Former federal MP Craig Thomson will spend three months in jail for spending union funds on prostitutes and personal expenses.
Thomson has been sentenced to 12 months’ jail, nine months of which are suspended for two years. The sentence will be appealed by his legal team.
Thomson was found guilty of defrauding the Health Services Union (HSU) of more than $24,000 over a five-year period.
After a criminal case lasting more than a year, the former member for Dobell faced a maximum five years’ jail for the misuse of union credit cards when he was the HSU’s national secretary.
Thompson was found guilty of using union funds to pay for sex workers, cash withdrawals, flights for his wife, hotel stays and more mundane items like cigarettes and firewood.
The sentencing comes despite his lawyer urging the magistrate not to send him to jail, arguing the amount of the loss was small in comparison to other cases of white collar crimes.
Thomson’s lawyer also argued his client’s loss of career and public notoriety was punishment enough.
In a letter to the court, Zoe Thomson said her husband was a loving father of two children and supportive husband.
“My husband is a good man,” she said.
“I know Craig is sorry for the hurt he has caused his family, friends, colleagues and supporters.”
However, prosecutors told a pre-sentencing hearing Thomson is an arrogant man who has shown no remorse and used parliamentary privilege to attack and falsely blame others.
Prosecutors have submitted that an immediate jail term is warranted.
The magistrate has already indicated he is likely to convict Thomson on all 65 charges.