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EYE-BALL Opinion – Craig Thompson – his enemies grow – Brilliant Op Ed story by Paul Sheehan –

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Title:
– Craig Thompson – his enemies grow –
– Brilliant Op Ed story by Paul Sheehan  –
| Author: EYE-BALL Opinion | 4th Feb 2013|
There are many good stories published every day – you just have to find them.   You might skim a 100 stories looking for the one that garners your interest that has you read the whole story from beginning to end.   They are few and rare.

I found a gem today – and them I went on to read another story by the same author  – the second story was better than the first – both are re-published below:

Thomson caught in the political spin cycle


| Author: Paul Sheehan | Date: Feb 4th, 2013 | Link to On-Line Story. |

When Craig Thomson rose to speak in Parliament for the first time, on February 19, 2008, within 90 seconds he thanked three key Labor machinists: Mark Arbib, Karl Bitar and Sam Dastyari. He then went on to say: ”As a Labor government, we cannot afford to treat the electors as fools through political spin. We need to be honest and forthright.”

Last Thursday, Thomson was arrested and charged with 150 offences of theft or fraud, all of which he had denied in Parliament, saying he is the victim of blackmail and identity theft. He is also subject to 150 adverse findings in a report by Fair Work Australia, which is now pursuing a civil action against him. If Thomson’s argument that he is a victim of blackmail does not prevail in court, he will enter history as the least honest, least forthright politician ever to have served in the Australian Parliament.

He will not be alone. Long after multiple questions were raised about Thomson’s conduct by the Herald on April 8, 2009, in a story later amplified by both Victoria Police and a Fair Work Australia inquiry, the Labor Party began secretly paying Thomson’s legal bills, it re-endorsed him for the seat of Dobell, it deployed large resources to his re-election campaign and it suppressed questions in the Senate about his conduct.

Illustration: michaelmucci.com

Thomson’s re-election in 2010 saved the Gillard government. Julia Gillard recorded her gratitude in Parliament on August 16, 2011, long after scandal had enveloped Thomson: ”I have complete confidence in the member for Dobell. I look forward to him continuing to do that job for a very long, long, long time to come.”
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At the time, this column observed that Gillard had attached her reputation to someone with ”a credibility hole as deep as an open-cut mine”. That credibility was put to the test on May 21 last year when Thomson delivered a statement of defence to the Parliament: ”One would think, given the media coverage … that the allegations against me were made while I was a member of Parliament. Of course that is not the case. These are allegations … [from] many years ago.”

Problem. According to the Fair Work Australia report, Thomson’s union credit card was improperly used for 15 transactions after he was elected to Parliament. The report also said Thomson had provided ”false and misleading information” while he was a member of Parliament.

Thomson: ”The Fair Work report … so-called findings amount to no more than assertions.”

The 1100-page FWA report provides abundant documentary evidence to support its findings.

Thomson: ”[The investigator] was selective and biased … There was no body of evidence that supported his position.”

The FWA report details the evidence for every conclusion.

Thomson: ”I myself had only one interview with Fair Work Australia … That was it: one interview, two years ago.”

After he was interviewed on September 15, 2010, Thomson had follow-up phone and text exchanges with FWA.

Thomson: ”The [Australian Electoral Commission] report released last week blows a massive credibility hole in everything that Fair Work Australia did.”

The report did no such thing.

Thomson: ”The evidence was clear … that cash withdrawals … were appropriately accounted for … ”

Both the FWA report and the Victoria Police investigation dispute this.

Thomson: ”I was the subject on numerous occasions of threats and intimidation.”

This argument appeared belatedly and was unsupported by evidence.

Thomson: ”[There was] a threat by [union official] Marco Bolano … that he would seek to ruin any political career that I sought and would set me up with a bunch of hookers.”

This line of defence also emerged belatedly. It was not consistent with explanations first given by Thomson to FWA. Within hours of Thomson’s speech, Bolano issued a statement describing the accusation as ”fantastic and dishonest” and ”an abuse of his parliamentary privileges”. Thomson was invited by Victoria Police to make this claim outside Parliament and did not do so.

Thomson: ”[Another] issue of course is in relation to phone cloning [and] identity theft.”

The FWA report states: ”FWA has also obtained records which indicate that on three occasions Mr Thomson charged hotel expenses to a credit card in his name which had the costs of telephone calls made from his hotel room to an escort agency … While the cost of these telephone calls is trivial, these instances suggest that Mr Thomson was prone to engage the services of escorts when travelling on HSU business. This in turn makes it more likely it was Mr Thomson, and not some other person, who used Mr Thomson’s credit cards to engage in the transactions …”

Thomson: ”The current national secretary of the union is accused of destroying documents … ”

No such accusation has been made by a government agency.

Thomson: ”People need to be very conscious of when they go off on a witch-hunt, without evidence, based on just accusations …”

When the Herald broke and then pursued this story it did so on the basis of documentary evidence and extensive interviews.

Thomson concluded his May 21 speech by turning and pointing towards the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott: ”What you have done is not just damage to an individual or their family. You have damaged democracy and you continue to damage democracy, and you should hang your head in shame for that. What it shows of the Leader of the Opposition, that man, is that not only is he unfit to be a prime minister; in my view, he is unfit to be an MP.”

This line of attack as defence would not be Thomson’s alone. It was taken up by Gillard, Wayne Swan and Anthony Albanese.

It is integral to the moral foundation of the Gillard government. It is their election strategy.

… Read story on-line …

 

The original story appears below:

Meanwhile, life goes on but mind the speed bumps


| Author: Paul Sheehan | Date: Jan 7th, 2013 | Link to On-Line Story. |

A law firm sent the following advice to its clients in December, which, in keeping with so much advice from government bureaucracies, local councils and human resource departments, was unnecessary, passive-aggressive and constricting:

”With the festive season upon us, now is the time for employers to communicate important messages to their employees … The rules that apply in the workplace generally also apply to work functions … ”This means that policies relating to, for example, discrimination, sexual harassment, and work health and safety still apply, because of the connection between the workplace and the event.

”Injuries suffered at the party can be the subject of a workers’ compensation claim against the employer. Obligations to prevent sexual harassment or bullying also apply, and responsible service of alcohol must be taken into account when managing these risks …

”Failure to observe the employer’s policies at all times during the event may be used by the employer as a basis for disciplinary action, or in certain circumstances termination of employment.”
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Apart from that, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Multiply this message by 100,000 similar emails, management memos, regulations and public service advertisements and you get the accretion of the cultural and creative asphyxiation by red tape, the accumulating intrusions by a society increasingly obsessed with regulation.

Driving this process is a self-perpetuating political class which seeks relevance through regulation, of which there is always more, while nothing is ever repealed, so that regulations, the tools of legalism and control, simply multiply and grow.

It would, for example, be useful if local government were required to maintain an index of speed bumps, because their proliferation has reached the point of a mania. A speed bump index would measure the growth of local nanny state aggression.

We are never going to be able to legislate recklessness or distractedness from the human condition, no matter how much legislation is passed, regulations imposed, regulators deployed, laws enforced, Orwellian cameras installed, or speed bumps inflicted.

Motorists are going to make mistakes, all manner of domestic accidents are going to take their toll, young women are going to get pregnant, young men are going to injure themselves, many people are going to binge or smoke or take drugs, and some children are going to be neglected. Crap happens.

As we become a culture of speed bumps, everything is imposed in our own interests, and the interest of an abstraction called public safety. Never acknowledged is the tax-funded self-justification of the political and bureaucratic class.

Last week’s flare-up over compulsory voting is a case in point. Never has there been an issue of principle in which both sides have self-evidently strong arguments. I have been on both sides for them, supporting one and then the other.

Only a fool cannot see the merit of both arguments: that it is paradoxical and inimical to democracy for the state to impose the act of voting on its citizens. Conversely, it is beneficial to democracy to have the whole of the polity engaged in the democratic process.

Only a fool or a self-interested warrior of the political class could not see and acknowledge these conflicting merits. Which is why the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was so revealing in her narky response to a discussion paper by the Queensland state government on whether to abolish compulsory voting.

The Prime Minister reacted via Twitter: ”Don’t let the Liberals make our democracy the plaything of cashed-up interest groups.”

Apart from being ridiculous – as if the federal government itself, and the unions, were not the biggest contributors to political advertising during the 2010 federal election year – her comment does not augur well for federal politics in 2013 .

The self-interest was also obvious. It is well established that the Labor Party benefits from compulsory voting because numerous studies have shown that voter participation is lower among the lowest socio-economic cohorts when voting is not compulsory. Labor has traditionally been the party of the working class, though that is changing.

Her comment also served as an early signal of what is to come. More class war. More narky politics. The Gillard survival campaign is clearly going to emulate the playbook used so successfully by President Barack Obama, in winning re-election in November. He had one major policy, healthcare, and one major tactic, a relentless attack on his opponent’s wealth and corporate background. He also played the race card. He created a massive transference of wealth, via Obamacare, then urged voters to act in their self-interest.

Given that in Australia the Leader of the Opposition has a big mortgage and three university-age children that tactic will not fly, so the government will have to tie the opposition to Big Business and Big Polluters, the interests that would make a plaything of politics if they got the chance. As for the race card, the gender card will more than suffice.

As the political class accumulates greater power to government it also accumulates greater costs.

Washington has just seen an abject failure of political leadership. The unsustainable cost of social welfare and the unsustainable growth in government debt have simply been pushed into the future even though every delay is dangerous.

Political cynicism begets voter cynicism. In Australia, this was captured over the weekend by my comrade Tim Blair, blogging in The Daily Telegraph, who offered readers various options as to who was responsible for eight traffic infringements incurred by the Prime Minister’s private vehicle.

They voted: Julia Gillard 3 per cent; The Real Julia Gillard 5 per cent; Tim Mathieson 5 per cent; Misogyny 9 per cent; Big polluters 2 per cent; Youth and Naivety 4 per cent; Tony Abbott 72 per cent

… Read story on-line …

Faith is somewhat restored in journalist objectivity – thanks Mr Sheehan  – can you please put an RSS feed link on your stories.  To read more of Paul Sheehan stories – use link here

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