Adam Carey, Geesche Jacobsen May 22, 2012
Craig Thomson makes a statement to the House of Representatives. Photo: Andrew Meares
''Sad and pathetic'' and ''absolute fiction'' was how the two union officials named in MP Craig Thomson's address to Parliament yesterday described his claims that they had conspired to destroy his career.
Health Services Union East deputy general secretary Marco Bolano said Mr Thomson's statement that Mr Bolano had threatened to implicate him in the use of prostitutes was a lie.
The union official conceded he had used ''colourful language'' in an argument in 2005 with Mr Thomson's ''half-brother or step-brother'' over a demarcation dispute, but said he made ''no threats to set him up [and] no mention of hookers''.
''I let it be known to his brother words to the effect that Mr Thomson was dishonourable and had misled us, and there was a bit of colourful language, but it was quite an insignificant interaction, until now obviously,'' Mr Bolano said.
Mr Thomson, a suspended Labor MP speaking under parliamentary privilege, defended his record as former national secretary of the Health Services Union and said the allegations of corruption were a set-up by his union enemies.
''There was … a threat by Marco Bolano in words to the effect that he would seek to ruin any political career that I sought and would set me up with a bunch of hookers. This was a threat that started in Kathy Jackson's office.''
Speaking outside the Sydney Supreme Court yesterday afternoon, Ms Jackson described Mr Thomson's speech as ''totally pathetic and delusional''.
She said she would be seeking a right of reply to the ''scandalous allegations'' made about her, her partner and others at the HSU.
''I have not set up Craig Thomson. Whatever has happened to Craig Thomson has been because of Craig Thomson's doing, not of my doing or anyone else in the HSU,'' she said.
She also rejected suggestions she witnessed a confrontation when Mr Bolano allegedly told Mr Thomson he would set him up with prostitutes. ''There was never any discussion or letter … where people were trying to stitch him up or set him up.''
Ms Jackson denied Mr Thomson's claim that her union salary had doubled within a week of replacing him.
She said it was irrelevant that her partner was the vice-president of Fair Work Australia, which recently completed a four-year investigation into alleged high-level corruption at the HSU.
''He just needs to get his story right and get some help I think.''
For the members of the HSU, Mr Thomson's speech did little to allay their concern about the direction their union has taken.
Callan Boys, an information system training manager for NSW Health, said the MP's statement to parliament yesterday did nothing to restore his faith in the union he was a member of for three years and a delegate of for one.
He has since left the union.
''Either there is a vast conspiracy in the HSU working against him [Thomson], or the funds were misused,'' Mr Boys, 28, said.
''Whatever the truth may be, I don't see either scenario boding well for future HSU membership and I will not be renewing my membership any time soon.'' with Melissa Davey