The Craig Thomson saga continues to unfold like a soap opera as an anonymous female sex trade worker claimed that the embattled MP was her client.
World News Australia reports that Nine Network's A Current Affairs interviewed the prostitute who allegedly identified the crossbencher from a photo. Nine Network reportedly paid the sex trade worker $60,000 for the interview.
After the interview with the anonymous prostitute, Nine Network interviewed Mr Thomson in his parliamentary office for 90 minutes to get his response to the prostitute's claim. As expected, he denied the claim of the sex trade worker and criticised the payment of a large sum of money by the media network to get the story.
He also declined the offer by the TV crew for him to watch the DVD of the female escort's interview which is scheduled for airing next week.
"To buy a story from a prostitute is chequebook journalism as its worst.... Who is going to take this seriously when they pay a prostitute money? It has absolutely no credibility," World News Australia quoted the MP.
Mr Thomson accused Nine Network of buying their way into a story. He disclosed that the same network had offered his wife, Zoe, money for an exclusive interview, but the Thomsons rejected the offer.
Mr Thomson was charged in a Fair Work Australia (FWA) report of misusing $500,000 of the Health Services Union (HSU) funds when he was national secretary of the union. He allegedly spent some of the money on services of prostitutes.
While hopes of video evidence to disprove the charge that Mr Thomson went to brothels in Sydney were dashed when a sex trade consultant said on Tuesday that few of these brothels had CCTV cameras or tapes of customers the past six years, the emergence of the sex trade worker sought to prove the charges against the former Labor MP.
The other way that Mr Thomson's name could be cleared of the charges is an ongoing investigation by the privileges committee which started its probe on Wednesday night. However, the committee is tight-lipped about the developments of its investigation.
Current HSU National Secretary Kathy Jackson, the whistleblower, wrote the committee to ask permission to provide evidence of her predecessor's misdeeds. Senior HSU official Marco Bolano, who was identified by Mr Thomson along with Ms Jackson in his Monday Parliament speech, also told the committee that he wants to debunk the MP's conspiracy theory.
While many Australians are following the unfolding drama with interest, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said she is frustrated by all the media attention the issue continues to receive. She said rather than answer questions about Mr Thomson, she would prefer to discuss the Australian economy and Labor's budget initiatives.
"Of course it's frustrating if we then are dragged back to talking about other issues that are not really central to day-to-day delivery of services to the community," The Herald Sun quoted Ms Roxon.
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