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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Michael Williamson off to jail for five years

Oh how sweet it is to see Michael Williamson finally get what he deserves - a minimum of five years real jail time.  He's been there for two and a half weeks already.  On 3 March 2014, he came to court but didn't get to go home.  Instead, he was taken by prison van to Silverwater Jail after his barrister declined to seek an extension of his bail.

The former union boss and National President of the Australian Labor Party said he grew up in such poverty, he wanted to make sure his five children would never suffer financial hardship.

Broken and in tears, he told his psychiatrist Bruce Westmore that he still held a vivid memory of his parents being unable to pay for a movie ticket.  According to Dr Westmore, Williamson tried to kill himself in September 2011, the day he discovered that police were about to open an investigation into his crimes.

Son, Christopher Williamson

Williamson's daughter Alexandra, a former staffer to Julia Gillard, was at court to support her father, as was Bob Hull and Steve Pollard, former union supporters.

Daughter Alexandra

Williamson stole the money to maintain the lifestyle of his wife, his five children and his mistress.  He also tasked his son Chris, who also worked for the union, to smuggle a bag of damning documents out of the union's head office in Sydney, but when he was caught red handed, the game was up.

Cheryl Rose McMillan with Williamson

Proceedings began last December to recoup money from Williamson's long-time mistress, the union's former procurement officer, Cheryl Rose McMillan.

HSU's NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes said "every rock and stone" will be turned over to retrieve the millions still owed to union members.  He has asked Williamson's bankruptcy trustee to quiz Williamson's family members about their finances under oath.  "If there is any money there, we should be able to expose it, find it and reclaim it" he said.

Williamson 60, bankrupt and divorced, showed no emotion when Judge David Frearson sentenced him to seven and a half years for fraud yesterday.

It's been almost 20 years since Williamson began stealing from the Hospital Workers Union. The wheels of justice grind very slowly. 

His Maroubra home was sold for $1.45 million.