Saturday, April 11, 2009


Red News Readers,

If all of these allegations prove true, this is the sort of greed that brings the trade union movement into disrepute. How can union officials point the finger at CEOs for their salary, shares and payment greed, when they are tickling their fingers in members money to advance their personal political career and personal wealth? Union officials need to remember that it is members money, earned by hard work and sweat, and members want it spent on their welfare in accordance with the objectives of the union.

Jenny Haines

Union stopped payout of Thomson entitlements

Mark Davis Political Correspondent, smh

April 11, 2009

THE Federal Labor MP Craig Thomson was owed more than $190,000 in employment entitlements when he quit the Health Services Union to enter Parliament after the 2007 election.

But the union asked its lawyers to tell Mr Thomson it was withholding payment until an investigation into possible financial irregularities inside the union was finalised.

Mr Thomson faces allegations that a union credit card in his name was used to make cash advances of more than $100,000 and payments to Sydney escort services and a brothel. He has denied the allegations, insisting they are incorrect and false and are being advanced by factional opponents.

Mr Thomson was national president of the 70,000-member union from 2002 until he won the Central Coast seat of Dobell in 2007. Before that he worked for the NSW branch, totalling 19 years' service with the union.

It has emerged that he had 35 weeks in untaken annual leave and 23 in long service leave owing when he resigned in 2007.

The union's national auditor, Iaan Dick, wrote to the national secretary, Kathy Jackson, last May calculating that on Mr Thomson's $154,536 salary and including leave loading the entitlements were worth $191,913.

About the time of that advice, the union's national executive started internal inquiries into the union's financial affairs.

Those inquiries prompted the national executive to refer concerns about possible irregularities to the lawyers Slater & Gordon and the accountants BDO Kendall for investigation.

A letter from Ms Jackson to Slater & Gordon in December says Mr Thomson had been paid only a fairly small amount of his entitlements to that date.

"We request that you advise Mr Thomson that the national executive has referred the matter for investigation and pending the outcome of that investigation no further payment of outstanding entitlements will be made." But Mr Thomson told the Herald this week he had not received such a letter. "The union had never had a big national office and did not have reserves," he said.

"When I left I said to them I would like my entitlements but understood the union didn't have that money sitting around. We reached agreement where they would pay those entitlements progressively over a period of time. We reached agreement on quarterly payments.

"I haven't heard anything from the union [about the entitlements being stopped], haven't had a letter and have been paid on regular arrangements."