IT PROMISES to be a big week in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this week, where it seems the intersection between politics, unions and the law will lie; two cases involving senior ALP figures are set to progress, as more allegations and scandal that enveloped the last government near their climax.
It’s just a short post this time, and a pointer to matters that I’m sure will find their way back into our conversation; for those of a mind, a short segment on the topic from Michael Smith and Ben Fordham on Sydney radio 2GB can be accessed here.
The long game of cat and mouse that lawyers for disgraced former union boss and ALP MP Craig Thomson over what facts they would allow to stand uncontested is set to be swept aside, as Thomson’s trial on scores of fraud charges — laid in January — finally begins.
The charges of course stem from Thomson’s alleged activities as head of the Health Services Union prior to his entry to Parliament in 2007, and chiefly centre on alleged misuse of his union credit card and the improper use of union funds.
The trial follows the recent conviction of fellow union identity Michael Williamson on a raft of fraud-related offences.
And speaking of fraud investigations, another matter resuming in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this week involves former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the decades-old issue of an AWU slush fund Gillard is under Fraud Squad investigation over.
This column has maintained an extremely circumspect approach to the AWU issue, chiefly on account of Ms Gillard’s well-known propensity to throw legal proceedings around like confetti; we have said nothing defamatory of her, but by the same token we couldn’t be bothered dealing with a frivolous lawsuit either.
Even so, documents from an unprecedented raid carried out by Police on Ms Gillard’s offices in May — whilst she was the incumbent PM — face the Court’s adjudication as to whether they are admissible as evidence in any future prosecution of fraud charges arising from the AWU scandal.
We will watch developments on those matters very keenly.
Can I please also take to opportunity to note that this column is well aware of alleged criminal misconduct involving other senior ALP figures, and has been aware of these matters for some time; I think you people are smart enough to know what I am talking about, and I simply say that for the moment I won’t be making any comment on it.
In the fullness of time, however, I will have something to say on these matters.