Just when is enough actually enough?
It’s a question that I would have hoped Heath Aston of Fairfax might have contemplated before penning the article I am about to delve into with despair.
On Monday we learnt care of Aston and Fairfax that the long-suffering Craig Thomson has not just been sitting at home licking his wounds, he has in fact been attempting to promote Australian business overseas. For Aston at least that is some sort of crime worth reporting on.
Aston’s article was full of little digs such as referring to Thomson as one of the mining industries “rough diamonds” and making a pseudo joke about Thomson not having a company credit card with the firm Xbauxi that he was acting on the behalf of.
To make matters even worse Aston even acknowledges that Thomson has told a court of his “mental health problems and suicidal thoughts”, these issues have clearly been brought on by the intense media intrusion into both his life and that of his family. It is clear from Aston’s article that even when there is nothing of significance to report on unfortunately this is a trend that is likely to continue.
In the offending article Aston seeks to ensure that the facts don’t get in the way of a less than lame yarn.
Aston describes Thomson as;
“The former member for Dobell, who famously blew more than $5000 of union money on prostitutes…”
While that may sound punchy it is more punch drunk than a serious right jab because the facts tell a completely different story.
Craig Thomson was famously found guilty of spending LESS than $5,000 of union funds. This total that his been grossly exaggerated by Aston in his claim that contradicts the courts findings.
It is also crucially important the court found that none of that less than $5K Thomson was found guilty of spending was spent on anything at all connected with prostitution, brothels or pornography.
Thomson being found not guilty of the vast bulk of charges, including all related to brothels and prostitution Aston describes as “Mr Thomson narrowly avoided prison”. By narrow I’m guessing he is referring to the word “not” that came before the word guilty?
If being found not guilty is to be described as narrowly avoiding prison than there are an awful lot of very lucky innocent people out there.
Thomson who was clearly contacted for comment by Aston defended an act that needed no defending by saying he had “two young daughters to feed”.
Since when did someone need to defend themselves for trying to earn a living to feed their family?
It would seem that Aston has appointed himself as some sort of judge of whether someone is fit to work or whether one should collect welfare. Chief Aston, Commissioner of Employability has deemed that Thomson should be a burden on the taxpayer. Quite a judgement given the taxpayer is no doubt still paying off the millions spent on the witch-hunt to convict him.
Journalism has clearly hit a low point and how this story managed to make it past the Fairfax editor’s desk must have some now scratching their heads in bemusement.
No matter what you think of Thomson and clearly there are a variety of views, at the end of the day Thomson has a life to lead and a family to support. He has endured more than most of us can contemplate, has been driven almost to bankruptcy by legal fees and is clearly still the butt of jokes and smear articles.
But more than that, Thomson has a family, two daughters and a wife. Add to that he has a father and a mother who have endured years of what must have felt like emotional hell.
Thomson’s family deserves more respect than this.
As do Fairfax’s readers.