Federal Politics

Craig Thomson: 'It's a little bit hard to maintain your innocence and apologise at the same time'

Disgraced former federal MP and union boss Craig Thomson has refused to apologise to some of the country's lowest paid workers for misusing more than $200,000 of union funds, including thousands of dollars to pay for sex services.

"It's a little bit hard to maintain your innocence and apologise at the same time," he said on Tuesday.

"It's a little bit hard to maintain your innocence and apologise at the same time": Craig Thomson
"It's a little bit hard to maintain your innocence and apologise at the same time": Craig Thomson Photo: Paul Jeffers

Thomson repeatedly said he stood by his 2012 statement to federal Parliament in which he declared he had "done nothing wrong", and where he blamed other unionists, Fair Work Australia, identity theft and the media – and particularly Fairfax Media – for theft and fraud allegations against him.

He was subsequently convicted of 13 theft offences involving union Health Services Union funds and fined $25,000, ordered to pay $458,000 in compensation and fines to the union and Fair Work Australia, and was found by Royal Commissioner Justice Dyson Heydon to have tried to conceal "his more nefarious expenditures".

A Victorian criminal court in 2014 was told Thomson had not shown a "skerrick" of remorse, and Federal Court Justice Christopher Jessup in December said Thomson showed no contrition or appreciation of the seriousness of the matters against him.

In his final report in December Justice Heydon condemned Thomson and former HSU bosses Michael Williamson and Katherine Jackson for "scandalous" levels of personal expenditure using union funds. Williamson was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to defrauding the union of $5 million, and declared bankruptcy. Ms Jackson was ordered to repay $1.4 million in union funds in August and declared bankruptcy.

On Tuesday Thomson said the Trade Union Royal Commission was "political". An extraordinary bipartisan federal Parliament apology in February 2014 to union members named during his 2012 parliamentary statement was also "political", and an "embarrassment to Parliament", after negative court and royal commission findings against some of the named union members.

He declined an interview, despite criticising Fairfax Media  and its journalists in 2012 for articles "without seeking my side at all".

He declined to comment about his 2012 declaration that parliament was acting as "some sort of junta" by acting against him when he had not been tried in a court.

Newcastle Herald