Thomson slams media 'hysteria'

AN emotional Craig Thomson has accused the Opposition of "damaging democracy".

The embattled MP today made his long-awaited statement to the House of Representatives to reject allegations he misused members' funds during his time as national secretary of the Health Services Union.

Mr Thomson used his hour-long speech to maintain his innocence as he dealt with many of the allegations contained in the 1100-page report stemming from Fair Work Australia's three-year investigation into the HSU's national office.

He rubbished the FWA investigation, and repeated his belief that he had been the victim of a conspiracy within the upper ranks of the HSU to destroy his political ambitions.

While Mr Thomson took aim at high-ranking union officials, including Kathy Jackson and Michael Williamson, much of his vitriol was directed at Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

Mr Thomson said the Opposition had used the parliament to trash the rule of law.

"This should never again happen. We should never be in this situation again where the rule of law is trashed completely by a parliament," Mr Thomson said as he stared at the Opposition benches.

"What do you think you are doing here? Are we going to have parliament ruled by the mob? Are we setting ourselves up as some type of junta where a majority decision of a parliament can suddenly override anyone's rights?

"Is that the kind of Australia that you want?"

He then wrapped up his speech with a direct attack on Mr Abbott.

"What you have done is not just damage to an individual or their family, you have damaged democracy and you continue to damage democracy and you should hang your head in shame for that," he said.

"Not only is he (Mr Abbott) unfit to be a prime minister, but in my view he is unfit to be an MP."

Early in his address Mr Thomson had pointed at Mr Abbott and accused him of "unleashing the lynch mob".

He then looked up to the press gallery and said journalists had fanned the hysteria.

Mr Thomson broke down as he spoke about the day television journalists were found "hovering" outside the bathroom of his family home while his "pregnant wife was having a shower".

He reminded the media it had "great responsibility".

In terms of the FWA report, Mr Thomson said it amounted to nothing more than assertions.

He seized on findings contained in the Australian Electoral Council's review of the FWA report, claiming it had "destroyed the credibility of of the Fair Work investigation".

The AEC last week released a 22-page report detailing its analysis of the HSU money spent on Mr Thomson's 2007 campaign to win the Central Coast seat of Dobell.

Mr Thomson went into some detail describing how he believed he had been set up by high-ranking officials in the HSU.

While he admitted he could not explain the calls made from his mobile phone to escort agencies, he said FWA had not "investigated other scenarios", hinting he had been a victim of identity theft.



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