Senate Secrets #11: The police raid on Craig Thomson could have some interesting complications.

Certified copies of some of the classified documents posted in previous blogs, e.g.,  were provided to Craig Thomson way back in May 2012. These documents could pose serious legal and constitutional problems for the New South Wales Police:

  1. Did they find and sieze these “Grave digger” documents?
  2. If they did not find them, it raises the interesting question of what other documents didn’t they find?
  3. Why didn’t they find these documents; are they hidden away in a secret place that the police do not know about, or are they in Chris McArdle’s safe?
  4. Can the police legally seize documents that are the subject of a secret parliamentary confidential classification, or have they legally and constitutionally overstepped the mark?
  5. If the police did seize these documents, what will they do with them for they make it impossible to prosecute Craig Thomson without drawing attention to the refusal of the Federal Police to investigate the 144 federal MP’s who allegedly ripped off $4.64 million?
  6. These documents also draw attention to the fact that the Australian Federal Police refused to investigate fatalities caused by the Howard Government’s alleged enforcement of “Performance Indicator targets, i.e. breaching quotas, and the unreported death toll caused by that activity that is now secretly classified as confidential.
  7. “Centrelink does not collect ‘Post Breaching Terminal Outcome Statistics’ and is therefore unable to assist with your request for this information”? (Correspondence written Centrelink’s Assistant Secretary Neil Skill. 18th May 2010.)
  8. That quote which usually is the lead statement in my  Senate Secrets series of blogs has been given new legal context with the upcoming prosecution of a 71 year old SA man, Giuseppe Corbo, who allegedly failed to properly secure a shotgun which his son Donato allegedly used to fatally shoot Luc Mombers, his parents-in-law Kobus and Annetjie Snyman, as well as wounding 2 police officers back in April 2011.

Mr Corbo Snr was initially charged with Reckless Endangerment for not locking up his gun; however if you check out you will see that this has been upgraded to 3 counts of Manslaughter.

  1. The prosecution of Mr Corbo raises the question of what to do with the politicians and bureaucrats who hid breaching triggered fatalities and thus knowingly allowed the death toll to continue to rise. If that was not Reckless Endangerment, I don’t know what else you could call it.(Peter Costello and John Howard called it “Sound Economic Management” but with the WA Government paying $4.3 Million for an unintentional death in custody, the legal liability for deaths that were (literally) written off as “not relevant” should be far higher. That potential compensation bill is anything but “Sound Economic Management”.)
  2. What would you call the Howard Government’s hiding of the Performance Indicator Target fatalities?
  3. What would you call the Howard Government’s attempt to ramp up the volume by attempting to double the breaching penalty from 13 weeks to 26 weeks?John Howard may be gone from politics but Tony Abbott was the Employment Minister at the very heart of the Performance Indicator Targets fiasco/fraud. He was quite happy to point the finger at Peter Garrett for not reporting the deaths of 4 ceiling insulation installers:
  4. See for more details. However,the flip side is that during his 1998-2003 term of office as the employment Minister, Tony Abbott never once reported to the Federal Parliament any of the breaching triggered fatalities that occurred when he was breaching impoverished welfare recipients at the rate of 3 per minute.
  5. BEFORE Mr Abbott stands for re-election in the 2013 election, he should explain to the nation why he never once reported any of the breaching fatalities but instead supported the doubling the already lethal breaching penalty to 26 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  6. Check the Hansard record of debate on the attempt to by the Howard Government to double the breaching penalty and see if you can find any reference to Tony Abbott informing Parliament of these fatalities.

Why Pick on Tony Abbott?

Because he invites criticism of his own questionable activity by being too quick to point the finger at other politicians, especially those on the other side of the political fence, eg. peter Garrett and Craig Thomson. Check out and then consider the arrogant hypocracy in Tony Abbott’s alleged statements

  1. Speaking to reporters in Adelaide earlier today, (October 24th 2012) Mr Abbott encouraged Mr Thomson to fully co-operate with the police . “I think it’s very important this member of parliament fully co-operates with police,” Mr Abbott said.
  2. Tony Abbott should come clean on the iullegal Performance Indicator Targets and the now secretly classified Post Breaching Terminal Outcomes, ie. breaching fatalities, before he tells other politicians to talk to the police.
  3. First reported by the Auditor-General, the Perksgate involves 144 federal MPs allegedly ripping off a staggering $4.64 million to fund their 2007 election campaigns. (Craig Thomson’s alleged rip-off of $70,000 is small change compared to $4.64 million!
  4. How many of the Perksgate rorters has Tony Abbott asked to talk to the police? The reality is that all 144 of these rorters need to be investigated by the Federal Police if Craig Thomson is to be investigated for alleged fraud. If that happens though, Tony Abbott’s Coalition parliamentary numbers will vaporize and he will NEVER become the Prime Minister.
  5. Coalition MPs involved in Perksgate need to put the hard word on Tony to shut upwhen it comes to Craig Thomson because if he is prosecuted, he could trigger a double dissolution that could destroy the Coalition!!!
  6. The one bit of good news for Craig Thomson is that if the Federal Police still refuse to investigate Quotagate and Perksgate, then he can can use the classified documents to argue a “Manifest Ostesible Bias” defense, i.e. why prosecute me but refuse to prosecute 144 other MPs who may have committed the same alleged crime?

The real issue is not fraud but fatalities; in the final analysis, the prosecution of Giuseppe Corbo in South Australia and the re-trial of Dr Jayant Patel in Queensland, will only add further legal weight to the fact that the 13 week breaching activity was a prolonged Criminal Act of Reckless Endangerment that cost lives that now need to be accounted for in a court of law.

So, Tony Abbott may be quick to point the finger at Peter Garrett and Craig Thomson but in the final analysis, he has  the proverbial 3-fingers-pointing-backwards at himself over Quotagate and the fatalities caused by that activity. he also has the auditor-General’s finger (and mine) pointing at the $4.64 Million Perksgate rip-off. Some-one in the Coalition ranks should be telling “One-trick Tony” the same message that that Chris McCardle is saying. Tony Abbott should “shut his mouth” before the Coalition winds up moving from the Opposite benches of Parliament to sitting before the Bench in a criminal court!

Ron Medlicott (Christian advocate of constitutional and welfare justice .)

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