Craig Thomson

Labor Party VP Tony Sheldon threatens defamation proceedings against KCA regarding Craig Thomson

Thursday evening I received a threatening letter from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers on behalf of Labor Party Vice President Tony Sheldon in his capacity as National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union. The letter and its threats relate to 2 recent posts that I have done on who is paying Craig Thomson’s legal bills and his dodgy trust account.

People will send threatening legal letters to the media to have an article amended even if they have no right to do so. They are trying to use intimidation, which was my first thought when I received the letter. But there is another factor which is probably more likely in this case and that is the fact that the Victorian Police are now having a close look at the slush/trust fund that Craig Thomson’s father has set up and where the money is coming from. Looks like Mr Sheldon is a worried man.

The real shifty part of the lawyers letter is the fact that have failed to mention a more detailed post that I wrote titled “Money laundering the Labor Party and Union way.” on the 28th October 2012. In that post I wrote about Mr Sheldon and his involvement in money laundering, fraud and theft etc. as well as setting up a dodgy slush fund which ripped of workers. I have no doubt that Mr Sheldon and his lawyer have deliberately ignored that post as it is too hot to handle and makes a joke of the fact that Tony Sheldon is sending me a lawyers letter some 7 months after the post was published. (Click here to the read post)

The Maurice Blackburn letter – links to the posts added – (Click here to read the actual letter)

2 May 2013

Mr Shane Dowling

Private and Confidential

Dear Sir

Re; Transport Workers Union of Australia and Tony Sheldon Defamation and Injurious Falsehood.

We act for the Transport Workers Union of Australia (“TWU”) and Tony Sheldon. Mr Sheldon is the Secretary of the TWU.

1. We have been provided with the following; a. A copy of an article published by you on your website ‘Kangaroo Court Australia” The article is titledCraig Thomson MP – Who’s paying his legal bills? Which union is it(“First Publication”). The date of the Publication is unclear, and; b. A copy of an article published by you on your website ‘Kangaroo Court Australia” on 1 May 2013. The article is titledCraig Thomson sets up slush fund but calls it a trust fund to pay his legal bills”. (“Second Publication”).

2. The First Publication contains a number of imputations which would likely cause injury to the reputation of the TWU and Tony Sheldon.

3. Examples are as follows; a. …”The mail is it that the Transport Workers Union (TWU) have stepped in with a slush fund to help with the reddies (sic) needed to pay his legal expenses. The TWU is run by the well-known slush fund operator, fraudster, thief, money launderer and National Vice President of the Labor Party, Tony Sheldon. There is also mail that the AWU might have also set up a slush fund on the side to help Craig Thomson…” b. “..Tony Sheldon is the National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and is as corrupt as they come. This includes fraud, theft, setting up dodgy slush funds and laundering money out of NSW government departments and into Labor Party election accounts…” and c. “…The bottom line is Craig Thomson cannot pay his own legal costs. So in steps the fraudster and money man Tony Sheldon who has close links to both the HSU and Labor Party to solve the problem….” and

4. Example (a) above implies amongst other things that Mr Sheldon is a fraudster, thief, money launderer, and operates illegal funds both personally and on behalf of the TWU. It further implies that the TWU condones such activities. The imputations are entirely false, baseless and are strongly denied. They are extremely offensive to our clients.

5. Example (b) above implies amongst other things that Mr Sheldon is corrupt and engages in theft, fraudulent activities and money laundering. It further implies that the TWU is corrupt and condones theft, fraudulent activities and money laundering. These imputations are entirely false, baseless and are strongly denied. They are extremely offensive to our clients.

6. Example (c) above implies amongst other things that Mr Sheldon engages in fraudulent activities and is funding Mr Thompson’s legal fees. When read in context with entirety of the First Publication, the implication is that Mr Sheldon and the TWU are paying for Mr Thompson’s legal fees. These imputations are entirely false baseless and are strongly denied. They are extremely offensive to our clients.

7. The Second Publication refers to the TWU and has a link to the First Publication.

8. The First and Second Publication when read in their entirety imply amongst other things that the TWU and/or Mr Sheldon are corrupt, engage in illegal and/or fraudulent activities and are providing financial support to Mr Thompson in regard to his legal bills. These imputations are entirely false, baseless and are strongly denied. They are extremely offensive to our clients.

9. The scurrilous allegations in the First and Second Publications appear to have been made with a reckless disregard of the truth. You made no attempt whatsoever to contact the any official or employee of TWU including Mr Sheldon to speak with them about them the contents of the First and Second Publications prior to publication. There is no basis for any of the allegations and/or imputations. They are entirely false, baseless and are strongly denied. In these circumstances, the First and Second Publications give rise to a cause of action against you for defamation and/or injurious falsehood. There is no reasonable basis upon which a defamation action could be defended by you.

10. We demand that you do the following; a. immediately publish on your website a retraction of the First Publication and Second Publication in so far as they imply any improper conduct by Mr Sheldon and/or the TWU, and; b. immediately publish on your website an apology to TWU its members and Official and to Mr Sheldon, and; c. refrain from publishing any false and defamatory material regarding the TWU, its members and Officials officers, and/or Mr Sheldon.

11. We require a response setting out what steps have been taken to comply with the above within 48 hours of the date of this letter.

12. Should you not provide a satisfactory response and/or publish further false and defamatory material regarding our clients, they expressly reserve all their rights including commencing proceedings for defamation which may include seeking exemplary damages and indemnity costs. In the event that proceedings are commenced, they will rely upon this letter in any question of costs.

13. For the avoidance of doubt, this letter is to be construed as a “Concerns Notice” pursuant the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW) and its counterparts in other states and territories.

Yours faithfully

Michael Doherty (Enquiries: Tennille Baird – 02 8267 0953)

Special Counsel


It says on Michael Doherty’s profile on his firm’s websiteMichael is a tough negotiator who fights for his client’s rightsWell I suppose we’re about to find out how tough he is.

Michael Doherty - Maurice Blackburn

Michael Doherty – Maurice Blackburn

I regard the above letter as a breach of section 34.2 of the Solicitors Rules by Mr Doherty which states: A practitioner must not, in any communication with another person on behalf of a client: 34.2 make any statement that is calculated to mislead or intimidate the other person, and which grossly exceeds the legitimate assertion of the rights or entitlement of the practitioner’s client;

This site operates on a basis of writing the posts without fear or favour and certainly will not buckle because I get a lawyer’s letter from a grub like Tony Sheldon.

I have only ever received one other letter from a lawyer making similar threats and that was in relation to Kerry Stokes. I responded in the same manner and scanned in the letter and wrote a post titled “Kerry Stokes threatens legal action against blogger” telling him basically to get lost and I never heard from him again. (Click here to read the post)

Other than that there was a recent threat by Michael Smith but no lawyers letter.

I wonder if the above letter has been counter signed by Craig Thomson or the Labor Party?

It is scandalous that Tony Sheldon is using union members money to pay a lawyer to threaten this site and myself to try to hide his corrupt conduct.

Tony Sheldon has really boxed himself in. If he does not proceed with defamation action then it will not be a good look at all and if he does proceed he is in a lot of trouble. The last place Mr Sheldon ever wants to be is in a witness stand being cross-examined in relation to his corrupt and criminal conduct. Of course I will have to subpoena Craig Thomson if there is any proceedings as well as the details and bank accounts of the trust fund as well as subpoena other people and documents which would very revealing.

Why federal MP Craig Thomson is in so much trouble is that he sued Fairfax Media for defamation and they subpoenaed documents that showed his criminal conduct. Tony Sheldon must have a short memory because he is heading down the same path or at least making threats to.

But if the Victorian Police are hot on the trail of the Slush Fund / Trust Fund then maybe Tony Sheldon felt he had no choice to at least send a threatening letter. That way he can tell the police what I have said is defamatory and he is taking action when the reality is what I have said is the truth. It was reported Thursday (2/5/13) that the Victorian Police have taken an interest in the fund and that is the same day I received the letter. (Click here to read more)

Why would the police be investigating? One reason could be that the court has probably been misled to the true financial position of Craig Thomson which I previously raised in my post two weeks ago. (Click here to read)

The SMH have published a speech by Kate McClymont about the threats that journalists face by the likes of Tony Sheldon to try to shut them down and intimidate them.

“The nation’s wealthy and powerful have often used legal threats to stop  journalists’ inquiries or at least to put the frighteners on them.”

“With the media industry in such dire financial straits this legal threat can prove too much for all but the largest of media organisations. Even then, with the bottom line to consider, the possibility of a multimillion-dollar law suit means press freedom has to dance a sorry jig with fiscal realities.”

“For smaller companies, freelancers and bloggers, freedom of the press is a wonderful concept but the prospect of personally funding a court action against the coffers of a business tycoon is not realistic.”

And “Litigations can have the unfortunate effect of making other media players gun-shy. Journalists and their bosses become wary of “litigious” people and are often reluctant to take them on.” (Click here to read more)

I am not intimidated by threatening letters from lawyers as you would expect given this a legal website. I regard the lawyers letter as recognition that this site is on the right track and doing good work. If Labor Party Vice President Tony Sheldon wants a fight then he will get one.

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52 replies »

  1. Sounds like you have touched some nerves. This would be a good opportunity to reveal all . . but who will pay your costs Shane?

  2. Be careful mate, there are some powerful thugs working on this behind the scene, who know no bounds at law.

    BTW, I’ve sent you this email because I am unable to post a comment on your blog; and many times in the past year. As soon as I start to enter my ‘name’, the post disappears. Why is that? Am I blacklisted?

  3. First recourse of the shifty and dodgy is always to a shyster to scare off the scrutiny of the public.

  4. The only problem I see is that if any court action is taken and given that you have quite rightly defamed every judge for corruption what are your chances that you don’t end up in another kangaroo court?

  5. Shane, I know we rarely agree but stick to your guns mate.

    Also FYI Sheldon was investigated for electoral fraud during his time with the Liquor union up here in Brisbane.

    Can provide a link for you if you want

  6. Just kicked in a tenner Shane, go get the bastards. BTW, have you caught the Libs new “Headless Chooks” ad yet? it is seriously funny, Bolt has it up on his blog if you haven’t seen it.

  7. Its in the interest of the Leibor Party, from Foolya Duckbutt down to keep a tight lid on the intrenched corruption that flows through the viens of a lot, if not all of the union movement, which funnels its money directly to the party. In effect 30% of the population still supports Liebor, so in effect the union movement. There is no way in hell that the corrupt hierachy want any of this exposed, whether its AWU scandel, The HSU debacle or the TWU stuff, just to name a few areas.

    As far as a Royal Commission goes the general concensus of previous RC is that the parameters are set to achieve a desired and known outcome. A branch and root RC into the union movement including a comprehensive drilled down audit would take years if not decades and cost $M’s. No government, even if they had a mandate would go for it. Just remember both sides of government are not lily white. But having said that I do sincerely hope the Libs legislate for the tightening up of financial reporting within the unions.

    Remember this- its the crooks at the top of the tree, not the vast majority of members that need weeding out.

    The court processes that are coming up for Williamson, Thomson and shortly for our esteemed (not) Prime Minister will start to have a snowball effect and these small cracks will finally crack open the putrid mess which is the union/liebor mess. The insights and fingers of further information will ultimately drag in others- ala Sheldon, Ludwig etc. Each and every one of them will be placed under a microscope and what will be will be provided the system is fair dinkum?

    Thanks to this and other sites for getting the message out there. Thanks Shane

  8. as with all guilty people they try and place their guilt on another person – this Craig Thomson matter is a disgrace, as with all the union money theft – we all just wish they would go away and stop wasting the Court’s time and money – perhaps the PM could give him some tips on how to avoid answering questions – she is good at that!

  9. All the questions you raised re Craig Thompson were legitimate, Shane, so the problem has to be that the Union boys are feeling more than a bit shaky!

  10. The plot just keeps getting thicker and thicker and without you (and your ilk) Shane they would never be held to account. Sad we don’t have a few more with your guts.

  11. As a impartial person , I wish I had such lawyer , representing me without money, on the other hand it confirms your statements , what they are really saying is we need money other than slush fund , might as well collect it from you under threat, We are desperate!! And must surprise this! What is there to lose? eather way the opportunity for them to explain is lost. people do not tolerate threats neither should you , use there action to sell your goals. it back fires . obviously!

  12. Shane, Of course you received the threatening letter, so that you woud back off.
    I have no legal background, but I agree with you that this letter is a threat. So you really got to them, great. There have been many scandals surrounding this Tony Sheldon.
    Even the photo you put up of Gillard with him, I think is scandalous.

    He certainly did not dress for the occasion did he, just shows how much class this fellow has.

    I wish you good luck with this, I don’t think they will take you to court, as too much may come to light.

    I will continue to support you in this!

  13. Shane, damned if you do – damned if you don’t. Union thugs at their worst low life behaviour … threatening KCA while their own backyard is littered with corruption that they don’t want anyone to know about. Union corruption has been endemic since day one.

    • My question is… if Union corruption has been endemic since day one, why do we allow these parasites to continue? Why not ban the lot? Surely it’s do-able?

  14. This is going to detract from the waterhouse – singleton biff up. Naughty Shane, naughty Sheldon and naughty lawyers!
    Love it!

  15. This old bird plays in a smaller arena but has adversaries to match yours eg News Ltd. But as a former Legal Affairs Editor and court reporter, The Magpie knows that if someone is going to sue you, they just do, and don’t send frothing letters of warning – the plan always is to make you spend nervous money on legal advice, and that can be financially debilitating enough to make some throw up their hands. Such letters – always ending ‘we reserve our rights etc’ – have happened to me on a number of occasions over the years, and they can safely be ignored – like your Kerry Stokes episode.

    Love all this, wouldn’t be dead for quids – an attitude The ‘Pie trusts your grubby adversaries share.

    Go for it.

  16. lawyers letter i, who paid for that , can anyone involved in a union pay for even a hotdog with out taking the money from someone else

  17. maybe the letter has no legal basis , when the highest lawyer in the land the attorney general is so confused he cant turn his phone off when he gets in a plane
    as Orwell said in his book , animal farm a attack on communism , everybody’s equal except some are more equal than others

  18. There must be a royal commission into the unions definetly if the coalition win the election this year. There is much more corruption in the unions than what I thought. Maurice Blackburns line “we fight for fair” is actually “we fight for dirtyness, lies, deceit & the labor party. Take this bastard Tony Sheldon & Maurice Blackburn to town Shane.

  19. What amazes me is that members of the Liberal party don’t jump the gun and refer to your posts, deafening silence can only mean one thing I presume, both as corrupt as each other. I wish a newspaper would publish your posts, that would really get to the bastards, or someone like Derryn Hinch! Good for you Shane. Love your work. Yes, I will make a donation.

  20. I wonder if you’ll get a free shovel on your doorstep soon courtesy of the union. I can’t wait to see the stupid grins wiped of the faces of these reptiles such as the two parasites at the top of this post.

  21. Shane
    Be careful, you are dealing with the scum of the earth – high profile, powerful, wealthy scum. IF there was democracy in this country almost the entire labor government and the AWU who ownes them would be in jail, but they are all involved in one way or another in theft, corruption, manipulation, bribery and more and they protect their members.
    I’m sick of it…………………. Mickey Mouse could do a better job of running this country

  22. There seems no doubt rooted in the bowels of the union movement and the Labor party is corruption on a grand scale. Good work Shane and perhaps you should roast Sheldon slowly over a long period of time, this grub and his ilk deserve no less.

  23. Shane, I guess you could view the union crooks interest in you as a badge of honour. Watch your back though, the union mentality is ‘laws are not for us’

  24. Shane it is easy for us to sit here and say “go for it” Shane we are on your side. I think this is a scare campaign and as one of your comments say the union thugs are the modern day Gestapo, they are only interest is extracting money from idiots yes idiots that join their ranks ;, The Craig Thomson affair is parr for the course in union business Thomson was one of the few that got caught ,I have no sympathy for people that lose their money to these thieving union bosses,thats where they get their training to become Labor politicians, and steal taxpayers money. Stick to your guns Shane you have a lot of support. Roll on the days when democracy is free from union power and corruption and bosses treat their employees with respect and the unions will take their place in history like the Dodo.and Arthur Scargill. Allan from Myalup WA

    • How could this corruption continue, never ending, if the judiciary were not also corrupt?
      My neighbor talks of corruption in New Guinea and maintains nothing like it exists in Australia. That just shows how well it’s covered up in Australia, aided and abetted by the mainstream media. We don’t yet understand how deeply corruption is embedded in our country.
      I bought your book some time back and thought you were a vexatious litigant!
      You have since opened my eyes.

  25. I think your right shane…….just like gillard……they cannot afford this to go to court….it will open pandoras box

  26. Shane – you and I have not always seen eye to eye in the past, but I certainly back you on this one!

  27. It is a real pity that Unions can be corrupted so easily, because they have acted responsibly in many issues that would have caused the death or serious injury of workers without their intervention, I am not trying to suggest they are “pure and holy” but some have done “good works” in the past.
    In relation to the solicitor’s letter, I have found the best way to fob them off is to “humbly request that all future correspondence be printed on soft paper”

    • Too true, the days of honest unions are long gone. My dad spent much of his working life as a shop steward for the TWU equivalent here and by the time he retired he wanted nothing to do with any of them because he saw so much corruption.

      Again we have to ask if the members were asked about this or do they have no right of say in where their dues are spent?

  28. Shane, I contribute to many blog sites like yours but have not made a direct donation to the Kangaroo Court. However, to support this site, I have previously bought your book “Love Letters from the Bar Table” from Amazon. But for the first time a few minutes ago I made a direct cash donation to you because my loathing for the corrupt unions and the AWU installed PM is real and justified. There are no brave men in this country who will take on the corrupt unions. I respect you for that.

  29. Hi Shane; i’m just a bush lawyer but in the 30 years of working my civil business, picked up a few things. Given Blackburns threat can you cross claim after responding, to have the funds frozen in Mr Thomsons Trust Account till the court can decide matters. What we have here is a stalling process, that has it’s origins in the 90’s. This is all B/S now,——-have a go at them.

  30. Threats from a big bully defending a liar uses a big stick in defence, but a whack in the goolies with a flimsy cane twitch from the truthsayer collapses the bully in tears.

  31. This to me shows the crooked unions have not adapted to the power of the internet. Their old school ways of intimidation does NOT work anymore and they will be too dumb to adapt.

  32. I am sick and tired of the way that these corrupt Union Officials are ripping off the workers of this great country. If Tony Abbott decides to make any sort of an honest move on the corruption with in the Unions (if and when he gets in to power) he will have to legislate for secret ballots, Company Laws and Rules to govern and over see the unions finance’s, registration and disclosure of all office holders, and members of all unions.
    If any thing like this above comes about (?) watch the rats run. Shane you would have more chance of being knocked over by the stampede out of the place, then you would of being dragged into court by any corrupt Union Boss. Those I know are basically gutless, plastic load mouths.

  33. People …. Shane needs financial support!!!! either buying books or donating….. So to you all like me, supporters….. give him support …. even 5 dollars it will help….. i am donation now……

  34. He must be trying to get others to pay his expensive restaurant bills. I have seen him often lunching @ Nicks Seafood at Cockle Bay with a large team of heavies from Sussex Street. The lobster is VERY expensive but at least they seem to get their monies worth as they stay there all afternoon.

    • I wonder when the corruption and dishonesty will finally come out into the open and shown for what it is. Or is there to many involved and the road blocks are just far to numerous? I seem to have read some where that when the down trodden and poor get sick of the thieves and self appointed masters it spores a revolution or a revolt. Does Australia have to follow the rest of the so called industrial world?

      • President Kennedy said something as follows:
        If peaceful revolution is prevented then violent revolution is inevitable.
        Perhaps Kennedy knew some history?
        Perhaps our present ‘movers and shakers’ are deficient in their knowledge of history?

  35. Seems to me as though the union thuggery is alive & well. Indeed, who paid for the legal letter on Sheldon’s behalf? From my own memory, the TWU has not changed one bit. They were asleep at the wheel during the Ansett mess (too many long lunches with the bosses got in the way of good negotiations). Their OH&S track record with transport companies is just as poor – probably likely due to those same lunch reasons — yet they continue to rope in memberships without doing anything decent in return. No wonder Sheldon shifted camps. This union is just his gravy train too — a hop, step & leap onto the political pathway. Keep it up Shane. You are pressing the right buttons.

  36. I hope Sheldon goes for paliament and joins the sinking ship, he deserves to get his feet wet,I suppose there are a few drongoes that would vote for him, anyway if he doesn’t get a seat he can always get his old job back refuse collector if they will have him.

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