HSU lawyers circle after Williamson plea

Lawyers for the Health Services Union (HSU) say they will pursue friends, family and associates of Michael Williamson to claw back the millions he is believed to have cost the union.


The former HSU secretary and Labor Party president on Tuesday pleaded guilty to various charges including defrauding the union of almost $1 million.

It’s reported he declared himself bankrupt on the same day.

Selwyn Black of Carroll and O’Dea Lawyers is charged with recouping up to $5 million for the HSU.

“We’ve got a $5 million judgment against Williamson personally, now that’s only one string in our bow of recovery,” Mr Black told the ABC on Thursday.

“The second string is to go against other people who were involved in the exercise.”

This could include businesspeople who knowingly offered kickbacks in return for extra business, or services paid at an inflated rate.

“It’s clear to us that whatever outrageous amount Williamson made, there are others out there who’ve made a lot more out of this exercise,” Mr Black said.

He said Williamson’s apparent bankruptcy was a blessing because Michael Jones, who has been appointed trustee, would be able to ferret out hidden funds.

“In cases like these, my job is to check it’s not stashed under the pillowcase, hidden in the Cayman Islands or been given to a family friend with the purpose of hiding it from creditors,” Mr Jones has told Fairfax Media.

Pursuing the money with the help of the trustee was one strategy, Mr Black said, “and we’re going to give that a very good shake”.

“The second strategy is going against the other persons knowingly concerned and I might say there are larger amounts there,” he said.

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