Suspended federal Labor MP Craig Thomson has criticised the police investigation against him and says he wants to fight the fraud charges and clear his name as quickly as possible.
Thomson walked hand-in-hand with his wife into the courtroom at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning where he faced 154 charges of fraud alleged to have been committed while he was national secretary of the Health Services Union.
During the brief filing hearing, Thomson's lawyer Bill Dwyer sought to vary a condition of Thomson's bail that he not contact prosecution witnesses including anyone he had allegedly engaged for sexual services.
Mr Dwyer asked that police provide a witness list, so Thomson was aware who he shouldn't contact.
'The prosecution must know the bulk of these witnesses by now,' he said.
'My client has had this hanging over his head for years. He should be given the full explanation.'
The prosecution provided a varied condition that prohibits Thomson from knowingly contacting, either directly or indirectly, any person that was an owner, employee or contractor between 2003 and 2007 of several escort services and brothels including Tiffany Girls, Young Blondes and A Touch of Class.
Magistrate Donna Bakos said the varied condition was fair.
'I don't see that there is undue onus that's placed upon the accused,' she said.
Mr Dwyer said claims in the warrant for arrest that Thomson had been avoiding service of the summons and not making himself available to police were untrue.
Ms Bakos said the court was not concerned with his comments because it had heard no such allegation from the prosecution.
'He is here, he has answered his bail, that is all this court is concerned about,' she said.
'If you want to make utterances there are others present who may want to report matters.
'That's a matter for you and you can do that at another venue.'
Outside court, Thomson told reporters it was disappointing that police could still not provide a list of the witnesses in the case.
But he wanted to clear his name as quickly as possible.
'What was disappointing about today was of course, it became clear that not only was last Thursday wrongly done by the police but after 18 months in relation to investigating this matter, they still don't even have witnesses that they're able to produce for us,' he said.
'It wasn't encouraging that the police still aren't even ready after all this time.
'We're trying to get on with this, get it on as quickly as we can.'
He joked about the size of the media scrum.
'You'd think it's (the) AFL grand final with all you blokes here,' he said.
The 48-year-old was arrested on January 31 via a warrant from Victoria Police at his electorate office at Tuggerah on the NSW central coast.
The head of the NSW fraud squad has admitted he was wrong when he said Thomson had refused a request to turn himself into police.