Fair Work Australia has begun court proceedings against federal MP Craig Thomson over his alleged use of union credit cards to pay for prostitutes.
The national industrial umpire today lodged its claims against the former Labor MP turned independent in the Federal Court.
Mr Thomson faces civil action over a range of offences. As well as the unauthorised use of union credit cards to pay for prostitutes, the claim covers cash advances totalling more than $102,337.45.
Tiffany's brothel in Albion Street, Surry Hills, Sydney.Photo: Sahlan Hayes
FWA is seeking to fine Mr Thomson for these alleged misdeamenours and others, and the repayment of the funds.
The statement of claim lists various escort services Fair Work Australia alleges Mr Thomson used, including Young Blondes, Melbourne’s Boardroom Escort Agency, and a brothel called Tiffany’s.
Fair Work Australia general manager Bernadette O’Neill said the claims were based largely on the findings of an extensive investigation completed by the industrial agency.
But it also included several additional allegations in relation to the alleged misuse of union money.
The claim includes 37 alleged breaches of rules for officers of registered organisations such as unions, and 25 alleged breaches of the rules of the Health Services Union, which Mr Thomson was headed.
‘‘I have not taken this action lightly,’’ Ms O’Neill said. ‘‘I am satisfied that it is in the public interest to pursue the allegations in the documents filed in the Federal Court today and consider that there is a reasonable prospect of success.’’
Mr Thomson is facing huge fines and having to pay back more than $100,000.
The proceedings have been filed in the Victorian Federal Court, and follow similar proceedings beginning against the HSU and three former officers of its Victoria Number One branch.
Ms O’Neill also said she would launch proceedings against the national office of the HSU, and was considering proceedings against other people named during Fair Work Australia’s investigation.
The proceedings against Mr Thomson will begin in the Federal Court in December.
In a statement this afternoon, Mr Thomson said he has always maintained his innocence and would continue to do so.
''Clearly Fair Work Australia has felt pressured into responding this way given the political process which it is part of,'' he said.
''Naturally I will vigorously defend these claims which are based on a totally discredited Fair Work Australia report.''