There were plenty of familiar faces at this week’s court appearance. I got there early, when the doors were closed, to make sure I’d get a seat. An elderly woman was there, she’d been listening intently each day. HSU member Julia Batty was there early in her Health Services labelled jacket. Senior Court Reporter at the ABC Sydney Newsroom, Jamelle Wells was early.
Peter Wicks and his wife Felicity were present, as was the retired lawyer I met last week. They were introduced and had a discussion about who is investigating the financial evidence Peter Wicks has been uncovering. The retired lawyer said, “Like the Australian Wheat Board inquiry, if the powers that be don’t like the direction it’s going in, they withhold resources. That’s how they manipulate inquiries. You’re doing a great job, thanks.”
I was very surprised to see Michael Lawler and Kathy Jackson’s barrister, David Rofe, QC turn up early when the doors were closed, with his rainbow umbrella.
“She must’ve found some money in her money box,” the retired lawyer said.
The court was filling up at 10 to 12. There was no sign of Kathy Jackson.
Matthew Carney from ABC radio and current affairs was in front of me, he said he’d be doing a cross as soon as the judgment was handed down and might do something for P.M. Jamelle Wells sat next to him.
At 11.55 Kathy Jackson arrived in black pants, a dark jacket and tomato red scarf. She sat next to Julia Batty, then went to sit on a chair next to David Rofe at the bar.
“She’s not supposed to be there, only barristers are supposed to be there unless you’re representing yourself,” the retired lawyer next to me said.
Kathy Jackson turned around slowly and looked at the people behind her with a serious face, then back again. Her face was down, her hands on her forehead, rubbing her fingers through her blow-dried hair.
“Silence all stand.” Everyone stands and bows to Justice Geoffrey Flick.
“The Federal Court of Australia is now in session.”
Michael Lawler and Kathy Jackson’s barrister, David Rofe, QC stood.
David Rofe: I’m appearing for a short matter for Mr Lawler. Your honour might recall … Mr Lawler does not seek any further detection from the court.
Justice Flick: deductions
There was confusion about which word he meant.
David Rofe: This time I’m appearing for Katherine Jackson. I’m instructed to … application is that Your Honour will … the affidavit of 20 June and read the contents and take perhaps some of those matters into account into the … judgment.
Justice Flick: No leave has been made of filing further affidavit.
David Rofe: …
Justice Flick: Nothing in this case is obvious.
The retired lawyer next to me laughs quietly.
Barrister: This appears to be a continuation … to adjourn proceedings … In any acceptance … would lead to the case being reopened.
Justice Flick: I don’t know what the application is at this stage.
Barrister: Your Honour we object for the same reason.
David Rofe: (fumbles) My junior … periphery of this case it’s been quoted struggled to catch up with the complexity of it. In fairness to my client …
Justice Flick: If leave were granted … filed in court, what would then be the application?
David Rofe: To read the application … some parts have weight.
Justice Flick: For the purpose of re-opening… What would be the additional findings of facts … seeking to be made?
David Rofe: … Really Your Honour would get through it very quickly compared to me trying to explain it.
Justice Flick: Do you wish to withdraw one of the agreed Statement of Facts?
David Rofe: I don’t wish to withdraw from any of them … some matters which were overlooked.
Justice Flick: Right, so you don’t wish to withdraw from any of the agreed Statement of Facts. Is that correct?
David Rofe: I think it’s all set out here very clearly.
Justice Flick: … the court and the parties are entitled to know what is the position to the agreed Statement of Facts.
David Rofe: We don’t want to withdraw from any of the Statement of Facts. I don’t have any innate knowledge … of the Statement of Facts.
Justice Flick: … It’s not a good start … If the affidavit is read, what further facts do you want the court to make?
David Rofe: We want the court … written submission which has a table of contents …
Justice Flick: What facts do you want the court to make?
David Rofe: …
Justice Flick: No counsel’s given evidence in this case.
David Rofe: What hasn’t happened … is that her case has not emerged from the facts
(I laughed to myself)
Before in any event giving your judgment that you indicate why you referred me representing Katherine Jackson back on 8th June Your Honour, said I’ll give you my reasons for adjournment when you give your judgment … that is not the correct way of making the judgment …
Justice Flick: … you’re not able to tell me what fact in the agreed Statement of Facts you don’t agree with … that’s not a good start.
David Rofe: We seem to be making a lot of bad starts Your Honour.
Justice Flick: … I would then want to know what issue in the proceeding that …
David Rofe: Again Your Honour, I don’t want to be difficult … this matter may go further … she’s entitled to leave this court today feeling that her case has had a fair trial even though she’s been late on some occasions and she’s had a number of difficulties
Justice Flick: … I repeat and please answer me this time … you can’t tell me which fact you wish to withdraw from … why should I give you leave to file an affidavit …
David Rofe: I want you to read the affidavit.
The retired lawyer next to me said, “he doesn’t know what’s in it.”
David Rofe: It’s all set out here, unless you …
Justice Flick: One, do you wish to depart from any of the agree Statement of Facts?
David Rofe: I can’t answer that question.
Justice Flick: What additional fact do you want this court to make?
David Rofe: I want you to read this affidavit … whether … some part of it taken into consideration.
Justice Flick: I thought it was your job … to run the case for Ms Jackson …
David Rofe: Some limitation I have in relation to deep knowledge of the facts.
The retired lawyer next to me snorts.
Justice Flick: Let’s approach it differently. Is any of this material … material that was not available to .. 15th June …?
David Rofe: Perhaps it might be … if Ms Jackson replies for me.
Justice Flick: It’s a higly unusual to withdraw for a client
David Rofe: … our are limited…
Justice Flick: You had between the 8th and the 15th.
David Rofe: Before giving judgment in this case can you give your reasons for refusing an application made by me on 8th June for an adjournment … the team representing my client withdrew and you gave me 16 minutes … if that’s not a denial of justice I’ve been wasting my time.
(He is threatening Justice Flick about appealing).
Justice Flick asks the court a question and two barristers agree.
Justice Flick: Tell it to the whole court.
(Justice Flick means David Rofe can appeal to the full bench).
David Rofe: I seek Your Honour’s leave to withdraw …
Justice Flick: to the extent … the application is rejected in certain circumstances A. … B. Any additional fact is sought to be made C. … Any variation. The application is rejected without merit.
David Rofe: May I be excused?
Justice Flick: Certainly thank you for turning up this morning.
(He read out the declarations and orders very quickly):
- A declaration under section 323(1) of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth) that the HSU East branch of the Health Services Union has ceased to function effectively and that there are no effective means under the rules of the organization by which it can be enabled to function effectively.
- A declaration under section 290B of the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW), that HSUeast has ceased to function effectively and that there are no effective means under the rules of the organization by which it can be enable to function effectively.
- An order under section 323(2) of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth), that the scheme attached as Appendix A be approved in relation to HSU East Branch of the Health Services Union.
- An order under section 290B(8) of the Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW) that the scheme attached as Appendix A be approved in relation to HSUeast.
- An order that the Honourable Michael Francis Moore be appointed administrator of the HSU East Branch of the Health Services Union under the scheme approved in order 3 above.
- An order that the Honourable Michael Francis Moore be appointed administrator of HSUeast under the scheme approved in order 4 above.
- An order that all offices in the HSU East Branch of the Health Services Union of Australia, identified in Annexure A to Appendix A, be vacated.
- An order that all offices in HSUeast, identified in Annexure B to Appendix A, be vacated.
- An order that, in the event of any difficulty arising in the course of the implementation of the Scheme, the Administrator, the Applicants or any person represented in the proceeding shall have liberty to apply on 72 hours written notice.
I respect Justice Flick, he’s a decisive man. He is the perfect man for this case, he does not beat around the bush, he sees the wood for the trees and does it.
“That was money for jam silks,” the retired lawyer said.
Kathy Jackson and all the journalists stood at the front to get a copy of the 78-page judgment. There weren’t enough, they had to get 5 more copies.
The media gathered outside to interview Chris Brown and Kathy Jackson.
When all the filming had finished, I saw Kathy having a cigarette on a bench alone and asked if I could take a photo. She was friendly, then hid the cigarette, saying the kids shouldn’t see her doing that.
Sitting on the bench alone, I felt sorry for her, what she’d got herself into, and wanted to ask her why she’d made her life and others’ lives so complicated. I didn’t say anything.
Peter Wicks later spoke to her and she said he was part of the NSW Right, exposing her. His wife Felicity said he’s not, he’s on the far left of the Labor party. Then Kathy walked off.
I sat with the retired lawyer as she read today’s article in the Financial Review. One of the articles is here:
I found out before court started this morning that Aaron Patrick, deputy news editor at the Australian Financial Review, had written about “an 80-page affidavit prepared by Ms Jackson” “obtained independently by The Australian Financial Review.”
“Judge Geoffrey Flick did not allow Ms Jackson to submit the affidavit as evidence following objections from lawyers for the federal government and other union leaders that the allegations in it were scandalous and not relevant. The judge indicated he would not release documents to the media that contained explosive allegations.”
“They’ll start turning on each other soon, that’s what happens,” said the retired lawyer as she read the article out loud. “If that is all they can pick out of an 80 page affidavit, she’s got no idea, it’s all waffle, she’s got no witnesses, what’s the point? It’s heresay on heresay. Of course there’s no witnesses. That’s her side of it, Wixxy’s got some very different information. How did the private investigator get hold of American Express records? Someone’s breaching confidentiality.”
Also, “She secretly tape-recorded executive meetings of the HSU.”
“Are you telling me that she lives with Michael Lawler and during all this time she doesn’t talk to him about it?” She’s not the silent type.
“Shorten will go for defamation won’t he? How stupid is she? Who’s advising her? She’s good at self-promotion. If you don’t hear the other side it’s quite impressive.” The media has only shown one side of the story for the past 2 years because of the silence from others.
“There must be a paper trail if Craig Thomson tried to clean it up and that’s where he made enemies. I know what it’s like when they’re doing the wrong thing.”
One reason I became interested in this story is because I have never seen a story covered in the Australian media with such blatant bias. Most of the media has been obsessed with Craig Thomson for the past year, but now he’s long forgotten. The silence has been deafening since Peter Wicks published evidence of Kathy Jackson’s complicated finances and other matters.
The thing about this Kathy Jackson HSU story is that it involves so many layers of Australian politics and media, if a great investigative journalist like Nick Davies took it on, it would expose everyone like an x-ray.
Recently Gina Rinehart bought more Fairfax shares and wants far greater influence over Fairfax media. Leader of the LNP Tony Abbott and Gina Rinehart are openly supportive of each other. I consider this an extremely unhealthily-connected media and political environment.
I asked Aaron Patrick who wrote the article, on Twitter, “Hi @apatrickafr Can you please tell me why Kathy Jackson’s 80 page affidavit was “obtained independently by The AFR” rather than by others?”
2UE is also owned by Fairfax and host Paul Murray has championed Kathy Jackson’s cause for the past year, openly stating that he is on her side.
The day after Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton spoke about her dreadful trial by media and politicians in the court of public opinion, Paul Murray proudly said which side he’s on:
HR Nicholls Society article by Tony Wright:
This is what she said at the HR Nicholls Society on 12th June: http://media.crikey.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/JacksonHRNichools.pdf
To understand Kathy Jackson, I read articles written about her. An excellent, complex article written by Cameron Stewart was published in The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/union-dues/story-e6frg8h6-1226270776249
Another article critical of Kathy Jackson was published by News Ltd:
By Janet Fife-Yeomans
“They have three children, a daughter and two sons, who spend a lot of time with their dad. Their mother regularly flies overseas to union conferences, a friend said.
“The couple’s relationship has been flamboyant.
“They are both larger than life and were known for having spectacular arguments in front of everyone,” a colleague said.”