Court reporting isn’t easy as VEXNEWS has discovered after many of our own efforts so we have only admiration for the efforts of Frances Jones who’s been valiantly trying to keep up with the HSU proceedings in the Federal Court. It’s well worth reading through her notes.
Highlights of her report from Friday’s hearing, fused with the latest from intrepid members of the famed VEXNEWS Investigations Unit:
■ As reported elsewhere, suspended HSU boss Kathy Jackson has been playing the insanity card, having her latest lawyer front up with an (undated, unsigned) letter from her psychiatrist – a Dr Foulkes – saying she’s not well. We’ve known Jackson for two decades so our nostalgia for a lost friend would nearly kick in if it wasn’t the for brazen nature of her financial fraud on HSU members and the politically fraudulent nature of her presenting as an anti-corruption fighter while being just as guilty – if not more so – than those she’s denounced;
■ Jackson playing the victim, as above, protesting she is no longer provided with the union resources that she has long grown accustomed to having. She started work at the HSU (its predecessor organisations) in 1992 straight out of Uni and hasn’t ever had a job outside it in the cold, real world where you have to pay for your own phone, your own car and your own overseas travel. The adjustment seems to be still occurring;
■ Jackson’s stooges attended the court to present a scurrillous document (presumably written by her or her partner Fair Work Australia Vice-President Michael Lawler) with various unsupported claims denouncing individuals, including, it seems, the Administrator, a former Federal Court judge.
■ Jackson is desperate to resist the Administration despite once publicly calling for it. The reality of the effects (her forced removal from the HSU gravy-train) dawned on her, rather too late.
■ Perhaps most outrageously of all Jackson has professed not to have had sufficient time to make her arguments – or instruct her latest lawyers – to the court and sought an adjournment on that basis.
Various excuses were offered including her responsibilities as a parent. This is the one subject we are reluctant to go into about Jackson but we will say this: many working mums draw on a variety of resources to bring up their kids, their ex-partners, grandparents, in some cases au pairs, elite private school boarding schools, and other service providers to assist. It’s a juggle for any parent, however they fund it all. Our observation, and recent information confirms, that Jackson was able to draw on a variety of these resources extensively. Normally, none of her domestic affairs would be any of our business and it’s not something we’re that comfortable pursuing but sadly enough she offers up her kids as as a weapon – Iranian mullah style – in the HSU wars and frankly we think it’s the most sickening thing she’s yet done. Decency has gone out the window but her outrageous fibs – implying she’s got the kids at home and is a primary carer – cannot stand. Those intimately familiar with her current personal situation tell VEXNEWS the implication she is the primary carer of her offspring is simply not correct.
As Frances Jones correctly points out, since the court adjourned, Jackson has had plenty of time to prepare and address remarks to the conservative industrial relations thinktank, the HR Nicholls Society, have an oped published in newspapers, attend a nauseatingly soft interview with too boring to be shocking jock Paul Murray where she also raised the subject of her children, but apparently insufficient time to instruct lawyers in her argument that the HSUeast is not so dysfunctional that an Administrator ought be appointed and that she ought remain in high-salaried high office, with Marco Bolano, her favoured goon, who now finds himself unemployed and unemployable.
■ While not completely clear what will happen next week, the end is nigh, it seems. Justice Flick isn’t buying what Jackson’s selling about seeking endless adjournments.
There is also lots of talk around HSU circles of Victoria Police investigating the activities of Kathy Jackson and her associates in the HSU.
Sources in the Melbourne office tell VEXNEWS there’s already a sense of relief among the organisers that it seems Jackson and Bolano won’t be around any more. The Lead Organiser, Fleur Behrens, is apparently keen to step up and play a leadership role, although her close personal association with Jackson – and her lack of experience in actually working in the industry – will make her vulnerable to the same criticisms that have dogged Jackson, that she’s a self-interested, University-graduate political hack more interested in the high-life and fast-living of the Jackson lifestyle than actually doing bread-and-butter union work.
Certainly on Bolano/Jackson/Behrens’ watch, HSU members in Victoria have continued to be some of the worst paid hospital workers in the nation, paid much less than their NSW equivalents. It will be difficult to defend that shameful record, even with access to Jackson-controlled slush funds.