Following the start of court proceedings against MP Craig Thomson over charges filed by Fair Work Australia (FWA) that he misused Health Services Union (HSU) funds, including use of the HSU credit cards to pay for prostitutes' services, the now independent legislator is no longer content on denying the accusation.
Mr Thomson is threatening to file lawsuits against people who continue to claim that he used HSU funds for services allegedly rendered by sex trade workers.
"Our client has never used other people's money or his own money to pay people for sex with him. Anyone who says the opposite will be sued. I'd make a very strong reminder to any politicians (thinking of) saying that," The Daily Telegraph quoted former FWA Commissioner Chris McArdie who now is the legal counselor of the embattled MP.
"If they wish to abuse parliamentary privileged that a matter for the privileges committee . . . . Outside parliament they should watch their mouths," Mr McArdie added.
In 2011, Mr Thomson settled with Fairfax Media which he sued over the same allegations. The Labor Party, which was the MP's former political affiliation, spent $300,000 for Mr Thomson's legal fees then, of which two-thirds were reportedly spent on the Fairfax settlement.
Among the evidence that the FWA presented to the Federal Court to support its claim that Mr Thomson spent HSU money on sex workers were detailed and extensive lists of dates and times he allegedly called escort services which he paid using the HSU credit cards.
FWA said that some of the MP's unaccounted for cash withdrawals totaling $102,000 could possibly have been used to pay for the services of prostitutes.
However, FWA admits that over half of the allegations against Mr Thomson could be thrown out because their statute of limitations has lapsed. The MP allegedly violated 37 times provisions of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 which were rollover from the former Workplace Relation Act. The Federal Court has previously found a two-year statute of limitation on the provisions in a separate case between the Fair Work Ombudsman and Toyota Material Handling.
However, even if the 37 breaches would be thrown out due to exceeded statute of limitations, Mr Thomson still needs to face 25 alleged violations of HSU rules and face the prospect of paying up to $450,000 in fines, besides jail terms.
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