Craig Thomson is again on the front pages this morning, following Fair Work Australia's decision to lodge 62 civil charges against him, relating to alleged misuse of union funds between 2002 and 2007.
The case will begin December 7 and, it being a civil case, there's no danger of Thomson being tossed out of parliament if found guilty. He will be forced out only if a guilty verdict results in his bankruptcy, or if the government-controlled parliamentary privileges committee finds he misled parliament. Neither is likely to occur before the end of the parliamentary term next year.
For his part, Thomson will argue that the Fair Work Australia report on which the charges are based is a flawed document (a claim supported by an independent KPMG review). The charges may also be dismissed because the two-year statute of limitations for actions under the former Workplace Relations Act has been exceeded.
But there are other potential dangers for the government. Politically, the Thomson affair still stinks, and the government is still relying on his vote. And the police may yet lay criminal charges in the coming months. So on it goes.
Nick Feik Politicoz Editor
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"Does the start of civil action against MP Craig Thomson by Fair Work Australia have any implications for the lifespan of the Gillard government, as opposed to public perceptions of its standards? Not really. MPs only lose their seats with a guilty finding on criminal charges. But there are two potential impacts on the government’s numbers in the House of Representatives flowing from FWA’s actions yesterday."
Abbott Keeps Mum On Boat Policy
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