Thursday 25 August 2011

Graham Richardson former ALP power broker talks candidly

Graham Richardson says the 'awful smell' of the Thomson affair won't go away
Former ALP powerbroker Graham Richardson says the Craig Thomson affair is damaging the Labor brand and has an "awful smell to it".

Mr Richardson said Labor had to hang on to Mr Thomson to stay in government, but “Craig Thomson is getting desperately hard to cling on to”.

He said the next election would be “as bad or worse as NSW” if a circuit breaker wasn't found.“It's just unsavoury to cling on to him, that's the problem,” he said on his “Richo” program on Sky TV last night.

“This has got an awful smell to it that won't go away. “Every day they hang on, the Labor brand gets damaged and yet they have no choice but to hang on. “If there was a way out and they could persuade him to sit on the crossbenches, I hope they find it and I hope they take it soon because this Labor brand can't take much more.” Mr Thomson faces allegations he misused a union credit card, making more than $100,000 in cash withdrawals and personal purchases and using the card to procure the services of prostitutes.
Labor is standing by him because the loss of just one MP would lead to the fall of the minority Gillard government. The opposition has attempted without success to get Mr Thomson to front the parliament to explain himself, and the Prime Minister to explain her role in the affair. The Health Services Union yesterday referred the allegations to police, which is likely to spark a formal criminal investigation.

Independent MP Tony Windsor, on whose support the Gillard minority government relies upon, today reiterated his support for Labor. He recalled the events surrounding former NSW premier Nick Greiner who resigned because of allegations that later turned out to be untrue. "I learned an invaluable lesson back then," he told Sky News of his days as a NSW MP.

"Parliamentarians aren't lawyers, we're not barristers, we're not policemen."He said he would make decisions based on facts, not allegations. Mr Windsor said he could not see the government collapsing over the issue. "If that happened a similar thing to happen to Nick Greiner that would be an absolute tragedy," he said.


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