In June 2015, the Health Services Union (HSU) sued Kathy Jackson over allegations she spent $660,000 of members’ funds on personal expenses while national secretary.
Before the trial, the HSU sought an injunction freezing Ms Jackson’s assets and blocking the sale of her $1.3 million NSW property to her partner, vice president of the Fair Work Commission Michael Lawler.
Ms Jackson’s lawyer said blocking the transfer of the property would be a devastating blow to her client that would prevent her from being able to pay her legal bills, school fees and daily living expenses even though, under the proposed injunction, she would be allowed $2,000 a week.
Lawler told the court that he had no assets and was financially strained despite earning $435,000 a year.
A couple of weeks later, just prior to her trial, Jackson declared bankruptcy despite having recently filed an affidavit declaring net assets of $278,683 including her Wombarra property (valued at $1.3 million), a 2005 model Mercedes (valued at $15,000), bank accounts containing less than $2,000 and an engagement ring worth $20,000.
In August 2015, the court found she had misappropriated the union’s money and ordered her to pay the Health Services Union about $1.4m though I doubt any of that has been paid or is likely to be.
More than two years later, Jackson was committed to stand criminal trial facing a total of 147 charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception, 18 counts of theft and one charge of obtaining property by deception. She pled not guilty.
There have been several court appearances since then which have all been adjourned with Jackson remaining on bail whilst she seeks Legal Aid funding which has so far been denied.
Legal Aid has opposed the application, stating her defacto partner Mr Lawler has sufficient equity in his house that he could access to meet the costs.
“She should rely on that rather than publicly-funded social security,” Legal Aid barrister Angel Aleksov argued.
But Jackson said her partner should not be compelled to sell his house.
“I have no money. I am a bankrupt. I have no assets apart from my car, which is probably worth a couple of thousand dollars,” she said.
“I want to make clear that Mr Lawler and I are separate human beings. He will not sell his house.”
So to sum up, Kathy gives Michael her house so she can fund her legal costs, but then wants the government to fund her because she is bankrupt and her de facto partner’s assets (which used to be hers) shouldn’t count.
Ms Jackson was due to appear again on April 29th this year. I can find no record of that appearance having gone ahead.
It seems that, until we promise to pay all Kathy’s bills, she just won’t bother turning up and will continue to spend any money they might have.
Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne described Jackson as ‘decent, brave and revolutionary’.
I can think of better descriptions.
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