CANBERRA, (Reuters) – A political scandal involving a government MP over payments to prostitutes, which threatens Australia’s minority government, deepened on Wednesday when the lawmaker’s former union asked police to investigate his union credit card bills.
The move by the Health Services Union (HSU) increases the likelihood that police will launch a criminal investigation into the credit card bills of the union’s former boss Craig Thomson, now a government MP, including payments to a Sydney brothel.
Thomson has denied any wrongdoing. But if police decide he can be charged with a criminal offence of which he is then found guilty, he would be forced to leave parliament, sparking a by-election that could bring down Gillard’s government which has a one-seat majority.
The union had previously not complained about Thomson’s credit card bills, which meant police had limited scope to investigate the payments.
But yesterday, the union’s new national secretary Kathy Jackson said the union had now referred Thomson’s credit card use to police in the New South Wales state.