The Australian, interjections and emphasis mine …
Ms Gillard has acknowledged helping to set up the AWU Workplace Reform Association, which she has classified as a “slush fund” for the re-election of union officials, but has repeatedly denied knowledge of its operations. It was used to defraud hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Australian Workers Union.
On Thursday, the Deputy Opposition Leader asked Ms Gillard in parliament why she did not “report the fraud” and cited former High Court judge Michael Kirby, saying it was a citizen’s duty to report serious crimes to the police.
Ms Gillard replied: “By the time the matters she refers to came to my attention, they were already the subject of inquiry and investigation.”
But, but, but …
… affidavit material shows the national leadership of the AWU did not know about the existence of the slush fund until the Commonwealth Bank told the union of related bank accounts in April 1996.
This was eight months after Ms Gillard had become aware, though an internal investigation by Slater & Gordon, of fraud concerns involving her client and boyfriend, Mr Wilson.
During the investigation, Ms Gillard was questioned by senior partner Peter Gordon.
She was asked about the slush fund; Mr Wilson and his fellow official and AWU bagman Ralph Blewitt; Mr Blewitt’s purchase of a $230,000 terrace house in Melbourne’s Fitzroy in 1993; and renovations at Ms Gillard’s house.
A Victorian Police Fraud Squad investigation requested by the AWU leadership in September 1995 was undermined because the union and police were unaware of the slush fund, with Ms Gillard and Slater & Gordon failing to disclose its existence to the union or authorities.