The Craig Thomson scandal continues to torture the Labor party and now the union he once represented is tearing itself apart. The last thing National President of the Health Workers Union, Michael Williamson wanted was to refer this sordid matter to Police but when he was away in Newcastle last Wednesday, National Secretary Kathy Jackson got together with a few other rebels and successfully pushed the motion through. Mr Williamson, a former ALP President, had no plan to get the police involved and intended to reiterate what Labor spokespeople have been saying all week - that the matter is before Fair Work Australia, and leave it at that.
I wouldn’t like to be in Ms Jackson’s shoes right now, and hope she is up to the job of coping with Mr Williamson’s wrath. He is a major figure in the dominant NSW right faction of the Labor Party and rumour has it that crucial ALP members thought he had the Thomson matter “in hand”. On the other hand Ms Jackson is a junior figure who is now viewed by the heavyweights of her party, as a person who gave ammunition to the Opposition. Yesterday she was still standing and said “I am responsible and have a fiduciary duty to each and every member of this union in ensuring that their funds are used correctly.”
It sounds so simple, it’s obviously the right thing to do, yet the Gillard government is hell bent on trying to cover it up. Their only logical way out of this mess is to bite the bullet and throw him to the wolves. If they don’t, with every day that passes, the Labor Party and the union movement’s reputation only gets worse. Hang in there Kathy Jackson and hold your nerve, don’t let Mr Williamson bully you, the workers you represent need you now, like never before.