Craig Thomson credit card a 'surprise', Health Service Union financial committee member tells court

Former federal MP Craig Thomson had a Health Services Union credit card that not even a member of the union's financial committee was aware of, a court has heard.

Rosemary Kelly said that she only learned of a Commonwealth Bank Mastercard supplied by the HSU to Mr Thomson when an exit audit of his role as the union's national secretary was conducted in 2007, Melbourne Magistrates Court heard as Mr Thomson's summary trial on fraud and theft charges resumed in Monday.

Ms Kelly said she was surprised to learn Mr Thomson had a union credit card when told by Ian Dick, the union's national auditor.

The court heard Mr Dick's audit revealed irregularities in Mr Thomson's expenditure when he was national secretary from 2002 to 2007, and that members of the national executive pushed for further investigation.

Ms Kelly said she did so because she had concerns "there may not have been action taken to bring Mr Thomson to account".

Mr Thomson is accused of using HSU-issued credit cards and a Flight Centre account to accrue more than $28,000 of personal expenses, including sexual services from escort agencies, in-house adult films in hotel rooms, flights and cigarettes for his then wife and other items.

Mr Thomson, 49, has pleaded not guilty to 145 fraud and theft charges.

Prosecutors allege Mr Thomson continued using union funds for personal expenses after he left the HSU in December 2007 to take up his role as the Labor member for the NSW seat of Dobell. He lost his seat, standing as an independent, in last year's federal election.

Ms Kelly said the union's financial committee met on an "ad hoc basis" and that it was not provided with detailed information about the union's funds by Mr Thomson.

She said Mr Thomson had the capacity to approve any expenditure up to $50,000 without specific details, and that on one occasion she asked him if he had granted himself a pay rise, after learning there was a $120,000 difference in salaries at the national office from the 2008-09 financial year to the previous year.

Ms Kelly and Lloyd Williams, a union branch secretary and now the union's national president, both told the court that HSU officials were not permitted to use union credit cards for personal expenses.

Both said they would expect card holders to reimburse the union as quickly as possible if they did use the cards for personal expenses.

The summary trial, before magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg, continues.

Follow us on Twitter

The story Craig Thomson credit card a 'surprise', Health Service Union financial committee member tells court first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide