Craig Thomson has delivered a 59 minute statement to the House of Representatives defending himself against allegations of misuse of Health Services Union funds.
Thomson’s speech began with a lengthy history of his working career with the union and his work as the Labor member for Dobell.
He attacked the veracity of the Fair Work Australia report and quoted the Australian Electoral Commission’s report with approval.
Thomson repeated his earlier claims that he had been set up by his factional enemies in the union. He named the deputy secretary of the HSU, Marco Bolano, as the person who threatened to set him up with “hookers”.
He maintained that he was elsewhere at times he was alleged to be with prostitutes.
Thomson attacked Kathy Jackson at length over her activities within the union.
Thomson also attacked the media for its coverage of the HSU issues, at one point providing a list of journalists he respected. He broke into tears when he claimed photographers had attempted to take pictures of his pregnant wife whilst she was showering.
Tony Abbott should “hang his head in shame”, Thomson said in conclusion, attacking the Opposition Leader over his attitude to the presumption of innocence. “He is unfit to be prime minister, he is unfit to be an MP.”
- Listen to Thomson’s speech (59m)
- Download a PDF copy of Thomson’s speech
Transcript of Craig Emerson’s statement to the House of Representatives:
‘Go cut your wrists or, better still, hang yourself.’ ‘Go out the back, cut your throat—that’s the only way.’ ‘Have you slashed your wrists yet?’ ‘You are dead. A bullet between the eyes will save taxpayers’ money.’ ‘You have unleashed the lynch mob and you have fanned it and for that you’re, ultimately, responsible.’
These are the types of emails, letters and phone calls that my family, myself and my staff have received. Since these allegations were first raised I have consistently and on many occasions made it clear that I have done nothing wrong. I have, in fact, wanted to make a statement for some time but sought counsel, sought advice, from a variety of people—including legal advice—and took that advice not to make a statement. Can I say that is something that I probably regret in hindsight. I did not realise that this was going to go four years, but once that decision had been taken, of course, then the next opportunity to speak really is when a report is concluded—and Fair Work have done that.
In making this statement I am very conscious that in the eyes of many of the public I have already been charged, convicted and sentenced. The public will hold these views because of the quite extraordinary media coverage which has taken place. I, like every member of this House, understand and value the importance of an independent and robust news media and the important place that it can play in our democracy. However, all of us who have regular dealings with the news media know that the news media can often get it wrong, and sometimes seriously so—particularly as today the media is dominated by self-important commentators, not reporters, and I will say a little bit more about that later. So I think it is important to once again remind the House that I have not been the subject of any conviction, not even the subject of any legal proceedings; none of the allegations have been tested in any court or tribunal. [Read more...]