Saturday, 2 May 2015

Royal Commission warns woman Tony Abbott called "honest", "credible" and "heroic" that she may have to be examined further over alleged wrongdoing

Back in 2012 Australian Prime Minister (then Coalition Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott described then Secretary of the Health Services Union, Kathy Jackson, as honest, credible and heroic because her war with political adversaries was embarrassing the Labor Party.

Since then widespread allegations of fraud and theft have surfaced in relation to Ms. Jackson, as well as reports of other unusual financial arrangements.

So it is no wonder that The Australian reported on 27 April 2015 that:

Royal commissioner Dyson Heydon QC has warned his inquiry is far from finished with Kathy Jackson, saying she will have to demonstrate strong ­reasons why her tenure at the Health Services Union should not be examined further.

Reopening the royal commission investigating trade union governance and corruption yesterday, Mr Heydon said he was not convinced by arguments that he should refrain from making findings about the former HSU ­nat­ional secretary while the union pursued her in civil proceedings. The union’s new leadership has also referred allegations against her to Victoria Police.

“It must be stressed that the ­issues affecting Ms Jackson should be dealt with, unless good cause is shown for a contrary course,” Mr Heydon said.

“The desirability of dealing with some or all of the issues ­affecting Ms Jackson is something to be considered later this year. It may be necessary to debate the matter, for the submissions of Ms Jackson’s solicitor ­opposed that course.”

Jeremy Stoljar SC, counsel ­assisting the royal commission, last year recommended criminal charges against Ms Jackson for submitting a “false claim” when she negotiated a $250,000 payment from Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for the HSU after a dispute over workers’ back pay, but Mr Heydon held off making findings about this in his interim report.

He said yesterday that it was more convenient to deal with ­issues surrounding Ms Jackson’s conduct in one go in his final ­report, rather than separating them too soon.

The HSU’s case against Ms Jackson is due to be heard in the Federal Court in June…….

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