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EYE-BALL Opinion – Duchess Julia can’t escape her past – News Journalist has the scent –

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– 14th Aug: – Gillard – beyond redemption II – More from Alan Jones and Mike Smith –


– 13th Aug: –  Gillard – beyond redemption I – the walls are about to come dawn –


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Title:
– Duchess Julia can’t escape her past –
– News Journalist has the scent –
| Author: EYE-BALL Opinion | 24th Aug 2012 |
T

he Australian media have lost their way.   They are perplexed by the ‘bloggers’ stealing their news story before it gets to print.  They can’t compete on the News cycle – and how buys papers anymore.

[Click Cartoon Image to enlarge in a new window – courtesy of Larry Pickering Facebook page.]

The one good thing that the mainstream media does have and that is creditability where it counts.  Yesterdays PM Press conference highlighted a number of things that motivated the PM.  SHe was not concerned about the ‘social media’ ravings a a few ‘misogynist’s and nutjob’s’ – it was the mainstream media picking up on the story that got to her.

There is one News Ltd journalist that is head and shoulders above everybody else in the creditability stakes – Hedley Thomas.

Mr Thomas currently writes for The Australian and he has been on this story for just on three weeks or so and already he has uncovered new material on the AWU scandal that remained unexposed for the last 20 odd years.

Mr Thomas has won six Walkley’s – one shared and one Gold, since 1992 and has the respect of all his peers.  When he takes on a story the target has every right to feel threatened.   His most recent awards in 2005 – the Patel story – [Bundaberg Hospital surgeon] – titled – “Exposing a Sick System” is still being played out in the Courts.

The 2007 story titled – “Dr Hanif” – [Deported Indian Dr with suspected terrorism connections] – both stories left egg on the faces of Government’s and their staff bungle.

When someone with journalist instincts like Hedley Thomas decided to jump on a story – you can expect nothing but complete commitment.  His motivation in this story is obvious to outsiders.  But for Hedley Thomas – it’s about doing the best job he can do to get to the truth and tell the story from that perspective.

Gillard must be worried that Hedley Thomas renewed his pursuit of the AWU scandal story today given the events of yesterday.

His story today appears below:

Looking for answers, start with the ‘slush fund’


| Author: Hedley Thomas | Date: Aug 24th 2012 | Link to On-Line Story. |

TWENTY years ago, Julia Gillard used her expertise as a lawyer to help create a “slush fund” for her boyfriend and his mate in the Australian Workers Union to draw on to fund their own elections.

“Slush fund” is not newspaper hyperbole. It is how the Prime Minister described it when she gave a long explanation of her own conduct during a tape-recorded 1995 interview, part of an internal probe by Peter Gordon, her then boss at the Slater & Gordon law firm.

As Gillard was a relative nobody at the time, she must have expected that the transcript would never become a matter of intense public interest.

Her use of the phrase “slush fund” was correct then, and it is correct now. At the time of the sensitive, serious and professionally humiliating probe into her undisclosed work revolving around the slush fund, Gordon considered “terminating” Gillard’s job as a salaried partner at the Melbourne firm.

As his recent draft statement leaked to The Australian this week stated, Gordon was weighing whether Gillard was knowingly involved in fraud and deliberate deception of her highly concerned partners.

He decided this could not be the case. He decided to give her “the benefit of the doubt”, adding: “Nevertheless, the partnership was extremely unhappy with Ms Gillard considering that proper vigilance had not been observed and that (her) duties of good faith to (her) partners especially as to timely disclosure had not been met.”

She resigned.

The “slush fund” that Gillard had created three years earlier was a legal entity, an incorporated body, for the purpose of raising and holding funds for the re-election of union officials. It was designed to assist the personal advancement in the union of Gillard’s then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, who was then the leader of the West Australian branch of the Australian Workers Union. Wilson needed “slush”, or money, to fund a forthcoming election that he expected to contest.

Gillard’s boyfriend, and his friend, union sidekick and bagman Ralph Blewitt, needed a name for this legal entity. They could have called it the AWU re-election fund. Or the AWU vote-for-a-new-leader fund.

Instead, it was called the AWU Workplace Reform Association, a title completely at odds with its actual purpose. The written objects, or rules, for the association do not disclose the true purpose is to fund elections for union officials.

On the contrary, the rules stress purposes including the promotion of safer workplaces and skills training. In the formal application for the association, Gillard advised that it was formed for the purpose of “development of changes to work to achieve safe workplaces”.

In this way, its purported purpose had nothing to do with its actual purpose – as a “slush fund” for the re-election of Gillard’s then boyfriend. This is Gillard’s Achilles heel.

Yesterday, Gillard said she had not signed the document to set up the association and had only provided legal advice. Further, she said if the fund supported “trade union officials who would stand on a platform about reform and improvements in workplaces”, then it had fulfilled its stated role. But this later explanation, at her hour-long media conference, remains difficult to reconcile with the facts.

The question that might have elicited the devil in this detail was not asked by the press gallery yesterday, but it revolves around a simple point. The reality is that if any of the documents lodged with the West Australian government agency had disclosed that the association’s true purpose was as a “slush fund” to help in the election of union officials, it would not have been registered.

It would not have been eligible under the legislation that governed such associations. It would not have been permitted to come into existence.

In her answers yesterday, the Prime Minister deftly moved the goalposts. It was a legalistic answer, a duck-and-weave that takes a minute or two to see as such.

Gillard said: “My understanding of the purpose of this association was to support the re-election of union officials who would run a campaign saying that they wanted re-election because they were committed to reforming workplaces in a certain way, to increasing occupational health and safety, to improving the conditions of the members of the union. That was my understanding of the purpose of the association, and so I provided legal advice for the association.”

There it is. If Gillard had given the WA government agency the same answer as she gave yesterday, the bureaucrats in Perth would likely have rejected the application outright. They would have seen it for what it was: a “slush fund” for the purpose of raising funds for the election of union officials.

Gillard’s explanations on this will raise more questions about trust, integrity and professionalism.

Almost all of the facts surrounding these tawdry circumstances have been revealed and confirmed in the past week as a result of one former equity partner, Nick Styant-Browne, breaking a 17-year silence to The Australian.

By providing this newspaper with a leaked statement that Gordon had transmitted to him as a draft for possible release, Styant-Browne initiated a discovery of truths that have been concealed for too long.

Until recent days, Australians had been told a starkly different narrative of Gillard’s time at the law firm. Until Styant-Browne acted, an incurious media failed to do its job properly.

read more online

This story is a challenge to all other journalist’s – lift your game – do your job.

The retraction by ‘The Australian’ yesterday was over the use of the word ‘Trust’ fund and not ‘Slush’ fund – a rookie error by a junior journalist and the PM did her best to embarrass News Ltd publications.   This story proves the credentials of Hedley Thomas and News editors.

We all look forward to Hedley’s future articles and the uncovering of more truth’s that will bust this story wide apart.


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Have your say where it counts: – contact your Local Federal Representative via the links below and let them know how you feel about this, or any other topic that you feel strongly about – or you can just post a comment below and let off some steam.

Links to Australian Parliamentary Website – MP’s


The EYE-BALL Opinion …

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  1. EYE-BALL
    August 24, 2012 at 11:04 am

    A full transcript of yesterdays Press Conference where the PM dealt with questions on the AWU scandal can be read using the following link.

    http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/transcript-press-conference-canberra-30

  2. david the pragmatist
    August 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Thats better, no mysoginy there!

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