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Friday, November 30, 2012

The Labor Party and the unions

Union corruption has dogged the government all year and yesterday, the last day of Parliament, Julia Gillard's close relationship with union boss Bruce Wilson reminds us just how closely linked the Labor Party is to the union movement.

We have Michael Williamson, once National President of the ALP from 2009-1010.  This pillar of the community is charged with 20 offenses and was caught red handed ordering staff to delete computer files from the Hospital Services Union computers.

Michael Williamson

Then we have Craig Thomson, the Member of Parliament still standing in the House yesterday.  The ex HSU union official was accused of stealing over $100,000 from his union and paying for prostitutes with his union credit card.  But he hasn't been charged with anything - he seems beyond the law, and it's extremely frustrating.

Craig Thomson

And finally, we have the PM doing favours for her boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, a union boss, 20 years ago.

Bruce Wilson

Yesterday the PM suspended standing orders at the start of Question Time and demanded that Tony Abbott apologise for his suggestion that she acted illegally as a lawyer for Slater & Gordon.  Abbott accepted the challenge and in my view, gave a credible account of why he thought there should be an enquiry into the whole sordid AWU affair.

I don't think the PM did herself any favours taking the high ground, denying everything and hurling abuse at the Opposition all week. These allegations are so serious, they deserve an answer, something she consistently refused to do.

How much better would it have been if she had admitted she made some bad decisions.  It's much easier to forgive someone who owns up to a bad judgment than someone who "toughs it out" and denies there's a problem when it's staring everyone in the face.

The Labor Party need to acknowledge the fact that corrupt union officials have been stealing money from unions for years and put rock solid measures into place that will ensure it never happens again.  Only time will tell if it's too late to repair the damage.