more than pollies exploiting the Minchin Protocol, you are almost certainly wrong.

    The case of John Lomax is emblematic of the ultimate failure that this Commission represents. I’m not going to link to a story on this just in case it stops this post from going through. There’s a good Canberra Times story on it. Google is our friend. Lomax was referred to police and charged with blackmail and whatever else. In the end the DPP offered no evidence and the magistrate tossed it out as the utter absurdity it was. Lomax was essentially charged with conducting stock-standard Union negotiations. It was a gigantic embarrassment for both the police and the Commission, and Heydon himself. It may well transpire that such embarrassment will continue with regard to other referrals.

    The most disturbing thing about the Commission, and what I think is its transparent purpose, is that of attempting to illigitimise, even criminalise, normal Union activity, from wage and condition negotiation to the with-holding of labour.

    Scary shit if you ask me.

  80. Matthew Oborne

    I do disagree with what is mentioned up top about union corruption found only being the tip of the iceburg.

    Heydon does not point to why he said that yet he wrote a massive piece defending himself.

    For a Judge to engage in damaging speculation shows Heydon for what he really was appointed for.

    Heydon is known for being a conservative Judge. He is now known as a Judge who spent a long time defending himself rather than fairly asking himself if he should indeed step aside.

    He is now known for making unsubstantiated claims against the union.

    In his role given what he wrote about when he penned a how great he is defence of himself he had no right to make unsubstantiated accusations.

  81. Backyard Bob

    Heydon has shown his hand throughout the proceeding, not the least by his treatment of witnesses such as Gillard and Shorten, both of whose character and reliability as a witness he impugned solely on the basis that he failed to nail them. Gillard couldn’t be trusted because she was well prepared, apparently. Well, there you go. It was pathetic.

  82. Matthew Oborne

    all Heydon was missing was the Malleus Maleficarum.

  83. Backyard Bob

    He’s the sort of guy who’d want to author his own because that version doesn’t contain enough wanky quotes.

  84. Matthew Oborne

    lol.

  85. randalstella

    An excellent post by Backyard Bob.
    The status of the TURC is legal-oid, like a pre-programmed robot is humanoid. It does have some – slight and disputable – legal status, but it is not a judicial finding in any way. It has and should have less legal significance than any witness sworn in and appearing in a properly constituted court observing the laws of evidence.
    Where are the bulwarks of legal process, when this dirty politics is being publicised by the MSM, including the ABC, as if a judicial finding based on rules of evidence? Do the practitioners of due process not object to this mischievous farce representing their regard for fair trial? It’s time they came out to say so.

    And where are the journos who know better? Any at the ABC?

    You can see the political effect of the TURC by some of the comments here on this site, even as they express reservations about the procedure foisted by this Liberal Party propagandist.

  86. guest

    To borrow from another poster elsewhere, after 2 years of inquiry and umpteen witnesses and the spending of millions of dollars, all that has been found is the tip of an “iceberg” which has not been shown to exist.

    Besides,one main objective of the TURC was to nail Gillard and Shorten. They failed. All they managed were a few derogatory comments.

    As well, while there have been referrals, no trial has been conducted. When trials are conducted, evidence could well emerge about the correctness of union action and other matters showing the complicity or even failure of industry management.

    We shall see what we shall see.

  87. diannaart

    The Royal Commission has no legal teeth. We know.

    Which is why so many of us were agin’ it to begin with…. which is why we are saying the RC was nothing more than a witch hunt… and now it has happened; pretty much as predicted (Gillard & Rudd were not found guilty of anything more than poor thinking).

    Which is why we need to highlight what a massive waste of money, time and thought it has been. Such resources could’ve gone into so many worthy causes from reforming our taxation system to standards for private business AND unions to be held accountable.

  88. Matthew Oborne

    The Tip of the iceburg comment should enrage any thinking person given Heydon spent so much time trying to prove he wasnt a witch finder.

  89. Douglas Evans

    Randalstella – Ouch. What an outburst. Perhaps you had a big New Year’s Eve. I had to go back and read what I said again (perhaps you might also). In my second comment the only place I mentioned either Thomson or Jackson, I said Thomson was not crucified (as Kaye Lee has written) he was tried and found guilty of serious crimes. In respect of Jackson I said that she was not protected (as Kaye Lee wrote) Heydon has recommended that the DPP consider criminal charges against her. Regardless of the amount involved I regard misuse of Union funds for personal gratification as a serious crime. Again, assuming Jackson’s eventual guilt, I suggest that both will have been seen to have committed serious crimes. Perhaps you disagree? You suggest that my comments show that I have not followed these matters and that they are ‘colorific’ (?) I guess you mean something like biased and uniformed? Perhaps you might consider KLs assertions that one was crucified and the other protected similarly ‘colorific’.

    As it happens I followed Thomson’s travails very closely at the time indeed. However it was a while ago so for this post I relied on the ABC (post judgement) for a summary of Thomson’s misdeeds. All of what I had to say about Thomson beyond the obvious statement that he was tried and found guilty of serious crime was a direct quote from ABC website which appears to me to be no more than a simple summary of the judgement against Thomson. Sorry if you find that ‘colorific’. Of course I ‘followed the extraordinarily punitive approach taken against Craig Thomson. during the parading of Kathy Jackson as ‘hero of the Union movement’. As we all know this was part of a disgraceful but effective campaign by a rabid Coalition in opposition to destroy the former Labor government. Of what relevance is that here? I wrote a response to Kaye Lee’s article. I did not set out to write some sort of wider critique of the state of Australian politics. You will note that I began my initial comment as follows:

    “Kaye Lee You raise good points. I don’t quibble with any of them but unfortunately to me you overlook the key point. Union corruption is endemic and widespread. Does anyone doubt Heydon’s assertion that this is just the tip of the iceberg. I am no fan of either the TURC or commissioner Heydon but I don’t doubt this. This cannot be condoned and the unattractiveness of the accusers cannot conceal this.” Anything that you wish to take issue with here?

    There seems to be an implicit unstated theme here (both in the article and in your comment) that poor Craig was hard done by and that wicked Kathy has received preferential treatment to which she is unentitled. I take issue with that. Assuming that Jackson comes to trial and is found guilty (as seems more that likely) as far as I am concerned they will have both been shown to be a pair of unprincipled grubs who took outrageous advantage of pathetically inadequate governance procedures to rip off those they were supposed to have been representing. If Thomson’s protracted and very public fall from grace was unreasonably harsh this is down to the combination of an unscrupulous unprincipled opposition and the stupidity of the Labor Party which failed to carry out adequate due diligence before they pre-selected him. Or perhaps I am deluded?

    There sees to be an implicit unstated theme here that because the TURC was a blatant and obvious witch-hunt that the witches it uncovered are somehow fictional. Well the courts and other legal and judicial bodies will decide this but I wouldn’t be betting on it and, as the recommendation that Cesar Melhem be prosecuted for various misdemeanors indicates, the tentacles of Union corruption stretch well into the Parliamentary Labor Party – just look at who his factional buddies are. My conclusion? Don’t vote for either Coalition (ever) or Labor until they genuinely address this mess. Now Randalstella: What about all of this do you take exception with really?

  90. Kaye Lee

    “Does anyone doubt Heydon’s assertion that this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

    I do. And I find such speculation entirely inappropriate. With all the resources he had, any further avenues for investigation should have been uncovered and referred. If there is no such evidence then he should hush. The inference is purely to cast doubt about all unions and union officials.

    And I consider the arrest of Craig Thomson by six detectives at his electoral office in front of tipped off TV crews sufficient to justify my claim of crucifixion vs protection without going into so many other glaring differences in their treatment – what was said in parliament about both of them and widely reported in the press for example.

    The previous Cole RC led to no convictions. John Lomax has already had the allegations against him dropped before it went to court ie he had no case to answer. I wouldn’t prejudge the results of judicial processes if I was you.

    I am in no way denying there has been wrongdoing nor in any way pardoning it. I am questioning the scale and the significance in comparison to other known wrongdoing. Prosecute those who have acted illegally as we have always been capable of doing.

    Quite a lot of the stuff referred is trivial – wrong, but trivial – like one guy paying for a tattoo with a union credit card. I think Tony Abbott holding up a caucus meeting while he got his photo taken at a cancer research lab so he could claim allowances for attending a private birthday party in Melbourne the night before kind of eclipses that.

  91. Douglas Evans

    Kaye Lee
    On the first point: Even if Heydon is wrong and he has dug all the dirt, there is, last time I looked there were four unions implicated. That’s no to be lightly passed over. We must wait and see what the relevant authorities make of this but given his Honor’s diligence, ability and biases I wouldn’t bet on anyone who is deemed to have a case to answer getting off. Craig Thomson’s treatment (and that of his wife and family) was disgraceful but that does not bear on the discussion here. One feeds into the other but his fall from grace was not connected with the TURC other than that it gave encouragement to the forces of evil to believe that they just might be able to scrape up a bit more dirt. And guess what! They were right. The misdemeanors may be trivial, in which case we hope they will be shown to be so. However many of them certainly aren’t. I suggest that the legacy of decades of pathetically lax union procedures and the actions of the forty or so meat heads, grubs and worse that have been caught up in Heydon’s net may well be the destruction of the dwindling rump of organized labour in this country. Now there is something really worth writing about. You did not (as far as I recall) question the scale and significance of the wrongdoing Heydon has allegedly identified in relation to that committed by others elsewhere in your article. I was responding to your article. Had you done so I might have pointed out that while the AWB scandal (which you named) occurred on Howard’s watch Securency (which you also named) was I think Labor’s to bury. They are both culpable – yet another reason not to vote for either of them.

    Now it could be that Labor has learned (finally) from this disaster and is moving (out of the public eye) to rectify the situation. I hope so. I note that they have put together a proposal for arms length oversight of union behavior that the government has rejected. On the other hand I note that the dick-head Dastyari is trumpeting all over social media that Labor has bought a big Billboard and what is on it? Why an attack on the Greens! What a surprise. Nothing to see here but look over there. It’s all their fault. How utterly pathetic. There are people in the Party working to put together some sort of platform to take to the election but you almost wouldn’t know it with fools like that working to destroy their chances. In the meantime as I’ve said elsewhere the links between Union corruption and the Parliamentary Party appear to be strong. Melhem is probably going down and until the spotlight was turned on him he was joined at the hip to Shorten and Conroy. As far as I can see (and I don’t have this problem as I won’t be voting Labor1), unless/until Labor have actually walked the walk on this (as opposed to talking the talk) a vote for them is a vote condoning the sort of corruption that Heydon was put in place to shine a spot light on.

  92. Florence nee Fedup

    There has been much questioning by union lawyers and others disputing much of what many witnesses, Stoljar and Heydon alleged.

    At other times, different meanings was placed on what amounted to TURC hypothesis.

    Heydon appeared to accept all evidence given by what are classed as whistle blowers, no matter how disreputable the witnesses came across. That includes Kathy Jackson.2 men have been convicted on her evidence. With Thomson and FWC, mostly of Kathy’s so say. The criminal court threw most out.

    The judge in the HSU civil matter rushed his decision, so that Jackson could be called back to TURC. Heydon choose not too. I am sure some of the union lawyers would have love chance to examine her.

    TURC is not a court of law. Abbott’s terms of reference were so narrow, making it less so. Criticising TURC doesn’t necessary mean one in criticising the Commissioner. He followed the rules Abbott set for him. Was his duty to do so.

    RC of this type are wonderful for some unions and their officials to carry out ongoing vendetta’s on other unions or officials. Many in CFMEU see Shorten as worthy target to get back at. Yes Shorten did manage to take over much of the CFMEU patch. Many haven’t forgiven him.

    Same I suspect between old builders labourers and the other unions they merged with. I see that Hawke even today carries on his hatred of the Builders Labourers, willing to put the boot in once again.

    There are as many big headed egos among unions officials as there are in the Liberal Party.

    What I don’t understand how 57 seconded police from various agencies seem to be incompetent when it comes to identifying crimes. The cases they have taken to court haven’t reach the committal stage before being thrown out. Mostly declared not crimes.

  93. randalstella

    Doug,
    The ridiculous personal comments I find disappointing.
    Kaye Lee has answered for herself quite adequately.
    You state you relied on the ABC for a summary of Thomson’s case. It reads just like it – including the lack of differentiation between the criminal and civil cases. The difference between a defended case and an undefended one. The difference on burden of proof. It was not responsible reporting and it does not make for fair comment by you. I find it hard to accept that you have followed the case impartially if you accept that summary.
    If you deny the extraordinary grandstanding and prejudicial attention paid to Thomson, then again you display an interest that is not fair.
    As I have much personal experience prising responses from appointed officials over corrupt practices, I did not enjoy the spectacle of the law being used for gang-up by reactionary forces, paid for by the taxpayer. If you cannot see that, again I do not consider you fair on this matter.
    Craig Thomson was a common rorter used as a pawn to destabilise a Government. Of course he should be accountable, but his treatment was victimisation. One might have thought he called an illegal war that cost many lives. Or maybe even a big tax-dodger. He was a bunny for the corporate world’s Entertainment Industry.

    The whole point of calling the TURC a witchhunt is that witches are fictional. Do you get that basic point? The RC is a propaganda campaign, and does not use the rules of evidence of legal proceedings. Your reliance on it for your rhetoric suggests you don’t mind encouraging this sort of show-trial. You have no evidence for your wide-ranging claims.
    As someone who has fought to remove a crooked State Secretary to a national Union, I think you are motivated by prejudice and not by facts. You are actually out of your depth. And biased unsubstantiated slurs do not compensate for that.

  94. diannaart

    Hear! Hear! randalstella

    I have been repeatedly stating similar but, perhaps, not so succinctly.

    TRUC was and remains a witch-hunt – all it achieved was to uncover e few lice but such small fry lice compared to the, er, fat maggots tunnelling through the heart of all that is just and equitable.

    Doug

    I understand your dismay at Labor – I do not understand why you have to use personal commentary on such as Kaye Lee – she presents clear thought (even though you have denied such).

    We all want a more accountable structure of governance – can we find a way to leave off the personal slights and focus on winning this war between authoritarianism and progressive leadership?

  95. Matthew Oborne

    What is not to be lightly passed over is the role of unions and how important they are to all of us.

    I watched a documentary where employers used men in areas to dangerous for pack animals because if a worker died the employer was not obliged to give the wages to relatives so it was a windfall.

    The witchfinder General showed his hand saying he found only the tip of the iceburg.

    Where is the media asking him for proof the iceburg exists?

    Where is the media asking him to explain why he made an unsubstantiated claim given his so called unimpeachable conduct.

    Where is the Media to remind People that Julie Bishop admitted this was payback.
    The day she admitted it was the day it should have been over.

  96. Florence nee Fedup

    Douglas the workings of criminal courts are entirely different from the areas he spent a lifetime working in. I do think his lack of apparent experience does count.

    I noticed those conducting the RC into Child abuse in Institutional Care are careful when taking evidence.

    I didn’t see much evidence of that with Heydon. Improper questioning can taint evidence making it unusable.

  97. Florence nee Fedup

    Douglas did you watch any of the live hearings? Abet claim none of the evidence was disputed. Sorry most was. I would say what Abetz said could have applied to the last few days when Belan and clan appeared. Then it applied only to the niece. Not sure her evidence wouldn’t be quickly discredited in any court.

  98. Douglas Evans

    Randalstella
    I checked the sources. I have sold the ABC short with the quote I used. It did not seem necessary to quote the entire piece. So my apologies for that and here is my clarification. They are clearly reporting on the civil case – which found against Thomson but they clearly also refer (later in the piece) to the earlier criminal case which Thomson also lost despite having the number of convictions reduced from 64 to 13 on appeal thereby avoiding a custodial sentence. If you are inclined to check the quality of the complete ABC report here is the link http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-17/craig-thomson-fined-escapes-jail-time-over-hsu-theft/5972518
    So Thomson lost both cases. The defended and the undefended, higher and lower burden of proof. I can understand your frustration over the law being manipulated to political ends but what is your point here? Try as I might I can’t see it. Mine was simply that Thomson was found guilty – the scale of the sins doesn’t seem particularly relevant here to me. Despite the disgraceful treatment meted out by the Abbott opposition Craig Thomson is no Labor martyr. He couldn’t keep his fingers out of the till and he was nicked. Of course I don’t deny the victimization of Thomson as I have elsewhere stated more than once. You write: “Craig Thomson was a common rorter used as a pawn to destabilise a Government. Of course he should be accountable, but his treatment was victimisation. One might have thought he called an illegal war that cost many lives. Or maybe even a big tax-dodger. He was a bunny for the corporate world’s Entertainment Industry.” To this I would add he was the lever with which a desperate opposition tried to tumble an elected government. All of this is lamentable, unconscionable behavior and the TURC was another example of the same but it doesn’t alter the point that Heydon partial, biased even as he may have been, has referred 40 TU officials to the DPP and four unions and I think two sitting MPs are implicated. Now you may assert that the point of witch hunts is that witches are fictional but that seems hasty to me. You are surely not asserting that the appearance of union corruption and thuggery is nothing more than an invention of the evil right? I guess you wouldn’t want to pre-judge what will happen from here. Seems to me that either Heydon has trashed his legacy (which from the bios which have been published about him I would guess he holds dear and would be very keen not to do) or the Union movement has suffered grievous self inflicted damage as a result of its failure to regulate its own. There has been too much leaking out about inappropriate Union behavior for too long for me not to harbor deep suspicions about likely outcomes but we will all have to wait and see won’t we.

    Now my point at the beginning was simple and I would have thought uncontroversial – apparently not. I find it worthy of comment that an article canvassing Labor’s response to this RC did not mention the central facts of the findings that four unions along with a number of employers are seen to be implicated in various forms of inappropriate behavior and that forty union officials and two sitting politicians have been referred to the DPP. This to me is the elephant in the room. To ignore it seems to me to tacitly condone such behavior.

  99. randalstella

    Doug,
    You are the one pre-judging issues, as you have done repeatedly, in language you strangely seem to think is neatly disguised as concern for principle. It is not – very obviously. You want people incriminated on the basis of your prejudice.
    You appear to concede the bias of the TURC and then proceed to use the TURC as corroboration for your anti-union prejudice. You just keep doing it. To quote you: “a vote for [Labor] is a vote condoning the sort of corruption that Heydon was put in place to shine a spot light on”. Written like an anti-Union Tory spruiker. (Greens voter myself.)
    You blithely ignore the bias and the need for rules of evidence, that are simply not complied with in this flagrant show-trial.

    I don’t need backgrounding on the Thomson case, thanks just the same.

    This is my last reply to you. You disappointed me. Now you are just tedious.

  100. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    This message is for all of us who are opposed to the LNP fraudsters who used TURC to try to bring down a potential alternative government that would serve us much better than the Degenerates.

    We need Labor to never again allow any implications about corrupt connections. Keep the moral high ground and slaughter LNP by outsmarting them.

  101. David

    May I suggest anyone wanting the facts and the truth about Craig Thomson go to the Independent Journalist Peter Wicks who was the first to cover the whole Thomson fiasco thoroughly with the assistance of the Independent Australian site edited by Dave Donovan. These non MSM journalists are actually in the business of true investigative reporting without the baggage that tends to influence the MSM, including the ABC.
    The sites of both gentleman I imagine are well known to readers here, however I will supply the relevant details if anyone requires assistance in using Google.
    I am intrigued someone who goes into great detail here prosecuting a case against Craig Thomson, doesn’t mention the sources originally responsible for bringing and keeping the facts of his case into the public arena originally, referring to those sources.
    Ditto Ms Jackson and Dave Donovan’s work in regard to her .

  102. Terry2

    David

    Ditto on Mal Brough and Ashbygate : Peter Wicks’ persistence is paying off, finally.

  103. David

    Cheers Terry2…Peters persistence and long hours of dedication uncovering the truth have come at much personal financial cost to him. However thanks to many supporters of the truth and his excellent investigative journalism he gets by and the final sentence in his post today writing on the initial supporters of K Jackson, sums up his dedication……..”They say that you should start a new year in the same manner you mean to finish it. I for one intend to hold these grubs to account at each and every turn…That’s just how I roll….”
    We are better for it Peter.

  104. Backyard Bob

    Douglas,

    Couple of issues with your commentary, the first of which is the epistemic frailty inherent in the Heydonesque:

    Does anyone doubt Heydon’s assertion that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    As it happens, any rational person is obliged to doubt it, in the absence of any substantial evidence of its truth value. Certainly it’s the sort of thing we might blithely speculate about over a beer in the pub, but in a more formal sense we must doubt it. It’s important to understand that doubting something is not identical with denying it. Both passive acceptance or passive denial of such an idea is irrational – for the simple and obvious reason that there exists no actual evidence to support either contention. Both you and Heydon are exploiting the weak-arse legal terms of reference of the RC in order to push a pre-conceived agenda.

    The other point to be made here is that the assertion that there’s an ice-berg underlying a supposedly exposed tip, is that the claim the tip, itself, exists in any substantial way, is on shaky ground. In strict terms it is merely an opinion expressed by Heydon, and frankly his opinion isn’t worth a pinch of shit. As noted, a number of people have been referred by the Commission for a variety of offenses to various official bodies. Some for relatively trivial matters when considered in the broad scheme of things. That doesn’t make any of it acceptable, it just puts it into proper perspective. It also important to note the example of John Lomax, whom I’ve spoken of previously. Aside from people like Gillard and Shorten, he was supposed to be one of the “big fish” caught in the Commission’s net. Well, that net appears to have had some rather significant holes in it, and is emblematic of a deep weakness in the whole of the Commission, one which casts doubt over all of it. The Lomax referral and charges were a complete and utter farce. They had no substance. How is that not a tip of a big-arse ice-berg of TURC incompetence? How many of TURC’s other referrals are going to turn out to be baseless? Yet, here some of us harping on as though the findings of the Commission are somehow magically redoubtable? It’s just not intellectually sound, Douglas.

    As a humourous side note, or maybe not so humourous, and as an interesting exercise, substitute the words “Queensland Police Force” for “Australian trade union” in the following RC report quote:

    “It is clear that in many parts of the world constituted by Australian trade union officials, there is room for louts, thugs, bullies, thieves, perjurers, those who threaten violence, errant fiduciaries and organisers of boycotts.”

    Apart from the bit about boycotts, it fits pretty well. And while I’m indulging myself, a couple of other bits from the report that are pretty ironic:

    Findings in the report include: Insufficient record keeping

    This condemnation from a High Court Justice who can neither read nor send emails.

    Inflating membership figures to boost importance and exert influence

    Hmm, I’m trying to think of another context in which this sort of thing runs rampant. Nah, I’m not getting it. Maybe you could help me think of it?

    Douglas, you also wrote:

    Now my point at the beginning was simple and I would have thought uncontroversial – apparently not. I find it worthy of comment that an article canvassing Labor’s response to this RC did not mention the central facts of the findings that four unions along with a number of employers are seen to be implicated in various forms of inappropriate behavior and that forty union officials and two sitting politicians have been referred to the DPP. This to me is the elephant in the room. To ignore it seems to me to tacitly condone such behavior.

    This paragraph seems entirely gratuitous to me, perhaps even offensive. No-one is denying or condoning anything. I utterly resist, indeed utterly reject any suggestion, however subtle, that wanting to keep things in perspective is a denial of or condoning of anything. Keeping things in perspective and not holding and propounding views one is not entitled to hold and propound is something rational people do. Everyone knows corruption of various types and degrees exists in the large edifice that is the Union world, just as we know it does in the world of politics and business. The point here is that the Royal Commission, headed by a self-indulgent and deeply unsuitable individual, after 2 years and squillions of dollars, completely failed to provide a practical and evidentiary basis proportionate to the rhetoric of its report and recommendations. The report is the apotheosis of hyperbole. Ripe for political exploitation and opportunism. The report’s findings and recommendations are based on the faulty and dubitable premise of the imagined ice-berg. It is demonstrably not consistent with what the Commission actually uncovered (and even that is contingent on the outcome of various investigations by numerous agencies).

    A clean up of Union practices and a tightening of various protocols is undoubtedly a good thing, as it would be in other previously mentioned contexts, but this Commission was never, ever designed for that purpose. It was transparently designed to, a) do damage to the Labor Party and the Coalition’s political enemies in general, and, b) to place sweeping constraints on fundamental and normative Union activity leading to the disempowerment of organised labour.

  105. diannaart

    Well said, BB

    A case of “all tip and no iceberg”

    Thanks to Paul.

  106. Terry2

    As Kaye Lee noted earlier and as reported in the Age:

    ” Yet Dyson Heydon’s report referred only two former union officials to police for prosecution. One of the duo, Kathy Jackson, originally received kid-glove treatment during her commission appearance. This belies the commission’s talk of having identified “widespread” and “deep-seated” misconduct by officials variously labelled “louts, thugs, bullies, thieves, perjurers”.

    How can the misconduct be so deep-seated and widespread with only two referrals for criminal investigation, one of whom was a Liberal party celebrity. It is a disgrace that this Report was released with very little critical media analysis and perhaps that is why the release was timed to coincide with the one time of the year when almost all of our analytical media programs were dormant.

    The much vaunted referrals under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 , sections 285,286 and 287 are very much procedural and civil rather than criminal with ‘wrist slap’ fines, not exceeding $3600 maximum for an individual.

  107. Florence nee Fedup

    With TURC, Heydon and stoljar one needs in depth definition of what they believe to be corrupt. I suspect their belief, definition will include workers walking off the job. Another preventing concrete pours when obvious safety breaches on show.

    They seem to see evil in the fact, that organisers meet before attending a work site, where they may or may not know concrete pour is on. Somehow this is a crime in Heydon’s eyes.

    Asking employers to contribute to cost of union participation in negotiating EBA and other agreements seem to be a no no to Heydon.

    They apparently see the threat to strike as blackmail.

  108. Florence nee Fedup

    PS. Not talking about those who use their position to feather their own nest, to have work done on their own homes. I suspect this practice is much more widespread in the industry than among union officials.

  109. Florence nee Fedup

    Silly thing is, they might have snared many more if the purused Kathy Jackson.

    IMHO, from both sides of the political fence, including FWC

  110. diannaart

    They apparently see the threat to strike as blackmail.

    Florence, it’s just another example of the bastardisation of language – once a strike was a means of expression by people who have very little access to publicity, now we have the LNP-Orwellian take as a fight for a fair go is now some kind of blackmail.

  111. Terry2

    Oh dear ! Now it seems that Peter Dutton has lied and misled the Parliament. Now, what’s the Westminster convention on that – standing down isn’t it ?

    “A Somali asylum seeker allegedly raped on Nauru had not ruled out terminating her pregnancy, at odds with Peter Dutton’s statement at the time, documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveal”

    Source: ABC News Online

  112. Florence nee Fedup

    Resigning immediately for misleading parliament seems to have gone out fashioned since Abbott come on the scene. Abbott said when one joins the game, one obeys the rules. He was lying. Abbott has always changed the rules in any game he joins.

  113. Florence nee Fedup

    Terry2, it says something about the health of this woman, that she is still in the country, not sent back.

  114. David

    Dutton ranks right up there alongside Abbott has a pathological liar…great advertisement for the Queensland police

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