Cartoon: By Nicholson.
The New South Wales Police have decided that federal MP Craig Thompson has no criminal case to answer in relation to fraud. As result the Acting PM, Wayne Swan believes that everything is now hunky dory and the opposition should drop its campaign over misuse of a union credit card for ‘escort services’ and substantial cash withdrawals.
The police statement though in no way exonerates Thompson other than for fraud, and is a serious indictment of union practices:
In a relief for federal Labor, NSW Police said the card had Mr. Thomson's name on it and as a result there was no deception and, therefore, no criminality.Clearly, this statement does nothing to remove the allegations of misuse of union members funds by Thompson, nor does it clear him of using those funds for ‘escort services,’ brothel visits, or personal expenditure. All that it is saying is that the brothels were not defrauded by him, as the union credit card had his name on it. They got paid for the services they provided.
“Based on the subsequent material and information provided to NSW Police by the Health Services Union, including a 120 page document relating to their own examination of the use of Mr. Thomson's credit card, it was concluded that based on the accounting practices of the union relating to the use of corporate credit cards, there was no evidence to warrant a formal investigation by NSW Police,” police said in a statement.
The matter has now been referred to police in Victoria, where the HSU is based, but it's considered likely they will reach the same conclusion.
The police have not cleared Thompson of allegations as to the use of prostitutes, nor of their payment by use of union funds. From the wording of the statement, it seems likely that he did.
What should be of concern to union members is that the police there is no reason for investigation of the misuse by him of members funds as “based on the accounting practices of the union relating to the use of corporate credit cards …” This makes it clear that what he was doing was in line with the standard practice of union officials in relation to members funds.
The HSU are not alone in this, given the news that AWU heavyweight, Bill Ludwig has been given $45,000 by that union to cover legal expenses for a defamation suit he launched and subsequently dropped. The matter arose out of vote rorting allegations in Queensland Racing Limited, and had no relationship to the union itself.