Prostitution itself is legal in the UK, but other laws around it make it virtually impossible to do lawfully (Reuters)
The Victoria police told the Melbourne Magistrate Court that between 2003 and 2007, Mr Thomson made seven separate payments to three escort service agencies, namely, Keywed also known as Sydney Outcalls ($2,475), Touch of Class ($660) and Boardroom Escorts ($770).
Besides using HSU credit cards, Mr Thomson also allegedly used union money to watch pornographic films in hotels, buy groceries and petrol, and withdrew $3,750 cash through ATMs.
The MP has denied all the charges, maintained his innocence, and insisted that the hotel and escort bookings were used in his name without his knowledge because the HSU-issued credit cards were stolen but later surreptitiously returned to his wallet.
He also protested the media circus generated by his arrest on Thursday and the two strip searches he underwent, which he described as humiliating and designed to intimidate him.
The MP said that the probers, after 18 months investigation, do not have witnesses to back up the allegations used in filing the 154 charges against him.
Magistrate Donna Bakos ordered Mr Thomson not to get in touch with the sex trade workers from the escort services listed as part of his bail conditions, which the MP's lawyer tried to remove but the request was turned down by the magistrate.