Court finds Craig Thomson Guilty of Squandering $300,000 of HSU funds
A damning Federal Court judgement has found former federal MP Craig Thomson guilty of squandering more than $300,000 in Health Services Union funds.
Federal Court Justice Christopher Jessup found dozens of transactions – including several visits to brothels by Mr Thomson – were for his personal benefit and against the interests of the HSU.
The finding is the latest against a senior former leader of the corruption-plagued HSU.
The bulk of the HSU money was spent on Mr Thomson’s successful bid to enter federal parliament in 2007, including on staff and sponsorships.
The decision against Mr Thomson follows the recent Federal Court ruling against another former disgraced HSU national secretary, Kathy Jackson, who was ordered to repay $1.4 million
Ms Jackson, once feted as a whistleblower was found to have misused her position at the HSU to fraudulently gain financial advantage. Ms Jackson is under police investigation from a taskforce connected to the royal commission into trade union corruption.
Another former HSU leader, Michael Williamson, who was also once Labor’s national president, is in jail for frauds he committed at the HSU.
Mr Thomson had been sued by the Fair Work Commission for more than $243,000, for more than 50 breaches of federal law and 17 breaches of union rules from his time running the Health Services Union.
In March, Mr Thomson walked out of the civil case brought against him by the Fair Work Commission after he told the Federal Court his mental health problems were too severe.
THOMSON: “I’VE SUFFERED ENOUGH”
He told the court he was experiencing a major depressive disorder and other conditions
But Justice Jessup rejected the application from Mr Thomson, saying the ex-politician had only raised the issue late in the hearings.
He rejected much of Mr Thomson’s submission and described some elements of his evidence as “scandalous” and “objectionable”, including unsupported allegations against police and the Fair Work Commission.
Mr Thomson’s former lawyer Chris McArdle said if the former federal MP had been able to explain his case he would have been able to deal with the issues. He said Mr Thomson still “hotly disputed” paying for prostitutes with HSU money or not having authority for his campaign spending.
Fair Work Commission general manager, Bernadette O’Neill welcomed the decision and said a further court hearing in November would consider what relief would be granted.
The former MP and HSU national secretary avoided going to prison last year after successfully appealing a decision in the Magistrates Court.
He was fined $25,000 for the theft of less than $5000, an amount significantly reduced over time.