Prime Minister cannot continue to leave an example of 'trust me' and 'I was young and naive' while other Australians would have come before the justice system
Julia Gillard claimed that she was young and naive while her then partner, Bruce Wilson, siphoned members' funds from the AWU but instead she was a 36 year old lawyer, and a partner in the burgeoning law firm, Slater and Gordon.
A Royal Commission is long overdue into the AWU scandal and especially with the now 66 year old Ralph Blewitt coming out of nowhere, for whatever reasons, and publicly admitting wrong-doing and calling for his immunity from prosecution in order to provide testimony.
Australia cannot point the finger at other countries and lampoon them as tinpot regimes with keystone like processes, accusatory in terms of corruption, nepotism, cultures of favour dispensation, clandestine social but powerful networks to the point of being aversive to white collar criminality while grave questions remain like a dark pall over the Office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, however indeed over the whole of parliament and therefore its parliamentary processes.
Darkly, the questionable circumstances that beguile aspersion in the public domain linger far beyond Julia Gillard and how she rose through the ALP and how too she is backed strongly by the powerful faction, the AWU. It was a lawyer, thereabouts the same age as Ms Gillard who pursued Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt for the monies, and who pursued the AWU to change its governance and ensure checks and balances so as to avoid a similar predicament arising. The lawyer was Robert McClelland who would go on to become Attorney-General appointed by Kevin Rudd and who would be sacked earlier this year by Julia Gillard because of his public support for the resurrection of Kevin Rudd as prime minister. McClelland not only was one of the lawyers acting on behalf of the AWU in advising what they should do to recover the funds however he became so immersed in remedying these wrongs that he did his Master thesis on the whole debacle. The other person who has also risen out of this kerfuffle into the Cabinet is Joe Ludwig, and at the time he was the national head of the AWU and as national president launched one legal pursuit after another to recover the monies and in that Mr Wilson be prosecuted.
In recent days it has been revealed that the investigating police at the time did want to prosecute Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt and indeed that they considered them 'crooks' - how is it then that they were never prosecuted and how is it that the funds have gone missing, and how is that that a judicial inquiry has never been launched?
It is the poorest of examples and the collapse from integrity for any parliamentarian to insist that one should be trusted alone, while other Australians would be brought before the various processes of the justice systems.
We can with good source advise readers that the Prime Minister and some of her aides have called various news media and chastised them to such an extent when stories of Mr Wilson and Ms Gillard's alleged involvement have flared into print or online that on occasion some news media has removed the online copy or from archives - this is censorship to remove or reduce access to a published article - and it is questionable in a climate of fear by some news media as to the looming but yet to be proposed media restrictions. There should only be few questions that a Prime Minister and parliamentarians should not be prepared to answer, and questions about alleged indiscretions, even by proximity to them, must be answered and often furthered by judicial inquiry - no-one should enter parliament or continue to hold parliamentary office if they are not prepared to urgently questions before judicial inquiry. The dark pall over the Australian government, as cleaned up on the surface by minions in abuses of power, rots the foundations of democracy and the integrity it hopes that foundations are mortared by.
All dredged up and nowhere to go
(Should the ABC be clouted around like this?)
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Gillard tangled in old scandal
COPS WANTED JULIA GILLARD'S EX-PARTNER, BRUCE WILSON, CHARGED - by Hedley Thomas, The Australian, August 4
INTERNAL documents from an exhaustive police probe into a union funds scandal in the 1990s show detectives suspected former Australian Workers' Union boss Bruce Wilson and his then alleged bagman, Ralph Blewitt, were "crooks" and wanted them criminally prosecuted over a $400,000-plus alleged fraud.
The documents from the police file include letters showing leaders of the powerful AWU, which remains the most influential industrial supporter of the federal Labor government, were deeply annoyed that the two men were not charged with criminal offences.
Most of the funds that allegedly went missing had been paid into an entity, the AWU Workplace Reform Association.
Julia Gillard, as a solicitor at the time for Slater & Gordon lawyers in Melbourne, which acted for Mr Wilson, Mr Blewitt and the AWU, did legal work related to the establishment of the association in Western Australia.
At the time, Mr Wilson and the Prime Minister were in a close relationship. Ms Gillard has repeatedly and strenuously denied that she had any knowledge of what the association was going to be used for, and has also denied receiving any benefit. She has declined to provide further comment about her role at the time and referred the newspaper to her previous strong denials of wrongdoing.
In a 1997 memo, released under Freedom of Information last month, the WA police fraud squad's then Detective Sergeant David McAlpine described the alleged scam and how it involved soliciting large cheque payments from major construction companies.
Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt allegedly told the companies to make the payments to fund measures to improve safety for workers on construction sites. The police file shows that payments totalling more than $400,000 went through bank accounts tied to the AWU Workplace Reform Association.
However, police and the AWU found that the promised safety measures did not occur and the cash was siphoned off for the use of Mr Wilson, who had moved from WA to become the AWU's Victoria head, and his ally Mr Blewitt. The AWU's furious federal leadership, which did not authorise the new entity and knew nothing of its formation, made numerous formal complaints to police in Victoria and Western Australia, and launched actions in the Industrial Relations Court in a bid to recover the funds. Robert McClelland, Australia's future attorney-general, was part of the bid to recover the money.
A three-page memo from Sergeant McAlpine to the squad's legal officer, Samantha Tough, stated: "The point of this report is to obtain from you a better sense of direction in regards to charging the two crooks (Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt)."
Ms Tough's file-notes and other documents show she considered fraud, conspiracy and other criminal charges but concluded that police would need the co-operation of a key party, who declined to help. Ms Tough said search warrants should be executed in Victoria.
One of the AWU leadership's confidential letters to the fraud squad stated: "It is very difficult for people within the AWU to come to terms with these issues when they (have) seen other high-profile figures who have been taken to court recently, claiming money belonged to them."
Ms Tough was in agreement and noted: "I should add that the position we find ourselves in is extremely frustrating."
The police running-sheet states that "suspect withdrawals" were made to buy a Melbourne house at the centre of the alleged fraud, in Kerr Street, Fitzroy, in 1993. Mr Blewitt was the legal owner of the house, purchased with allegedly stolen money for the use of Mr Wilson in a transaction handled and part-financed by Slater & Gordon solicitors. The firm waived its conveyancing fees.
Mr Blewitt, 66, has now broken a 17-year silence on the matter in an interview with The Australian in which he has admitted his wrongdoing and pledged to co-operate in new investigations in Victoria and Western Australia. He said he would fully expose the alleged fraud and conduct of others to police and prosecutors in return for an assurance that he would not be prosecuted.
"I knew at the time there were sham transactions. I knew at the time it was wrong. My greatest fear is that I incriminate myself but this has to come out now," Mr Blewitt said.
The Fitzroy house became a key part of the police and union investigation involving Mr Wilson, who has previously denied wrongdoing, and Mr Blewitt, who now admits the alleged fraud.
Ian Cambridge, then national head of the AWU (and now a Fair Work commissioner), stated in an affidavit in the Industrial Relations Court in 1996 that he was "unable to understand how Slater and Gordon, who were then acting for the Victoria Branch of the Union, could have permitted the use of funds which were obviously taken from the union, in the purchase of private property of this nature, without seeking and obtaining proper authority from the union".
Asked to respond to Mr Cambridge's concern and the new revelations, Andrew Grech, managing director of the Melbourne-based firm, said: "These matters occurred some 17 years ago. Slater & Gordon is obviously a very different law firm to the small partnership that existed some 17 years ago.
"The people who were acting for the AWU at that time, have long since left the firm. No one who is at Slater and Gordon today has any personal knowledge of the circumstances surrounding this matter. And in any event, we would be restricted in what could be said because of client confidentiality. We are very proud of the firm that now employs more than 1650 staff across more than 80 locations throughout Australia and the UK."
PUSH TO RELAUNCH FRAUD PROBE
By Gary Adshead, Sean Cowan - The West Australian - August 18
An unremarkable Maylands storage unit could provide new clues to $1 million fraud allegations written off by police but which have frustrated union officials and dogged Prime Minister Julia Gillard during her political career.
Tim Daly, a former State secretary of the Australian Workers Union, can still recall his decision to box up and lock away hundreds of documents in the late 1990s knowing that the stench of the financial dealings would one day return.
Two AWU executives, Ralph Blewitt and Bruce Wilson, were investigated in 1995 and 1996 over allegations made to police and the NSW Industrial Relations Commission that they had channelled up to $1 million into secret WA bank accounts and a bogus union association in Northbridge.
There was also a separate police probe into claims that money from an AWU members' fatal accident and death fund was used to buy two holiday units in Kalbarri.
No charges were ever laid in relation to either case.
At the time of the alleged frauds, Ms Gillard was in a relationship with Mr Wilson and acting as Slater and Gordon's lawyer for the AWU, but she has repeatedly denied any involvement or knowledge of Mr Wilson's conduct which police investigated.
Earlier this month, the old allegations surfaced again when Mr Blewitt, a former State secretary of the AWU in Perth, said he would reveal everything he knew in return for immunity from prosecution.
Mr Wilson, who was also the union's WA secretary before moving to Melbourne, has never spoken publicly about the investigations.
But in the mid-1990s, Mr Daly became the union's boss in WA and pushed hard for Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt to be prosecuted over claims fake entities were used to receive huge sums of cash from construction companies in the name of workplace training and reform.
"I'm still very frustrated by the outcome of the whole thing," Mr Daly said.
He said nothing he saw in the documents in storage had Ms Gillard's name on it. Ms Gillard was advising Mr Wilson and the AWU when the alleged fraud was taking place.
Newspaper archives show Ms Gillard travelled with Mr Wilson to Boulder in 1992 to allay members' concerns about a decision to transfer the management of a Goldfields death fund to the union's head office in Perth.
Ms Gillard addressed members in Boulder Town Hall to explain why it should happen.
Three years later, police were asked to investigate the use of $145,000 from the fund by Mr Blewitt to buy two Kalbarri units in the AWU's name.
Mr Daly said authorities should take up Mr Blewitt on his offer.
"I don't want to see the current government damaged in any way," Mr Daly said.
The Prime Minister's office referred _The Weekend West _ to previous statements she has made.
She has described herself as "young and naïve" at the time of her relationship with Mr Wilson, which she ended, and could not be held responsible for anything illegal he may have done.
Mr Wilson is believed to be living in NSW and could not be contacted.
NO COMMENT BY JULIA GILLARD AFTER A PARTNER AT SLATER AND GORDON SAID SHE HAD TO RESIGN AFTER INTERNAL PROBE
No comment from law firm resignation: PM - AAP - August 19
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is refusing to discuss accusations regarding her resignation from a prominent law firm in 1995, saying it wouldn't stop the "malicious and motivated" commentary.
News Limited is reporting Ms Gillard left her job as a partner at Slater & Gordon as a direct result of a secret internal probe into controversial work she had done for her then boyfriend, a union boss accused of corruption.
The new claims have been made by a former partner at the firm, Nick Styant-Browne.
The prime minister says she refuses to dignify the "scurrilous" attack with a response.
"We are talking about matters 17 year ago which have been dealt on the public record," Ms Gillard told Sky News on Sunday.
"I am not going to get into a circumstance when we've got people blogging malicious nonsense and we're having some of this penetrate into the media.
"This is just nonsense and a distraction from the important work I've got to do as prime minister.
"I did nothing wrong. If you've got an allegation that I did something wrong then put it."
Ms Gillard said she had continuing good relationships with Slater & Gordon, and nothing about the allegations was relevant to her conduct as prime minister.
Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne said there were very serious questions about the prime minister's integrity and she should make a personal explanation to parliament.
Files held by Slater & Gordon should also be released detailing the circumstances surrounding Ms Gillard's resignation.
"In the interest of clearing the prime minister's name, those files should be released," he told Sky News.
But Ms Gillard said she wouldn't make any comment because it would only feed the fire.
"The people who are dealing with this online in their malicious and motivated way would not stop no matter what explanation I gave," she said.
"That is why there is no point in flogging through all the details of this, because the people who are pursuing this malicious campaign will continue to do it. They are not at all interested in the truth."
Defence Minister Stephen Smith played down the issue.
"If people are asking questions about that they should make an allegation about her conduct," he told Network Ten.
"What does something that occurred 17 years ago, with respect to a law firm she was working with that she now has an ongoing good relationship (with), have to do with the big issues of running the economy and running our national security interests?"
And this ABC report, it's a must read - August 19
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has dismissed a report in The Australian newspaper which raises claims about why she quit her job with law firm Slater and Gordon.
The report says Ms Gillard resigned as a partner with Slater and Gordon as a direct result of an internal probe into work she had done for a former boyfriend.
The newspaper's editor at large, Paul Kelly, raised the story with Ms Gillard on Sky News, but did not put any allegations to her.
The Prime Minister responded by describing the story as "malicious nonsense" and challenged Mr Kelly to come up with an allegation of any wrongdoing on her part.
"I'm not going to get myself into a circumstance where I spend my time dealing with a circumstance 17 years ago when the people who are asking the questions about them are unable to even articulate what it is they say I did wrong," she said.
"This is just nonsense and a distraction from the important work that I have to do as Prime Minister."
Nick Styant-Browne, a former equity partner of Slater and Gordon, told The Australian the firm's probe included a confidential formal interview with Ms Gillard, who was then an industrial lawyer, on September 11, 1995.
He said in the interview, which was "recorded and transcribed", Ms Gillard could not categorically rule out that she had personally benefited from union funds in the renovation of her Melbourne house.
The Australian says the firm's probe revolved around Ms Gillard's work since mid-1992 for the Australian Workers Union, and her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson, the AWU's leader at the time.
Mr Styant-Browne told The Australian:
"She (Ms Gillard) had extensively renovated her own house in Abbotsford. Mr Wilson had assisted in the renovations. She believed she had paid for all the work and materials, and had receipts which she agreed to produce. She was aware someone had sought payment from the AWU for work and materials he had supplied for the house.
"He was mistaken or misinformed. But she could not categorically deny AWU union or Workplace Association monies had been used for any of the work. As at the time of the interview, her relationship with Mr Wilson had recently ended."
Explaining his reasons for speaking out, Mr Styant-Browne told The Australian: "It has recently become clear to me that there is a genuine public interest in this story, which has prompted my statement now".
IT IS TIME FOR A ROYAL COMMISSION, AND WHILE THE PRIME MINISTER IS IN OFFICE - otherwise the integrity of the Office of the Prime Minister continues to be eroded - one cannot ask for immunity or be afforded a trust not afforded to all others
UPDATE: This article by the Herald Sun's Andrew Bolt (former Liberal Party President) does contain a reliable summary and pertinent questions - http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/awu-scandal-involving-prime-minister...
excerpts include: "The application Gillard prepared to register the association in 1992 falsely claimed its main purpose was "to achieve safe workplaces".
On March 6, 1992, a public notice to incorporate the association ran in the West Australian under Blewett's name, claiming it was "formed for the purpose of promoting and encouraging workplace reform for workers performing construction and maintenance work"." "This too was false."
"But what shames the media is that so many political journalists for years never wanted to ask any questions at all."
"Only one journalist, News Limited's Glenn Milne, bothered to cover the allegations in a heavily legalled article headlined "A conman broke my heart", in which Gillard gave her only public explanation.
"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."
Gillard later told biographer Jacqueline Kent: "Over the next two or three days I received phone calls from many of the biggest names in the Canberra press gallery expressing absolute disbelief that such things were said (by Milne).
"Nobody followed up the story. It just died."
"No threats were made but every News executive knew the Government was already considering new laws to punish the "hate media".
As in News Ltd.
Milne's column and some of my blog posts were removed. The ABC's Insiders dumped Milne as a panelist. Fairfax forced out Smith."
"But the story started to go mainstream only in June when former Labor attorney-general Robert McClelland told Parliament he and Gillard had acted as solicitors for "opposing clients" in the AWU scandal, and he'd been convinced we needed tougher laws against union corruption.
The Australian took a fresh interest in the story, and so did Fairfax's Financial Review, now under a new editor."
"Key witnesses also emerged, some thanks to former Builders Laborers Federation organiser Harry Nowicki, who had retired from his successful law practice to write a history of the AWU."
"Former Wilson bagman Ralph Blewett flew back from Malaysia to tell The Australian's Hedley Thomas of Gillard and Wilson, offering to reveal more if given legal indemnity.
Former Slater & Gordon partner Nick Styant-Browne last week told Thomas of Gillard's most startling admissions in the 1995 interview, excerpts of which The Australian published yesterday."
"How Gillard will come out of this, I cannot tell.
But however bad it gets for her, it's even worse for media."
POST 34 from a blogger summarises why a Royal Commission should happen and quickly so:
"Maybe some of all this can be explained by relationships - and that power and relationships can corrupt. Gillard was part of a major law firm, her partner an AWU leader, she acted for him as a lawyer and spokesperson (Boulder Town Hall, 1992). McClelland was a lawyer pursuing Wilson. Shorten too. Ludwig too. Roxon gets a nod as a lawyer in pursuing the AWU rorts. Shorten and Roxon are together for a while. Emerson and Gillard are together for a while. All these players finish up well connected, Labor powerbrokers and in the highest office in the nation.
Yeah, I agree, a Royal Commission can only clean up the air."
DETECTIVES investigating an alleged $400,000 union fraud in the 1990s wanted to prosecute a former boyfriend of Julia Gillard over the matter, it's been reported.
Former radio host Mike Smith has tracked down Bruce Wilson who was the sexual partner of Julia Gillard when she helped him rip of the AWU of over $1 million back in the 1990′s.
On Friday Mike Smith did an interview with Sydney radio host Alan Jones covering the fraud. What became clear to me while listening to the interview, given the amount of new detail, is that Mike Smith is still on the trail of the missing money and Julia Gillard and her involvement. I spoke to Mike Smith today and he confirmed that he is very much still on the case.
Bruce Wilson is the one person who very much holds the key as far as knowledge and evidence of Julia Gillard’s involvement in the fraud in concerned. Now he has been found it may only be a matter of time before he spills the beans on Julia Gillard. Mike Smith talks about it in his interview with Alan Jones.
My first post on the matter which I did last year was titled “Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s criminal history and her hypocrisy with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.” (Click here to read the post)
Below is the interview by Alan Jones with Mike Smith. It starts off with Alan Jones giving a background overview then he gives Mike Smith plenty of air time to say what he knows. And he knows plenty. For those who do not know Alan Jones has the number 1 ranked radio show in Sydney.
The interview is a must listen for every Australian. With unanswered questions in Gillard’s background of involvement in fraud and theft she should never have been allowed to become Prime Minister.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s criminal history and her hypocrisy with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
Julia Gillard had criminal allegations made against her in 1995 when she was accused of helping her boyfriend steal over $1,000,000 from the Australian Workers Union (AWU) and helping him spend the money on such things as her personal home renovations and dresses.
Julia Gillard has never denied helping him rip off the $1,000,000 plus dollars, what she has done is denied doing it knowingly. Her part was helping set up an account called the “AWU Members Welfare Association No 1 Account” and possibly other accounts that the money was laundered through when she was a lawyer working for Slater and Gordon who were the solicitors representing the Australian Workers Union.
The allegations against Julia Gillard were initially raised in the Victorian Parliament in 1995.
In an interview with Glenn Milne of the Sydney Sunday Telegraph in 2007 Julia Gillard said:
“These matters happened between 12 and 15 years ago,” Ms Gillard told The Sunday Telegraph. “I was young and naive.
“I was in a relationship, which I ended, and obviously it was all very distressing. 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. It’s an ordinary human error.
“I was obviously hurt when I was later falsely accused publicly of wrong-doing. I didn’t do anything wrong and to have false allegations in the media was distressing.”
The article also says “But she has strenuously denied ever knowing what the association’s bank accounts were used for.” (Click here to read the full article)
Has Julia Gillard blackmailed the Media to cover-up her corrupt past? The Fairfax Media and News Corp scandal.
What we know about Gillardgate:
Back in the 1990s Julia Gillard was in a romantic relationship with former AWU official Bruce Wilson,
Bruce Wilson had Julia Gillard set-up a number of bank accounts under the guise of AWU operations,
Julia Gillard was the AWU’s legal counsel,
The bank accounts turned out to be funnelling union money to pay for Bruce Wilson’s personal expenses, around $1 million,
When found out, Bruce Wilson sought legal counsel from Slater and Gordon as represented by Julia Gillard,
Gillard left Slater and Gordon. In 1995 in Victoria’s Parliament it was claimed the reason Gillard left was to work for the AWU to pay back the money involved in Wilson’s scam.
In 2001 in Victoria’s Parliament it was detailed that out of the $1 million stolen, $57,500 went directly to Julia Gillard: $17,500 was spent on clothing at Town Mode and $40,000 spent on renovations to her house in Melbourne.
Gillard has generally denied any suggestion that she did anything wrong, saying that she was ‘young and naïve’ at the time and did not know what was going on.
Last week an affidavit was signed by a former AWU official, interviewed and fact checked by 2UE’s Michael Smith, that substantiates claims of wrong doing and also details that Gillard and Wilson were in a de facto relationship and that AWU bribery and stand-over tactics were used to shut the issue up. It is claimed these tactics included the involvement of a Federal ALP figure, Senator Stephen Conroy…..I think.
This week Julia Gillard and her people have been hurriedly ringing the media trying to get the story closed down, including getting The Australian to pull a Glenn Milne article which detailed the points above. Andrew Bolt has also been muzzled over at the Herald Sun from publishing a similar article – although this article may be published tomorrow, probably electronically. The media have been pulling any article from the web referencing the scandal from 2007.
Michael Smith is still trying to get permission from 2UE to play the full 30 minute interview with his former AWU contact.
I have no idea how true or untrue the details above are and I am not accusing anyone. However, we do know that Gillard was in a relationship with an AWU official (Bruce Wilson) while also acting as the AWU’s legal counsel and that she did set-up the bank accounts under question for Bruce Wilson. Gillard has admitted as much.
My only question: Who was getting and/or reading the bank account statements, Bruce Wilson or Julia Gillard?
Here is the affidavit signed by Bob Kernohan and vetted by 2UE’s Michael Smith which details that Gillard and Wilson shared a home paid for with corrupt AWU money. The declaration is not really ground breaking. It is a case of ‘he said that, who heard that’, mmm…….No silver bullet here.
Gillard's partner since 2006 is Tim Mathieson. She has had previous relationships with union officials Michael O'Connor and Bruce Wilson and fellow Federal Labor MP Craig Emerson.
JULIA Gillard sacked only one of the ministers who backed Kevin Rudd in February's leadership brawl.
Now her victim, former Attorney-General Robert McClelland, is making her pay a high price.
He's revived a 1990s union scandal that Gillard must have thought she'd buried - one involving her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson, accused of misappropriating $500,000.
This is a story a furious Gillard last year managed to shut down, shouting in private calls to newspaper executives and obtaining the retraction of an entire column in The Australian.
Two journalists - veteran commentator Glenn Milne and Fairfax radio's Michael Smith, a former policeman - even lost their jobs trying to report it.
For at least two months, McClelland has debated what to say about the Wilson case, which has disturbed him.
FACEBOOK ADVISED THAT WE RISKED PERMANENT BANNING IF THIS FOLLOWING STORY WAS NOT REMOVED. IT WAS DULY REMOVED BUT RE-POSTED ON PICKERING’S WEB SITE. WE ARE RISKING RE-POSTING THE ARTICLE HERE NOW (without alteration) BECAUSE FURTHER INFORMATION HAS COME TO LIGHT REGARDING MAJOR MEDIA PHONE HACKING THAT IS APROPOS TO, AND A CONTINUANCE OF, THIS ARTICLE.
AWU SCANDAL QUESTIONS LINGER
THE former union official who has offered to throw new light on 17-year-old allegations of corruption in the Australian Workers Union should be given a hearing, if only to put to rest the rumours and conspiracy theories that mostly populate the internet, spread though the blogosphere and find their way into the twitterverse.
All too often these claims lack evidence, credibility and believability. But yesterday, Hedley Thomas reported that former AWU official Ralph Blewitt, who is linked to a corruption scandal allegedly perpetrated by former Victorian AWU secretary Bruce Wilson -- Prime Minister Julia Gillard's former boyfriend -- wants to reveal what he knows in return for immunity from prosecution.
He will give evidence about the siphoning of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the union into an entity that Mr Wilson used to buy a house in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy. At the time, Ms Gillard worked as a lawyer with Slater & Gordon, which set up the entity that received the funds.
It is in the union movement's interest that these allegations are resolved. New information about another corruption scandal could not come at a worse time for the union movement. The corruption in the Health Services Union was confirmed by independent investigations which found that former HSU national secretary and now suspended Labor MP Craig Thomson, and also former HSU East secretary Michael Williamson, had misused sUbstantial amounts of union member funds.
Although HSU rorting was reported in 2009, it was not until recently that the government, the ALP and the union movement distanced themselves from Mr Thomson, Mr Williamson and the HSU. Maintaining power in the minority parliament outweighed the need to express a sense of moral outrage or reach a commonsense judgment that questions need to be answered.
It is in this environment, after the government had wedded itself to the corrupt and morally bankrupt HSU for so long, that another union corruption scandal, this one linked to Ms Gillard's former boyfriend, has again surfaced. But rather than simply rehash an old story linked to Ms Gillard -- who has denied any knowledge or wrongdoing -- new information has emerged warranting closer scrutiny and may help to finally resolve this matter. Mr Blewitt should work with police to reopen the investigation, which was shelved without action being taken.
The AWU, under then president Bill Ludwig and then secretary Ian Cambridge, fought to recover the funds. Former attorney-general, Robert McClelland, who was the AWU's lawyer at the time, recently said questions still needed answering and action had to be taken to prevent it happening again. Slater & Gordon must explain how it could allow such an entity to be established and then carry out conveyancing on a property purchased with funds from the union without authority from the union itself.
While we have an open view on this matter and accept the Prime Minister's denial of any knowledge of, or involvement in, this scandal, questions continue to linger about Mr Wilson and Slater & Gordon. It demands a new investigation by legal authorities.
Like Mr Blewitt, others must also come forward to reveal what they know. The AWU should again open up its files and co-operate with authorities. If not, questions about this scandal, which has followed Ms Gillard for more than a decade, will not go away.