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Tonight’s episode of 4 Corners had all the anticipation of a heavyweight title fight, and for good reason.

It was viewed as a last ditch attempt by a pair of rich people living in luxury to escape the long arm of the law as it draws closer.

While the main attraction may have been the alleged Queen Of Corruption, Kathy Jackson, tonight was her partner Michael Lawler’s turn to shine.

Michael Lawler, whose involvement readers here have been aware of since 2012, is the current Vice President of Fair Work Commission (formerly FWA). Appointed to his position by Tony Abbott, the organisation he was appointed to then became notorious for the lengthy investigation into the HSU. This was the investigation into Craig Thomson, Lawler’s partner’s predecessor as Secretary of the Union, and also a crucial member of a hung parliament whom if forced out could even have made the man who appointed him Prime Minister.

Hmmm, no conflict of interest there…

As a result Craig Thomson was driven to breaking point emotionally and smeared in the press, and still remains a punch-line for allegations he was eventually found not guilty of.

I have often said these people spend their time in an alternative reality, one that I have referred to as “Jacksonville” and on occasions I have described Lawler’s alternate state as “Lawler Creek”. Now it appears to have dawned on him that he may just be up that creek without a paddle.

The remarkably healthy looking Lawler that we watched tonight has spent 9 months on fully paid sick leave. This is at the taxpayers expense and at a rate of $435,000 pa.

Tonight as the law closes in Lawler has decided to once again take the taxpayer for granted by using the taxpayer funded ABC to plead his case.

What is it with these people and sponging on the taxpayer?

The spin began even before the episode started with a teaser by 4 Corners with a voice-over claiming over a video of Lawler speaking to camera;

“This is the secret video diary of a desperate man”

This statement is in direct conflict with the facts already confirmed by 4 Corners and certainly gave an indication of what may be to come.

Image - Twitter

Image – Twitter

The word “secret” is not one I would use to describe something filmed for public consumption and then given to a current affairs programme to be aired on National TV. But that’s just me and I’m not Michael Lawler…

The arrogance of putting together a five-hour monologue in your own defense is astounding. Save it for the coppers Michael, I’m sure they have subpoenaed a copy by now at any rate, watched it, had a good laugh and filed it away as evidence.

The alternate universe the pair live in was clearly on display tonight, with lots of cringeworthy moments that no doubt had viewers dry retching across the country.

Many had expected a puff piece for this episode, as early reports in some of the media suggested that would be the case. While I’m sure Lawler and Jackson agreed to provide access to 4 Corners to film the piece in the hope it would end up a puff piece that took their side. Instead we ended up with a fly on the wall piece on a delusional, self-centred and arrogant pair of people who think they are smart enough to fool the public through the media. 

In the episode Michael Lawler denies he has ever “knowingly” benefitted from the proceeds of crime, that being fraud from the HSU. However he makes that denial whilst sitting in room in the multi-million dollar house he resides in. A house purchased by his partner Kathy Jackson, in part with funds allegedly fraudulently acquired at the expense of HSU members. A house that the couple attempted to transfer into Lawler’s name to avoid Federal Court forcing its sale to pay back to the members.

Jackson at the time claimed the transfer was to repay Michael for his personal and legal support. The legal support being for when he apparently provided legal support and legal representation for what he only now realises was criminal behavior if we are to believe his “unknowingly” claim.

Lawler thinks the public will understand him taking time off to care for his partner. He is right about that, we would understand if he was doing what the rest of us would do, take holiday leave, long service leave or if necessary unpaid leave. Nobody I know of would think it was in any way moral to expect the taxpayer to foot the bill for a $435K pa salary to look after ones partner. It’s not as if his partner cured cancer or anything. If fact she allegedly defrauded cancer researchers of money owed to them while misappropriating the lowest paid union members funds of over a million dollars.

I hope Lawler will forgive us mere mortals if we are a little less than understanding.

It has also been brought to our attention that Lawler likes to record conversations without the consent of the other person. This from a member of the judiciary is something that many will find highly alarming given its highly questionable legality.

Realistically Ian Ross does not set the rules regarding leave, these would be based on Lawler’s original contract which would have been negotiated with the Howard government when he was appointed. The Howard government was also responsible for the appointment of his brother John Lawler as CEO of the Australian Crime Commission.

Whether or not he was entitled to the leave, it shows a lack of judgement and common sense at the very least to take sick leave to help your partner defend herself from criminal allegations.

As we know Michael Lawler is the subject of an independent inquiry which was announced recently by Employment Minister Michaela Cash. Today the terms of reference for that investigation were released.

Cash terms

I think Lawler may have a tough time ahead based on those terms.

Lawler is hoping that we will sympathise with him due to his claimed mental issues. He expects this while we listen to him berating and abusing an elderly dementia sufferer whose money he has been spending. I think he has high hopes.

Those who were expecting revelations would be disappointed, those wanting a peek into another sense of reality would have been pleased.

The big news of the night was Lawler using the term cunt-struck, and the ABC letting it run.

Alternate universe indeed.

There will be more to come on this from me another day after I have dissected the details.

In the meantime though congrats to Caro Meldrum-Hanna and the 4 Corners team on a riveting piece.

Car crash television at its finest.



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55 thoughts on “Backs To The Wall – Jackson and Lawler Back Themselves Into 4 Corners

  1. On the 4 Corners item on Jackson/Lawler
    For its reach and long-term consequences, more concerning than this murky pair has been the conduct of the ABC over this whole affair. They could hardly run any of their many prejudicial and simplistic items on Craig Thomson without prefacing his name with the adjective ‘disgraced’, like the corporate hacks of the commercial media, begging every question about how the issue arose. Now when after all these years they actually get somewhere near to how it arose, the ABC feign sensational revelation over the allegations against Jackson and Lawler, as if no one could have known that until recently. As silent affirmation on that lie, not a word of reference is offered for the years of investigation that actually have brought J&L to this predicament where they will face the law, very belatedly; and are looking desperately for good publicity. The ABC were obvious choices as they provided good publicity to Jackson’s campaign in the past – now very much discredited.
    The 4Cs thing has a pseudo-insiders’ affectation that suggests they do not even know what investigative journalism is anymore; and would prefer not to know. It plays at scoop when it has no more to deliver than what the two subjects tell or reveal. It was not investigative journalism. It was voyeurism. The use of an apparently devious pair, shows its own deviousness.
    As it is the ABC, this is worse than the deplorable issues ostensibly covered. All that the ABC’s technique of cautious impressionism suggests is that the powers-that-be have now ditched this pair, having done their damage; and the ABC is the flunky to announce the discreet closing of a gross campaign of political thuggery through the Media.
    The 4Cs item is as if ‘we have dealt with that’. Well, they have dealt with it like toadies of corporate power. It is as if the damage done by the years of one-sided treatment of this issue can be simply shrugged off as if already forgotten. This sort of wilful and feckless amnesia is totalism pretending openness.
    A real investigation asks questions on substantive issues, not loose rhetorical questions, such as on the psychology of the interviewees.
    The most work was done in the editing stage, in the decision about what went to air. You could see the production team thinking their way through the process of finding an angle for broadcast – as very evidently it was not going to be any analysis of the case.
    Once in the history of 4Cs, this sort of material would have carried a production note about needing more substance. That the two subjects, particularly L., revealed themselves uncanny in their attitudes to accountability should not divert from the impressionism that passes for journalism here.
    We were left with the impression that one of this wretched pair might be on the verge of ditching his beloved, to try to cover for himself. But what cover was at work at the ABC by the vague purpose of the presentation?

  2. You are right, Dave is a colleague and a friend.

    However I don’t read everything on his site, and he doesn’t read everything on mine, we are both very busy people.

    Although I’m actually interested in the piece in question I’m not going to read it out of principle.

    The way to get a positive response from me will never be to attack my friends and colleagues, and the way to gain my respect will never be to try and brand me a liar.

  3. randallstellar I have taken this up with Donovan who seems to think he is doing a public service by allowing tales that defame dead people who cannot speak back. They have extended family members who must read these hurtful claims.

    As for Peter Wicks- you claim you have not read these articles yet you are promoting them on twitter. Why? Do you promote stories you have not read? If so why? How can you know if there is truth or not in the tales or are you simply promoting the website?

    For a writer who has rightly attacked the mass media over their awful treatment of Craig Thompson, I find your continued claims that you haven’t read these accusations against dead Labor Party members bizarre.

  4. Calling it bizarre doesn’t make it lack in truth.

    I don’t read everything on IA, I am a contributor not an editor, I find it bizarre that you would expect me to.

    Equally bizarre is that you seem to think I must form some judgement and take so escort of stance regarding something someone else has written.

    I often tweet links without reading the articles based on opinions of those I trust

    In the meantime I’ll decide what I tweet and what I read and when, if I ever need a roster drawn up to live my life by complete with a list of chores you and your mate, who are only promoting this article with your continued ranting, will be the first to know.

    Until then, fuck off

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