Craig Thomson must be the country's best consummate liar. The ex National Secretary of the Health Services Union (HSU) is so good at it, there was an element of doubt as to whether he was innocent or not because he kept repeating - "I did not use my union credit card for the services of prostitutes." But we now know that he did.
Thankfully, he's no longer walking the halls of Parliament House, because the ex Labor MP was booted out in last year's election, but he is now in court facing 145 criminal charges of obtaining financial advantage and property by deception. He is accused of spending HSU funds on brothels, escorts, pornography and other expenses while national secretary between 2002 and 2007. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
One prostitute has given evidence that she saw Thomson on at least six occasions and was shocked to see him on television denying it. Other escorts he used said the same thing. A woman known as Misty said "He is lying and I am in no doubt that the Craig I performed a number of sexual services for over a period of time, is Craig Thomson the politician." She remembers Thomson very well, he often paid to extend her services, sometimes just to chat.
But his lawyers aren't worried about his use of prostitutes, they are going to concentrate on one important fact - that Thomson had the legal right to use his union credit card on whatever he liked. There were no rules stating what he could or couldn't use it for. He had permission to authorize union expenditure up to $50,000 without the national executive's approval. They will assert that although he's morally a scum bag, he didn't break the rules.
The case continues and the defence is yet to make its closing statement.
Thomson was in good company. His boss Michael Williamson was so corrupt, the mind boggles and this man was once the National President of the Australian Labor Party. He pleaded guilty last year to a string of charges relating to defrauding his union of $1 million dollars and will be sentenced in March.
PM Tony Abbott hinted yesterday that he may push for a Royal Commission into union corruption. A recent joint investigation by the ABC's 7.30 and Fairfax revealed that union officials have formed corrupt relationships with organized crime figures and are receiving kickbacks for construction contracts. What a surprise!