That was odd. Craig Thomson gave an even weaker denial of allegations against him in today's statement to Parliament than he offered to Laurie Oakes in his TV interview with him a couple of weeks ago.
Thomson said he was going to name names. The only one I heard him mention was Kathy Jackson -- where such a mention was mainly to put her into disrepute, e.g., claiming that she only attended union meetings now and then, and even then only to get her name checked off, and then she would take off. The ABC analysis at the end said that Thomson named Marco Bolano as well (I missed it), who allegedly made some vague threat to Thomson years ago. Andrew Bolt says he mentioned Michael Williamson and Michael Lawler as well.
Thomson then launched into an unprecedented rundown of his life's career and achievements. I call it unprecedented because I've only ever seen retiring politicians give such a rundown. (Perhaps Thomson thinks his career is close to an end?)
When he finally addressed the escort charges to his credit card, he mentioned in general terms how identity theft and phone fraud can and does happen -- without actually saying it happened to him.
He said: "A lot of people will say that this is a conspiracy theory." Well, no Mr Thomson I couldn't. How could I say that you have a conspiracy theory when you didn't actually suggest any particular one in your own situation. The vague, ongoing slurs against Kathy Jackson throughout his one hour speech didn't actually amount to any allegations.
Thus it was quite an abuse of Parliamentary privilege to use it to slur someone (Kathy Jackson) while not actually making any allegations of improper treatment with respect to them, which was supposed to be the theme for Thomson's statement. What a sad day for the repute of Australia's Parliament and its privileges this was.
Instead, all that was offered was to point out that this sort of fraud (of people using his credit card numbers; other people making phone calls that seem like his phone number) could have happened to him. Could!? What kind of a statement is that?
He then went back to his theme that there's a whole mob of people who like to harass and frame people like Thomson. But he never actually says that this is what happened to him. All he said is this could be what happened to him. It could have happened, but he clearly doesn't think it did happen to him, or surely he would have outlined his version of events as this fraud happened to him.
So, pre-statement estimates of what he would say were ambitious -- what he actually said was far more conservative.
Then he showed that he's not just a legislator: he can act as well. Turning on the water-works (looked more like crocodile tears to me), he said he was the subject of many attacks and abuse from the media including directed toward his **pause for effect, sip water** pregnant wife! Oh noes!
He then finished the speech with a bizarre attack on Tony Abbott. It looked embarrassing seeing such a discredited figure criticise the Leader of the Opposition -- telling Abbott he didn't even deserve to be in Parliament. It was laughable.