Today I have to take my hat off to the investigative journalism of Brad Norington of The Australian.
Those of you who read The Weekend Australian would have undoubtedly seen Norington’s detailed and in-depth report on some of the goings on behind the scenes in the lives of Kathy Jackson and Michael Lawler. The Norington report which has clearly been the result of countless hours of research may serve to confirm in the minds of many the moral standing of key players in the Jacksonville saga Lawler and Jackson but the behaviour of these individuals some have said has seen them sinking to a new low.
To those of you thinking that I would remind you of the $250K that Jackson ended up splurging that came from a cancer research facility. That for me was a real low point.
However despite the cancer research funds these new revelations certainly show both Kathy Jackson and Michael Lawler in an extremely dim light.
David Rofe QC is an 83-year-old man who suffers from dementia, a man with high standing in the legal community who has had a distinguished career. Rofe is also someone with an estimated $30 Million estate.
Unfortunately for Rofe he was unlucky enough to cross paths with Kathy Jackson after he heard an interview with her on radio. Despite his diagnosis of dementia Rofe was keen to help out where he could with Jackson’s legal woes pro bono and offered his services which Jackson accepted in a no-doubt gracious manner.
I’m not going to go into great detail about how that relationship developed and turned into what would appear to be a bizarre love triangle that also involved Michael Lawler, the gritty details can be read in the Norington articles. However the result has been numerous wills that are in dispute, one has Jackson as beneficiary of a $3 Million share of the Rofe estate. The relationship also saw Jackson performing “companionship services” for the 83-year-old Rofe, services that were described in this way by the man previously performing them;
“When a younger attractive man spends time with someone older, there has to be a trade-off. I’m a young man used to the finer things in life.”
Hmmm, the mind boggles…
Last month the PIN numbers on Rofe’s bank account had to be changed after Jackson allegedly went on a spending spree with his card buying computer equipment. This is the same month Jackson’s lawyer tried to tell court that she may still be incapable of a defence due to the mental stress brought back on by a minor fire in a desperate to further delay her case. I guess the computer was not for work then?
In amongst all of this Jackson’s partner, Fair Work Commissions Michael Lawler also became heavily involved in the finances of the dementia sufferer.
Michael Lawler managed to be granted power of attorney over the Rofe estate, and also snagged himself the role of his financial manager.
Lawler purchased a $1.35 Million dollar home in Wombarra just near Jackson’s house with Rofes money for the dementia suffering 83-year-old man to stay in. Lawler insisted it was in Rofe’s best interest despite the houses in the area being extremely poorly suited for a man of Rofe’s age and condition. In fact a cynic might think that this made it easier for Jackson to provide her “companionship services” and also mean that Rofe would end up being far more reliant on Jackson and Lawler just to get by, some might say that could further influence a will.
Maybe they picked up their care tips from Sophie Mirabella.
While all of this was going on apparently Michael Lawler was hard at work for the taxpayer.
One would hope he’s working hard, he does after all earn an approximate $435K a year off the taxpayer.
However it is not just the moral standing and judgement of Michael Lawler in question here, this also leaves a huge question mark over the judgement of the man who appointed him, Tony Abbott.
Michael Lawler was appointed to the position of Vice President of what is now Fair Work Commission by Tony Abbott in 2002 when he was Workplaces Relations Minister. This is an important role that is the equivalent of a High Court judge and it is imperative that the holder of this position is someone of high moral standing given that they in a position to pass judgement on others. Not the type of role for someone in a relationship with someone alleged to be responsible for possibly the largest fraudulent misappropriation of union members funds this country has ever seen, nor is it the type of role that should be gifted to someone who based on these latest allegations has all the makings of an ambulance-chaser rather than someone who would command any respect whatsoever.
Many have wondered aloud if it was nice to have a convenient appointee in Fair Work when Abbott was so desperate to see Craig Thomson charged to help him bring down the Gillard government, an attempt many have claimed was an attempted coup. However evidence of this has never come to light.
Still, just as Tony Abbott saw fit to sing Kathy Jacksons praises in parliament, he also saw fit to place Lawler in a position making him one of the largest beneficiaries of the public purse with taxpayers forking out close to half a million a year for whatever it is he is doing at the moment. Still it would seem that’s not enough for him.
Another thing that this highlights is the disgraceful apology that was made in parliament and moved by Christopher Pyne. The apology for the words of Craig Thomson that according to Pyne smeared the character of people like Kathy Jackson.
Pyne and the Coalition seemed to think that people like Jackson and Lawler are people we should look up to and admire. Jackson is facing Federal Court for the misappropriation of $1.4 Million and is still awaiting the criminal investigation sought by the HSU National Office and recommended by Counsel Assisting the Trade Union Royal Commission. Her partner Lawler who has been linked throughout the HSU investigation and we now find that he allegedly has a penchant for meddling in the finances of dying dementia sufferers.
All class indeed.
However contrary to what Christopher Pyne and Tony Abbott would have us believe, it is not the words of Craig Thomson destroying the reputations of Jackson and Lawler. It is their own actions.
For Tony Abbott to leave Michael Lawler in his current position is an endorsement of his behaviour. The public deserve much better than to be paying the wage of someone who based on these revelations is of questionable character in my opinion.
I just hope maybe Malcolm Turnbull shares my view.