Cartoon: By Nicholson
The news just keeps getting worse for PM Julia Gillard, who through using her majority to gag discussion, a media inquiry to intimidate the press, and prevaricating on issues that need answering, has managed to have politically, more lives than Dracula’s cat.
The news today is that Fair Work Australia has launched legal action against disgraced MP for Dobell Craig Thomson. Thomson is one of two former members of parties who have left under a cloud and are propping up her minority government and whom Gillard must stick to like diarrhea to a blanket in order to stay in power.
The charges are not likely to force him out of parliament, as they are civil rather than criminal, however if he is forced to repay all of the alleged funds spent on prostitutes election expenses and the high life on his union credit card, it could bankrupt him. This would force him out. ABC’s Lateline program tonight suggested that there might be some relief for him in that FWA has dawdled so long in the investigation that a statute of limitations may apply to some of the 62 charges laid. Police are also investigating him.
The other of these two is peter Slipper, better known as Slippery Pete who was forced to renounce the Speakers job over his bizarre sexual activities which have come to light in text messages and a sexual harassment suit. There are suggestions that he may not be able to stand the stress of his situation and may quit parliament.
Gillard must hold on to the support of both of these members, as having dudded Andrew Wilkie over his poker machine agreement with her, she can no longer rely on his support. She screwed him over when Slippery went to the government side and she thought she no longer needed him.
There are suggestions that more is about to break in her own scandal over the activities of her former boyfriend, Bruce Wilson who allegedly with her assistance, set up bank accounts to rip off the AWU. There are already allegations that she may have witnessed a signature of a person who was not present at the time, not a good look for a solicitor.
The reason for the speculation is that the Fairfax media has now chosen to start reporting on it, months after the news broke and a considerable time after the PM’s ‘brilliant tactical move’ in calling a press conference unexpectedly, answering a prevaricating on a few questions and announcing the issue was settled. The ABC and Fairfax agreed at the time, but for some reason at this belated stage the latter has decided to publish that it happened.
Despite the dogs barking the news from every yard, Fairfax appears not to have noticed it until now. There are suggestions that the reason they have suddenly started publishing stale news is that there is something big about to break and they are playing catch-up in order to be current when it does. On the other hand, it could be that the quality of journalism there is woeful and they have just found it in back copies of the News Ltd papers.