The slushpuppy …

Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along.

“There will be nothing wrong under a government I lead”.

The whole AWU slush fund affair is nothing more than a vile smear from such blackguards as Michael Smith, Larry Pickering and that utterly despicable Kangaroo Court of Australia … the last so scurrilous I dare not post a link.

Although, it does seem that Victoria Police are investigating the matter. Seems Miss Gillard told one Mr Fordham, on 2GB, in March, that she was in the same room as Mr Blewitt when that infamous power of attorney was signed.

The Australian

With questioning so far of witnesses in Queensland, Victoria, NSW and Western Australia, up to a dozen detectives are particularly interested in the creation and operation of a union election slush fund, misleadingly called the AWU Workplace Reform Association.

The entity was set up and formally registered in Perth with the help of Gillard’s legal advice (as a solicitor at Slater & Gordon) to her then boyfriend and client, AWU official Bruce Wilson, and his union sidekick, Ralph Blewitt. The two men allegedly used it as a slush fund to siphon hundreds of thousands of dollars from Thiess during the construction company’s development of a major project that required both labour and industrial peace from AWU members.

Some of the money, which was kept secret from everyone else in the union, would go into a $230,000 terrace house at 85 Kerr Street, Fitzroy, bought by Wilson (in Blewitt’s name) at an auction he attended with Gillard, whose firm would manage the conveyancing. The terrace house was Wilson’s home in Melbourne during his relationship with Gillard and his time as secretary of the Victorian branch of the AWU. The money from the property’s sale a few years later went directly to Blewitt and Wilson, not the union, whose national leadership discovered too late that the union had been used in a scam.

So the question is “Do the police have evidence that Mr Blewitt and Miss Gillard were on opposite sides of Australia during the relevant period?”

I guess their ABC will keep us informed …

 

Digging …

Julia denies any wrong doing in regard to slush funds and major frauds by former boyfriends. Michael Smith is a journalist who lost his job for breaking this story. He tells us

Wayne Hem says that he deposited $5,000 in cash into Julia Gillard’s bank account, at a time when she was paying back 100% of the borrowed value/price for her home, plus a $20,000 further bank loan, plus an advance on her salary – and during which time her home was being extensively renovated.   Hem says the cash was handed to him by Wilson.   Within weeks of Gillard receiving that money, Wilson was informed that he would be charged internally within the union and referred to police over allegations of fraud involving the AWU Members Welfare Association and other accounts.

Borrowed 100% of the house, a further loan of $20,000 and a salary advance … what was she going to fund it with, a mining tax?

Slags …

This morning Slater & Gordon released a statement saying: “Slater & Gordon has consistently maintained, and still maintains, that at all times it has acted in accordance with its legal and ethical obligations in relation to all aspects of the AWU matter.”

It said it had obtained independent advice confirming that it: “was (and is) not permitted to divulge confidential and privileged information of one client to another client or any other party.”

The firm said it “acted for both a union and a union official (personally)” in the “AWU matter.”

“In acting for the official, Slater & Gordon obtained information: i). that was confidential to the official; and ii) the disclosure of which to the union would have represented a conflict between the interests of the union and the interests of the official,” the statement said.

“Slater & Gordon ceased acting for both clients after it became aware of this conflict situation.”

On the face of it this is a plea of not guilty, your honour, made by the entity Slater & Gordon, (commonly known as Slags, and it’s less typing). Implicit within it is that Slags as a whole at no stage did anything wrong. It might feel a little peeved that one of the Slags did some of the work in question without raising a file … it makes it hard for an entity to know what it was actually up to.

Within the not guilty plea is an admission. Whatever it was that the entity was up to led to a conflict of interest between two of its clients Bruce Wilson, Ms Gillard’s then boyfriend, and the AWU. A conflict so severe that dealings with both clients had to stop. Not guilty your honour but boy did we screw up.

Being in a relationship can interfere with the normal lawyer-client relationship. It can lead to the lawyer losing his or her objectivity, resulting in inaccurate advice and even a breach of duty to the court.”

Dismission …

Your dismission, should you choose to accept it …

Over the past 11 years, I have been called upon to investigate many people for workplace misconduct. The hardest people to investigate are high-achieving, high-profile women executives. Their starting position is always a haughty refusal to answer questions or participate in investigations they consider beneath them. Next they attempt to retain control by trying to impose their conditions and time frames on the investigation. They attempt to distract from their own conduct by focusing on the poor conduct of others. Some flail about, claiming the status of bullying or sexism victim.

A must read from Grace Collier, chief executive of Australian Dismissal Services, in the Fin Review … good to see a Fairfax paper covering this issue.

Without principle …

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.