No, I don’t believe him!” said Reverend Tim,
As if full weight of judgement lay with him.
Thousands more watching shared his thought,
Nationwide jury in a kangaroo court.
Outrage required a penalty paid,
To be decided once a charge was laid.
Meanwhile the rack would do or pillory
In full sight of his friends and family.
His accuser, once colleague, is feted,
With much to gain and nothing to lose
She stars in many media interviews.
She had long sought that in years before.
Has no need now to seek it, for sure.
So why have journalists no suspicions
As she’s taken up by politicians?
Where was research, the facts on this lady?
Her partner’s role, for a judge, seems shady.
The public should know if they’ve broken the law.
Isn’t that what our free press is for?
With that Fair Work Report now proven wrong,
Will the media sing a different song?
Are all his critics going to eat crow?
If they follow their leader, the answer is “NO!”
Like Wixxy here at Cafe Whispers and probably like many of you out there I too have long smelled a rat in this HSU affair. I have been appalled and angry watching the story of Craig Thomson distract the government from the business of running this country. Particularly angry as the media have ratcheted up the story of his denial of wrong doing, turning it into a ‘scandal’ as if the whole government was somehow involved in covering up his crime. As indeed Tony Abbott declaims it is day in day out. The government has in fact appropriately referred the matter to police and he has been accused of no crime. Craig Thomson persistently maintains his innocence.
There have been many press and television interviews given by his accuser, Kathy Jackson, and much media hype has followed. Readers know the implications of this story for the numbers in a hung Parliament as the Prime Minister has responded as calmly as she could to Abbott’s demands that she suspend the Member for Dobell. The political, legal and constitutional ramifications of this story are many. The failure of the media to tackle those issues in any serious way while continually referring to it as ‘the sleaze factor’ of Julia Gillard’s government is disturbing. Even more disturbing is the crescendo of condemnation which Tony Abbott has encouraged throughout the country.
Since the story is largely exploited for its ‘sleaze’ appeal it seemed surprising that few journalists asked the obvious questions about whistleblower, Kathy Jackson. She is a very colorful and combative individual, in comparison with the rather dour, even dull, Craig Thomson. A quick google search showed me that one or two journalists had indeed done that. News Ltd had even published in the Australian Weekend Magazine a long, well researched story by Cameron Stewart which has some very interesting and colorful information about Kathy Jackson’s character, her personal ambition and her long, driven and quarrelsome career in the Health Services Union before and after Craig Thomson’s few years there. All of which could make Thomson’s claims of innocence rather more credible. I am not suggesting they are proof of his innocence but the Australian public needs that information for balance. I doubt that there would be the hysteria of condemnation we see around us if they had it.
Astonishing to me is the information in that article about her former husband Jeff Jackson and current partner, Michael Lawler. Jeff Jackson had also been accused of offences similar to those which his ex-wife accuses Craig Thomson. Michael Lawler is Vice President, Fair Work Australia, since his appointment to it in 2002 by Tony Abbott then Minister for Employment, when FWA was the Industral Relations Commission. No one has asked if he has had any input at all into the recent and damning FWA report about Thomson which only yesterday was largely disproven by the Australian Electoral Commission. No matter, it has meantime given Tony Abbott more ammunition in his publicity onslaught on Julia Gillard’s government. Michael Lawler is a long term friend of Abbott’s through Opus Dei they seem to meet often. You can see from Wixxy’s article here at Café Whispers how partisan Lawler’s activities have been in his inappropriate interventions within the Health Services Union. No one seems to have noticed or mentioned again that Kathy Jackson and Michael Lawler decided together over ‘several bottles of wine’ to eventually refer Craig Thomson with formal complaints to the police.
My little pome is in a sense about all of that information I know is out there and should be written about, and it should be written about with integrity. Even more importantly it is about the challenge we are facing in our country to our governance and justice system. We have judges, juries and courts to try people for crimes. People are assumed to be innocent until tried and found guilty within that system. We have policemen to decide if people should be charged and sent to court for trial if they seem to have broken laws. We have Parliament where politicians make the laws which rule our country. All of that is subsumed under the term the separation of powers. On top of all that we have a free press which reports on all those levels of government and much else besides. Our multi-media press is supposedly our freedom’s watchdog and there to safeguard our democracy with its unique separation of powers amongst the the judiciary, our judges, the law makers, our Parliament and the law keepers, the police force.
I was truly alarmed to witness the Reverend Tim Costello with other members of a panel of reputable citizens pass judgement on a man, not yet charged with any crime on a current affairs program produced by senior journalists of our National broadcasting service. All but one of these responsible citizens were encouraging their audience in the studio and out on the air waves to agree with them. Judgement was passed on a man not accused of any crime.
Now we have some real facts published in a story at Independent Australia which confirms my gut feelings that we really must listen to Craig Thomson’s story and not allow him to be pilloried and falsely accused. The Australian Electoral Commission clearing him of accusations of electoral fraud which Kathy Jackson accused him of and which the Fair Work Australia report had confirmed as true should give our media and public opinion pause for thought. Will they now at least listen to him when he addresses Parliament next week with an open mind? Reading today’s media response to the AEC report suggests that nothing will have them admit they are wrong. Will they eat crow?
Tony Abbott has them all too well rehearsed. “No!”