Mr Thomson should have thought about this before he accepted his bail conditions
The Magistrate who heard Mr Thomson's application for bail on Thursday granted the application on certain conditions. Mr Thomson implicitly accepted those conditions by taking bail and by leaving custody. We had a deal Craig.
Craig should have thought about his parliamentary obligations before he took his toothbrush, picked up the soap and went home. And Chris McArdle (the programme shows he was playing the role of defence counsel on Thursday's matinee performance of the serial) could have helped his client with legal advice if he'd caught the train to Wyong instead of legging it to Sky News, the ABC and Channel 7 for hair and make-up.
Craig if you need a note for work I'm sure the Magistrate in Melbourne (if you accept bail conditions there) or the Governor of HM Melbourne Reception Prison will roneo a proforma off the Gestetner.
Thomson argues for deferral under ‘obscure’ act
PHILLIP COOREY AND JAMES MASSOLA
You can read the entire story here at the Australian Financial Review
Craig Thomson is seeking to delay his first court appearance on fraud charges scheduled for next week so he can attend federal Parliament.
As the Coalition vowed to pursue Julia Gillard when Parliament resumes next week and demanded Labor not accept Mr Thomson’s vote, the former Labor MP’s lawyer argued for a delay under an obscure act which renders a sitting MP immune from court if it clashes with Parliament.
As reported by The Australian Financial Review on Friday, the Parliamentary Privileges Act exempts an MP from being arrested or appearing in court five days before or after the House sits. The government, which relies frequently on Mr Thomson’s vote, was advised of the act when Peter Slipper was before the court on sexual harassment charges.
Mr Thomson was arrested on Thursday and charged with 150 counts of fraud, stemming from his pre-political career as a union official. He denies all charges.
Parliament will sit for a fortnight, from Tuesday, and Mr Thomson is scheduled to appear in court in Melbourne on Wednesday. Mr Thomson’s lawyer, Chris McArdle, told the AFR he was not arguing for an indefinite delay, just one until after the sitting fortnight.
FEDERAL LAW OVERRIDES STATE LAW
The act applies only to civil offences and Mr Thomson’s application for immunity is still being argued. Under Victorian law, Mr Thomson must appear in court within seven days of being charged but the constitution says federal law overrides state law when there is a conflict.
As Ms Gillard kept a low profile on Friday, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott led calls by the Coalition for the government not to accept Mr Thomson’s vote in the House.
Mr Abbott, who fled the House last year when Mr Thomson voted with the Coalition, said the government should excuse a member each time Mr Thomson voted, to negate his vote.
“Every day that the government continues to accept his vote is a day when the government continues to be under this dreadful, ethical pall of the Health Services Union,’’ he said.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd attacked the stance as denying Mr Thomson the presumption of innocence.
“If someone is convicted of a criminal offence with a one-year sentence, then of course they are barred from the Parliament but let’s just take a deep breath and allow due process to occur,’’ he said.
ABBOTT CALLS ON LABOR TO NEGATE THOMSON’S VOTE; LABOR CALLS THAT HYPOCRISY
Trade Minister Craig Emerson accused the opposition of hypocrisy, given it had accepted the vote of former Liberal senator Mary-Jo Fisher on multiple occasions when she was facing shoplifting and assault charges.
The arrest of Mr Thomson has exacerbated a messy start to the 2013 election year for Ms Gillard whose judgement will be challenged by the opposition in Parliament because she stood by Mr Thomson for a long time.
There was already internal disquiet over the awkward push to replace Northern Territory senator Trish Crossin with Nova Peris and the decision to call the federal election for September 14 has polarised views within caucus.
While there is no obvious push regarding the leadership, Mr Rudd is active and his supporters agitated.
Senior minister Anthony Albanese supported Ms Gillard’s election decision. “It was the right decision to give the people of Australia certainty.
“The fact is there were only a couple of election options . . . the fact that some journos couldn’t work that out isn’t my problem,” he said.
ALBANESE CALLS FOR FIXED FOUR-YEAR TERMS
Mr Albanese said the introduction of fixed-term elections would remove the circus around when a federal election would be called.
“I support fixed-term, four-year elections . . . that’s the Labor Party’s position.
“I think it gets around this nonsense, which I think frankly the public are heartily bored by, of when will the election be.”
Other Labor MPs also backed the Prime Minister. “People will leave the Thomson matter to the courts to decide. Can you imagine how it would have been different if she [Ms Gillard] called it after the arrest?” one said.
Another suggested the charging of Mr Thomson had vindicated the early election call. “If Thomson had been charged and she hadn’t called it, there just would have been more calls for an early election.”