Craig Thomson Arrested; Faces 149 Fraud Charges

The suspended ALP member for the NSW seat of Dobell, Craig Thomson, has been arrested and will be charged with 149 fraud offences against the Health Services Union.

Text of press release from NSW Police.

Man arrested in NSW following fraud investigation by Victoria Police

Thursday, 31 January 2013 01:21:58 PM

A man wanted in Victoria on fraud offences has been arrested on the NSW Central Coast by officers from State Crime Command’s Fraud and Cybercrime Squad.

An arrest warrant had been issued for the 48-year-old man by Victorian authorities following investigations into allegations of fraud committed against the Health Services Union.

About 1pm today (Thursday 31 January 2013), detectives attached to Strike Force Carnarvon arrested the man at an address in Tuggerah.

He was taken to Wyong Police Station where he is expected to be charged by virtue of the arrest warrant with a fraud offence.

It is expected he will go before Wyong Local Court where a further 149 fraud charges are to be laid.

It is anticipated that Victorian detectives will apply for the man’s extradition to Victoria.


Press Council Rules Against Herald Sun Over Portrayal of Craig Thomson

The Australian Press Council has upheld compaints against the Herald Sun newspaper over its portrayal of Craig Thomson.

Herald Sun

The complaints related the Herald Sun edition of May 22, 2012. The News Limited Melbourne tabloid portayed Thomson on its front page with a Pinocchio nose.

Four pages inside the paper attacked Thomson over his statement to the House of Representatives on May 21 about the investigation into his behaviour as an official of the Health Services Union.

The Press Council concluded: “… that the overall impact of the front page and page 7 was highly unfair to Mr Thomson by seeking to convey too close an analogy with a courtroom conviction on criminal charges, especially at a time when the laying of such charges was being widely demanded and anticipated. Accordingly, the complaints against the newspaper’s coverage are upheld on that ground.”


Herald Sun

Herald Sun

Text of Australian Press Council Adjudication No. 1556. Available on the APC website.

Adjudication No. 1556: Debra Creevy and others/Herald Sun (November 2012)

28 Nov 2012

The Australian Press Council has considered complaints by a number of people about the coverage in the Herald Sun on 22 May 2012 of the speech by Craig Thomson MP to Federal Parliament on the previous day. The coverage featured a very large photograph of Mr Thomson, digitally altered to have a Pinocchio-like nose, over which was a headline reading “Teary Thomson claims he’s a victim of bizarre conspiracy”. A headline lower on the page read “But reader’s jury says his story is full of holes:” under which was a further headline reading “We don’t believe you”.

Pages 4 to 7 of the newspaper comprised a series of reports and comments about the speech (each of which had a banner headline running across the top which read “We don’t believe you”). Pages 4 and 5 were headed “Cops doubt Thomson phone clone claim” and quoted “law enforcement experts” to that effect. Page 5 consisted largely of a section headed “Reasons we know Craig is lying” which listed a number of his claims and reported evidence from court documents and the report of a Fair Work Australia investigator which appeared to conflict with those claims.

Page 7 consisted mainly of a section with the principal heading “The Reader Verdict”, above which was a heading “We asked our own jury if they believed Craig Thomson’s claims”. The names and photographs of each of twelve people were shown, together in each case with the heading “Don’t believe” (or, in two cases, “Can’t decide”) and a few sentences were shown as quotes of their views. The page also reported, under a heading, “What you said”, that of the 12,082 readers who replied to a poll on the newspaper’s website asking “Do you believe Craig Thomson was set up and did nothing wrong?” some 89% had answered in the negative.

Some complainants concentrated on the front page, but others were concerned about the overall coverage. The principal criticism was that the material unfairly pre-judged Mr Thomson and constituted “trial by media”. Some complainants thought the coverage did not provide adequate balance or was unreasonably offensive. It was also complained that the quoted comments accompanying some of the “verdicts” headed “Don’t believe” were not as unequivocal as that summary suggested.

The newspaper responded that the trustworthiness of parliamentarians was of crucial importance in a democracy and therefore required very close scrutiny by the media, especially when there were such strong grounds for concern. It said the coverage should be assessed as an overall package and had been accurate, fair and balanced. It said that the coverage accurately represented its readers’ opinions, as shown by its jury and poll, as well as those of many parliamentarians and press gallery members.

The newspaper said the coverage did not imply a jury verdict in a court of law, as the term jury was also used in many other, non-legal contexts. It said each juror had been shown the full speech by Mr Thomson and then chosen whether his or her views should be summarised as “Don’t believe” or “Can’t decide”. It also pointed out that the digital alteration of Mr Thomson’s photograph had been acknowledged on the front page.

The Press Council considers that detailed and forthright description and analysis of the issues in this case was not only acceptable but a matter of considerable public importance. It was reasonable to include extensive reference to the views of the newspaper’s readership and other members of the public, as well as the kind of trenchant criticism of Mr Thomson’s claims which was provided in the articles on pages 4 and 5.

The Council has concluded, however, that the overall impact of the front page and page 7 was highly unfair to Mr Thomson by seeking to convey too close an analogy with a courtroom conviction on criminal charges, especially at a time when the laying of such charges was being widely demanded and anticipated. Accordingly, the complaints against the newspaper’s coverage are upheld on that ground.

Supplementary Note (not required for publication by the newspaper):
Although many of the complaints focused especially on the altered image of Mr Thomson, the adjudication does not mean that the image in itself constituted a breach of the Council’s principles. It also does not imply any change in the Council’s principles relating to depictions of people in cartoons.

Relevant Council Standard (not required for publication by the newspaper):
This adjudication applies part of the Council’s General Principle 1: “Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced.”


Craig Thomson And The Golden Thread

In this anodyne age when we’re all so quick to take offence, the hasty presumption of guilt still holds sway.

This is Kieran Gilbert’s interview with Craig Thomson’s lawyer Chris McArdle, on Sky News. McArdle offers an unfashionable defence of some important legal principles.

The interview followed a police raid on the Labor MP’s home this morning.



Kathy Jackson’s Speech To The HR Nicholls Society

Kathy Jackson, national secretary of the Health Services Union, has addressed the H.R. Nicholls Society in Melbourne.

Jackson has been criticised by other unionists for her decision to speak to the organisation generally regarded as anti-union and once described by Prime Minister Bob Hawke as a group of “political troglodytes and economic lunatics”.

Transcript of Kathy Jackson’s speech to the H.R. Nicholls Society.

Kathy JacksonI have been attacked for agreeing to speak to you tonight because you are seen as the enemies of trade unionism.

I speak in my personal capacity tonight, not as an official of the HSU.

I happen to think that dialogue is important. Including with those with whom I disagree on matters that are important to me.

I am sure that there are very great differences that will be remain between how I see the world and how some of you see it.

I think it better that we have a dialogue about those differences rather than to simply call each other names.

I am sure that, at the end of the day, much of what separates us comes down to matters of deep philosophical outlook, not to mention fundamental differences about matters of economics and how the greatest good can be achieved in society. [Read more…]


Craig Thomson: Enough Is Enough

Craig Thomson has made a brief statement to journalists in Canberra today, attacking media coverage of allegations against him

“Enough is enough,” Thomson said. At one point he asked: “Is this about trying to push someone to the brink?”

  • Listen to Thomson’s statement:

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Craig Thomson

I’m just going to make a very short statement, any other questions that you have I refer you back to my statement that I made in parliament the other day.

It was almost Fidel-like I think in length, so there is plenty of footage there for you with that.

Can I say at the moment I am subject to, we’ve had Fair Trading in NSW look at the issues of the HSU, we’ve had the NSW police on two occasions, we’ve had the AEC on two occasions, now they’ve all finished their investigations.

There is an ongoing investigation by the Victorian police, we’ve also had it now being referred to privileges, and a couple of other committees. [Read more…]