Investigative journalist Peter Wicks is our Guest Author today, with his take on last night’s extraordinary edition of Four Corners. Thank you so much, Peter, for permission to republish – and thanks for your tireless efforts over the past four years working on this intriguing and appalling story.
Tonight’s episode of 4 Corners had all the anticipation of a heavyweight title fight, and for good reason.
It was viewed as a last ditch attempt by a pair of rich people living in luxury to escape the long arm of the law as it draws closer.
While the main attraction may have been the alleged Queen Of Corruption, Kathy Jackson, tonight was her partner Michael Lawler’s turn to shine.
Michael Lawler, whose involvement readers here have been aware of since 2012, is the current Vice President of Fair Work Commission (formerly FWA). Appointed to his position by Tony Abbott, the organisation he was appointed to then became notorious for the lengthy investigation into the HSU. This was the investigation into Craig Thomson, Lawler’s partner’s predecessor as Secretary of the Union, and also a crucial member of a hung parliament whom if forced out could even have made the man who appointed him Prime Minister.
Hmmm, no conflict of interest there…
As a result Craig Thomson was driven to breaking point emotionally and smeared in the press, and still remains a punch-line for allegations he was eventually found not guilty of.
I have often said these people spend their time in an alternative reality, one that I have referred to as “Jacksonville” and on occasions I have described Lawler’s alternate state as “Lawler Creek”. Now it appears to have dawned on him that he may just be up that creek without a paddle.
The remarkably healthy looking Lawler that we watched tonight has spent 9 months on fully paid sick leave. This is at the taxpayers expense and at a rate of $435,000 pa.
Tonight as the law closes in Lawler has decided to once again take the taxpayer for granted by using the taxpayer funded ABC to plead his case.
What is it with these people and sponging on the taxpayer?
The spin began even before the episode started with a teaser by 4 Corners with a voice-over claiming over a video of Lawler speaking to camera;
“This is the secret video diary of a desperate man”
This statement is in direct conflict with the facts already confirmed by 4 Corners and certainly gave an indication of what may be to come.
The word “secret” is not one I would use to describe something filmed for public consumption and then given to a current affairs programme to be aired on National TV. But that’s just me and I’m not Michael Lawler…
The arrogance of putting together a five-hour monologue in your own defense is astounding. Save it for the coppers Michael, I’m sure they have subpoenaed a copy by now at any rate, watched it, had a good laugh and filed it away as evidence.
The alternate universe the pair live in was clearly on display tonight, with lots of cringeworthy moments that no doubt had viewers dry retching across the country.
Many had expected a puff piece for this episode, as early reports in some of the media suggested that would be the case. While I’m sure Lawler and Jackson agreed to provide access to 4 Corners to film the piece in the hope it would end up a puff piece that took their side. Instead we ended up with a fly on the wall piece on a delusional, self-centred and arrogant pair of people who think they are smart enough to fool the public through the media.
In the episode Michael Lawler denies he has ever “knowingly” benefitted from the proceeds of crime, that being fraud from the HSU. However he makes that denial whilst sitting in room in the multi-million dollar house he resides in. A house purchased by his partner Kathy Jackson, in part with funds allegedly fraudulently acquired at the expense of HSU members. A house that the couple attempted to transfer into Lawler’s name to avoid Federal Court forcing its sale to pay back to the members.
Jackson at the time claimed the transfer was to repay Michael for his personal and legal support. The legal support being for when he apparently provided legal support and legal representation for what he only now realises was criminal behavior if we are to believe his “unknowingly” claim.
Lawler thinks the public will understand him taking time off to care for his partner. He is right about that, we would understand if he was doing what the rest of us would do, take holiday leave, long service leave or if necessary unpaid leave. Nobody I know of would think it was in any way moral to expect the taxpayer to foot the bill for a $435K pa salary to look after ones partner. It’s not as if his partner cured cancer or anything. If fact she allegedly defrauded cancer researchers of money owed to them while misappropriating the lowest paid union members funds of over a million dollars.
I hope Lawler will forgive us mere mortals if we are a little less than understanding.
It has also been brought to our attention that Lawler likes to record conversations without the consent of the other person. This from a member of the judiciary is something that many will find highly alarming given its highly questionable legality.
Realistically Ian Ross does not set the rules regarding leave, these would be based on Lawler’s original contract which would have been negotiated with the Howard government when he was appointed. The Howard government was also responsible for the appointment of his brother John Lawler as CEO of the Australian Crime Commission.
Whether or not he was entitled to the leave, it shows a lack of judgement and common sense at the very least to take sick leave to help your partner defend herself from criminal allegations.
As we know Michael Lawler is the subject of an independent inquiry which was announced recently by Employment Minister Michaela Cash. Today the terms of reference for that investigation were released.
I think Lawler may have a tough time ahead based on those terms.
Lawler is hoping that we will sympathise with him due to his claimed mental issues. He expects this while we listen to him berating and abusing an elderly dementia sufferer whose money he has been spending. I think he has high hopes.
Those who were expecting revelations would be disappointed, those wanting a peek into another sense of reality would have been pleased.
The big news of the night was Lawler using the term cunt-struck, and the ABC letting it run.
Alternate universe indeed.
There will be more to come on this from me another day after I have dissected the details.
In the meantime though congrats to Caro Meldrum-Hanna and the 4 Corners team on a riveting piece.
Car crash television at its finest.
408 thoughts on “Backs to the Wall”
Goes with the pic:
“All it will cost taxpayers is a $47.5 million tax break to Twentieth Century Fox and Disney’s Marvel Studios in the form of a 30 per cent location tax offset, up from the usual 16.5 per cent rate.”
Just remember, Kenny was Turnbull’s chief of staff while Turnbull was LOTO. He quit when Turnbull got the boot. Somehow Kenny was permitted to visit Nauru when all other journalists, the UN and politicians have all been banned. It is blatantly obvious he was sent there to do the government’s dirty work and his entry arranged by order of the government.
Once again Turnbull’s judgement comes into question with the people he favours and has around him. Kenny is scum.
David Pope nails it re Truffles and the plebiscite crap.
Villawood. Notes from an immigration detention centre, by Safdar Ahmed.
View at Medium.com
Message from a refugee at Nauru detention centre
View at Medium.com
Erica looks quite cute in a sunbunnit.
Let’s see if this link works –
View at Medium.com
Goodnight Leone, and any other night felines. And owls.
Good Night Fiona
The economic legacy of Abbott and Hockey. Hardly a “beautiful set of numbers”.
Good morning BK:
I have a sinking feeling Vlad’ is on the money here..
Richard Di Natale wants Greens to become ministers in a possible future coalition government with Labor. It’s the only way a Green would ever be a minister.
Greens open to coalition with Labor
“A spokesman for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said if Senator Di Natale wanted to serve in a Labor government, he should join the ALP.”
Di Natale needs a reality check.
Just what the Turnbull government needs –
Tony Abbott set to pull Liberal strings behind the scenes
So that’s what Tony has been doing in the UK – delivering the Margaret Thatcher Lecture.
Abbott, the ‘iconic conservative leader’. Yeah, sure. I think that’s a typo. It should have read ‘moronic’.
Used to look favourably upon the Greens but these days my response would be to tell Di Natale to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.
I’m disappointed that picture didn’t work yesterday. It was of an owl sitting in the palm of a hand about 5cm tall/short, I immediately thought of you and would have been a good one to put up when you were grabbing a few extra zzzzzzzzz’s.
Have you been reading my mind again? 🙂
Bye Bye Joe Hockey Goodbye. Great stuff from Rocco Fazzari.
“…delivering the Margaret Thatcher Lecture. ”
The walking dead speaking to the laying dead!
Someone ought to remind Di Natale of how much greens supporters loved it what Bob Brown said “We don’t want to keep the bastards honest, we want to replace the bastards,” and check to see whether he still goes along with that.
Di Natale is clearly thinking of an ALP government delivering Greens policies. The Greens would have to drop their combination idealism/intransigence model if they want to start thinking about coalitions.
Fair Work boss ‘profoundly disappointed’ Michael Lawler secretly recorded him
Running for cover, I think.
‘Becoming erratic’ translates as ‘losing his marbles’.
Eric Abetz should quit with whatever dignity he’s got left after negro slur: Jacqui Lambie
Last week we had AllBull saying but for the Grace of God he too might have been a cleaner. Now we have Simon Birmingham thanking his lucky stars none of his children have disabilities.
These wretches make me sick. Not an iota of empathy or understanding among the lot of them, just ‘Thank God I’m not like you’ followed up by more funding cuts, or more slashing at wages. Bastards!
Now Birmingham is planning to cut funding for students with disabilities.
Funds in doubt for disabled students
Shorten won’t have to front unions inquiry
Y’know…I’ve had this theory…
Tony Turnbull still outsourcing to the IPA. Troglodytes still in charge.
Oh Good Grief!
‘Offers over $40,000’: Tony Abbott joins the international speakers circuit
Tons will need a bit more than three word slogans for his new career. Will he be taking Peta and his earworm with him on engagements – if there are any?
Came back from the dentist with my molar still intact. It will eventually have to be extracted. Slight root infection. Had it before then it went away. I really appreciate modern dentist equipment.
How much is he paying people to listen to him?
He is off (making money, I suppose) telling people he stopped the boats when he should be in Warringah working for the people who elected him.
It’d be cheaper for them to just show clips of his old press conferences. It’ll be the same script.
A hologram of Tones with a soundtrack that says’ Stopped the ..arrrgghh.. bots….axed the ….arrrrghhh …. ….tax… the death cult is coming for….err…..us all.’ would do just as well as the real thing.
Thank goodness for the wonders of modern dentistry.That equipment looks like something from a medieval torture chamber.
Judith Ireland asks Why do we pretend that everyone’s a ‘top bloke’ when they leave Parliament?
Sour grapes alert!
Ben Schneiders AT LAST admits that there was more positive evidence about Shorten than there was negative, but Ben has a go at Bill anyway:
Yes, 900 of them, and he answered them all. He even got warned for answering them too fulsomely.
He made admissions knowing that there is not a snowflake’s chance in hell of him ever being prosecuted for them, or even disciplined internally, as he no longer works for Theiss.
They would be the witnesses whose “different recollections” were so different that one of them told Stoljar he didn’t have a clue what particular fairy story Jeremy was talking about.
These other witnesses had little to lose. Presumably they were not at all concerned by being charged with lying to a Royal Commission, so they just rattled off some platitudes and shonky denials and scarpered.
Bloody leftists! Never trust a building exec… oh, wait… unless he’s the one Ben Schneiders found “disarmingly frank”, to the exclusion of the other numpties that didn’t implicate Shorten.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/shortens-strength-may-be-his-undoing-20151022-gkg89g.html#ixzz3pMR3tmCD
Hell hath no fury than a journo seeing his beat-up fall apart. All that work. All those “questions that must be answered”. And Dyson doesn’t even want to question Bill again. Clearly the Royal Commissioner doesn’t think Bill has any more “questions that must be answered”.
Naturally, Ben Schneiders knows better, but for the moment he’ll have to content himself with spitting his dummy and writing a bitchy piece about how awful for Bill it might have been, if Ben had been in charge of TURC.
Oh well, on to the next smear, Mr Schneiders…
(Do they call him “Mr” Schneiders, or just that fuckwit who shovels Stoljar shit at The Age?)
Did any of you bother to listen to that Alan Jones Climate denier rant?…God Almighty!…barking..just..barking mad!…and that Marohasy person…stark raving bonkers…Of course, getting Harper voted out and Tony dumped was all a conspiracy of the UN. “warmists”…
Speaking to my mother recently the dental clinic at primary school was mentioned for some reason. We went to the same primary school and had a laugh to learn the name we gave to the building was the same as the one used in her day. “The Murder House” .
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