Friday, 25 May 2012

Post#194 Craig Thomson Is Guilty!...But He May Be Innocent (Union Corruption - Why The Coalition Loves It)

I previously stated that Craig Thomson is "guilty as sin". I speculated that his statement to the Parliament was a stalling tactic to allow a rat to be groomed to bolster the ALP's numbers in the House. If there is a rat I don't suppose they'll show themselves until they have to. As to the statement, it was the first time he's actually lied to the House In the course of doing so he has used parliamentary privilege to defame various people and made himself fair game for the privileges committee.

This may be the only thing of which he is ever convicted. When I wrote "guilty as sin" I meant that he had done the deeds of which he is accused. This is a matter of fact; I can't believe his increasingly shambolic denials any more than most other Australians can. The catch here is that his actions may not have been statutorily or tortiously unlawful.

The laws governing the administration of industrial organisations in Federal and State jurisdictions may not have been breached by the unethical use of funds for Thomson's own purposes. Even the famous "escort services" might turn into allowable travel expenses for entertainment. If Thomson's contract of employment essentially says, "Thou mayest squander the union's money as thou pleasest", and this did not contravene the union's rules or the law of the land, he's scot-free.

The laws in this matter have been patchy for a long time. The most important issue here (which the media won't notice as long as there's a sex-scandal in the field of view) is why the law controlling governance of unions now needs to be tightened. It's easy to see why the Labor Party, a beneficiary of union funding, isn't eager to tighten the purse-strings in unions, but what is the Coalition's motive? Malcolm Fraser, who was hardly a syndicalist, was in control of both chambers of the parliament from the final declaration of the 1975 double dissolution poll in early 1976 to June, 1981. John Howard, a renowned union-basher, took control of the Senate from 1 July, 2005 and could ram through all sorts of anti-labour laws until his defeat in November, 2007.

The Federal/State jurisdictional obstacles could have been legislated away as part of the revised laws; so what stopped them? I can only conclude that, if the idea ever occurred to them, some clever strategist would point out that reforming the labour movement would have the effect of making unions shiny clean and impeccably prudential...and thus more attractive to members. The Coalition certainly isn't interested in making unions more attractive to prospective members. Thus, despite the crocodile tears of Tony Abbott for the poor HSU folk, I expect he will show some reluctance and find quibbles to put against whatever the Labor party proposes to reform union governance. If ever elected to government, I expect he will show no enthusiasm for buffing the image of unions either. Having the officials squander the members' funds on self-indulgence is perfectly to his purpose. That is the withering away of the organised labour movement.

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