Hangman Jury

Posted: May 20, 2012 in HSU Saga, Politics

I was thinking today how lucky we are to live in a country like Australia.

Australia is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some things we can always rely on, well nearly always. The presumption of innocence until proven guilty for example, and, at the end of the process of determining guilt or innocence, a punishment is only handed down upon guilt being found beyond reasonable doubt.

Some of you may have seen my posts last week on the serious questions that remain unanswered relating to the HSU saga, if not, here are links to part one, and part two. It is fair to say that I have received all types of correspondence, as has Independent Australia, since publishing these posts. However, it is interesting to note, not one person has disputed any of the findings.

I did, however, want to take the opportunity to clear up a couple of misconceptions, and clarify a couple of points.

Firstly, I did approach some main stream media before doing the story myself. I am not going to name media outlets, however I will say in their defense that one of the major issues was time. My source had work commitments and it was unlikely that a story, that in part relied on access to that informant, was going to be put together for broadcast or publication before Craig Thomson’s speech on Monday. In addition to that, the person in question was not entirely comfortable fronting the media, given their situation.

There are however, those who have said that due to the story not coming from a mainstream media source it is therefore unreliable. That is only a matter of opinion, in fact, those who followed the links in the story would notice they led to official documents, as well as mainstream media sources. So my posts are only as reliable as their sources….

There are those who say that bloggers, and publications like Independent Australia, do not have the accountability of those in the mainstream media, and do not have as much to risk. To this argument, I would say “What utter crap”. The notion of somebody taking on a journalist, or columnist that has the backing of News Ltd, or Fairfax and their legal team, and their millions of dollars, quicker than they would run the risk of taking on me, with a pocketful of change, or Independent Australia, in a defamation suit is, quite frankly, an insult to the intelligence.

On this note, both myself and Independent Australia, have received all kinds of information and correspondence relating to this story since its publication. Not everything has been published.

Much of the information we received was both relevant, and also quite explosive in some cases. However, we chose not to publish information that could not be verified, or information that we considered private, such as emails.

What has completely humbled me, is the number of messages, tweets, comments and feedback that both Independent Australia and I have received from members of the Health Services Union. Every single one of these has been a message of support, and happiness that the truth is starting to emerge.

We had all seen and heard Kathy Jackson selling her side of the story constantly for the last couple of months. I had also noticed the mysteriously sudden change of heart towards union members by both right-wing commentators, and Liberal politicians, and their solemn words of concern for the unions well-being. It really was quite touching…

Then after receiving all the correspondence from members of the HSU, a thought occurred to me.

That thought, “Never in my living memory has a unions membership been so well spoken for, while ultimately nobody gets to hear what that membership thinks, or even what it wants to be heard”.

Plenty of people are speaking for them, but nobody it appears, is interested in using their words. How frustrating that must be…..

That is one of the true tragedies in this whole sordid affair. After all, it is their money we are all talking about.

The main misconception I want to address is that I am trying to prove Craig Thomson’s innocence.

Craig Thomson, parliaments most photographed man

This has never been my intention, I am not in possession of all the facts in this case, and do not claim to know all there is to know. It would be irresponsible of me to declare Craig Thomson as innocent. However, it is just as irresponsible for anybody without ALL the facts to declare his guilt.

If Craig is innocent, he must feel a little like Lindy Chamberlain must have felt all those years ago. Judged guilty by the press and public for years, only to be found innocent after years of suffering, even jail in Lindy’s case.

Lindy Chamberlain, after her release from jail

If there is one thing worth believing in, it is the concept of innocent until proven guilty. I will await Craig’s speech on Monday, and will listen to what he says with an open mind. My only hope is that the rest of the nation does the same.

You may remember, at the start of this post I mentioned “reasonable doubt”.

In my mind, after researching the things I have published in my last two posts. I believe wholeheartedly that there is more than enough evidence to justify reasonable doubt in this case.

I just hope that the debate after Monday can be kept civil.

After all, there is a family, and thousands of union members, whose heart breaks a little more each day that this debate rages out of control, and becomes more about character assassination than seeking truth.

Comments
  1. Marian Rumens says:

    George Brandis & Christopher Pyne have both said that it doesn’t matter what Craig Thomson says in his statement, they wont believe him. How’s that for innocent until proven guilty.

  2. Catching up says:

    Mr. Brandis has just said that innocence until proven guilty only applies in criminal matters. I have news for Mr. Brandis, I believe he is wrong. Maybe legally correct but wrong.
    I believe he is wrong. Nobody should be convicted on allegations, slurs or innuendo.

    The second reason that I object, is the way things are hoping, he could be facing criminal charges.

    To rub salt into the wound, Mr. Brandis is demanding that Ashby and Pyne be left alone.

    I will not even bother commenting on Bolt.

    He has a ex cop on making allegations against someone in the AWU. Micheal Smith, former cop and 2UE broadcaster. Who by the way was sacked after making allegations

    Bruce Wilson and his mate. Was not convicted by the way.

  3. Catching up says:

    I can see a big defamation coming up.

  4. Catching up says:

    We are back to the attacks made on the PM. Bolt linked the incidents to her. Ones that he has been trying hard to get up again for weeks. You know, the ones about her boyfriend. Was Wilson the boyfriend.

    Some scathing comments, that needed not be said.

    I must say he has pushed the envelope this time.

    We used to have a parer when I was young, called the Sunday Truth. It was nothing more than a scandal sheet. The Bolt show is a modern day version of the Truth.

    Yes, sexual harassment is serious, but it is not a hanging offence.

    Now we have Minchin. Carr is now in the firing line.

  5. wixxy says:

    It would seem today presumed innocence only applies if you hit homosexuals in Liberal branch meetings…. Particularly in Terrigal…

    • And that is exactly my point – this all seems to have the hand of Bill Heffernan firmly planted in the middle of it, never forgetting the Kirby affair and his homophobic attacks over the years in relation to other gay matters. As Neville Wran once famously said about the mud sticking!!! I would very much like to put your items on the whole affair about the HSU on my blog, but wanted your permission before doing that.

      • wixxy says:

        Thats OK Mannie, you can use my items if you like, or put a link to my posts, whatever you like….
        If you are reposting my blog, all I ask is credit for the writing….
        Send me a link to your blog when it’s done, I’d love to read it 🙂

      • redjos says:

        Thanks very much for your permission. I have posted the item on my blog under Thomson but have not yet finished putting in all the links. The blog is http://red-jos.blogspot.com
        Please let me know if I have put in enough acknowledgement on the blog.

      • wixxy says:

        Thats fine 🙂

  6. Catching up says:

    It definitely does not apply to anyone in Labor. By the way, they believe that either Slipper of Thomson will crack.. Their own doctor re-enforces this view.

    Then it will be all over.

    What a way to win government. Billy people until they give up.

  7. Catching up says:

    Sorry, bully, not billy.

  8. wixxy says:

    I hope you are wrong on that…. That would be disgusting in the extreme…
    However I would not be surprised

  9. Marilyn says:

    Any person with half a brain who read that FWA declared without evidence that Thomson used $270,000 in union funds for his election and didn’t declare the use to the AEC only to have the AEC prove that to be a malicious lie would have to conclude that Thomson is not guilty of anything.

    In fact the frigging FWA report said as much with their gobbledegook about travel and credit card spending.

    Allow me to repeat something from days ago re Thomson and his “charges”
    In Chapter 6 of the Fair Work Report they have 3 paragraphs where they explain their reasoning.
    In para 592 they say there was no formal policy on travel, rather an informal understanding that allowed his expenditure.
    In para 598 they say there was no policy allowing him to do it.
    In para 599 they say his terms of employment did not specifically allow him to do it.
    So in 3 paras they say there was no policy anywhere saying he could or could not spend money.
    Incredibly they go on to say he “therefore broke the rules”.I do not see the logic chain there.

    Not one media outlet read any reasonings, they only read the bogus claims.

    I suggest one and all read the reasonings – it is claimed Thomson used union funds to set up a Sydney branch without anyone knowing.

    It was claimed one small purchase from one small shop was a bribe for votes.

    The problem is it is a long report but the media and everyone else are so stupid they refuse to see anything but what they want to see.

    Thomson cannot be found guility of anything because he broke no union rules which is the only claim ever made by the stupid and we now know illegitimate report from FWA.

    According even to the Temby report into the HSU East branch from 2008-2012 did not claim any actual criminal behaviour except possibly by Williamson.

    Everyone is innocent until proven guilty and even if Thomson paid for sex so fucking what? It was 7 years ago and he was actually travelling with his wife at the time.

    • wixxy says:

      You are absolutely right Marilyn.
      We keep hearing about how damning the FWA report was, but not a great deal about how the AEC cleared Thomson of most of the FWA’s findings…

    • johnward154 says:

      The separation of powers should prevent the parliament from being able to over rule the Judiciary. In fact the Parliament or members of the parliament are in contempt of the Constitution.
      The high court has the power to determine that laws are not constitutional and or Illegal.
      No law real stands until it has been tested in the High court. That is one of our greatest protections against Dictatorship by tyrants like Saddam Hussein.

    • johnward154 says:

      The thing is the report,if you listen to Abbott, is 1100 pages long and a very weighty one at that. So whatever any one has to say, if they can’t produce something more than 10 kilos then. their response will be of no value at all at all.

  10. Marilyn says:

    And let’s get real here. When the AEC clears Thomson of any wrong doing it is encumbent on the Fairfax media’s Kate Mcclymont to have it front page and an apology instead of the prattle about Thomson talking to Oakes and not the police.

    There is no police issue and there is no police issue with Slipper now either.

    But by the criteria of brandis and Pyne and Abbott then Abbott has to stand down while claims of defamation are done in court because he is guilty, Heffernan must stand down now while claims of assault and abuse are investigated, the person Geoff Shaw must step down while a police investigation is happening, MIrabella should have stepped down during her civil case and in fact the last time the liberals pulled this sort of filth over Brian Burke they lost three senior ministers.

    I think the fact that Thomson has not slagged off on anyone in the union without facts is a great credit to him.

  11. […] of mainstream media and conservative politics — he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Peter Wicks comments. Craig Thomson – has been cruelly pre-judged by the Australian mass […]

  12. Marilyn says:

    I think I can safely say there are a lot of people not glad they live in Australia where the rule of law can be thrown in the bin when it suits.

    Just ask David Hicks.

    • johnward154 says:

      The presumption of innocence is the only protection that you and I have against false arrest or trumped up allegations. So it is incumbent on all of us to fight at a time like this to stop lynch mentality to be whipped up by that attack mutt Pyne. What ever the Fact are regarding Craig Thomson (not Thompson), this trial by media and innuendo is an attack on all our fragile freedom and rights. Not just Thomson. Abbott is a threat to our democracy by refusing to accept the vote of the people. He lost and now shows us his glass jaw. We deserve a better leader than this deflowered priest.

      • wixxy says:

        Presumption of innocence is gone with Thomson…
        Today he must have queried nobody having video footage of him at a brothel, and the shock jocks are slagging him off because he is not a video survailence expert.

        I also note that news broadcasts today have completely forgotten that the AEC cleared him of most of the campaign contributions issues last week….

      • johnward154 says:

        As you said earlier, corporate reporting has continued to be judge and jury as they did in the case of the Chamberlains .

  13. Marilyn says:

    And today finally Phil Coorey decides to finally report that it was an internal union brawl egged on by Brandis and Ronaldson in the senate and that Thomson was cleared of any electoral campaign fund rorts after the 2007 election but they were still lying about it in 2009.

  14. Len Da Hand says:

    Nobody is ever “found” innocent – its always can the evidence prove the charges. Thomson ultimately wont be guilty of anything but in the court of public opinion. And thats the end game in politics. Poor olde Craig cant defend himself anywhere anymore because nobody believes him as he throws up so many implausible explanations for the records that exist. He is about as credible as a $3 note.
    Comparing Lindy Chamberlain to Craig Thomson is ridiculous. You must remember that Lindy Chamberlain was found guilty by 12 persons on a jury – cant blame the jury if the evidence was dodgy.
    Craig hasnt provided material assistance into any investigation in these matters 1 iota – nor does he have to. Make your own conclusions and inferences from that.
    And reasonable doubt is a criminal term – not a civil term. Accordingly Craig Thomson is only offered the balance of probablities, and based on his past history, I wouldnt be betting on him coming out a winner.
    Look on the upside – post September 2013 he will make a good living as a corporate speaker or an ASIS operative, I’d pay $50 with a rubber chicken main course to hear Craig’s version of events.

    • wixxy says:

      You are correct about the court of public opinion, he is being tried in the press, which is where my Lindy Chamberlain comparison comes from.
      It is interesting to note that the findings of the AEC have been so quickly disregarded is todays media coverage.
      Craig Thomson has co-operated with investigations, just not the Fair Work Australia investgation, and who can blame him?? The Vice President, who on Friday has suddenly gone on “long leave”, is the partner of the woman out to get him, and is a friend of Tony Abbotts.
      FWA’s investigation took 4 years, quite slow by any stretch of the imagination… yet we are meant to believe that after the police raid and the truckload of “documents” seized they got their results together in around 4 days????
      I don’t buy what they’re shovelling….

  15. johnward154 says:

    Note the credit card Image furnished has Thompson with a’P’ what would the reasonable man on the street make of this?
    Klumzee I say.

    • MrsTrader says:

      This is extremely odd. Who uses a credit card with their name spelled incorrectly on it? Indeed, I think you’ll find it’s a requirement of use that you check the details on your credit card are accurate so that you can’t turn around later & deny it is yours? And the signature looks funny as Marilyn points out below – kind of there, but not quite. Like someone had practised a good facsimilie but with certain distinctive elements missing. If this is suspect, why would Thomson’s legal people allow it to stand?

      • wixxy says:

        Apparently it was settled on Graham Richardson’s advice, due to the upcoming election….
        What a mistake that was….

  16. Marilyn says:

    I don’t even know what the problem is and never have.

    So what – the credit card is for a restaurant and the name is wrong.

    How can that be sensible.

  17. Christine Says Hi says:

    Great post, thanks. When we start judging people based on who yells the loudest for the rope and tar, we are in real trouble.

  18. Marilyn says:

    The signature on the credit slip from 7 years ago is not Craig Thomsons.

    On his own signature the scribble goes down then up, on the credit slip in the name of Thompson it stays down.

    Hate to be pedantic but it’s pretty obvious.

  19. Sue says:

    Wixxy
    I read that there is a Senate committee next week looking at FWA. If Lawler and Nassios are both on leave does that mean they would be unable to attend if called?

  20. Sue says:

    Wixxy
    Yesterday in Thomson’s statement he said he had asked FWA to have Nassios removed from the investigation. Do you have any information on that?

    The attack in Fairfax, today is that even though Thomson only had one meeting their were numerous emails and that Thomson declined to give email answers on legal advice.
    Fairfax having ignored that part of Thomson’s statement on Nassios, thereby give themselves the opportunity to accuse Thomson of more lies.

  21. […] some of the complexities of the situation, the ones the mainstream media don’t report. As does this one. And this one. Why, I ask myself, are the self-appointed mainstream experts not discussing these […]

  22. Marilyn says:

    Now McClymont is whinging that he misled fucking caucus.

    Doesn’t the dried up old cretin understand that there is no crime.

  23. Sue says:

    Hi wixxy
    just read the next instalment at IA, Craig Thomson under the rain.

    thanks

    • wixxy says:

      Thanks Sue,
      I’m gonna post that on my page tonight actually, it is a different version.. less formal with a couple of other things thrown in…

      • Sue says:

        great
        can you let us know anything more happening with the sudden “long leave ” at FWA. It is beyond belief that a PA would not have a diary full of events/meetings and not know the boss was taking some time off.
        sorry for any pressure but it is just so enthralling?

  24. Marilyn says:

    What I want to know is why that bogus credit slip was passed off as Craig Thomson’s for so long and not questioned? It took me a nano-second to see the signatures were different and that the name was Thompson.

    And the stuff about the restaurant being for sex is not stated on the slip, it is listed as a restaurant.

    Licence on the old trolls part? Did she get the copy of the licence for the dinner or get it later?

    I know when I first read the article years ago I shrugged and said so what.

    And I reckon he wanted Nassios off the review because his previous report showed serious problems and ended with “”no charges”.

    What is forgotten by that old troll McClymont who is still preening on twitter is that there were no rules for the credit cards anyway so there can’t be any misuse.

    Who was a the dinner, what did they eat, what did they discuss. “”Did he manage $2,700 in food and drink all by himself?

    He would be dead if he did.

    And Terry Nassios spent more than that every time he went business class from Melbourne to Sydney and stayed overnight when he didn’t have to.

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