The Indianpost

Coalition MPs are warned off Thomson

THE shadow attorney-general, George Brandis, has urged all Coalition MPs to watch their public comments regarding the Labor MP Craig Thomson to avoid prejudicing any potential trial should action be launched.
Senator Brandis issued the caution to the shadow cabinet on Monday and to the party room yesterday as the opposition ramped up its campaign against Mr Thomson in a bid to force him out, cause a byelection and bring down the government.

In Parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, stood by the Central Coast MP and expressed confidence he would not be forced out.

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”I’ve complete confidence in the Member for Dobell,” she said after being quizzed by Liberal frontbencher Bronwyn Bishop.

”I think he is doing a fine job representing the people of his constituency in this place, raising their concerns in this Parliament as is appropriate for a local member, and I look forward to him continuing to do that job for a very long, long, long time to come.”

Mr Thomson, who won his seat in 2007 after a period as the head of the Health Services Union, has been plagued by allegations that a credit card he was given when with the union was misused.

Two months ago, Mr Thomson dropped a defamation case against Fairfax Media, publisher of The Herald, over articles detailing the use of his union credit card to pay for prostitutes and make cash withdrawals of more than $100,000.

If criminal proceedings were instituted, as the opposition has urged, and Mr Thomson were convicted, he would have to leave Parliament.

Senator Brandis told his colleagues to tread carefully with their public comments, a source quoted him as saying.
”If there’s a point where a prosecution is launched, we don’t want to jeopardise that”.

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