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Monday, October 17, 2016

Planet Jackson Power, Greed and Unions by Brad Norington

Luxury holidays, private schools, clothes, perfume, presents, electronics. These are just some of the ways in which some of the leaders of the Health Services Union spent union funds obtained from their poorly paid members. These members were amongst the lowest-paid workers in the country. The greed, corruption and lack of oversight in this organisation was almost unbelievable.

Brad Norington has carefully gone through the evidence in this well-written account. However, some of the machinations and intricate dealings of people like Kathy Jackson were necessarily convoluted and can be difficult to follow at times. Michael Williamson, now in jail, had a family company which he used to spend union funds, hid this so carefully that even the lawyers of the Royal Commission had difficulty finding it.

Abbott, the former PM, and Shorten,the Opposition Leader, do not come out well in this book. Abbott appointed Michael Lawlor, and then didn't do anything about his taking long periods of unpaid leave from his important role at the Fair Work Commission and various other matters. Turnbull was quick to act, apparently.

The book raises questions about Shorten that are far worse than this, however. Several criminal and civil offences occurred when he was in charge of the Victorian AWU branch. What was he doing? This is the man who could be Australia's next Prime Minister.

This horrifying story of unmitigated corruption and greed should be required reading for all Australians.

I received this free e-book published by Melbourne University Press from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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