Kathy Jackson was hailed as a heroine for blowing the whistle on the million-dollar fraud of Michael Williamson, the corrupt boss of the Health Services Union. While remaining steadfast in this very public ordeal, she endured bitter personal attacks from enemies in the Labor Party and the union movement.
But what if Jackson was just as corrupt as Williamson? Or worse?
This is the real HSU story. The unbelievable misuse of the union dues of some of the lowest paid workers in Australia.
While Jackson was portrayed as a Joan of Arc figure, she had been spending vast amounts of her own union members' money on jet-setting holidays, fashion, jewellery, a home mortgage and even part of a divorce settlement. Nothing, it seems, was off limits.
The HSU scandal is more than a dark morality tale marked by high drama and farce. It exposes deep problems at the heart of the union movement and the Labor Party: tribalism, nepotism, a misplaced sense of entitlement and the abuse other peoples' money. Together they are an intoxicating mixture and provide a ripe environment for corruption on a grand scale.