No Sense – Thomson verdict and common sense

Posted: February 24, 2014 in HSU Saga, Media, Politics

As we wait to hear whether Craig Thomson will appeal the verdict handed down in Magistrates Court last Tuesday, I thought it may be timely to clear a couple of things up.

The articles I have written regarding the HSU saga which is ongoing have been grouped under the title Jacksonville for a reason. That reason is because they primarily relate to the evidence against Kathy Jackson and her factional support network.

Those who claim that the articles published here have been primarily about Craig Thomson are either flat-out lying or are perhaps not so blindly supporters of Kathy Jackson for whatever reason, be it politically or financially motivated support.

Clearly Craig Thomson and his ongoing legal issues are a part of the HSU story and as such I have written many articles on his continuing legal battle.

However my position on Thomson’s case has never been that he is innocent, my position has always been, and continues to be that he deserves a fair trial and that should not involve a trial by media.

Another day another prosecution delay

A fair trial, I’ve heard of those…

As a part of my coverage I have endeavoured to show the aspects of the case that the main stream media have decided you are not worthy of hearing, and much of that would involve Thomson’s defence and reporting on some of the issues and errors with the case against him.

However what I could not ignore was what appeared to be a campaign of completely false claims, selective reporting of facts and blatant lies in the main stream coverage of Thomson’s case.

I thought that the public should be aware of the fiction that was being published as fact and started reporting on the media.

For this I have been called a Thomson cheerleader and flag waver by imbeciles that appear to like being misled and lied to by elements of the mainstream press. Then again, perhaps they are just Jackson cronies and hangers-on or right-wing nutjobs.

However I was not alone in my condemnation of the mainstream, some of you may recall the opening statement of Magistrate Rozencwajg during the trial regarding the shameful coverage of The Australians coverage of events by Pia Ackerman and Ean Higgins.

“Before we commence. At the outset I feel it is necessary to state that the article on the front page of The Australian last Tuesday reporting on the mention held on the 2nd September was factually incorrect in several significant respects. The court certainly made no determination as declared in the blaring headline, in fact I made no determination whatsoever. I have requested the Court Strategic Communications Advisor to take this issue up with the editor of The Australian newspaper and if necessary the Australian Press Council.”

I didn’t hear cries about the Magistrate being a Thomson cheerleader however.

An example misleading and deliberately incorrect coverage would be how long it took for the media to stop reporting that Thomson was facing charges totalling over $500,000, despite that number having dropped to less than $30K.

The continual reporting of Thomson facing 173 charges despite many of them already being dropped by the magistrate.

The reporting of admission of facts by Thomson when it was in fact facts admitted into evidence that were in fact still disputed by Thomson.

One of those in the mainstream quick to blow her own trumpet after Magistrate Rozencwajg gave his verdict was Fairfax reporter Kate McClymont who came out patting herself on the back and condemning what she referred to as the “blogosphere”.

McClymont came out in an interview describing the blogosphere as

“a fascinating beast which doesn’t seem accountable as we are in the main stream. They think it’s all right to defame Kathy Jackson and her husband….all in blind support of Craig Thomson”

For starters Kate, Kathy Jackson does not have a husband but let’s not let facts get in the way.

McClymont is right, we lowly souls in the blogosphere are definitely not accountable in the same way you are in the MSM.

We don’t have a watchdog like you do, one that is primarily funded by the media itself and enjoys a reputation as a toothless tiger.

I can only speak for myself and my accountability on this matter. I have fought off two defamation actions so far and one threatened defamation action regarding my HSU coverage. Unlike those in the mainstream I have had to do this on my own and at my own expense without the benefit of a highly paid legal team in my office and another in my insurance companies offices as those in the MSM enjoy.

I’d actually say that makes us more accountable.

If reporting facts on Kathy Jackson’s spending habits with union funds and reporting Michael Lawler’s direct links to the case can be considered defamation then that would lead one to believe they are doing something wrong or else these facts would not be defaming.

I would also point out that none of the defamation actions have related to any of the documentation involving Jackson’s alleged misuse of union member’s funds, or been anything to do with anything I have written about Craig Thomson.

Jackson and Lawler share a moment after Kathy made a fool of herself in Federal Court

Jackson and Lawler- bad habits and direct links

She went on in the interview to say that she had to threaten a member of the blogosphere legally because it;

“…can be frightening but you can’t let these people get to you”.

Well, I know a quite a bit about the legal threat that McClymont speaks of as Independent Australia and I were the target of these threats, but I didn’t let it get to me.

I was not going to write about McClymont and her husband Graeme Brosnan’s threats that came from their lawyers as it was requested that the action not be referred to publicly. However I’m glad McClymont has opened it up for discussion.

In her interview McClymont told Fran Kelly that a picture of her house with her address had been published online, and insinuated that she had needed legal threats to have it removed. The way that McClymont told it was as if it had been done in some kind of threatening or intimidating fashion.

I was contacted by McClymont and Brosnan’s lawyer regarding the picture and address which I had posted online in an article as a link to document, not as a picture as McClymont portrayed it.

The linked document was actually a real estate document showing ownership of a property owned by McClymont and Brosnan which I posted as evidence of their relationship which was not widely known at the time. Their lawyer sought the removal of the address, and as a gesture of good will I actually removed the entire document immediately, although McClymont neglected to mention that in her interview.

As it turned out their chief concern seemed to be that I had pointed out that McClymont was married to a private investigator and author.

The lawyer was also insistent that the private investigator and investigative reporter didn’t compare notes and worked completely separately, or as their lawyer put it they

“… each conduct their professional endeavours completely professionally and appropriately, and independently of one another.”

Independently of one another? Like when they edited a book together? Or perhaps Ms Alice Kate McClymont is a relative?

Still I am a frightening figure as McClymont tells it, although I’m not exactly sure why.

She didn’t seem to think so when she shouted me morning tea at Fairfax’s offices when we sat down and discussed the HSU case together.

Could it be because she feels threatened by the blogosphere as she calls it?

It could be, we do enjoy a growing audience whilst those in the printed media suffer a declining readership. I won’t go so far as to call the printed media the Dead Zone, but it is certainly the Dying Zone.

Maybe it is because Jackson’s work colleagues chose to trust me to report on the documentation and not send it to her?

She certainly has been loathe to report anything negative about Jackson, Lawler, or Bolono.

However what made me really question the motives of McClymont was when a couple of blokes from downtown Bathurst decided to raise money for Thomson’s legal battle in order that he be able to afford a decent defence.

McClymont came out swinging seemingly adamant that Thomson not be able to afford that decent defence. McClymont was so fired up she showed no regard for facts stating that Thomson should get Legal Aid to defend him knowing full well that on his salary this would not be possible. She then went on to lie and state that those raising the funds were ALP members, it turns out neither had ever been members of the ALP.

No other journalist took such a stand against this which made me wonder why McClymont seemed to have such a vendetta against Thomson, surely a fair trial is in everyone’s best interests including the media.

Kate & Craig - No love lost there...

Kate & Craig – No love lost there…

It seemed to me that McClymont, who was supposed to be an unbiased journalist was acting and talking more like a right-wing columnist such as Andrew Bolt or Piers Ackerman, whose daughter Pia was the court reporter writing the articles that were being slammed by the Magistrate in Thomson’s trial for “gross inaccuracies”.

I decided to look back at some of McClymont’s articles on the HSU saga and was shocked to find some major inaccuracies. Claims of secret commissions that turned out to be invoiced services, and talk of overcharges what McClymont refers to as a newsletter that turned out to be a 48 page colour magazine. Not only do her claims regarding this magazine that was direct mailed to roughly 60,000 members not make sense mathematically, her claim of 10 editions conflicts with the Temby report’s claim of 11 editions.

I have praised McClymont in the past for some of her coverage and investigations into Michael Williamson.

Her relentless pursuit of Williamson is understandable, and her persistent attacks on Thomson although seeming to be personally motivated are also understandable.

What is not understandable however is how someone who has seen the documentation on Jackson and writes for a paper that boldly claims “Independent Always” has chosen to ignore the allegations against her which dwarf claims against Thomson.

But enough about Kate, what never ceases to amaze me is the scale of the public crucifixion of Craig Thomson when compared with others involved in the case.

Bear this in mind, Craig Thomson is due to be sentenced in just under a month for charges that now total less than $20,000. This total includes the cash withdrawals from union funds.

His accuser Kathy Jackson is praised by right-wing press as some sort of hero despite questions being raised over her cash withdrawals of hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds amongst a mountain of other allegations

In the Michael Williamson case, Williamson’s lover Cheryl McMillan had not been spoken of lately. Sources report that McMillan has been given immunity from criminal prosecution despite being a hostile witness and personally collecting $1.2Million in cash payments in paper bags in a car park, apparently pocketing $600,000 herself for her troubles. She is however open to civil claims which the union look forward to starting.

Is it just me or do the scales of justice seem a little unbalanced?

To me this is the real “affront to common sense“.

More on this soon.

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Comments
  1. whatismore says:

    Thanks for your summary and I look forward to your future accounts.

    • Lorraine Henneberry says:

      Didn’t this all start when Craig Thompson actually found discrepancies in the books at the HSU?
      It seems to me although he has been found guilty by the court an awful stench lies waiting to be unearthed. I’m reminded of that line from Shakespeare “Methinks they protesth too much”

  2. DP says:

    For me I think that Kate McClymont, as an “investigative journalist” , did not seem to investigate both sides of the story. Nor seemed to have an interest in doing so . And its true, nothing negative about Jackson, Lawler, or Bolono was every looked into. This is why I followed your scrutiny and questioning of the case , Peter. McClymont, as an “investigative award winning journalist” , should have, (one would think), made sure Jackson was a genuine ‘whistle-blower’, seeing as Jackson has questions to answer also.
    So why isn’t Kate McClymont interested in pursuing that now ? That is the question I ponder the most .

  3. M. R. says:

    Keep it up, Wixxy – there are an awful lot of us in the blogosphere who support you.

  4. Heather says:

    I have followed yours reports on Jacksonville over the past year or so. I agree. You have not proclaimed Craig’s innocence, but merely stood up for a ‘fair trial’ and against political witch hunting.
    When one thinks of the gross corruption of the Williamsons and the Jacksons, Craig’s indiscretions appear very small. And he has certainly paid the price.

    • Bridget says:

      I am a totally disillusioned with Thomson now.

      Interesting comments but FACTS are Williamson has plead guilty, Thomson has been found guilty and as yet Jackson, who the left wing nutjob affiliates of the Labor Party would already have us believe is guilty, currently has no case to answer -and on that basis in Australia is currently presumed INNOCENT. These are FACTS!

      Jackson must really be stupid to have outed all this fraud if only to be guilty of the same crimes herself.

      Given Thomson is GUILTY it will be interesting to see the appeal. If no appeal then some questions will need to be asked about his “parliamentary speech”.

  5. Rob says:

    Nice article. I also look forward to hearing more about these unfolding events in future, and especially how the MSM and aspects within it respond.

  6. Always a pleasure to read your Jacksonville Saga Peter. A classic case here of people who live in glasshouses should not throw stones.

  7. sue says:

    Don’t bother reading McClymont as she has prejudged without all evidence. Where I read all of your articles Wixxy. Thanks for the update

  8. Saaq Madiq. says:

    McClymont, what an ugly person both inside and out who shows a complete lack of respect for the facts. McClymont is just another journalist, supposedly, with a glass jaw when confronted with the facts. If she was anywhere decent let her have a go at the Ashby/Slipper case. Methinks she just doesn’t have the stomach or the ticker to upset her liberal buddies. Another reason not to buy the SMH. Keep up the great work mate.

  9. […] No Sense – Thomson verdict and common sense. […]

  10. Peter Hazeal says:

    Good work Peter keep it up, It is refreshing to read a article that is balanced and fair now days. Most of the hacks that write now days should hang their heads in shame. Look forward to reading more of your work
    HAZE

  11. paul walter says:

    McClymont, The SMH’s answer to Hedda Hopper, a gossip columnist doing the boss’s dirty work for them.

  12. clarittee says:

    If you dish it out you should take some back. McClymont had an axe to grind here. Hardly a disinterested party. How would Thomson get a fair trial in this country once the papers had done the job they had on him. The other technique is to send him bankrupt. IF you have been bankrupted you can’t sit in the Parliament. Court action can send you bankrupt fast. Our system doesn’t come cheap.

  13. Marcus says:

    I certainly applaud the balanced reporting of all of the issues, but it does seem to me that you have not evenly applied your stated principle “innocent until proven quilty” to al parties concerned. I am a bit disappointed, too, that not much has surfaced about those that Mr Temby describes as Williamson’s “lieutenants”.
    There seems to be plenty of guilt to spread around, I don’t think most of us will be satisfied until all aspects of this sorry matter are exposed.

  14. Dez says:

    McClymont is nothing but a bitter and twisted Harpy who should just crawl back under her rock and stay there.

    Funny how the most public, rednecked, one-eyed and biased right-wingers always have skeletons in their closet and are the most guilty of hypocrisy.

  15. Has Fran Kelly ever invited you to discuss your take on the case? Perhaps this is, sadly because I support the ABC, a case of media mates looking after each other.

  16. Lad Litter says:

    You are probably all over this already Wixxy but Gary Johns advocates Kathy Jackson be nominated as Australian of the Year and compares her to Athena, Goddess of Wisdom in this morning’s Australian.

    • Dez says:

      Has Johns recently suffered a major head injury? Is this his best attempt for the position of Village Idiot?

      What a fucking loon.

  17. Bridget says:

    Listening to the ABC Bill Shorten has described Craig Thomson as a “disgrace to the union movement”. He stated he feels “anger and disgust” at the actions of Craig Thomson. He stated he supports a parliamentary apology to the Australian public. That’s true Labor leadership. Good on you Bill!

    • wixxy says:

      Whichever of the multitude of false names you choose to use here Kylee, you’re not fooling anyone but yourself

      • Bridget says:

        What the hell are you on about! I thought you had some balance and feeling for Union members. Don’t feel ashamed of your long standing support for a convicted fraudster that has now been disowned by all his previous parliamentary backers. All of us at the HSU now hope he gets his right whack.

      • wixxy says:

        I don’t claim to speak for all of the HSU like you do, but I believe that the last union election results showed who the members thought were fraudsters and who could be trusted

      • Bridget says:

        Never, ever have I claimed to speak for all members of the HSU. I have simply expressed my own personal view as a member and the view of several members with whom I have discussed the Thompson saga. We supported Thompson until he was proven GUILTY. We voted to get rid of all the old leaders at the last election. Funny how you are now turning on your supporters Wixxy – I thought you had principles.

      • wixxy says:

        Never ever?

        “All of us at the HSU now hope he gets his right whack”

        That was from your last comment here.
        Who is all of us at the HSU then?
        I have also discussed the saga with a vast number of members whose view couldn’t conflict further from yours.
        I’m not turning on anyone, my opinion on the case hasn’t changed a single bit neither have my principles.
        I only speak for myself and don’t pretend to speak for anyone else or pretend to be anyone else

  18. Paul says:

    So many sockpuppets, eh Stinky. About time you grew up.

  19. A Source says:

    Australian Defence Force oath of Allegiance 2014 >Oath
    I ….. swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Rupert Murdoch, Gina Rinehart and the Liberal National Party according to law as a member of the Australian Defence Force for the period of ….. years ….. days, or until my service is sooner lawfully terminated, that I will resist their enemies and that in all matters appertaining to my service I will faithfully discharge my duty according to law. So help me, God. >> .
    The military commander in charge of the Government’s asylum seeker boats mission has been accused of a “political cover-up” in a senate inquiry . OSB Commander Lieutenant General Angus Campbell was asked to explain why he had placed strict controls on information about “operational” or “on-water” incidents. PS; No Murdoch topic police please.

  20. sebe (@sebe) says:

    Nandos say it ok for CT use credit card with them, very strange.

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