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July 2014

Reasonable forensic proof that staff at the Peter Mac were advised about the totality of the agreement with the HSU

Here is a redacted version of the minutes of a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute.   The Board gives management the authority to enter into two Deeds (one with staff and one with the HSU).   The minutes also note that management and the HSU had made a presentation to staff complying with a previous Board direction that the agreement with the HSU was conditional on staff being advised about it.

Staff were advised_001

Staff were advised_002

Here is a previous Board Minute noting the direction to Peter Mac management that it advise its own staff about the progress of the agreement with the HSU.

Staff advised board_001 Staff advised board_002

Welfare check on the General Manager of the Fair Work Commission Bernadette O'Neill

Michael Smith <[email protected]>

3:36 PM (0 minutes ago)
to senator.abetz
Dear Senator Abetz,
Last Friday I wrote to the General Manager of the Fair Work Commission Ms Bernadette O'Neill reporting an apparent discrepancy in the Transport Workers Union, NSW Branch's report regarding its membership numbers.
Ms O'Neill has not answered my email or acknowledged receipt of it.   Perhaps you might have someone check to see that everything is OK at the Commission and if so perhaps they could let you or me know what they are doing about this matter.
Michael Smith

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michael Smith <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 11:07 AM
Subject: TWU membership numbers
To: [email protected]

Dear Ms O'Neill,
On 22 July 2014 this article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, it includes a claim that the TWU NSW branch has "amended" its member numbers from more than 38,000 down to 17,800.   The report quoted a "TWU spokesman" who said the union had ''amended'' its affiliation to NSW Labor ''in line with a clarification of party requirements''. 
On 24 March 2014 the secretary of the TWU NSW Branch Mr Wayne Forno made a statutory declaration under the Statutory Declarations Act 1958 that the branch had 43,835 members.   That declaration is filed with the Fair Work Commission here.
Is the Fair Work Commission investigating the matter?
I propose to treat this email to you as an open and public communication and to publish it and any reply I receive.
Kind regards,
Michael Smith

Amortiser's take on the Peter Mac agreement

I've spoken with Amortiser several times and I respect his counsel.   Here's his take on the commercial and real-life implications of the Peter Mac agreement (for context, he's responding to another thread).

You then state, in effect, that the union was complicit in dudding the Peter Mac researchers. This I think is nonsense and the evidence put forward by Stoljar clearly shows this. The whole process was put to the workers concerned and they agreed to the outcome. While they did not receive back pay they did get an enhanced outcome into the future. The alternative was that 38 staff would lose their jobs as there was no money to pay the shortfall in entitlements. In this regard, the union showed a level of understanding that is absent in many such organisations. Other unions show no compunction in sending businesses to the wall resulting in their employees losing their livelihoods. The researchers knew what the ramifications were for their jobs and in full knowledge of what the situation was acceded to the Deed of Settlement. What on earth was wrong with that?

My take on Kathy Jackson's evidence at the Royal Commission yesterday

My usual disclosure here - Kathy Jackson is a close friend, I value my friendship with her and I don't walk away from my friends when they're in trouble.   That said we have our differences and those differences were extensively canvassed during a post-commission lunch/dinner (I thought it wise to spare you the post-prandial posting until this morning as the hangover lifts).

Kathy Jackson worked as a senior executive in one of the grubbiest and most sordid organisations I've ever encountered - Australia's labour movement and its political wing the ALP.   She participated in its atrocious and unconscionable practices - in her case to the best of my knowledge she acted within the law and the rules of her organisation.   But the organisation, the movement itself is inherently an "outlaw" organisation so far as broader community and corporate norms in Australia are concerned.

At some point Kathy's observations about the behaviour of individuals within the movement accumulated to the tipping point that led to her courageous and dangerous decision to report her observations to authorities.  In large part the public revelations about the HSU have led to The Honourable Justice Heydon's appointment as a Royal Commission to enquire into union corruption and governance.   For that we should all be grateful.

My primary difference with Kathy is over what is and what isn't "members' money".   Kathy tells me that at the various union-leader courses she attended it was drummed into her that the Branch Committee of Management is given certain powers to make directions about the union's affairs.   In the case of the Peter Mac money she says the direction of the BCOM to put the cash into a separate account meant that money was no longer members' money.   I can see her point but I don't have to agree with it.   I can also see that hers is an honestly held view in her mind.

Yesterday was awful.   But it's done and we move on.   It was also not without some important new pieces of evidence, including the production of the Peter Mac internal board and other papers that made clear that the $250K paid to the HSU was in no way related to the payment of employees' entitlements.   Further the fact of the payment to the HSU was widely communicated to the staff at the Peter Mac at the time, negating the reports in some compliant media that the "deal" was secret.   We also saw compelling evidence that the transfers of money from the HSU's head bank accounts to the NHDA were made at the direction of the branch's BCOM.

I will leave the last word about yesterday's proceedings to a few readers - for me the following comments were quite important and I thank you for them.

Alaethea said:

Michael won't give up. Jason ( a friend and colleague), Bob'k, Ralph and Ruby will also tell you that.

True friends like Michael never hold the unchangeable past against you. He will help a friend repair their present and future. He knows through personal experience that a true friend who understands your tears and troubles is far more valuable than a hundred friends who only show up for your smiles and joys. Cheers from a MSN blog fan.


FB of Perth said:

The strength of any friendship is standing by through thick and thin that is what real friends do. Not sitting in judgement on your friend who may have made some errors of judgement and if so the law will do what is required but do you discard the person not if you are a "friend".


Robert TG said:

Kathy, as a union official, honestly doesn't see what was wrong with the "windfall" money being spent. The money was a reimbursement of expenditure, but since the union didn't expect it, and the bills were already paid by the union, the money was treated as a slush fund. The board, and Kathy, being a loyal unionist, didn't see anything wrong with this treatment of funds. This says it all about how deep the corruption and beliefs of union official are off the reality of law the rest of us have to live by.


Reggie said:

Unfortunately business commitments today didn't allow for any #TURC watching. But quickly reading the above comments and other social media it sounds to me that it was a less-than-perfect occasion for Kathy Jackson. A couple of observations if I may. Calls for Michael Smith or any other of Kathy Jackson's friends to ditch her are pathetic pious piffle, indicating only that that those seeking for Kathy Jackson's friends to dislocate themselves from her, especially now, know nothing of the mutual obligations of true friendship, in good times and bad. Given that certain media outlets and social media sites were telegraphing much of what Kathy Jackson's enemies "had on her", I am totally gobsmacked at what I read of her apparent ill-preparedness as I was astounded to hear that she had not engaged personal legal counsel in advance of her #TURC appearance particularly with the advanced knowledge of some of what her enemies had been selectively leaking to the media. Notwithstanding Kathy Jackson's admirable and courageous whistleblowing, those brave actions do not of themselves allow for any immunity from #TURC's scrutiny of her own union related behaviour. And so when I read of the "harshness" of #TURC's special counsel's questioning, I am somewhat disappointed in the naivety of some people's expectations and understanding of #TURC's obligations to its federal government commissioning. Nevertheless, I am anxious to read or hear of Michael Smith's observations and understandings of what transpired today as I look forward to reviewing today's #TURC's proceedings. I am hoping that Michael can provide some balanced and informed commentary to counter the joyous crowing of Peter Wicks and Andrew Landeryou on their blogs and in their tweets.


John Howard Fan Club said:

Mike you're a champion and I still have your back. But on this occasion I will have to disagree with a few things and hope you don't take offense. I've been concerned for some time now, and it's not through the propaganda from the Shorten camp it's based on overwhelming evidence. I think you have backed the wrong horse if I may use that term loosely. Mike it's far to damaging to your brand to back people with such an element of uncertainty hanging over them. I fear that Kathy Jackson has some demons that will surely be exposed in the Royal Commission. Unfortunately most unionists are all tarred with same brush. Unions are a self indulgence machine and it's human nature to get greedy we are all guilty of it at some stage in our lives. Unions however take this to extremes and the evidence that Jeremy Stoljar is uncovering in relation to Kathy and her partner or former husband is undeniable. It's so painfully obvious I'm not sure how you could see otherwise. I welcome your thoughts on this and I trust that you wont hold it against me for being concerned for you as our champion of justice. I don't want to see your brand damaged Mike, this will impact greatly on everything.

I'm off to the city for the Royal Commission today

Could I ask anyone who has a streaming video recorder to record today's proceedings please?

The Royal Commission has limited time until its report is due this December.    Likewise our media has limited space in papers, time on television or radio and journalist-manpower to cover the commission.   On the evidence in the media you'd think this was a Royal Commission about Kathy Jackson - where are the media articles about the TWU numbers, Olive Brosnahan's evidence blowing Julia Gillard's mortgage lies out of the water or the evidence of those like the auditor, book-keeper and BCOM members who corroborate Kathy Jackson's story.

I know she reported Thomson and Williamson to police - you see I was there.   The real crooks within the HSU, other unions, Labor and the media have reason to be worried.   Very worried.

Michael Williamson and his cronies took Kathy Jackson's financial records and now they're being selectively leaked

Don't take anyone's word for this.   Use your own faculties.  Your own ears.   Your own ability to decide.   Make your own mind up.

Here is a link to a voice recording of the combined HSU's East executive meeting which took place on 13 February 2012.   It is an exhibit at the Royal Commission.   It happend.

Here is a transcript for dull journalists who need help.   It was made by Merrill Corporation.   It is exhibited at the Royal Commission's website.   If it's inaccurate, perhaps one of the dullards might let us know how.

Here is Marco Bolano talking with me tonight.   He was present at the 13 February 2012 meeting.   His voice is on the tape.   Listen to what he says.