Fair Work Australia has laid charges against independent MP Craig Thomson over claims he misused union funds.
FWA commenced proceedings in the Federal Court today against Mr Thomson, who has been accused of using the Health Services Union credit card for personal purchases, including prostitutes, while he was the union’s national secretary between 2002 and 2007.
FWA general manager Bernadette O’Neill confirmed the statement of claim lodged in the court was based largely on the findings of a three-year investigation that was concluded this year but said it included several additional allegations.
Ms O’Neill said the claim included 37 alleged breaches of general duties by officers of registered organisations and 25 alleged breaches of HSU rules.
Mr Thomson has vowed to fight the charges and says FWA is trying to save face by laying charges against him.
“I have always maintained my innocence in these matters and I continue to do so,” he said in a statement.
“While I am disappointed, I am not surprised that Fair Work Australia has decided to go ahead with its claims.
“Clearly Fair Work Australia has felt pressured into responding this way given the political process which it is part of.
“Naturally I will vigorously defend these claims, which are based on a totally discredited Fair Work Australia report.
“After spending several years and more than $1 million on a report that was then totally discredited by KPMG, this clearly shows that Fair Work Australia is simply trying to save face.”
In August, business advisory group KPMG released a report examining concerns FWA took too long to investigate alleged financial mismanagement by the HSU national office and in its Victoria No.1 branch.