Once upon a time, not that long ago in fact, the name Kathy Jackson could not be said enough times for the Coalition, the name in Coalition ranks was synonymous with everything they claimed to stand for.
This of course was back in the days when the HSU saga was working in the Liberal Party’s favour and they felt comfortable hitching the Coalitions credibility to Kathy Jackson’s integrity, ignoring the allegations against her.
Back then Eric Abetz couldn’t find enough glowing words to say about her, in fact every time he spoke of her it looked like his head was going to explode with pride, he spoke of her like she was the daughter he’d just adopted. George Brandis too, as Attorney General and as Shadow AG has spoken about Jackson with admiration and a glint in his eye many a time.
Christopher Pyne has piled the praise on her, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott has referred to her as heroic and brave amongst other glowing accolades on many occasions when opposition leader.
Jackson was lauded by the shock-jocks, hailed a hero by the right-wing commentators and was even the guest of honour at a HR Nicholls Society event which she happily attended as the guest of the architects of WorkChoices, something the unions had fought long and hard against.
In the eyes of the Coalition, Jackson could do no wrong.
Not only that, Jackson was engaged to be married into a family considered Liberal Party royalty, the Lawlers. Michael her fiancée as the Tony Abbott appointed Vice President of Fair Work Australia, his brother John Lawler was then CEO of the Australian Crime Commission and their father Sir Peter Lawler a senior staffer to PM Robert Menzies and Australia’s first Ambassador to the Holy See (The Vatican), a family with strong ties to both Opus Dei and the Liberal Party.
How things have changed…
The Coalition have seemingly turned on Kathy quicker than you can say “James Ashby”.
In question time on the 28th October Christopher Pyne acting on Eric Abetz’s behalf as the Minister for Employment was throwing allegations at Anthony Albanese regarding the CMFEU when Labor MP Rob Mitchell made a comment about the Liberals allegiance to Kathy Jackson, at which point the Speaker Bronwyn Bishop interjected.
The SPEAKER: Whoever made that comment will withdraw.
Mr Albanese: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: in what way is the name ‘Kathy Jackson’ unparliamentary?
The SPEAKER: Because it was reflecting on another member. I said: whoever made the comment will withdraw the comment.
It seems now that the name Kathy Jackson is something the Coalition now find offensive when used in parliament, quite a turnaround.
I spoke to Rob Mitchell about the comment that had so greatly offended and its context.
Christopher Pyne had been trying to portray Albanese and the Labor Party as directly linked to the CFMEU, so Rob retorted with
“Thanks Kathy Jackson”
Apparently the Coalition that could not align themselves with her enough now think it is a huge insult to be linked with her and Speaker Bronwyn Bishop was having none of it.
In Victoria as part of their campaign the Liberal Party have launched a website featuring Tony Abbott’s heroic woman.
The website is titled “Which Dodgy Character Will Turn Up At Labor’s Launch” and it features a number of people that the Victorian Liberal Party view as dodgy. One of those on the Coalitions “Dodgy” list is Kathy Jackson, whom the Victorian Liberal party describe like this:
“Health Services Union Secretary, Kathy Jackson, is alleged to have grossly misused union credit cards, cash cheques and general accounts and made unauthorised payments of over $1 million which workers are now trying to recover. These funds belonged to low paid, hardworking health workers.
Since the main stream media have started to see Jackson’s true colours the Liberal Party have tried to distance themselves from her, first by ignoring anything to do with her, and now mentioning her name is “unparliamentary” and Liberals in Victoria label her “dodgy” and seem to accuse her of being a thief.
Meanwhile despite it being suddenly open season on Jackson, the man supporting and advising her and somone who is also heavily involved, Michael Lawler, has so far been given a free pass while the taxpayer pays his hefty wages.
Today Tony Abbott announced a joint police task force between Victorian and Federal police that has been hailed as a union busting taskforce targeting alleged union corruption and standover tactics.
Those with high hopes that this will also be targeting Kathy Jackson and her faction will be disappointed to know that this taskforce has been set up to deliberately avoid Jackson and the HSU and to target the CFMEU and the building industry.
Tony Abbott last year as most would be aware has reintroduced Knighthoods to Australia.
One of the last people to receive a knighthood before they were abolished was Sir Peter Lawler, who is said to be a close friend of Tony Abbott’s father. I wonder if this had any bearing on Abbott’s decision.
Sir Peter is also Patron of the Australian Family Association, a right-wing Christian lobby group, and in 1986 was given the papal honour of Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Pius IX, a papal knighthood.
Currently Sir Peter Lawler’s future daughter in law Kathy is in a psychiatric hospital and when she emerges will face Federal Court for $1.4 Million in member’s funds she is alleged to have misappropriated, and will then likely face criminal charges.
I wonder if she’ll refer to Sir Peter and Lady Mary as Mum and Dad.