The arrest of Craig Thomson is a political disaster for Labor and Julia Gillard.

Tough day at the office. Pic: Waide Maguire

It was Labor that put the former union boss into Parliament. It was the Prime Minister who repeatedly defended him and declared “complete confidence” when questions were raised about the alleged misuse of low-paid hospital workers’ union fees to pay for prostitutes.

The Thomson saga has become a massive distraction for Labor that threatens to frequently derail its election-year message.

Yesterday’s dramatic scenes, with Thomson arrested at his electorate office at a NSW Central Coast shopping centre by Victorian and NSW police, came just a day after Gillard started the election year with the unprecedented gamble of a 227-day election campaign.

Now the PM faces claims - which she rejects - that she had prior knowledge of the arrest and revealed the election date to head it off. That sounds far-fetched. The reverse would have been more likely: swamp the bad news with a big announcement.

Thomson faces 149 fraud charges believed to relate to allegations that his union credit card was misused to pay for escort services while he was national secretary of the Health Services Union before entering Parliament in 2007. His lawyer says one of the counts against his client is for buying an ice cream for $12.

Thomson says he was restricted by legal advice on what he could say but he would travel to Melbourne next week to vigorously defend the charges.

“I have done no wrongdoing and that’s what will be found,” he said.

A court will decide if he is innocent or guilty, but Thomson’s absolute belief that he has done nothing wrong, and his ability to convince senior Labor figures of that, is why he remained a candidate at the 2010 election after the claims were first made in 2009 when Kevin Rudd was PM.

It is why Gillard stuck by him through 2011 when the Coalition was on the attack, and she repeatedly expressed complete confidence. In August 2011 she went as far as saying she looked forward to him being one of her MPs “for a very long, long, long time to come”.

But by April last year Gillard cut him loose, banishing him from the Labor Party and sending him to the crossbench.

Yet Labor still relies on his vote to pass some legislation. That is extremely awkward for the ALP when it won’t let the man elected under its banner be part of its team or attend its meetings.

Thomson has not been convicted. He remains innocent until proven otherwise. He is not the first MP to be charged and there is plenty of precedent for him to stay in Parliament and vote on behalf of the 88,000 Australians he represents.

The Opposition will continue with its theatrics to not accept Thomson’s vote, although it will try to prevent a repeat of the ridiculous and undignified scene last year when Tony Abbott and tactics chief Christopher Pyne literally ran out of the Parliament like naughty schoolboys when Thomson sat on their side of the chamber. Pyne even boasted he had run like a gazelle.

The issue deprives Labor of its desire to put the public spotlight on Abbott over his election promises and costings, and is a gift for the Opposition that will continue to haunt the Government in the election year.
Abbott treads a fine line when he says the issue is about the Prime Minister’s judgment.

“The Thomson matter isn’t just about what Craig Thomson may or may not have done, what he did or didn’t do,” Abbott said yesterday.

“It’s always been about the judgment of the Prime Minister, and I’m afraid the judgment of a Prime Minister - who was running a protection racket for Craig Thomson for months and years, long after it was obvious that there were issues - is something that remains very much in question.”

Liberal Senate leader Eric Abetz also sees it as a chance to attack Labor for being weak on unions that misuse members’ funds.

While Workplace Minister Bill Shorten has condemned the misuse of union member fees and taken a hard line on abuses, Abetz wants Labor to back a Coalition plan to force greater accountability and transparency of registered organisations such as unions.

Gillard, who was visiting flood-hit Bundaberg yesterday and insisted the election campaign doesn’t start until she visits Governor-General Quentin Bryce on August 12 to formally request it, said Thomson’s arrest was a matter for the police and she would not speculate on it.

But the Coalition’s attack on Thomson has always been about destroying Gillard.

Eighteen months ago the Coalition was in a frenzy, hoping it could force him out of Parliament and then win the subsequent by-election that would change the numbers of the floor of the hung Parliament - and just maybe lead to a general election or Abbott becoming PM.

Unless Thomson quits Parliament, which seems unlikely, there’s little chance of a verdict and by-election before the September 14 general election.

He can’t be forced out for being arrested or charged. MPs can be removed only if they are convicted of an offence carrying a jail term of 12 months or more.

But that doesn’t mean voters won’t be appalled every time they hear about this distasteful case and the alleged misuse of the hard-earned wages of low-paid hospital workers.

Thomson is entitled to his day in court. Gillard and Labor will also have their day of judgment on the handling of this matter, as well as many other issues. And now we know that will be on September 14 - 226 days to go.

Phillip Hudson is Herald Sun national political editor

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

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    • nks says:

      07:09am | 01/02/13

      Look, let’s just dispense with the formalities and hold an election now!! I’m over all this crap…..

    • Joan says:

      09:12am | 01/02/13

      @nks

      We just did. You lot lost, remember? All you have to do is become Prime Minister and you can hold an election any time you like.

    • Gerard says:

      09:26am | 01/02/13

      Good to see that Australian voters understand how the constitution operates.

    • nks says:

      10:36am | 01/02/13

      @Joan

      “We just did. You lot lost, remember?”

      What lot, maybe you should read my comment for what it is not what you think it is!!

    • Lorraine says:

      03:38pm | 01/02/13

      What a wonderful idea. Next Saturday would be fine by me.

    • Joan says:

      04:29pm | 01/02/13

      @nks

      Pull the other one.

    • Dino says:

      07:35am | 01/02/13

      This Slipper thing has always been about Abbott

    • Steve Douglas says:

      08:53am | 01/02/13

      Funny I didn’t know that Abbott appointed him Speaker as well as dumping the then Speaker.  God this Abbott has so much power.

    • TimB says:

      08:59am | 01/02/13

      Why? Did Abbott make Slipper Speaker?

      Oops. No, that was Gillard.

    • paul says:

      09:08am | 01/02/13

      Except Abbott didnt make him speaker.

      But I guess everything is about Abbott, isnt it….
      Abbott Abbott Abbott

    • paul says:

      09:08am | 01/02/13

      Except Abbott didnt make him speaker.

      But I guess everything is about Abbott, isnt it….
      Abbott Abbott Abbott

    • Dino says:

      09:20am | 01/02/13

      Peter Slipper was an LNP MP for 18 years, voted into office by LNP voters like you for 18 years. They even made him Parliamentary Secretary to then PM John Howard. And even after he’d resigned as Speaker Tony Abbott said he’d be “happy to have his vote”.

    • Borderer says:

      09:28am | 01/02/13

      Actually it was about Gillard, she needed numbers and wasn’t quite prepared to honour her written promise to Wilkie. She courted Slipper and promoted a guy who was tucked away in the backbench of the opposition to Speaker. Abbott said at the time “Now he’s your problem.”
      Gillard and co. hailed it as a coup, dropped Wilkie’s reform like a hot rock. Oh how they laughed until his past came back to haunt him, her judgement to promote a guy with a suspect background to a senior position is what mattered, it always has, a bit like defending Thomson despite the wall of evidence against him or breaking her promise to WIlkie. Sure, I get that she needed their votes to keep government but time and again she puts her position before integrity and do you really want someone like that running the country?

    • Christian Real says:

      10:02am | 01/02/13

      Dino
      Funny how the Liberal mob abandon their own and try to palm of the blame onto the ALP for their long-time friend,colleague and MP for Fisher.
      When slipper fell out with his Liberal/National party colleagues and his supporters and became an Independent, they were all out after Slipper with a vengence,the Liberal knives and hatred goes into their former long time colleagues much more deeper then any other political party inflicts upon their own.

    • argie says:

      10:17am | 01/02/13

      Peter Slipper was an LNP MP for 18 years

      All of a sudden you don’t want him anymore?
      Why didn’t you stop him from running last time around?
      All the questions being asked of Slipper come from his time as a LNP politician. An inconvenient truth for all you conservatives with memories like sieves.

    • Borderer says:

      11:00am | 01/02/13

      @Christian Real
      When slipper fell out with his Liberal/National party colleagues and his supporters and became an Independent, they were all out after Slipper with a vengence,the Liberal knives and hatred goes into their former long time colleagues much more deeper then any other political party inflicts upon their own.

      Who is Kevin Rudd?

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      11:15am | 01/02/13

      Sorry to spoil your fun, but Peter Slipper was not an LNP politician for 18 years. Federally there was no such thing as the LNP - at least until very recently - if it actually does exist. The LNP is a Queensland State Political Party formed as a result of the State Liberal & National Parties combining. The Federal Coalition is just that. Either party can walk away any time. Both the Liberals & Nationals put up their own candidates in the same electorates across Australia.
      It is a bit like the ALP & the Greens. Currently, though it’s not formalised, they form a loose coalition in Canberra but they stand candidates against each other at elections.
      Yes, we should ask if Slipper was/is so awful, has fiddled with his travel expenses (the earlier ones not the current Cab Charge thing) why did the Liberal Party keep re-endorsing him. We will never know. Maybe he was very popular in his electorate & was a shoe-in. All our political parties being full of the cynical male & female bastards they are, will endorse a cracked teapot if they think they can win the seat!
      Slipper was no less cynical for he jumped at the chance to become Speaker & he never, ever imagined for a second how things might turn out.
      Whatever his thoughts nothing gets away from the fact that Julia Gillard knew what had gone on in the past but she, in yet another example of her appalling judgement, made him Speaker & did so simply to, you guessed it, save her job.

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      11:34am | 01/02/13

      Ahahahaha!!!
       
      Fake Christian, and argie: The ALP were well aware of the LNP decision to disendorse Slipper in Fisher, that is why they bribed him with Harry Jenkins’ job…
      Unlike Labor, the Liberal party will walk away from rogues like Slipper. And he had been counseled extensively about his proclivities to take liberties, hence the decision to cut him loose.
      If you clowns think that Labor, knowing all of this, as they did, and still promoting Slipper to Speaker, was immune from any responsibility to the subsequent fallout, despite all of the warning signs, you are either supremely naive, or manifestly ignorant.
       
      Labor new what it was doing with Slipper, just as it did in supporting Craig Thomson. Pushed that support beyond the limits of credulity, then walked away from them both.

    • argie says:

      12:08pm | 01/02/13

      Rolls Canardly

      Wouda shouda couda

      but didn’t
      Ahahahaha!!!

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      12:29pm | 01/02/13

      argie, so Slipper just decided he was going to leave the Libs, because he felt like a change? Your understanding of politics is about as convenient, and shallow, as Gillard’s understanding of foreign policy, and economics of any kind.
      But any port in a storm, eh champ?

    • Dino says:

      04:34pm | 01/02/13

      @argie

      Good one. 18 years of voting for Slipper but they just never quite got around to it ... ROFLMAO

    • Christian Real says:

      07:35am | 01/02/13

      I would not say that the Prime Minister defended Craig Thompson has you have claimed in your article,unlike you and others that have been quick to condenm and pass judgement upon Craig Thompson,the Prime Minister has not passed judgement upon Craig Thompson.
      There are many who most likely sit in their Church every Sunday making out they are good Christians when they are not.
      They are not good Christians simply because they are passing judgement upon Craig Thompson, he may have been arrested,but those charges have still got to be proven in a court of law, he is Innocent until proven otherwise,that is the way the Democractic system operates here in this Country.
      The Lord said: Let those without sins cast the first stones”
      There are plenty of people in these blogs,in the media and in the Liberal opposition and Liberal supporters casting plenty of stones at Craig Thompson and also at the Prime Minister for not judging or prejudging him like they have been doing.
      It appears that the Liberal party, their friends in the media ,their supporters and followers think and believe they are perfect in every way that they can cast judgement upon Craig Thompson when nothing has been proven against him as yet.
      True he has been charged,but he has not been to trial,nor has he been found guilty of any wrong doings,and until then I will not judge our prejudge him for my Lord Jesus sees all and will judge accordingly when we all come before Him.

    • jg says:

      08:45am | 01/02/13

      I would not say that the Prime Minister defended Craig Thompson

      Seriously?

      Are you really that blinkered? Or just plain stupid?

    • Trev C says:

      08:49am | 01/02/13

      Maybe that should be Christian GET Real.  This was just a rambling rant.  You make no sense, and no case either way.  The guy misappropriated the funds of people who could ill afford it.  He will be in denial up until the last.  Just because you are a christian doesn’t mean you have to accept this kind of behaviour.

    • I hate pies says:

      08:50am | 01/02/13

      Good point Christian - we all know that the police would arrest him on 150 charges if they didn’t have strong evidence….yeah right

    • GT says:

      08:51am | 01/02/13

      I’ve read some pretty funny comments on The Punch.  This one wins.  God bless you…

    • dovif says:

      08:56am | 01/02/13

      Christian Real, you are confusing being charged and convicted of a crime, which require conclusive prove and someone doing something wrong.

      If you steal money from another person, but you were not convicted of a crime, that does not mean you have done nothing wrong.

      Facts are “Fair Work Australia” (a department set up by the ALP government) has investigated Thomson and found that he defauded some of the lowest paid worker of Australia. Just because a court of law had not convicted him, does not mean he is innocent

    • Borderer says:

      08:58am | 01/02/13

      Read the fairwork report.

    • TimB says:

      08:58am | 01/02/13

      ‘the Prime Minister has not passed judgement upon Craig Thompson.’

      So why did she suspend him then Christian? What was the ‘line that was crossed’?

      Why do you lie so blatantly?


      PS. Does anyone else find it odd that someone who is constantly harping on about the awful British people who stole his ancestors lands has so openly embraced the religion that those same people brought with them?

    • ZSRenn says:

      09:03am | 01/02/13

      @ Christian really. After months and months of arguing you are Aboriginal and the white man is the devil incarnate you are going to lecture the reader on Christian Theology! 

      Oh my Giddy Aunt,  I just fell off my chair!

    • DocBud says:

      09:10am | 01/02/13

      Gillard’s baby, Fair Work Australia, has already, after a painfully long investigation, found against him in an 1100 page report.

      Even before the issuing of the report, Gillard asked him to quit the ALP because “a line had been crossed” though we never got to find out what that line was.

    • Jane says:

      09:10am | 01/02/13

      OMG I’ve heard it all now. lol

    • Mattb says:

      09:12am | 01/02/13

      Dont know about the God bothering bits Christian, but I essentially agree with the premise.

      It was interesting listenning to this yesterday, one interview in particular with Abetz just proved how hypocritical the opposition have been.

      Abetz was first asked whether he believed Mr Thomson was innocent until proven guity, to which Abetz emphatically replied YES!!..

      He was then asked why then is the PM’s judgement being called into question as she has simply treated Mr Thomsom as someone who, as Abetz just emphatically addmitted, is innocent until proven guilty?.

      Needless to say Abetz couldn’t provide any response prefering instead to ignore the premise of the question and launch into another mudslinging attack on the PM’s judgement.

      I hope that if he is found guilty, and I have no idea whether he is or not, that Mr Thomson has the book thrown at him and, although unfortunate for his wife and newborn, is locked up for years. Until such time, he is innocent and everyone, the PM included, should treat him as such..

    • Libertarian says:

      09:18am | 01/02/13

      “The Lord said: Let those without sins cast the first stones”

      Such moral words. Yet your mates in the Labor Party and on the Left were quite happy to shout from the rooftops about an alleged event that may or may not have happened over thirty years ago. I’m sure you remember that sledging and bullying of Abbott last year, you know the rumour that had him supposedly punching a wall whilst he was at university. This was the very same event that was only recollected by one person (his accuser) decades after the supposed event, despite the complete lack of supporting, actual, factual and contemporary evidence from the time that it supposedly happened in.

      Yet on this most very flimsy basis and without actual proof, you guys on the Left publically attempted to tar and feather Tony Abbott as a teenage mysognist.

      Hypocrite.

    • Freeman says:

      09:21am | 01/02/13

      “I would not say that the Prime Minister defended Craig Thompson”

      Except when she publicly expressed her full support in him and his account of events.

    • Rosie says:

      09:28am | 01/02/13

      If Craig Thomson wasn’t good enough for Gillard’s Labor Govt why is he still in our Parliament? Nice one Julia kick him out of your team and leave him there so has to keep you in power! Yet another way Gillard has managed to abuse the high authority she holds!

    • Mattb says:

      09:35am | 01/02/13

      “If you steal money from another person, but you were not convicted of a crime, that does not mean you have done nothing wrong.”

      Eric Abetz, a Senator from the party your completely welded too, disagrees with you. He emphatically stated that Mr Thomson was innocent until proven guilty just yesterday.

      Until Mr Thomson is convicted in a court of law in this country he is innocent and no amount of findings from “Fair Work Australia” investigations or uneducated rantings from internet nobodies on the punch will change that fact.

      Hopefully, if he did the things he is accused of, he is found guilty and punished appropriately but until that time the loonies here need to calm down, wipe the spittle from the corner of their mouths and stop making complete fools of themselves..

    • Stephen T says:

      09:53am | 01/02/13

      @Christian Real:  I do find it somewhat hypocritical that you enlist passages from the Bible to emphasise your point considering your past comments concerning religion. 

      @MattB:  You put the argument nicely,  I agree it would be pure speculation to attribute any knowledge of Craig Thomson’s malfeasance to Julia Gillard in the absence of information regarding the circumstances of her support, as to the Coalitions pursuit of Julia Gillard over the matter, as much as Christians Biblical utterances are hypocritical they are correct, if poor or dubious political judgment were a crime it would be one most of our politicians are guilty of.

    • Muphin says:

      10:39am | 01/02/13

      Christian,
      Are you sure you’re living in Australia, which is on planet Earth.

    • marley says:

      10:55am | 01/02/13

      @Christian Real - you really do take the cake.  There you are, lecturing us all about Christian values, and not prejudging anything.  Was it only yesterday that you were accusing the judges in the Mundine fight of “cheating” him out of a win?  You had no trouble at all hanging, drawing and quartering them.  And the same can be said for your comments on Abbott and the wall punching incident:  not a scintilla of evidence to show that it happened, but you’ve got him convicted in the court of your own mind.  I think maybe you’d better have a rethink about your values, because I don’t think you’re walking the talk.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      10:56am | 01/02/13

      “The Liberal knives & hatred go into their former…blah, blah, than any other political party inflicts upon their own” (Christian Real - above)
      Really, Christian, well may be you can explain the behaviour of your little darling, Julia Gillard, the unelected Paul Howes & others within your own political party, the ALP, and their treatment of Kevin Rudd?
      If Rudd’s assassination was not an Act of Political Betrayal by the ALP of the most vicious, hate-filled sort, would you please tell us what it was.
      You have, it seems, a very short memory but, if you can, then cast your mind back to 24th June 2010 & just two or three days before that “Day of Infamy” when you little darling Julia repeatedly stated “The Prime Minister (Kevin Rudd) has MY FULL SUPPORT” She then stabbed him multiple times in his political back.
      So, Christian, before you start “casting stones” make sure you & your mates within the ALP are, as you demand of others: “Without Sin”
      After what you did to Kevin Rudd none of you can make such a claim
      After what Julia did to both Kevin Rudd & Senator Crossin she will most certainly never ever be able to hold herself up as such.

    • Ando says:

      10:58am | 01/02/13

      That “good christian “line was being used by Thompsons Lawyer on TV this morning against Thompsons critics. At least he is getting paid for it.

    • Stained says:

      11:33am | 01/02/13

      Christian Real, yawn, yawn, yawn, yawn, yawn, yawn, yawn, yawn, Ned Kelly was never ever a criminal either….the policeman walked into that bullett.

    • Al says:

      11:40am | 01/02/13

      To all those saying ‘innocent untill proven guilty’, while it is generaly believed true it is not.
      What is true is that even the legal system recognises this, that is why a verdict of innocent is NEVER handed down.
      The person is either found as proven guilty or not proven guilty.
      Being not proven guilty is very different from being innocent and as stated it does not mean you did nothing wrong, just that it was not proven.
      Fairwork Australia can’t find a person guilty as they are not a court of law, they are simply a legislative tribunal that deals with disputes (and agreements) between employers and employees, this is why dispite the findings they could not do anything as Thompson was not the employer or employee of those he (alledgedly) defrauded.
      As for the Slipper issue many Labour supporters keep raising, yes he was voted in as Liberal, but was kicked out after going against party lines (not resigned), was only allowed to run on the basis of the deal to merge the Liberal and National parties (not that he was prefered or even the parties choice) .
      Whilst I also see his (Slippers) alledged actions distatastefull, I don’t see them as being to the same degree as a person (alledgedly) defrauding hundreds or thousands of those whose intrests they are ment to be protecting.

    • Knemon says:

      12:35pm | 01/02/13

      “If Craig Thomson wasn’t good enough for Gillard’s Labor Govt why is he still in our Parliament?”

      Rosie Rosie, Gillard had the power to kick Thomson out of the ALP *but* nowhere in our constitution did she (or anyone else) have the power to kick him out of parliament…why is it that difficult for conservative voters to understand or grasp something so simple?

    • Jaqui says:

      01:24pm | 01/02/13

      @Christian Real: “I would not say that the Prime Minister defended Craig Thompson”
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YuAA-BQ4xQ

      I hope this doesn’t allude to your credibility.

    • Shane says:

      07:45am | 01/02/13

      The LNP might not be so unpopular if they actually focused on something we care about. Policies, for example.

    • Peter says:

      11:43am | 01/02/13

      I challenge the 90% LNP supporters who regularly patrol this site to tell us, in a purely positive way, why the LNP is the better government for this country.  I would like you to do it without the negative attacks.  I just want to hear why you think we should vote for Tony Abbott on the basis of what you think he will do for the country, what specific policies you think are his game-winners and what his vision for this country actually is.  Thanks.

    • dovif says:

      12:40pm | 01/02/13

      Peter

      Abbott is not the incompetant corrupt ALP, that is all that is needed

      In the goldern era of Howard and the Liberals, Australia prospered and everyone got richer.

      In the dark days of the Gillard’s ALP, we have had too many policies stuff ups (Border protection, Malaysian solution, Green loan, Insulation), too many lies and backflips.

      We meed tp bring competance back and reduce the stuff ups

    • marley says:

      12:43pm | 01/02/13

      @Peter - there’s a lot of uncommitted people on this site.  Give me a single reason why I should vote for either of the major parties, because frankly, I’m struggling. 

      You’re right to question Abbott’s vision and policies.  Furthermore, his front bench looks uninspiring, to put it kindly.

      On the other hand, the alternative is a government which stumbles from foul-up to foul-up in its determination to hang on to power, which develops lovely feel-good policies that have no funding, and which seems hell-bent on limiting fundamental freedoms of speech and the press, not to mention the less fundamental freedom of the internet. 

      What on earth does a reasonable person see in either of them?

    • Jaqui says:

      12:44pm | 01/02/13

      @Peter: Well the main one is they will set about paying off Labors massive credit card bill, yet again.

    • Peter says:

      01:28pm | 01/02/13

      @dovif, that is the best you’ve got?  Howard was good.  Gillard is bad so Tony Abbott must be a winner.  Hmmm.

      @Jacqui, again, how?  I don’t care about “labour’s massive credit card debt” because I don’t think debt is that big a problem for Australia.  Are you saying he’s going to raise taxes?  Cut programmes?  What?  Why?  I don’t think you even know.

    • Bruce says:

      07:46am | 01/02/13

      Can there still be a by-election after the election day has been set?

    • Anubis says:

      09:23am | 01/02/13

      Yes because the writs for a 14 September election can not be issued until sometime in July. It is only after the writs are issued that Government goes into caretaker mode.

    • Borderer says:

      10:10am | 01/02/13

      The plan is to say its a waste of resources since the election is already set, which it isn’t, she hasn’t gone to the GG so it’s only an announcement, a bit like her other “announcements”, you know the ones….

    • eddie says:

      08:25am | 01/02/13

      here we go - trial by media

    • Millsy says:

      09:08am | 01/02/13

      The Press Gallery “insiders” are absolutely beside themselves with anger that the Gillard government has caught them by surprise, yet again, with the election announcement. They won’t be giving any quarter at all.

    • Freeman says:

      09:19am | 01/02/13

      Indeed. Reporters have done much of the police’s work for them.

    • Chillin says:

      09:26am | 01/02/13

      Reporters have done very little except run off gossip and rumour.  None of them did any investigative work, they got their information from people closer to the source.

    • NSS says:

      10:39am | 01/02/13

      Indeed, eddie. As Gillard has said, if he’s charged he’ll have his day in court. That day is still to come. This media witch-hunt makes me angry. If and when he’s convicted, then they can rant all they like.

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      12:36pm | 01/02/13

      You clowns are obviously forgetting Thommo’s aborted lawsuit against fairfax for linking him to credit card payments to brothels…
      He was going to run then through the ringer, until they showed him their evidence. Costs awarded against Thommo.
       
      Then the ALP paid Thommo’s legal bills.
      A walking. quacking, real live duck.

    • NSS says:

      12:48pm | 01/02/13

      Costs awarded in a civil case does not equal a criminal conviction, Rolls.  just ask O. J Simpson. I will wait for the outcome of the actual trial, if it’s all the same to you.  Sometimes something that walks and talks like a duck is actually a goose.

    • Horthy says:

      03:04pm | 01/02/13

      “None of them did any investigative work, they got their information from people closer to the source.”

      Friday funnies!

    • Glivo says:

      08:39am | 01/02/13

      The best thing for the country here would be for the PM (albeit a Claytons one) to visit the GG, you know Bill’s MIL, and dissolve the Parliament, if that’s what you can call it, now.

      Cut Craig loose to attend his court appearences and allow the people of Australia decide what they want.

    • Rosie says:

      09:21am | 01/02/13

      I couldn’t agree more! The PM needs to allow the nation to get decency and respect back into its Parliament. After yesterday’s appalling distasteful scenes how can the Parliament operate with any moral decency and be credible is beyond me!

    • Trev says:

      09:23am | 01/02/13

      @Glivo

      So your guy lost the last election, huh ? Shit happens.

    • Joan says:

      09:30am | 01/02/13

      @Rosie

      Tony Abbott’s Press Club address was indeed woeful, but I wouldn’t call it appalling and distasteful.

      Even so, if that’s how you feel, Rosie, then fair enough.

    • Monty says:

      09:32am | 01/02/13

      Unfortunately the PM can’t “cut him loose”. Thomson is no longer a member of the Labor party, but he is still an elected official, only he can make the decision to step down.

    • Rosie says:

      10:24am | 01/02/13

      @Joan/acotrel

      Funny Ha Ha!

      To hear Tony Abbott sucking up to the Australian people trying to convince them that he was after all ‘a good guy’ and not the misogynist/sexist, Gillard and the likes of you would like him to be was FABULOUS and music to our ears! It humanized the man and showed us how he was willing to change for the naysayers, the likes of you who will demonize him to the end for no reason what so ever, but to stop him from entering the Lodge. Foul play!

      I was happy that Rudd Labor won in 2007 because he had promised that all Australian children attending high school would be owning a computer by his next term in Govt! Our taxes would pay for the computers. Gillard at the time was his Education Revolution Guru! Today, Gillard is our PM and the students are making yearly payments for their computers. Worse still we are told we have fallen way behind in education levels compared to the rest of the world.

      Joke about this one or if you like, as you usually have an answer to everything answer this one for me.

      By the way it was the 48 year old Craig Thomson that I was talking about ‘Silly’

    • Rosie says:

      10:33am | 01/02/13

      @ Monty

      Don’t listen to that crap! PM Gillard has the authority and the responsibility to tell the Speaker of the House that the Parliament has lost all its moral decency and respect therefore it should be dissolved. Change the Election date for a new start! If like the 2007 Election when the nation knew Labor was going to win because it was time for a healthy change of Govt ( Howard LNP 12 years ) she would have called the Elections long ago. For selfish reasons the woman is hanging on to power for as long as she can!

    • Glivo says:

      11:26am | 01/02/13

      @Trev- while we all know about the workings of our electoral system, I along with many others do not accept that the last election was won or lost by either side.  The Parliament we have had to put up with since then is one that has been initially made and constantly propped up by dodgy deals with a couple of self-serving independants who are either in their pre-retirement term or doomed to be drop-kicked by their own respective electorates.

      I don’t actually have a guy in political terms and over my voting life time have been a voter who made my ballot based on the policies and how they would affect us.

      What I do know is that a large part of the problem in Australian political terms is the fact that certain mindless individuals think that they have to lock themselves into a life-long allegience with one side or the other.

      If the cap fits Trev you must have a small head.

    • Glivo says:

      11:31am | 01/02/13

      @monty-  I was suggesting that his electorate should cut him loose. Not the PM. She has already sort of done that by putting him in the castle for a little “Glasseresc” time out.

      FYI The Castle is the 1980’s version of the naughty corner.

    • Trev says:

      04:41pm | 01/02/13

      Sure you don’t, Glivo. Still in denial, huh ?

      Best try not to remember the more than 6,216,445 ALP voters who gave them a chance to form Government then.

    • Vince says:

      08:40am | 01/02/13

      “Pyne even boasted he had run like a gazelle.”

      Most of us would have said “cheetah” but Pyne says “gazelle”.  Lol.  Says it all.

    • Pedro says:

      09:11am | 01/02/13

      More like a frightened poodle - is this guy really a future PM?

    • Gerard says:

      09:24am | 01/02/13

      I would have said he was more like a headless chook.

    • VVS says:

      09:45am | 01/02/13

      God Vince you really know nothing.

      A true Australian would have said he could have used “steel springs” to hurl themselves down the track “as fast as a leopard”.

      Cheetah? Give me a break smile

    • Anon says:

      10:47am | 01/02/13

      Mincing poodle FTW

    • Vince says:

      11:31am | 01/02/13

      @VVS, ok leopard - but at least something with balls.  lol.  I’m surprised he didn’t “fly like a fairy”.

    • Andrew says:

      12:13pm | 01/02/13

      No they wouldnt Vince, because run like a gazelle is exactly what he meant, you obviously dont understand much about the animal world so I will fill you in. A gazelle is the prey, a leopard is the hunter, if your a gazelle your trying to outrun the leopard so you dont get caught. So in this content Vince which animal should pyne have referenced, I’ll give you a hint, Thomson is the prey and hes trying to get away and survive.

    • Vince says:

      01:13pm | 01/02/13

      @Andrew, but I thought you said that Thomson was the prey?  Pyne is the attacker. The attack poodle.  Woof woof!

    • I hate pies says:

      01:39pm | 01/02/13

      VVS, I think you’ll find the line (from the movie Gallipoli) is “legs like springs and I can run like a cheetah”

    • St. Michael says:

      02:11pm | 01/02/13

      @ I hate pies: IMDB is VVS’s friend, I’m sorry to tell you: it’s steel springs, hurl you down the track, and run as a fast as a leopard.

    • VVS says:

      03:01pm | 01/02/13

      Sorry Pie man smile

      From Imdb:

      Jack: What are your legs?
      Archy Hamilton: Springs. Steel springs.
      Jack: What are they going to do?
      Archy Hamilton: Hurl me down the track.
      Jack: How fast can you run?
      Archy Hamilton: As fast as a leopard.
      Jack: How fast are you going to run?
      Archy Hamilton: As fast as a leopard!
      Jack: Then let’s see you do it!

      Good pickup it was from Gallipoli though!

    • Babs of Sydney says:

      08:40am | 01/02/13

      Thompson can’t be forced out but while ever he continues to sit in parliament,  he will be a burden on the Gillard government.  It would have been better to cut him loose early on.  Also, rumours circulating the corridors of the HSU suggest that his wife Zoe (who apparently has a job there) has taken her leave from Craig following the police raid last year.  She has been notably absent recently compared to last year when she even wrote a column in the Punch defending him.  I think the poor woman, like most people, can only stretch their imagination so far when it comes to the validity of Craig’s version of how his signature etc. appeared on all these credit card transactions.

    • Mattb says:

      09:19am | 01/02/13

      Whats with all this “cut him loose” crap?

      he’s an Independent MP sitting on the cross benches, no one can “cut him loose”

    • Hamish says:

      09:26am | 01/02/13

      Good point, Mattb. What are they on about?

    • TimB says:

      09:33am | 01/02/13

      ‘Whats with all this “cut him loose” crap?

      he’s an Independent MP sitting on the cross benches, no one can “cut him loose” ‘

      No, he’s a suspended ALP member. A slight difference.

      Boot him from the party completely maybe?

    • Borderer says:

      09:39am | 01/02/13

      @MattB
      he’s an Independent MP sitting on the cross benches, no one can “cut him loose”

      That’s funny… you say it like you believe it and everything…

    • Hamish says:

      10:52am | 01/02/13

      He’d still be an Independent MP. Loose or otherwise.

    • Mel says:

      11:10am | 01/02/13

      How is He a burden on the Gillard government ? He was suspended from the Labor party in April 2012 , well before the charges were laid and is now an INDEPENDENT so there is no longer anything to tie Him to the Labor party but as usual there is the collective conservative brain fart trying to establish a link where none exists

    • TimB says:

      12:08pm | 01/02/13

      lol @ Mel and friends.

      Keep telling yourself that there’s no link between a *suspended* ALP member (i.e not independent), and the political party that helped pay his legal bills.

      Christian Real and Acotrel will believe you. The rest of us live in reality.

    • craig2 says:

      08:42am | 01/02/13

      Acrotel, Christian Real…..over to you, please tell us punchers why Gillard and Labor will win the next election?

    • Harvey says:

      09:31am | 01/02/13

      Two words. Tony Abbott.

      Anything else?

    • GF says:

      09:41am | 01/02/13

      God told CR. I think he’s been to church this morning and heard it direct from the “big fella” himself.

    • Tunnels Newman says:

      09:56am | 01/02/13

      Tony Abbott, Campbell Newman.

    • Andrew says:

      12:21pm | 01/02/13

      You mean the same Campbell Newman that is 8 points ahead, despite all the unpopular decisions hes had to make. Yeah things are great in Qld for the ALP.

    • Zacl says:

      02:57pm | 01/02/13

      For them to realise the truth would damage them beyond all psychological repair. Acotrel doesn’t need more bad news.

    • Bob of the freezing tropics says:

      08:45am | 01/02/13

      Two down one to go!  Thompson has a date with a court, Slipper has a date with a court, any one want to start a book on when Julia will have a date with a court?

    • Tim says:

      10:55am | 01/02/13

      You forgot Mary Jo Fisher.

    • George M says:

      11:26am | 01/02/13

      As prime minister, it would be too much of a scandal, they’ll have to wait until she’s not sitting in the big chair ...

    • George M says:

      11:26am | 01/02/13

      As prime minister, it would be too much of a scandal, they’ll have to wait until she’s not sitting in the big chair ...

    • Andrew says:

      12:24pm | 01/02/13

      You mean the same mary Jo Fisher who is no longer in parliament. And use to hold a insignificant senate seat.

    • tez says:

      04:17pm | 01/02/13

      Still waiting to hear Mal Brough mentioned is he a protected species

    • Gerard says:

      08:47am | 01/02/13

      “It was Labor that put the former union boss into Parliament.”

      Wrong. It was the voters of Dobell that put Thomson into Parliament. These types of fiascos are going to keep occurring until the electorate starts taking responsibility for its own representatives and stop hiding behind the fatuous claim that it’s all the parties’ fault.

    • nihonin says:

      09:35am | 01/02/13

      So Labor aren’t responsible Gerard, yet they are the party the foisted Thomson on to an unsuspecting electorate, now I’ve heard it all.  Says a lot more about the internal vetting (and standards) the Labor Party does (expects) of the people it wants to represent it

    • Gerard says:

      10:17am | 01/02/13

      Labor were responsible for preselecting Thomson. After that it was up to the voters. The electorate had a choice and they decided that Thomson was the man they wanted to represent them.

      Yes, the ALP is devoid of standards when it comes to preselecting candidates. But this was well known before the election and was presumably taken into account when the voters elected Thomson. If not, then maybe voters should have a long hard look at themselves and ask why they didn’t think for themselves.

    • Dino says:

      11:00am | 01/02/13

      What does preselecting Peter Slipper for 18 years say about the LNP, Nihonin? And what does voting him into office for 18 years say about LNP supporters? The LNP even made him Parliamentary Secretary to then PM John Howard.

    • Andrew says:

      12:31pm | 01/02/13

      So maybe you guys would like to explain how the voting public is suppose to know what these people have been doing. There may be rumors going around but how do the public know what is rumor and what is BS. The fact of the matter is that the ALP new that thomson was dodgy, and the nats knew slipper was dodgy (after a while), surely its up to the parties to get rid of them. Its a bit rich to blame the electorate when many in the particular political partys know the truth but lie there arses off and keep the truth from the public. The only way you can blame the public is when the truth comes out and they get reelected, which I doubt would happen here, neither slipper or thomson would stand a chance if they put themself up for election.

    • Gerard says:

      01:51pm | 01/02/13

      @Andrew

      The fact that Slipper and Thomson were members of two of the most disreputable organisations in the country should have set off alarm bells. Both major parties are autonomous organisations, looking out for their own interests and accountable only to themselves.

      Democracy means that citizens are responsible for their representatives. If the electorate won’t accept responsibility for the selection and behaviour of its agents, then it can’t expect to receive honest, competent governance.

    • Sarah says:

      08:54am | 01/02/13

      I think it’s criminal to charge $12 for an icecream.

    • Gerard says:

      09:22am | 01/02/13

      $12 for an icecream is a bargain. HSU members pay hundreds of dollars in fees per year and get absolutely nothing in return.

    • Steve Douglas says:

      09:26am | 01/02/13

      Lets wait to read what the other 148 charges are before this type of comment. If you really think that this is all the police have you are living in fairyland.

    • k.marshall says:

      10:04am | 01/02/13

      I think it is criminal to eat ice cream . smile

    • BoM says:

      10:15am | 01/02/13

      Depends on what (or who) it was served on….

    • JennyF says:

      11:56am | 01/02/13

      Even worse to pay that much.

    • Suzanne says:

      08:55am | 01/02/13

      They now must be a real chance of Gillard getting replaced.  he lack of judgement and trust must now be a real concern for the Labor Caucus

    • the phantom says:

      08:58am | 01/02/13

      The Mad Monk will fall flat on his face (again) if he treies to make the Thomson saga an election issue.
      I curse the blasted, jelly-boned swines, the slimy, the belly-wriggling invertebrates, the miserable soddingrotters, the flaming sods, the sniveling, dribbling, dithering, palsied, pulse-less lot that make up the NLP today. They’ve got white of egg in their veins, and their spunk is that watery it’s a marvel they can breed.
      Policies, Polices PLEASE!

    • marley says:

      09:21am | 01/02/13

      @Phantom - I see you still haven’t learned the art of putting in quotation marks when you’re ripping off the words of better writers.  You’re no DH Lawrence, to be sure.  Do you actually have any original ideas and thoughts of your own?

    • Anubis says:

      09:27am | 01/02/13

      @ the phantom - make Google your friend and you will find a whole raft of policies from both major parties - some with substance that are achievable and then there’s the Labor ones that promise the world but deliver nothing

    • Stephen T says:

      09:37am | 01/02/13

      @the phantom:  I don’t think that the curses of a troll carry all that much weight, with regard to the gibberish that you insist on posting you would make a far better job of it if you used the services offered at:

      http://thinkzone.wlonk.com/Gibber/GibGen.htm

      In doing so you may a least provide some slight entertainment value, possibly you will make more sense.
      wink

    • True Blue Ozzie says:

      09:04am | 01/02/13

      It’s pretty simple really, ” you reap what you sow ” ! All of Gillards shady moves and deals have come back to destroy her last dieing hours as PM. Oh and thats not counting dear old Tims racist, sexist remarks about women! Gillard has bought nothing but scandle and disgrace to our parliament. Australians demand a Government to work for them, not someone who’s all consumed with there position and power! Here here to Sept 14th 2013!

    • Max Redlands says:

      09:09am | 01/02/13

      Funny - I thought this “thing” was all about the alleged mis-use of union funds, paid by some of the lowest paid workers in the country, on hookers and high living.

    • John K says:

      09:19am | 01/02/13

      Poor Craig complaining about having to be Strip Searched - I thought getting his gear off was something he was allegedly accustomed too.  And he didn’t need to use his credit card on this one.

    • Mayday says:

      09:29am | 01/02/13

      And it wasn’t “a small Asian female doctor” wearing the rubber gloves!

    • Gerard says:

      09:29am | 01/02/13

      It’s the unfortunate police officers who were given this stomach-churning task that I feel sorry for.

    • k.marshall says:

      09:19am | 01/02/13

      Is Thompson going to cry in parliment whilst he makes another speech ?  Or, will he ,if conviced, then be accused of lying to and misleading parliment and the Australian public ?  How will he be saved ?  I am sure it will all come out with everyone labor /unions/ Thompson as clean as .

    • Millsy says:

      09:21am | 01/02/13

      Thomson should just vote with the Liberals on every bill from now until the election, it can be Pynes daily cardio workout.

      ...it also raises and interesting idea, what if Thomson were to vote in favour of a “no confidence” call against the PM. Would one of the Liberals be dashing for the door even then?

    • Angry God of Townsville says:

      10:24am | 01/02/13

      The Libs should take his vote, because Dobell will be Blue Ribbon Lib after the election anyway. Just make sure it is a spending motion so that the government forces itself into self destruction.

    • Chillin says:

      09:21am | 01/02/13

      He needs a new lawyer, the one he’s got is a strange man.

    • tez says:

      09:55am | 01/02/13

      He is a Lawyer ‘Joke I don’t have one of those little Winky things’

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      09:28am | 01/02/13

      Does anyone, other than Craig, really give a toss about him & his alleged doings? Probably not, so let’s just forget all about him.
      ALP voters should never forget, nor let her do so, that it was Julia Gillard acting, as always, in her own interests, who caused the ALP to lose it’s 18-seat majority.
      Check out those Polls, polls which they all say they pay no attention to but which Gillard used as a reason to politically assassinate Kevin Rudd Remember: It was Kevin, not Julia who led the ALP back into office with an 18-seat Majority.
      Remember: It was Julia who lost that 18-seat Majority.
      Ever since Gillard moved to satisfy her personal ambition, with the exception of maybe two since June 2010, the ALP’s Primary Vote has been falling & the all-important Two party Preferred Vote has been in the “Losing Division”
      Like her or love her, boys’n'girls, Gillard is the ALP’s Biggest Loser.

    • Max Redlands says:

      10:14am | 01/02/13

      “Does anyone, other than Craig, really give a toss about him & his alleged doings?”

      Well Robert I do and so, I suspect, do those workers whose funds have been mis-used. If what is alleged is true then I believe that it is disgraceful and just shows what contempt some union officials have for their rank and file.Conduct which was , of course, recently echoed by Gillard in her appointment of Nova Peris.

      I am not sure if it has been held out as such but one Liberal policy I would completely support is having unions being held as accountable as any other incorporated body.

      Labour (and parts of the union movement) have only themselves to blame for their mis-fortunes. They have abandoned their core principles and betrayed and abused those that they purport to represent.

    • wolf says:

      09:38am | 01/02/13

      “Now the PM faces claims - which she rejects - that she had prior knowledge of the arrest and revealed the election date to head it off. “
      I don’t want to infer anything about the PM’s motivation for calling an election but I read an article today where the police claimed they tried to arrange for Thompson to surrender himself at a time of his choosing prior to arresting him at his office.  If this is true and he told others then it is entirely possible that prior knowledge of his impending arrest could have existed.

    • Dagny says:

      09:40am | 01/02/13

      It appears that many are confused about matters of right and wrong. How can ANY person with a reasonable level of intelligence not see what an absolutely disgraceful collection of unprincipled rabble are our representatives in Parliament at the present time. From this poor excuse of a Prime Minister, to those MPs who blindly follow knowing in their hearts they are forsaking their principles and ethics. Jesus may well have surprises in store for many….. BUT back here on Earth where the greedy, immoral rabble want to reign supreme,
      have to account before the lawmakers of this Land….... All the excuses, pretence as exhibited by the Prime Minister over the past several years of upholding the moral high ground…..AS IF!!! It is not a question of Labor or Liberal politics, just people who made the decision to enter Office with the intention of representing the people of this Nation purporting to uphold all that is required of being an MP. Can each and every MP honestly state that they have ethics and values….integrity….when faced with decisions relating to matters of importance to their constituents? The Election should be held BEFORE the May budget is brought down and ‘costings’ (Labor) plus all matters relating to National debt, etc. (true figures) be revealed to the voters of Australia. The Prime Minister can drop in and see the Governor General over the weekend, not far to travel…..

    • Debbie says:

      10:48am | 01/02/13

      If you read much of the commentary here you would likely come to the conclusion that a good percentage of the voters also have the same level of integrity and values as those they vote for. They defend the indefensible, usually along party lines, but definitely if there is a financial gain to be made for themselves.

    • Marcus says:

      11:09am | 01/02/13

      Why Daggy ? What difference would that make?

      Oh I get it ... then the LNP wouldn’t have to come up with any policies, or costings for them.

      Nice idea, but it didn’t work at the last election because the Independents eventually forced Abbott to submit his costings and Treasury found the 11 billion dollar black hole.

    • Borderer says:

      01:26pm | 01/02/13

      @Marcus
      Nice idea, but it didn’t work at the last election because the Independents eventually forced Abbott to submit his costings and Treasury found the 11 billion dollar black hole.
      As opposed to blowing budgets by twice that?? Please…. The ALP are so piss poor that they spend millions implementing a tax that collects zero revenue, they are by definition of their actions a pack of clowns.

      Oh, did you say fire, flood, GFC, what is a contingency fund? What is a disaster levy? Being unable to sucessfully plan for the effects GFC in one year is to be expected, two years is unfortunate, six just smacks of incompetance. Do note I’m not talking about the budget being in surplus, I’m talking about them blowing the budgets they set.

    • OverIt says:

      03:09pm | 01/02/13

      Dagny
      You answered your own question in your second sentence “ANY person with a reasonable level of intelligence…...”

    • not deceived by labor's tricks says:

      09:57am | 01/02/13

      If he had an gumption or any class he would resign his position whilst under a police investigation…but I am sure he will be looking after number one and will do all possible to make sure his politicial money/ gravy train continues.

      Will he get his parliamentary pension if convicted? What’s the bet there is some loophole as he has “served Australia” and in his opinion didn’t engage in any “wrongdoings”. What is his definition of a “wrong doing” Is using HSU money for personal gain a “Wrong doing” or would that fall outside the category of a “wrong-doing”?

    • John K says:

      11:12am | 01/02/13

      When you say ‘looking out for number one’ are you referring to Thompson or Julia?  She’s done a lot to keep him on the gravy train as long as possible and she does need him, now more than ever.

    • Beverley Walker says:

      10:11am | 01/02/13

      HOw did the newsmedia know before the police arrived - who knows ho decided today was the day to create a diversion.  I listened and heard the fine detail - and I am prepared to stay neutral about Craig Thomson.  Slipper was condemned for his sexual orientation but thehomophobic of the Liberals overlooked that for most of his career.  The scams go on in all theatres of politics and governments. The text messages were obviously OK with the receiver - who it appears was victim ofan ambush - a setup and was thrown out of court..

    • Richo says:

      10:35am | 01/02/13

      It’s all over for Labor. Myself and the majority of Australians are happy about that. I dare anyone who thinks Labor will win to take the $4 odds available from the bookies when the Liberals are $1.22.

    • LC says:

      10:52am | 01/02/13

      Didn’t Gillard say he was innocent a while back?

      If so, there’s probably enough egg on her face now to feed a small African country after she found out he’s been arrested and facing just under 150 counts of fraud.

      Nonetheless Thomson probably had the Government’s best interests in mind when he plead “not guilty”. He can buy them time, while they prepare the trial and the court proceedings. He could’ve plead “Guilty” and saved himself from a harsher sentence, but then there would be a bi-election and if Labor lost, their campaign will be cut short, and they can’t afford that if they don’t want to look like Queensland Labor post-election, at least. So perhaps there’s still a shred of decency left in him.

    • Richo says:

      10:57am | 01/02/13

      Attention all Labor voters - the sky is not going to fall in when Tony Abbott becomes PM. You will even learn to appreciate the improvement over Julia Gillard.

    • james says:

      02:37pm | 01/02/13

      The earth will open up and swallow us whole instead.

    • K^2 says:

      04:23pm | 01/02/13

      @james - no, earth will spit that part out.

    • tez says:

      04:25pm | 01/02/13

      But is will be as doring as bat shit.

    • Mikey says:

      01:28pm | 01/02/13

      Pyne is the biggest whiner there has ever been in Australian politics.  One has to wonder whether he is actually capable of doing anything else.

    • tez says:

      06:27pm | 01/02/13

      Maybe it’s just South Australia.

 

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