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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Royal Commission investigates union whistleblower Kathy Jackson & tobacco giant

Royal Commission investigates union whistleblower Kathy Jackson & tobacco giant

Royal Commission investigates union whistleblower Kathy Jackson & tobacco giant






photo www.news.com.au


The federal government’s Royal Commission on union slush
funds is investigating whether tobacco giant, Philip Morris, helped
bankroll the disgraced Health Services Union campaign backed by union
whistleblower, Kathy Jackson. Peter Wicks from Wixxyleaks reports.




MANY HAVE said it is about time for an update from the land of Jacksonville, and given there is a bit going on and some new information to share perhaps they are right.



As I’m sure you would all know there is a witch-hunt/Royal Commission in progress at the moment that will be looking into the Health Services Union (HSU) as well as other unions and looking at allegations of slush funds and corrupt practices.



One result of this Royal Commission is that it has supplied the likes of Kathy Jackson and Marco Bolano with a handy excuse for not commenting on anything.



In the past they have had no issues with providing comment during
police investigations or during court hearings, but now the I can’t
comment “because of matters before the Royal Commission” excuse is
getting a great workout.




That’s because the microscope is suddenly on them.



The first of the slush funds,
the “National Health Development Account” (NHDA), under Kathy Jackson’s
control was exposed by Fairfax on the 29th April and was seemingly used
to fund election campaigns for politicians whom she supported. This
was,of course, done without the knowledge of the membership she claimed
to represent.




However, more has been discovered.



It has emerged that the Royal Commission is looking into the funding of HSU election campaigns by Philip Morris, the U.S. tobacco giant.







Philip Morris wares - photo www.theguardian.com.



These campaigns involve Kathy Jackson, Marco Bolano, and their principle backer, Federal Labor Senator David Feeney.



For what it’s worth Marco Bolano has stated that he is now aware that
Philip Morris contributed to his 2009 election campaign, although he
claims not to have known this at the time. This, despite the donations
allegedly being in the tens of thousands of dollars.




Firstly, what the hell is big tobacco doing funding a campaign in a Health Services Union?



Senator David Feeney. Photo ABC News
David
Feeney also acknowledged that he obtained donations from Philip Morris
up until 2004 when Labor banned donations from manufacturers of tobacco
products, but also admitted that he maintains contact with Philip
Morris.




Now we have a 2009 HSU election campaign that not only Feeney backed
but was heavily backed financially by Feeney’s contacts and former
financial supporters. Hmmm.




Kinda fishy smelling and miraculously convenient.



If, after investigation, it turns out that Feeney sought any of these
donations or if any of the Philip Morris money found its way via the
HSU to benefit Feeney’s campaign, I assume the Labor Party will be
forced to take action against David Feeney. As a party, the ALP would
have to show they are serious about their own rules.




In order to do that, I would expect to see Feeney expelled from the
Labor Party and someone else be given his Senate seat. Anything less
would be an insult to members and a sign that the party doesn’t respect
its own rules.






Just what the hell is a Labor Senator doing funding campaigns for these people anyway?



Let's not forget that these people are backed by virtually every
right-wing shock jock and praised by right-wing columnists. Kathy
Jackson also speaks at Liberal Party think tank events and is extolled
in parliament by Tony Abbott.




This week has also seen details of yet another slush fund emerge.



A fund tied to the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association was found to have allegedly pumped tens of thousands of dollars into the 2009 and 2012 campaigns for Marco Bolano.



I guess this shows that with enough campaign funds, anyone is capable
of winning. Although by 2012 the membership had clearly wised up with
Bolano’s campaign failing abysmally just as the other Jackson/Feeney
campaigns did.




Fairfax also revealed that back in 2009, the Jackson/Bolano ticket
also received $30,000 from another slush fund called Industry 2020. This
fund was linked to the Australian Workers Union.




It would seem that Kathy Jackson, David Feeney, and Marco Bolano have
spent more time organising slush funds to benefit themselves than they
have looking after the people they supposedly represent.




This made me look back over some of the bank account statements on my resource page and
check some of the transactions I had categorised as miscellaneous.
Below is a link to the breakdown of a 13-month series of statements with
some queries in the miscellaneous section highlighted.




(Image by John Graham / johngraham.alphalink.com.au)
HSU No. 3 Branch Cheque Account Breakdown



The $8,000 payment to Beth Jenson for recommending enormous pay rises to Jackson and her factional allies is alarming, but not surprising.



The $1,327 payment to Michael Lawler once again shows his involvement
and also raises questions of why a union is making payments to the
vice-president of the industrial relations umpire and watchdog,
Australia’s Fair Work Commission.




Also shown is a mystery payment of over $50,000 to creditors that
could be anyone, as well as $42,000 being paid into the aforementioned
NHDA slush fund exposed by Fairfax last month.




However what is scary is the $153,485.98 that is listed as ‘Aust Health Payment EP000887’.



This $153K got me wondering if it was another slush fund, so I contacted the union to find out.



The way it was described to be is that it is a consolidated entry for
numerous payments for all sorts of legitimate accounts. However, the
bank is apparently unable to give a breakdown of what went where.




This leaves a huge question mark over the account as the money could have literally gone anywhere and nobody would know.



It would seem the Financial controller at the time, Jane Holt, has some serious questions to answer.



Also emerging have been further examples of Jackson's extravagant spending on the members’ dime.



Below is a link to a spread-sheet with details of the spending and
how it was paid. Also below are links to PDFs of the receipts.




Some of the receipts are quite faded and although readable to the
naked eye, proved difficult for the scanner. So I've put their totals on
the spreadsheet only.




Further receipts Kathy Jackson



Ivy Receipt



Vintage Cellars







Moët & Chandon



There seems to be a lot of members’ money being spent on alcohol. Not
just beer for a branch BBQ either. We are talking Moët & Chandon,
Veuve Clicquot, gin and Midori. One of these benders cost the members a
cool $973.79.




Jackson is clearly not a believer in the “free lunch” either. Instead, we have a $446.30 lunch.



Also coming to light are the details of a stay at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on the members’ dime, the receipt is linked below.



Bellagio



I suppose she at least she managed to get a discount rate via the Internet.



Then there is the flight itinerary for 24th September 2011 below.



Lawler And Jackson Flight



Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need to travel for work, and I don’t think that $136.70 is an exorbitant spend.



However, I would like to think that Michael Lawler as the
vice-president of FWC, with a tax-payer funded salary of around$400K
p.a., could afford his own plane ticket. I hope he can provide some
proof that he repaid the money.




Mt Buller - the perfect get-away
Last,
but not least, we have a Jackson family holiday at Mount Buller which
the HSU Branch No. 3 have confirmed was paid for by the union
membership.




In Jacksonville, it seems that just when you think there can be no
more to find, evidence emerges that shows that we are still probably
just scratching the surface.




The Jackson Family Ski Trip



Let’s hope that this Royal Commission flushes more evidence out of
those who may be hiding it and let’s also hope that the Victorian Police
break with tradition and actually do a better than half-arsed job of
investigating Kathy Jackson and her allies instead of leaving it to me
and the Melbourne office of Fairfax.




It would make a nice change.





 


Find out more about the Jacksonville saga here. You can follow Peter Wicks on Twitter @madwixxy.



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