Michael Smith morning editorial 4 August 2014
Union thugs. A very sick culture. And this is the breeding ground for future prime ministers?

The Royal Commission would like to know about the "Adequacy of Protections" for whistleblowers

On 13 June 2014 the Royal Commission published this "Issues Paper".   Here are the first few paragraphs.

Adequacy of protection




On Friday 1 August 2014 I met with a very senior Labor Party Elder Statesman for an hour or so in Sydney.   He told me that Labor "had plenty more" on Kathy Jackson and that it had a plan as to how and when to release that information.

On 30 July 2014, the day Kathy Jackson gave evidence last week The Australian published this story, the first paragraph states:

WHISTLEBLOWER Kathy Jackson was allegedly told about secret American Express cards supplied to now convicted former union leaders Michael Williamson and Craig Thomson more than 12 years before she alerted authorities to their large-scale fraud.

The claim comes from the former owner of a graphic design business, who was pressured to provide credit cards to the two bosses of the Health Services Union. Carron Gilleland, formerly co-owner of the company Communigraphix, was a friend of Ms Jackson for many years


The story was published with a large photograph taking up almost half of the front page as "news" and it carried an "Exclusive" tag.   It is difficult to make out how it is substantially different from this story published 7 weeks earlier in the Fairfax press.

Statement says Jackson knew about graft claims for a decade

June 6, 2014

A Fairfax Media investigation has also obtained a leaked NSW police statement that alleges Ms Jackson knew of serious corruption claims involving Health Services Union boss Michael Williamson and Craig Thomson more than a decade before she reported the pair to police in 2011.

The witness, Sydney businesswoman Carron Gilleland, told detectives she asked for Ms Jackson's help in 1999 after discovering the possible ''illicit'' use of union members' funds by the pair.

Kathy Jackson disputes the substantial claim - that is that Ms Gilleland effectively dobbed herself in to Jackson in 1999.   The Gillelands were making corrupt payments to Michael Williamson and were fortunate to avoid prosecution.   They continued to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from Williamson's HSU for years.   The secret commissions were wholly uncovered by a private investigator employed by Kathy Jackson - his report led to the establishment of Strike Force Carnarvon and the successful (if limited) prosecution of Michael Williamson.

If my Senior Labor Party Elder Statesman friend and his network have "plenty more to come" they should hand it to authorities rather than husband and retain the information for strategic release when it will do their cause the greatest beneficial distraction.   This should not be a media game where parties with an axe to grind can spin out stories to damage reputations.

Kathy Jackson is a whistle-blower.   She was also a participant in the sewer of Labor and union politics.   It is unsurprising that she was soiled by that association.   If we are to encourage whistleblowers we would do well to think about how we treat them.

Which is precisely what the Royal Commission asks us - and I hope itself - to do.