Parliament On A Knife Edge Part II: End This Nonsense Now

Since I posted my previous thread on this subject four weeks ago, things have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. The rather tawdry scandal involving Craig Thomson, Labor MHR for the seat of Dobell in New South Wales, has plumbed new depths; amid Thomson’s tortured denials, including this memorable grilling on Sydney talkback radio, it has now emerged that, not only was Thomson’s Health Services Union credit card used to procure the services of prostitutes, his signature (verified by handwriting experts) and copies of his photo drivers license recorded on the back of payment vouchers and his business mobile phone records linked to the same, but now also hotel phone calls to several Melbourne escort agencies, placed from rooms booked by Thomson and paid for by the HSU on Thomson’s authorisation.

Further, he has received legal fees and personal loans from the Australian Labor Party totalling in the order of $90,000. This—presumably—is due to the law in this country that a declared bankrupt cannot stand for parliament, and a sitting member who is declared bankrupt must resign.

And still he denies it all. There are only two alternatives here. Either he is the victim of a monstrous character assassination, involving a bewildering, highly-organised, Mission: Impossible style chain of forgeries, thefts and subterfuge. In which case, he must publicly name the mysterious figure who he claims paid $15,000 in compensation to the HSU relating to these incidents. His protests that he is legally restrained from naming this man (presumably, it is a man) ring increasingly hollow with each passing day.

Or else he comes clean. Listen to the radio interview I’ve linked to above, and see if you agree with me that he seems as if he wants to confess all, get it off his chest, but is prevented from doing so by a large-calibre gun pointed at his head, held by hands unseen but whose identity is in little doubt. You can read Melbourne columnist Andrew Bolt’s analysis of the whole thing here.

Sydney billboard spotted today. The Gillard government is becoming a laughing stock.

Why am I boring you all with this petty scandal of a minor Australian politician you’ve never heard of? God knows, you’re not short of much juicier scandals amongst the political classes in your own countries. Simply because, as the thread’s title indicates, the Gillard government is hanging on by its fingernails to a one-seat majority in the House of Representatives; polls in Thomson’s own seat indicate Labor would stand no chance at all in a by-election, and with his seat goes the government. Tony Abbott, as new Prime Minister, will waste no time at all in calling a general election, which even the staunchest members of the leftist commentariat down here concede will result in an electoral bloodbath. And with Gillard will go, not only the Carbon Tax foisted on her by the Australian Greens, which she promised on the very eve of the last election she would never introduce and which the Australian public emphatically rejected at the ballot box, but (although the vagaries of our electoral system will draw this out by three more years) in the end, the Greens themselves.

All of which underline the point I made back here—Labor must reinvent itself, rediscover its raison d’être beyond the mere acquisition of power. Not merely for its own sake, but for the sake of a healthy and functioning Australian democracy. Though she herself would pay the supreme political price, Gillard would be remembered favourably by historians were she to do the honourable thing, and end this nonsense now.

Update 21 August 2011 1930: From the Bolt Report earlier today:

Update 24 August 2011 1600: Well, it’s on now. Labor’s last line of defence till now has been to say, no charges have been laid against Thomson and there hasn’t even been a formal police investigation. The NSW Police Service have been so far unwilling to launch such an investigation, a decision it was afraid could be construed as politically motivated, unless they had received a formal complaint from the Health Services Union themselves, as the immediate victims of the fraudulent spending.

Well, a few hours ago, the HSU, facing allegations of criminal behaviour against officers besides Thomson, finally relented and referred the matter to the police. You can read about it here and here. Come what may now, someone’s going down for this.

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24 Responses to Parliament On A Knife Edge Part II: End This Nonsense Now

  1. Pingback: Parliament On A Knife Edge | Be Responsible – Be Free!

  2. farmerbraun says:

    More sleaze please; of course we want to hear every minute lurid detail. Nobody does this like the Aussies. I mean, with the likes of Kevin Bloody Wilson and Rodney Rude making a decent living out of sending up this stuff, it takes a monumental cock- up (sic) to pull (sic) off a cunning stunt like this. The competition is fierce.
    This is funny!

    Is this going to be the start of a sheep joke thread? – Oz

    Kiwis aren’t bad at it either:

  3. fenbeagle says:

    This saga would be funny OZ. (For everyone except Craig, and his family.) But under these circumstances the joke is on Australia. And Britain too, as our PM is supporting Gillard and green policies.
    Love the bill board though.

  4. Kitler says:

    Has anyone stopped to ask whether these escorts were male or female?
    Farmerbraun are you being baaaaaaad.

    Well, the calls made from Thomson’s Melbourne hotel rooms were to establishments trading under the names “Confidential Models”, “Young Blondes” and “Bad Girls”. I suppose, now that you mention it, the first two could be construed as applying to either gender, while the third, in “rough trade” slang, could…

    Urgggh. You may well laugh. But it’s the union dues of lowly but hard-working hospital cleaners and orderlies we’re talking about here. Look, had this simply been a case of Thomson being a naughty boy on his own time and at his own expense, I would never have raised the issue here. No-one is perfect. But the combination of misuse of union funds, not only for personal gratification but possibly also to fund his 2007 election campaign (an offence which, if proven, could wind him in jail) plus the fact that without his seat the government falls, make it a matter of interest for me here. Plus the cover-up, together with Labor’s private bankrolling (reported in today’s papers to be to the tune of $150,000) of Thomson’s legal expenses, and the lengths (that we already know about) which the cover-up has gone to, make it start to appear an affair of Watergate proportions. Expect this story to get bigger and bigger – Oz

  5. fenbeagle says:

    Male or female Escorts? Which ever you can a Ford.

  6. Kitler says:

    fenbeagle punmeister extraordinaire.

  7. Ozboy says:

    And while I’m on the subject of Australian politics, I should tell you about the chaos surrounding Andrew Wilkie, the Independent MHR for Denison (the electorate centred on Hobart). He’s a former Greens candidate, who ran in 2010 pretty much on a single-issue, anti-gambling platform. To get Wilkie’s commitment to support the Gillard government, Juliar rashly (or cynically?) entered into a written agreement with Wilkie to pass legislation introducing mandatory pre-commitment gambling limits for all patrons of pubs and clubs – a reform which, in this country at least, is completely at odds with community sentiment and impossible to sell.

    Under this agreement, Wilkie will withdraw his support for the government unless the reform bill has become law by the time of next May’s Federal Budget. As you can read here, dozens of Labor MPs are reporting to Juliar that the issue is regarded by their constituents as even bigger than the Carbon Tax, and electoral suicide. Wilkie is adamant he will hold the government to this deal, which means Gillard has the choice of her government being sacked by Wilkie next year, or by the people at Thomson’s by-election, or (if that is miraculously avoided) at a general election.

    And finally, as the coup de grâce, the National Convoy of No Confidence arrives in Canberra next Tuesday. I’m phoning around at the moment to see If I can wangle a business excuse to show up myself. We may have accidentally voted in these idiots, but we’re sure as hell not going to take it lying down. The word “landslide” doesn’t even come close to describing what’s about to happen in Australia.

  8. farmerbraun says:

    Reminds me of this:
    Naturally the National government, once returned to power, continued the ETS. The r sole on the tractor is the current National Minister of Finance; how their coats do turn.

  9. Kitler says:

    Ozboy I long stopped being cynical about politicians and the lengths they go to cover up their blatant lies, immorality and illegality, I’m way beyond that. Usually we the people are just told to F*** Off. Somehow someway this bastard will hold onto office. The plus side is the longer Labor hold onto power the greater will be their obliteration at the poles. Of course unfortunately you will find the other guys are just as bad in entirely different ways.

    Find out? Oh no, mate, we’ve known about the other lot all along. Our disgust with Labor hasn’t blinded us to that. But right now, they’re the lesser of two evils, by a long way – Oz

  10. Ozboy says:

    It’s all getting too surreal for me. I’m reminded (for reasons I can’t explain) of Dr Dave’s marvellous article on drug prohibition. Who said they weren’t all getting whacked three-quarters of a century ago?

    I’m off to bed. Enjoy your weekend.

  11. Ozboy says:

    And here is another reason the Gillard Labor government must go: they are in bed with a party whose stated aims are a direct attack on the national sovereign interest of Australia.

    Senator Bob Brown is leader of the Australian Greens, and as such has sworn an oath of allegiance to Her Majesty as Queen of Australia, a sovereign Commonwealth. He is the man who, in our presently hung parliament, to all intents and purposes, is the real political leader of this country. Yet here he is, less than two months ago, making a pronouncement at striking odds with that oath:

    You know, Libertarians often get a bad rap as “one-world government” conspiracy theorists. It sticks in the craw, though, when you hear it proclaimed as nakedly and arrogantly as you do from the mouth of this particular serpent. Go figure.

  12. msher says:

    This political analysis is way too high-brow for me.


    I don’t deny this has gotten ugly, msher. But whose fault is that? The sooner it’s all over, the better – Oz

  13. Ozboy says:

    And just to show you how the open markets have reacted to all this instability (Europe, US and UK primarily – Australia is a mere side-show by comparison); here’s the 10-year spot gold price graph. The steeper the slope, the greater the panic. So compare the last three months since I wrote this to the 2008 GFC:

    Chooks are coming home to roost, folks.

  14. herptile says:

    If only UK politics were half as exciting. I’m still trying to envisage the sort of ‘services’ you’d get for 2400 dollars !
    Our Sunday Telegraph had a 2 page expose of the Aristocrats who are benefitting from the wind-farm scam, including Cameron’s father-in-law Sir Reg Sheffield, but nothing excites the imagination like a good sex scandal.
    Dan Hannan’s decision to run with this one seems nicely timed : even better since ‘yesterday’s man’, George Monbiot (freewales) has decided that now is the time to preach Marxism to all who are prepared to listen.
    George really must be pissed off with the Guardian Blogs where the posters are so unsure of their facts that rarely allow comment these days.

    Bufo mio, welcome back under your new handle. This story first hit the Australian papers four weeks ago, and I got on the case back here, but no-one outside Australia appeared to grasp the implications. I’m glad Mr Hannan is running with it, and maybe even our own GE will give it a look, given his impending visit Down Under – Oz

  15. herptile says:

    Herptile/Bufo75/Toad – difficult to find a name no-one else is using.
    ‘Herptile’ is a blend of Herpetology and Reptile.

  16. benfrommo says:

    I have been watching Australia for a little while, and this does not surprise me in the least. The current Government will do ANYTHING to stay in power as seen by this ‘minor’ political scandel…the means have no bounds.

    I think in general people tend to realize in Australia that the Government is no longer serving the people, but namely their own selfish wants. The carbon tax in particular is case in point.

  17. Kitler says:

    Toad if you must know 2400 dollars is what a high class hooker charges for discreet liasons/dinner what happens next is between two adults services. Some them charge 10,000 dollars. The only reason I know this is that some of our staff were researching their services at work and it was my job to stop them doing so. If you want clean and discrete you pay for it ask the ex governor of New York a man who made his name by prosecuting men who entertained the services of call girls, naturally he got caught doing the same.

  18. Kitler says:

    The governor was called Elliot Spitzer I think.

  19. msher says:

    I’m just laughing at the whole sex scandal. High-brow it’s not! 🙂

  20. Ozboy says:

    G’day folks,

    Sorry I’ve been MIA for a while; I’ve been away on business for a few days. I thought about starting a new thread but the Thomson scandal has been dominating the news headlines down here ever since I left, so we’ll stay on this for a while yet.

    As I remarked at the DT the other day, this story is the gift that keeps on giving. The latest focus is what did the Prime Minister know and when did she know it?, following revelations today that as deputy PM in 2009, her chief of staff is on record as having contacted the Industrial Registrar to ask if he were investigating Mr Thomson over the misuse of HSU credit cards.

    I said the other day this was going to turn into Australia’s Watergate, and that’s just how it’s panning out: the original offences (break-in/abuse of credit card) being swamped by the cover-up, which snowballs with every news cycle. At least the current incarnation of the ALP are as good as gone, according even to its own experts. And good riddance.

  21. Ozboy says:

    And so it comes to pass. New thread here.

  22. Tucci says:

    In American legislatures, both at the state and federal levels, it’s not uncommon for us to see one major wing or the other of the great permanently incumbent Boot On Your Neck Party incapable of getting a majority in one house of the legislature (almost always the upper chamber or “senate”), but our executive branches don’t require a legislative majority to take office, and it’s common for us to see the executive and the legislative at each other’s throats and thus “distracted from governing.”

    As writer P.J. O’Rourke once observed, that’s a good thing.

    Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby.

    Because of this, we don’t do “coalition governments,” and even though our Red Faction (Republican) and Blue Faction (National Socialist Democrat American Party) wings of the BOYN perpetual incumbency have to cope with a very few nominally “independent” politicians (such as explicitly avowed Socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont), those exceptions reliably caucus and vote with one faction or another. Bernie – quite naturally – is wholly welcome in the NSDAP senatorial majority that’s been helping to screw up our nation since 2006.

    None of the insane devil’s bargains such as the Australian Labor Party has had to make with the frothing fascisti of the Greens.

    Considering how vulnerable – and how widely, sincerely, enthusiastically hated – the Gillard “Pact With Satan” government has become, howcumizzit that Abbott et alia aren’t procedurally monkeywrenching her efforts to de-industrialize the country so vigorously that the lady doesn’t dare take a bathroom break?

  23. Tucci says:

    Boy, those “Convoy of No Confidence” videos are impressive.

    I’ve never seen so many drivers running for so many miles in the passing lane.

    Is that a “civil disobedience” aspect to this demonstration?

    Actually Tucci, you’re the ones in the passing lane – Oz:

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