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EYE-BALL Opinion – A Montage of AWU Scandal Reports – Gillard to become “Open-Season” –

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Title:
– A Montage of AWU Scandal Reports –
– Gillard to become “Open-Season” –
| Author: EYE-BALL Opinion | 2nd Nov 2012 |
T he Sky News interview Julia Gillard gave on the 20th Aug 2012 with with Paul Kelly elevated the AWU scandal once again to the front pages of the mainstream media – be it ever so briefly.

The interview covered a number of issues including the ‘stop the boats’ debate that divided the House into a debate that shamed most Australians.   Mid way through the debate Paul Kelly asked the first of many questions all Australia were waiting for.

The ‘Sky News’ YouTube replay of this interview can be viewed below: [the Paul Kelly moment happens at around the 13th minute if you want to fast forward …]

This AWU Scandal story has had a few runs in mainstream media dating back to 2007.    ‘The Australian’ multi Walkely award winning Journalist – Hedley Thomas began to cover the story in serious mode during Aug 2012 and summarised the time line of the scandal in an article published on the 18th Aug 2012 – see below:

The political controversy that won’t go away


| Author: Hedley Thomas | Date: 18th Aug 2012 | Link to On-Line Story. |

JULIA Gillard’s dealings with the AWU continue to haunt her.

HOW THE WILSON AFFAIR HAS UNFOLDED

1987: Julia Gillard is employed by Slater & Gordon, a Melbourne-based law firm, as a solicitor and is subsequently promoted in 1990 to the role of salaried partner of the firm.

LATE 1991: Gillard, who has political ambitions, starts a romantic relationship with Bruce Wilson, a leading figure in the Australian Workers Union and a favourite of AWU heavyweight Bill Ludwig.

LATE 1991-AUGUST 1995: Gillard performs much of the legal work for Wilson and the AWU’s branches in Western Australia and Victoria, which were controlled by Wilson and his union bagman, AWU official Ralph Blewitt.

EARLY-TO-MID 1992: Gillard does the legal work for Wilson and Blewitt to establish the AWU Workplace Reform Association, an entity registered in WA and subject to legislation. The association was supposed to promote training and safety on construction sites. The association’s rules, which were drafted by Gillard, do not permit union officials to benefit personally.

1992-95: Wilson and Blewitt persuade large companies including Thiess and Woodside, which have major building projects staffed by AWU members, to make payments to the AWU Workplace Reform Association to promote training and safety for AWU members.

1992-95: AWU national heads and other senior AWU figures are unaware that the association has been established or that hundreds of thousands of dollars are being raised from large companies.

EARLY 1993: Gillard’s romantic and solicitor-client relationship with Wilson continues. Wilson moves to Melbourne to run the AWU in Victoria and organises the purchase for $230,000 of a house at 85 Kerr Street, Fitzroy, in the name of Blewitt, with Wilson having power of attorney.

EARLY 1993: Gillard attends the auction with Wilson of the house at 85 Kerr Street, Fitzroy.

MARCH 1993: The purchase of the house is settled. Cheques totalling about $70,000 and drawn from accounts directly related to the AWU Workplace Reform Association go into the purchase. Slater & Gordon’s mortgage lending arm lends $150,000 to Blewitt to buy the house.

MARCH 1993-AUGUST 1995: Wilson lives in the house. Gillard visits regularly as Wilson’s girlfriend. Blewitt visits occasionally from Perth, where he lives and runs the WA branch of the AWU.

AUGUST 1995: The AWU’s joint national secretary, Ian Cambridge (now a Fair Work Australia commissioner), Queensland AWU head Bill Ludwig and others identify irregularities in the Victorian branch’s financial accounts and start an internal investigation. Their investigations involve Robert McClelland, then a solicitor providing legal advice, and threats to call in police.

AUGUST 1995: Wilson and Blewitt are made redundant by their branch, against the wishes of Cambridge and Ludwig, who suspect the pair have committed fraud and unsuccessfully try to stop the payouts with Federal Court injunctions.

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1995: Gillard’s law partners at Slater & Gordon become concerned that her client is accused of misappropriating significant sums of money. The partners start a secret internal investigation. Gillard ends her relationship with Wilson. The firm stops acting for Wilson and Blewitt.

SEPTEMBER 11, 1995: As part of the investigation, Gillard agrees to be questioned about her actions in a tape-recorded interview conducted by two other partners. A lengthy transcript of the interview is produced. The firm’s partners are surprised and disappointed at the findings of their investigation and make a joint decision that Gillard must leave the firm.

OCTOBER 12, 1995: A Victorian government minister, Phil Gude, claims in state parliament that Gillard had been forced to leave Slater & Gordon, and that she was directly linked to the misappropriation of union funds, and that she had benefited from renovations to her own house, and that she had to pay money back to the AWU so that she and Wilson could “cover their tracks”. Gillard, who was an ALP Senate candidate, tells The Australian at the time: “Whether or not Mr Wilson was a client of mine is irrelevant. Each and every allegation raised about me is absolutely untrue; there is not a shred of truth in any of it.”

Gillard adds that she has “no intention of leaving” Slater & Gordon.

OCTOBER 1995: Gillard abruptly leaves Slater & Gordon.

JANUARY 23, 1996: Cambridge writes to Laurie Brereton, then federal Labor minister for industrial relations, and requests a judicial inquiry or royal commission into how the union and Wilson have misused funds.

Cambridge adds: “Quite frankly I am now certain that the Victorian affair goes a lot deeper than I had first suspected, and I am afraid that underlying the whole mess may be issues of serious corruption.”

FEBRUARY 1996: The house at 85 Kerr Street, Fitzroy, is sold. The proceeds after the mortgage is repaid go to Wilson and Blewitt.

APRIL 1996: The AWU hierarchy and Cambridge discover for the first time the existence of the AWU Workplace Reform Association, set up by Gillard four years earlier and controlled by Wilson and Blewitt. Cambridge traces dozens of cheques for hundreds of thousands of dollars that have gone through the association’s accounts without the union’s knowledge.

MID-TO-LATE 1996: Police start fraud squad investigations in Western Australia and Victoria. Cambridge, Ludwig and the AWU want police to bring criminal charges and recover the funds.

MID 1996: Gillard, having been unsuccessful in her Senate bid, becomes chief of staff to Victoria’s then opposition leader, John Brumby.

FEBRUARY 2001: Liberal frontbencher Geoff Leigh accuses Gillard in Victorian parliament of having wrongly received $57,000 of AWU funds. Gillard rejects the claims, describing them as “malicious and unfounded abuse of parliamentary privilege”.

NOVEMBER 2007: A fortnight before Labor’s federal election win, Glenn Milne, a News Limited senior political reporter, interviews Gillard. In a story headlined “A conman broke my heart” and published in Sunday newspapers, the then deputy opposition leader described her relationship with Wilson and her role as his solicitor, and stated: “I was young and naive. I am by no means the first person to find out that someone close turns out to be different to what you had believed them to be. I was obviously hurt when I was later falsely accused publicly of wrongdoing.” Wilson, drummed out of the union in 1995 and near-penniless, maintains his silence.

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER last year: Fairfax Radio 2UE broadcaster Michael Smith, journalist Glenn Milne (then writing for The Australian) and Herald Sun commentator Andrew Bolt revisit the issue and republish allegations against Gillard, who responds in a fury to John Hartigan, the then chairman of News Limited Australia. The Australian newspaper publicly apologises to Gillard for an error made by Milne, who loses his role. Smith is banned from broadcasting an interview with a former union official with knowledge of the matters. Smith loses his job. Bolt considers resigning but stays on.

JUNE THIS YEAR: Former federal attorney-general Robert McClelland, who had been sacked by Gillard after his support for Kevin Rudd in his leadership bid, resurrects the 1995 union funds scandal by making a speech in federal parliament in which he speaks of Gillard’s role then, and his own role as a lawyer for an opposing side. Gillard declines to comment.

JUNE: The Australian receives additional documentary information and resumes investigations. Harry Nowicki, a former personal injury lawyer writing a history of the AWU, discloses his findings after extensive travel and interviews with key parties.

THIS MONTH: The Australian interviews Blewitt who breaks his silence after 17 years. Blewitt admits there were “sham transactions” and seeks indemnity from prosecution for his role. Gillard declines to comment. Wayne Swan says it is “not a story”.

THIS MONTH: The Australian discloses that newly released documents obtained under Freedom of Information show that fraud squad police and their legal adviser in Western Australia in 1996-97 regarded Wilson and Blewitt as crooks who should be prosecuted for criminal offences. Gillard declines to comment.

THIS MONTH: Slater & Gordon lawyers reveal to The Australian that the firm is conducting an internal review. The firm asks the AWU for permission to lift a legal lid on highly sensitive files on the union scandal. Gillard declines to comment. AWU head Paul Howes declines to comment.

TODAY: Nick Styant-Browne, a former equity partner at Slater & Gordon, breaks his silence and tells The Weekend Australian of serious concerns the firm held about Gillard’s conduct in the Wilson and AWU matters, resulting in her leaving her job. Gillard again denies being involved in any wrongdoing.

Since this story was published, and from well before Glenn Milne, Larry Pickering, Mike Smith, Shane Dowling, and Alan Jones had been running a campaign to foster the belief held by many that Gillard was a ‘crook’ – and own’s a past that all Australia deserved to know about.

Hedley Thomas has run a number of stories that have been covered by authors attached to this blog site, namely The EYE-BALL Opinion, and EYE-BALL’s Harry’s Growl – and a list of those posts where the Hedley Thomas story is highlighted is listed below:

  1. 26th Oct – The Turkey Basted Gillard – and “The Australian’s” Hedley Thomas’s recipe for Slow Roasting a Prime Minister – [… PUBLIC documents that were essential in the fraudulent operation of a union slush fund that Julia Gillard helped to establish 20 years ago are missing from the official file in Western Australia. The file, numbered 000 748 and titled “Australian Workers Union — Workplace Reform Association Inc”, is held in archives by the State Records Office in Perth… ]
  2. 16th Oct – Hedley Thomas is back – and Gillard knee’s begin to tremble – [ …A UNION official with a modest salary and a big mortgage on his house suddenly produced about $100,000 in cash in 1993 to buy a $230,000 property in Melbourne for Julia Gillard’s then boyfriend, the allegedly corrupt union boss Bruce Wilson.Newly released documents from the legal file for the Australian Workers Union official, Ralph Blewitt, show that in March 1993 a firm of Perth accountants told the Slater & Gordon law firm, where the Prime Minister then worked as a salaried partner, that his gross salary that year was $51,801.…]  click here  to read news story on-line –
  3. the second story included in this post carried the story:  […A SENSITIVE file at the heart of a union fraud scandal that caused top partners in the legal firm of Slater & Gordon to lose trust and confidence in their colleague, Julia Gillard, is the subject of a new tug-of-war over whether its contents can ever be disclosed — if they can even be found.The file’s documents would relate to the legal advice, notes and correspondence produced by Ms Gillard in her role, as a solicitor at the firm, in the 1992 establishment of the controversial Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association. …] – click here to read news story on-line –
  4. and a third story was also covered in this post:  [… A UNION leader who ensured Julia Gillard’s success in ousting Kevin Rudd has slammed her former employer, Slater & Gordon, accusing the legal firm of unprofessional conduct over a fraud scandal.Australian Workers Union boss Paul Howes had stayed silent as facts emerged over the past two months about the Prime Minister’s actions as a solicitor that led to a secret internal probe at Slater & Gordon in 1995, and top partners of the firm losing trust and confidence in her. …] – click here to read this story on-line.
  5. 25th Sept – Alas, Hedley Thomas has returned – Not to Sink Gillard, but to sink Campbell Newman’s Wivenhoe Dam coverup –
  6. 25th Aug – Hedley Thomas – Australian Hero – Journalist story calls media to account – [… ONE week ago, the grand sum of information on which most Australians could reasonably rely to make informed judgments about the conduct of Julia Gillard – before she embarked on a career in the political arena – was divided into four vastly different blocs.The first of these is Australia’s mainstream news and documentary media, the journalists responsible for the first draft of history. In particular, Fairfax Media ‘s The Age (because of Gillard’s residency in Melbourne), News Limited’s Herald Sun, the ABC, and The Australian. …] – click here to read this story on-line.

Our Prime Minister maintains that – ‘she has done nothing wrong’, and challenges anyone to make an allegation, or put to her a question of a wrong doing.

This week the Opposition did pose some questions relating to the AWU scandal and each time – the PM responded – ‘I refer you to my previous answers  to these questions on the record’.

Gillard can keep doing this as can the Opposition, up to a point … the media who should be in front of the story are abstaining and do not want to paint the PM because they are to lazy to do the leg work … evidence is hard to come by, and as quoted – files have gone missing, S&G can’t locate the AWU file that Gillard stated she set up – ‘off the books’ … yet $100k’s went through the bank accounts Gillard set up.

There is no such thing as the presumption if innocence when it comes to political corruption – yet Slipper, Thompson and Gillard with the help of Nicola Roxon have covered their arse’s and had the time to destroy documents that would/could incriminate them.

The House has one sitting left before the Christmas break.   in the four weeks until that sitting begins – this AWU scandal has the chance to go mainstream if the whistleblowers do their job, if the media do their job and pressure the PM and her Cabinet and the caucus to revisit Gillard’s credentials and how she became the PM.

Australia deserves better … and with the Opposition about to enter their own world of pain over Leadership issues – another three years of this PM at the helm will turn Australia into a Nation full of disdain and a vile mistrust of Politicians that will lead to something that might be regretted.

Gillard should fall on her sword – she should know her days are numbered and leave before this AWU scandal brings the whole House down … or maybe not because then the whole Union corruption thing might become exposed …

 

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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. November 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Sorry = I meant to put links to other sites pursuing this story in the above blog – you could spend hours, days even reading all the disclosed evidence at these sites … and yet PM Gillard states she has answered all the relevant questions …

    Please enjoy the links provided….

    1. Larry Pickering
    2. The Kanagrro Court of Australia – Shane Dowling
    3. Mike Smith
    4. Andrew Bolt
    5. Alan Jones
  2. November 2, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    He is another YouTube – 5 lies told by Julia Gillard …

    [youtube”http://youtu.be/cCNYb3XWVTE&w=420&h=308″]

  3. November 2, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Julia Gillard confronted about her lies …

    [youtube”http://youtu.be/nSiLyIcDgwg&w=420&h=308″]

  4. November 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Julian Assange ask’s Gillard a direct question …

    [youtube”http://youtu.be/T1q9eqhT5UM&w=420&h=308″]

  5. November 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Gillards first speech in the Parliament as the new PM …

    [youtube”http://youtu.be/RJnaLB1z3Dc&w=420&h=308″]

  6. November 2, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    The best Question ever asked of the Treasurer …

    [youtube”http://youtu.be/r0UJGwj3c8E&w=420&h=308″]

    The question is still relevant given Swan’s promise to produce a budget surplus in 2012-13 … as at the latest RBA update fr the 2012-12 year – the budget is currently $8.7 billion in deficit … at this time last year it was $23 million in deficit at the end of Nov ’11 and the same value at the end of Sep -’11 …

    Monthly figures for the Jly -Sep 2012 are not yet published … this is unusual as notmally when the excel fileis downloaded it is up to date as at the previous month less one more month i’e. June to Sept should be displayed … the reason is obvious …

    link to the RBA Excel spreadsheet –

    monthy – http://www.rba.gov.au/statistics/tables/xls/e01ahist.xls?accessed=2012-11-02-19-47-26
    annually – http://www.rba.gov.au/statistics/tables/xls/e01bhist.xls?accessed=2012-11-02-19-47-26

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