Officials used union funds for private trips

Three former Health Services Union officials accused of misusing union funds to bankroll extravagant private trips, and of making unexplained credit card payments, have not contested proceedings against them by the head of Fair Work Australia in the Federal Court.

It comes as the general manager of Fair Work Australia also confirmed that she had met Victoria Police yesterday over allegations that Labor MP Craig Thomson had misused union funds.

Former HSU officials Pauline Fegan, Jeff Jackson and Shaun Hudson — none of whom could be reached for comment this afternoon — had chosen not to fight court action taken against them by Fair Work Australia, its general manager Bernadette O'Neill said this afternoon.

"I am pleased that there will be no need to spend further time and public money in contested hearings," Ms O'Neill said.

"The matter will now progress to penalty hearings for all respondents."

Mr Jackson, previously secretary of the HSU's main Victorian branch, is the former husband of HSU national secretary Kathy Jackson.

An earlier Fair Work report, by Terry Nassios who also conducted the investigation into HSU's national office and MP Craig Thomson, had alleged Mr Jackson used union money to pay for flights for his assistant and their partners to the wedding of one of their organisers.

That report, released in March, found more than 30 breaches of the law or union rules and revealed details of the dysfunction in the organisation's financial administration.

It said Mr Jackson and Mr Hudson improperly used their position for personal gain and found that Mr Jackson was in breach of rules which meant he must keep and lodge detailed financial records.

The report also found impropriety by Mr Jackson's union rival, Pauline Fegan.

Ms Fegan, Mr Hudson and Mr Jackson gave the office manager access to PINs and passwords and signed blank cheques.

A statement this afternoon from Fair Work Australia said that the three former union officials had "admitted all contraventions alleged against them", with the exception of one involving a failure to provide receipts.

The penalties the three will now face will be decided at a hearing at the Federal Court in October.

Victoria Police Detective Sergeant John Tyquin - who is heading the Victoria Police investigation into allegations that Mr Thomson misused union money - confirmed a meeting with Ms O'Neill yesterday. .

Detective Tyquin said the meeting with Fair Work Australia had been "productive".

The Victorian Police's fraud and extortion squad had previously been rebuffed by Fair Work Australia when seeking to find evidence about what Mr Thomson had provided to investigators.

Detective Tyquin had written to Fair Work last October requesting information about Mr Thomson's evidence, seeking copies of any recorded interviews.

At the time Fair Work said the act did not allow the provision of such material to a third party. In her statement this afternoon, Ms O'Neill said recent amendments to the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act had enabled her "to disclose information acquired during an investigation".

Sergeant Tyquin said the police investigation of Mr Thomson was continuing.

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