Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis probably did the ALP a favour by referring Craig Thomson to the NSW police. Now the government can claim that he has been exonerated.
Not that this is the smartest thing to do, but it is a stronger position than they were in before the referral.
Makes you wonder why they didn’t do it themselves.
As I pointed out in my piece in The Australian they are breaking all the rules of crisis management.
And so it continues. While Craig Emerson and Wayne Swan have come out accusing the Opposition of smear and negativity they should have jumped on the opposition band-wagon and actively urged-on other law enforcement agencies to look at the case.
What seems to be going on here is that the rules of the union over what things credit cards may be used for are so vague that paying for prostitutes is arguably an entertainment expense, and the question of whether it was authorised or not becomes a case of “he said/she said”, and therefore unlikely to be decided beyond a reasonable doubt.
Which means every other law agency will be in the same position.
But that doesn’t mean that the public will see things the same way, in which case defending Thomson as innocent, doesn’t help the government. They need to be seen to be doing the “right thing” and need to get the issue off the front pages.
Their best protection is to get public attention off Thomson as quickly as possible, not to try to canonise him.