Confidential settlement ... Labor MP Craig Thomson claimed he was owed several years of annual leave by the Health Services Union.

Craig Thomson … “I made some enemies”. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Federal MP Craig Thomson says the Health Services Union (HSU) scandal was part of an elaborate sting designed to stymie his burgeoning political career.

“I was in a very dysfunctional union for a long time and in about 2004, amongst a whole range of other threats that were made to me, one was that they would ruin my potential political career … by setting me up with hookers,” Mr Thomson told the Nine Network today.

He said the threat was repeated to him in 2007.

“Someone else repeated that this is what we do to get people within the HSU,” Mr Thomson added.

“In 2004 it was made by a union official … It was a union official who was still a current union official.”

Mr Thomson said he would expand on details about the official during a speech to parliament on May 21.

Mr Thomson faces numerous serious allegations relating to his time as head of the HSU between 2002 and 2007, including that he misused union funds to pay for prostitutes, travel and lavish meals.

But the federal member for Dobell insists someone within the union set him up.

Asked how payments for prostitutes were made on credit cards he controlled and his driver’s licence details and signature appeared on receipts, Mr Thomson said the HSU executive had access to all of his details.

“The whole executive knew what my credit card numbers were,” he added.

“My driver’s licence was readily available.”

Mr Thomson said there was resentment directed towards him within the HSU after he set up finance committees, improved financial transparency and introduced budgets after 2002.

“This created resentment and you can see what’s happened since I left, they’ve actually closed down the national office.

“They were not very happy with oversight that was there.

“I also made some enemies as I was leaving by strongly recommending that my successor not be my successor.”

Mr Thomson, who was suspended from the ALP on April 29 and now sits as a cross-bencher, maintained his innocence.

‘‘I have always, consistently said over a dozen occasions … that I deny any wrongdoing in relation to these issues.’’

He admitted approving payments to an escort agency via a credit card that he controlled – but says he did so unwittingly.

‘‘I approved all the payments from the union but there’s one thing to say you approve something and one thing to say you approve it with knowledge,’’ he added.

‘‘And I clearly didn’t approve it with knowledge at all.’’

Mr Thomson said the Fair Work Australia report into his conduct and that of others within the HSU was based on hearsay.

‘‘There isn’t evidence that would be admissible in court,’’ he said.

AAP