Monday, 4 August 2014

Tony Abbott's "brave, decent woman" and Christopher Pyne's "lion of the union movement" has some questions to answer

The Kathy Jackson saga has been running for years now and along the way the Liberal Party has been happy to champion her statements and actions:

25 August 2011
Tony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition) 
Kathy Jackson is a brave, decent woman, and she is speaking up on behalf of 70,000 members. I refer the Prime Minister to her words:
… there's been unauthorised use of credit cards, unauthorised expenditure that is not normal union expenditure and we want answers … This union and our members require answers …

25 Feb 2014
Christopher Pyne  (Sturt, Liberal Party, Minister for Education)
Kathy Jackson is a revolutionary, and Kathy Jackson will be remembered as a lion of the union movement. 

However, the Royal Commission Into Trade Union Governance and Corruption is now examining Ms. Jackson's alleged part in the rort of Health Services Union funds.

Excerpt from Royal Commission hearing transcript, 30 July 2014 at 10am:

        27            Ms Jackson gave evidence at the Commission concerning
        28       the NHDA on 19 June 2014.  At that time, only a limited
        29       number of documents concerning the NHDA had become
        30       available.  Since the hearing on 19 June 2014, the
        31       Commission has been able to obtain further material
        32       concerning the NHDA.  In those circumstances, the
        33       Commission considers it appropriate to recall Ms Jackson
        34       and to examine her further on this new material as part of
        35       its ongoing investigations into the NHDA.
        37            The Commission's investigation into the NHDA includes
        38       the following topics:  first, the circumstances in which
        39       the NHDA was established and, in particular, the
        40       circumstances surrounding the receipt by the Victoria No 3
        41       Branch of $250,000 from the Peter MacCallum Cancer
        42       Institute in 2003 - specifically, whether the said sum of
        43       $250,000 comprised a windfall gain to the branch or unpaid
        44       backpay to union members working at the Peter MacCallum
        45       Cancer Institute or a reimbursement of expenses paid or to
        46       be paid from members' subscription moneys.

         1            Secondly, the intended purpose of the NHDA and the
         2       scope of authorisations given by the Branch Committee of
         3       Management to Ms Jackson for the transfer of funds to the
         4       NHDA.
         6            Thirdly, the nature of the expenditures made from the
         7       NHDA between 2003 and 2013.
         9            Some matters of procedure should be noted at the
        10       outset of today's hearing.  The hearings into the HSU that
        11       commenced on 16 June 2014 were, and the hearing today will
        12       be, conducted in accordance with Practice Direction 1.
        13       That practice direction provides, in effect, that after a
        14       witness has been examined by counsel assisting, that
        15       witness's evidence will be adjourned to a later date for
        16       any cross-examination.  Practice Direction 1 makes
        17       provisions for other interested persons to provide
        18       statements of intended evidence to the Commission in
        19       advance of the hearings being resumed.
        21            Following the hearing on 19 June 2014, a number of
        22       persons, in accordance with Practice Direction 1, provided
        23       statements of intended evidence to the Commission.  Today's
        24       hearing is intended to provide those persons with notice of
        25       the further material now obtained by the Commission and
        26       Ms Jackson's further evidence.
        28            A further purpose of today's hearing is that other
        29       persons who have not yet to date come forward, but who may
        30       have relevant information or evidence concerning the NHDA,
        31       will also have the opportunity to consider the further
        32       material and Ms Jackson's evidence in respect of it.  The
        33       Commission encourages any such person to come forward.

Ms. Jackson reaction as reported in The Sydney Morning Herald on 30 July 2014:

"I had no notice that I was going to be attacked today by senior counsel," she said, claiming an ambush. After two hours of heavy questioning where she was forced to admit previous important evidence had been wrong, Jackson abruptly asked the royal commission for access to a lawyer.
She got her wish – the inquiry was suspended for a month – but the fresh evidence unearthed by Stoljar and his colleagues suggests there is every chance she will ultimately be charged with criminal offences for the misappropriation of Health Services Union funds.
It would be a similar fate to that which befell the disgraced union leaders Michael Williamson and Craig Thomson, both of who were pursued by Jackson in her role as "whistleblower". Few call her that now, least of all her one-time friends in the Coalition, including Tony Abbott, who once dubbed her "heroic".
Jackson was forced to admit that important evidence she had given under oath at a previous hearing - concerning a $250,000 payment by Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to her union during a $3.16-million dispute over back pay - was incorrect.
Now, her story changed to concede that there was no back pay to workers in the 2003 dispute and that the $250,000 was not a "windfall" to the union or "penalty" against the hospital as had been described.
Evidence showed it was to reimburse the union for expenses incurred in legal and staff costs. It is a key point. If there was no windfall or penalty, it can't be justified as anything but HSU members' money, if it ever could be otherwise.
Jackson's response to claims it was members money was simply "that's not how we saw it".
It is worth recounting what happened to that $250,000. It was transferred from the union and put in a bank account of which Jackson was sole signatory. She spent thousands from that account on herself - at David Jones, JB Hi-Fi, supermarkets and even a paediatric dentist.
She claims she had authorisation for that, though no records exist. It emerged on Wednesday that $50,000 of it went to her former husband, Jeff Jackson. As recently as June she had said she couldn't recall where that money had gone.
Stoljar did not buy her memory fail, telling her: "That's not credible evidence, is it, Ms Jackson."

Ms. Jackson set up the National Health Development Account [NHDA] described as an Unincorporated Association - a club or community organisation, not incorporated on 4 December 2003:

Full document is contained in M14.pdf

Other documents before the Royal Commission.


John Fraser said...


But will the Royal Commission ask the questions ?

John Fraser said...


All about Kathy Jackson via "Jacksonville" :

Link :