Home | News | Union boss avoids jail for defrauding members
Kathy Jackson is seen leaving Hospital Road Court Complex in Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

Union boss avoids jail for defrauding members

Health union boss Kathy Jackson “selfishly” rorted thousands from members and spent the money on a lavish lifestyle, including overseas shopping trips and expensive art.

The 52-year-old has avoided jail for using work credit cards and dubious expense claims to spend Health Services Union funds on overseas trips, art, furniture and a luxury car.

“You selfishly used your money for your own lifestyle purposes,” County Court of Victoria judge Amanda Fox said on Thursday.

She ordered Jackson to a jail term of 24 months, but it was wholly suspended for two years and six months.

The former HSU boss took more than $102,892.85 during her time on the job.

The judge found the former Victorian and national secretary showed no remorse and had never apologised for her crimes.

“I find it was motivated by greed not need and perhaps a sense of entitlement,” Fox told Jackson.

The judge said she took advantage of her position as head of the union and abused the trust of those around her.

The current head of the HSU, Lloyd Williams, said in a statement the impact against the union had been “enormous”.

“The scandals associated with senior officers became notorious,” he said.

Jackson pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining financial advantage to the tune of $67,792.85 by deception in October.

After her plea it was revealed the former union head was found guilty of similar charges after a two-month long trial last year.

Jurors found Jackson spent $22,000 on a Mercedes Benz for her former husband, which she claimed as “legal fees” in an expense form, and splurged $13,100 on a trip that she claimed back from the HSU.

She admitted last month to using three union credit cards for personal spending and took 23 unauthorised trips interstate and overseas between 2003 and 2010.

A trip to Bali was booked days before and was a “spur of the moment” decision, the court was previously told.

She spent more than $56,000 on overseas trips such as a New Year’s Eve trip to New York staying at the pricey Paramount Hotel and “shopping trips” to India and Hong Kong with friends.

Jackson blew the whistle on her predecessor former Labor MP Craig Thompson and the ex-union general secretary Michael Williamson in 2011.

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