The Royal Commission into the HSU has taken a turn for the surreal in recent days.
Kathy Jackson fell apart on the witness stand of the Commission, while her close friend and constant companion Michael Smith desperately sought to distract from Jackson as details of questionable spending conservatively assessed at over $1.7 Million were once again highlighted.
But the distractions didn’t stop there.
It seems that a tree was set alight at the home of last years failed candidate in the NSW union elections Katrina Hart.
Hart ran in the NSW HSU elections with the backing and support of Kathy Jackson last time when Jackson was largely viewed as a heroic whistleblower, and yet failed dismally despite all of the free media plugs from The Australian courtesy of Ean Higgins and the shock jocks on 2GB and 2UE. This time she is running again as the Jackson faction ticket while Jackson is on the front page of newspapers for seemingly swindling cancer workers out of their entitlements for an alleged $250,000 kickback or bribe, and for questionable spending of over $1.7 Million of member’s money.
It took quarter of a million for Jackson to sell out her cancer worker members, something that Hart has supported Jackson for during the Royal Commission.
The cynical amongst us might say the reported burning tree was a convenient fire, (not unlike certain Victorian floods) as it helps Hart launch her campaign with a newspaper story written by none other than Ean Higgins. Higgins you may remember was harshly criticised by a Magistrate for writing articles on the Thomson trial that were incorrect, prejudicial and highly misleading.
I would have assumed if this was an attempt at intimidation there would be better means of intimidation than burning a tree, it does seem a touch daft. Particularly the part where someone used kerosene and woodchips to start it. I’d would have thought most would be more inclined to go for petrol and a match, but what would I know?
Given we are talking about one of Jacksons allies, I’m almost surprised the burning bush was not replaced with a singing tree.
I wonder if Hart will try and lay the blame for this on me because I published her address as part of my witness statement.
This would be ironic as the only reason I published her address was to prove that she had intentionally misled a Royal Commission by making false claims in her witness statement. These false claims were that I had hacked into the HSU database or had it leaked to me. A colossal claim from someone stupid enough to claim she wanted her home address kept secret before emailing it to thousands of union members from her NSW Government owned work computer at a public hospital.
If this is her intention I would welcome it as it would only serve to further highlight her intended perjury and attempts to pervert the course of justice.
The Higgins article goes on to talk about other HSU matters also which also help us paint a picture of what Katrina Hart is like as both a person and as a hopeful union official.
The article quotes Hart justifying running again as;
“If nobody runs against Hayes, the members will not have democratic choice,” she said. “It goes right back to the Williamson era — he was in for 15 years because no one else had the courage to run against him.”
I would assume from that statement that Hart would also be critical regarding her friend and backer Kathy Jackson who ran the number 3 Branch of the HSU for 14 years before losing the only election she ever faced in a total clean sweep.
Harts main opponent in the upcoming NSW Branch elections is Gerard Hayes who is the current Secretary of the NSW Branch of the HSU.
Higgins once again has shown his talents by showing us his prowess when it comes to research abilities.
Police are investigating the burning tree incident and when it comes to how the Royal Commission feels, Higgins tells us
“The royal commission has expressed “very serious” concern that Ms Hayes faces potentially life-threatening intimidation.”
That seems odd, Higgins seems to be suggesting that the partner of Harts opponent Gerard Hayes is living at Katrina Harts house, or perhaps one of the Hayes family anyway. Either that or he has just forgotten who he is talking about halfway through the article.
I shouldn’t be too hard on Higgins for this though, Hart is often remembered for her forget-ability.
The Higgins article starts off saying that Katrina Hart is prepared to give further evidence to the Royal Commission.
This would sound to me as though she has been withholding evidence. Why would that be?
Hart has already provided a written statement to the Commission and also taken the witness stand to testify. The Royal Commission should not be used as an election campaign tool in any way shape or form. Either the evidence she now wishes to offer came to light in the last few weeks or it is something that Hart chose not to submit previously which would once again bring Hart’s motives and integrity into question.
The article goes on to talk about a deal that was allegedly orchestrated by Gerard Hayes that saw a former union official Carol Glen allegedly paid $15K a month for one year after her resignation.
Some may remember Carol Glen as the former HSU official who was allegedly abused, threatened and intimidated by Fair Work Commission’s Michael Lawler who allegedly did this on his partner Kathy Jackson’s behalf. Hart is of course allied with Jackson.
Hart seems to be implying she has extensive knowledge of this deal despite not being a union official and despite living in a different state and being a member of a different branch of the union, something I find intriguing.
The resignation of Carol Glen left a vacancy which was given to Stuart Miller, or as Higgins puts it;
“That resignation allowed Stuart Miller, said to be a factional ally of Mr Hayes, to be installed in her place.”
Firstly, Stuart Miller is an organiser whose boss is Gerard Hayes. Call it “factional ally” or whatever you like, but the fact is he is an employee, plain and simple. Secondly Miller applied for a position and succeeded. He is not a car stereo or a light fixture, he was not installed any more than the checkout girl on register 3 was installed by Coles, or Ean Higgins was installed by Murdoch.
If Hart really does have relevant information to provide the Royal Commission she should put it forward now, not be making ridiculous threats about “being prepared to” via the media.
It is ironic as Hart is the woman who abused Craig McGregor for going to the media with information as her friend Jackson had done for years and now she finds herself doing it.
Mrs Hart you may have found one reporter who would run your story, but nobody who has anything to do with the union movement are fooled.
I am sure that the Royal Commission will not smile on being used as a stage for your doomed campaign purposes.
The fact is, why would anyone be trying to scare you out of running?
When anybody who wanted to see you fail would be better off just encouraging members to talk with you.