Marco Bolano was the deputy general secretary of the HSU east branch. It was Mr Bolano, along with the national secretary, Kathy Jackson, who went to the police in September 2011 with allegations of systemic corruption within the union.
At the end of June 2012, Mr Bolano was one of eight union figures to lose his job when an administrator was appointed to the troubled HSU east branch. A Federal Court Order placed the union into administration and directed all officials to stand down. At a subsequent election Bolano was voted out by the HSU members.
Bolano then claimed he had been “bullied” and sought workers compensation which is still being paid to him through Workcover (ie government funds) at his pay rate of $230,000 pa.
Bolano’s fellow whistleblower and union colleague, Kathy Jackson is being sued by the HSU for $700,000 of allegedly misspent union members funds.
In June, Kathy Jackson was due to appear before Federal Court in Melbourne to give her defence against civil actions being taken by the national office of the Health Services Union to retrieve funds. When she failed to appear, her partner Michael Lawler rang the court representing Jackson attempting to have the matter heard remotely – something the judge pointed out was not permissible.
When Tony Abbott was Industrial Relations Minister, he appointed Michael Lawler to the position of vice president of the Fair Work Commission at a salary of about $400,000. It was the FWC that investigated the Health Services Union and led to the allegations against Craig Thomson.
As Peter Wicks pointed out in his long-running expose on this case
“Surely, taxpayers’ dollars should not be spent on a public servant meant to be an impartial industrial judge who is freelancing as a barrister for a union official with whom he is in a long-term relationship that is facing civil action from her own union.”
On Friday, Kathy Jackson was in court in Melbourne representing herself. She failed to produce her defence as directed, despite having been given more time to do so. She told the court that she was under medical direction “to disengage from this process for three months”.
I can understand her feeling under pressure as I am sure Craig Thomson did also for far smaller amounts than those Ms Jackson is alleged to have misappropriated. My question is, when your partner is an industrial judge of equivalent standing to a Federal Court judge, who is intimately aware of, if not directly involved in, the case, couldn’t he have prepared her defence documents as required by the court?
Speaking of pressure, Peter Slipper faced court again today for his alleged misuse of less than $1000 in cab charges. The court is set to sit for 6 days to hear this case which may find Mr Slipper in breach due to misrepresenting where he went on a couple of the vouchers. I wonder how much this has cost so far in police and court resources.
133 total views, 1 views today