The latest new Julia Gillard: rule by fear

I am not sure why Ms Gillard is angry and what she means by her description of the Glenn Milne article in yesterday’s Australian as:

“a false report in breach of all known standards of journalism”.

As the editor of The Australian, Clive Mathieson said and most of the readers here know, “the bulk of the allegations in the column have been a matter of public record for a long time”.

The matter of Ms Gillard’s involvement in defrauding 1 million from AWU by her then boyfriend while she acted on his or AWU’s behalf as a solicitor at a legal firm is a matter described by Mr Milne in 2007 (and here) and a matter Ms Gillard acknowledged and with the excuse that she was unaware of the fraud and she was “young and naive’.

There is one relatively small allegation that is new and may be not true: that she shared with Mr Wilson a house he purchased, unknown to her, with embezzled funds. If that is not true, then Ms Gillard should specify that as the falsehood and not conveniently the whole article, which is a matter of public record.

Commenter ‘Pensioner’ has a number of highly specific questions which are very intriguing. I have no idea how he knows specific figures and accounts. Nevertheless, the questions would be easily denied by Ms Gillard in parliament, and the matter would be over.

Best analysis by Bunyipitude here.

I think this is in fact an own goal for our PM:

The real news is:  Ms Gillard’s bullying fury forces a fearful retraction from a newspaper for printing mostly publicly known facts – in fact something which is almost completely a matter of public record for 4 years, including the Victorian Parliament’s Hansard and which Ms Gillard herself acknowledged previously, with the minor possible exception of having co-habited with Mr Wilson.

Ms Gillard, having failed to fool Australians into respecting or liking any of the various versions of herself, now appears to have decided she will rule by bluster and fear. She is now clearly on display for all to see as what seems like a belligerent out of control Prime Minister. As she said:

“I’m the prime minister of the country, I can get up in the morning and get the mobile numbers of people like the editor….”

Something’s gotta give.


Statutory Declaration referred to by Andrew Bolt allegedly made by Robert Kernohan, former President of the Victorian Branch of the AWU, making serious allegations can be downloaded here, thanks to Say No! CarbonTax Australia. It is dated a year ago, 11th August 2010. I have no idea if it is genuine or whether the allegations are correct, so I link to it purely as a piece of fiction.

The main reference to Ms Gillard is that the author “was informed by Bob Smith, with Bill Shorten present, that some thousands of dollars were paid illegally from union funds, by Wilson, for house renovations to Julia Gillard’s property, without any suggestion that she was aware of this.

The main allegation is that a number of high profile AWU officials, now in state and federal parliament  were involved in a cover up of Mr Wilson’s $1 million dollar embezzlement of AWU funds, which have not yet been recovered.


3 thoughts on “The latest new Julia Gillard: rule by fear

  1. Calm down a bit. This story has been about since 1996. Milne just added spin in 2007.

    Sydney Morning Herald

    Tuesday July 30, 1996


    “Fraud against the union could easily be perpetrated on a major scale,” warned the confidential Ernst & Young review of the giant, conflict-ridden “AWU-FIMEE Amalgamated Union” in May last year.

    “If fraud has not occurred,” it continued, “it would only be because of the honesty and integrity of the employees, and not because of the lack of opportunity.”

    Inside what is now just called the Australian Workers Union (AWU), Ernst & Young are looking like hotshot fortunetellers.

    Serious financial irregularities appear to have been happening for years and what should be the best trade union trademark in the country is looking very tarnished.

    The “WA Inc” accounts affair – as AWU insiders are calling it – represents a dynamite scandal for a trade union movement facing an aggressive, new, conservative Federal Government and ever-declining membership.

    Between 1992 and 1995, about $370,000 flowed through two Perth-based accounts – operated in the name of the “AWU Workplace Reform Association Inc” – which, until last month, had never been heard of in the AWU’s national offices in Sydney.

    All the money came from the big construction group Thiess Contractors, which says the payments were legitimate, arising from a tripartite agreement between it, the AWU and the West Australian Government.

    Indeed, says Thiess, the Government paid it money for an employee training program at a $58 million Thiess construction project and it then paid the AWU. But once in union hands, it seems, the funds went walkabout when the AWU branch in WA was crying poor and running up a debt with head office approaching $1 million.

    It is now known that nearly $220,000 was withdrawn using about 40 cash cheques, ranging from $4,000 to $50,000.

    Exactly where all the money ended up is far from clear. The man who should know, a former top official, Mr Bruce Wilson, says it is all “old hat stuff” and he has “nothing to say”.

    However, two of the so-called “WA Inc” accounts were finally emptied in April last year, when about $46,000 was paid into an even more mysterious Perth-based account called the Construction Industry Fund. It, too, is understood to have been closed this year and may have no legal connection to the union.

    Several other cheques totalling about $35,000 were made out in 1993 to a now ex-AWU official, Mr Ralph Blewitt, and, once, about $67,000 went to the trust account of the high-profile Melbourne law firm Slater and Gordon. The timing of this payment has caught the eye of AWU bosses. It coincides with the purchase of a house in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy in Mr Blewitt’s name.

    A cheque made out to the “Slater and Gordon Trust Account” was dated five days before the firm arranged settlement on the $230,000 property.

    The “Transfer of Land” document was signed by Mr Blewitt’s “attorney” for the purchase, his then boss, Mr Wilson, whose signature also appears to be on the dozens of cheques from the “WA Inc” accounts.

    Other records show Mr Wilson later lived in the Fitzroy house while serving first as AWU State secretary for both Victoria and Western Australia, then last year as head of the new, strife-torn National Construction Branch.

    About a year ago, the discovery of another unauthorised bank account sparked what is now known as the “Victorian affair”.

    This account, also unknown to the national office in Sydney until it was exposed by internal union feuding, was operated through the Commonwealth Bank in Melbourne under the name “AWU Members Welfare Association No 1 Account”.

    The Industrial Relations Court has been told Mr Wilson admitted the account held a mixture of “members’ and private money”, and insiders say that although it was a “slush fund” rather than an official union account, the AWU name was used to sidestep withholding tax.

    In a major new development, the Herald has learned that on July 14 last year, a cheque bearing what appears to be Mr Wilson’s signature was written in an apparent bid to transfer about $160,000 from the “Members Welfare” account in Victoria, into the still-unexplained “Construction Industry Fund” in Western Australia.

    But the cheque was caught at the last minute by a “freeze” on the account placed by lawyers acting for the present AWU State secretary in Victoria, Mr Bob Smith, who was a bitter enemy of Mr Wilson, and remains a close ally of Mr Steve Harrison, one of the two rival joint national secretaries.

    A month later, in strange circumstances, the $160,000 was “unfrozen” in a peace deal done by Mr Smith and his lawyers on one side, and Mr Wilson and his lawyers on the other.

    Then the union’s accountant, Mr Laurie Hutcheson, made a special flight from Sydney to Melbourne carrying redundancy cheques to allow Mr Wilson, Mr Blewitt and four others to depart the union with golden handshakes.

    The payouts were authorised by a postal ballot of the national executive conducted by Mr Harrison, with the other joint national secretary, Mr Ian Cambridge, immediately denouncing them as a “rort”.

    Meanwhile, Mr Harrison’s arch-enemy, the Queensland AWU supremo Mr Bill Ludwig, went to court in a failed last-ditch effort to stop the redundancies – even though Mr Ludwig had been Mr Wilson’s greatest supporter, as well as partner in a dominant Queensland-Western Australia-Victoria voting bloc.

    At the same time, the “unfrozen” $160,000 was split up and returned to several construction industry companies because, it is now suggested, of fears that the money may somehow have been tainted.

    This included: $29,000 to Fluor Daniel; $38,000 to John Holland; nearly $30,000 to Thiess Contractors; $39,000 to the lawyers Philips Fox, acting for Woodside Offshore Petroleum; and $6,400 to the NSW-based firm Chamber Consulting Services, all of which insist the funds had been legitimate payments to the union.

    However, all received letters saying the payments were being refunded because “there has recently been some controversy regarding monies received from your company”.

    Woodside, for example, has since told the AWU national office it had an “arrangement” to pay about $19,500 a quarter to have a union organiser “servicing” its liquid petroleum gas project at Karratha, near the North-West Shelf, and to cover some air fares for Mr Wilson.

    The “Victorian affair” might easily have ended with the redundancy payouts and the money being sent back, and the “WA Inc” accounts may never have come to light, except for Mr Ludwig’s court challenge and the persistent investigations of Mr Cambridge.

    The Industrial Relations Court ordered Mr Wilson, Mr Blewitt and the four other former AWU officials last month to repay their redundancy payments, ruling them invalid because there was no proper redundancy situation.

    In January this year, before the “WA Inc” accounts were discovered, Mr Cambridge wrote to the then Federal Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr Laurie Brereton, seeking a royal commission into the AWU – just as the Prime Minister, Mr Paul Keating, called an election.

    In his letter, Mr Cambridge criticised Mr Harrison for taking “the unusual move of permitting the ‘retirement’ of the officials who could be held accountable for the unauthorised funds and their unknown use”.

    While the industrial court has since said there was no impropriety by Mr Harrison, it pointedly applauded Mr Cambridge’s actions and those of Mr Ludwig.

    “Although these matters are unpleasant,” Mr Cambridge told the Herald, “and obviously damage our union’s public standing, any failure to resolve these matters will only ensure that such events can occur again … I am not prepared to turn a blind eye to these matters, as to do so would only foster corruption.”
    © 1996 Sydney Morning Herald

    If you couple this with Kernohans Stat Dec Here:
    (PDF Download)

    Then you get a conspiracy? Not really you get confusion. Milnes redacted article in full was this:

    Glenn Milne’s retracted article in The Australian- 29/08/11: “PM A Lost Cause For Warring Unions”

    Julia Gillard has lost all authority within the broader Labor movement.

    THE real import of the alleged brothel creeping scandal surrounding Craig Thomson has been missed. And it is this:

    key factions and unions within the Labor movement are now openly indifferent to the fate of either Julia Gillard or the federal government. They simply don’t care any more.

    Gillard has now lost all authority within the broader Labor movement. By their actions in the Thomson saga they have signalled a judgment that she cannot win the next election. Settling internal scores and power struggles is therefore now more important than whatever happens to a lameduck PM who can’t haul her primary voting numbers out of the pathetically fatal mid 20s.

    The Mafia-style dirt-covered shovel — code for digging your own grave — dumped on Friday at 3.30am on the doorstop of Kathy Jackson, the union official who had the courage to refer Thomson’s activities to the police, may as well have been delivered to the Lodge. For Gillard it is now that bad. She is simply regarded as collateral damage and large sections in the Labor movement are uninterested about whether she’s terminally wounded or not as they go about their internal bloodletting. It is about to get worse as elements of the Australian Workers’ Union seek to settle up with Thomson’s accusers by demonstrating that Gillard herself was implicated, albeit unknowingly, in a major union fraud of her own before she entered parliament.

    On Friday, Michael Smith of 2UE contacted me to check the veracity of material in a statutory declaration drawn up by Bob Kernohan, the former president of the AWU, and dealing with the relationship between Gillard and Bruce Wilson, which I outline below.

    On Saturday, Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph columnist Andrew Bolt wrote on his blog: ‘‘On Monday, I’m tipping, a witness with a statutory declaration will come forward and implicate Julia Gillard directly in another scandal involving the misuse of union funds. Gillard herself is not accused of any misbehaviour at all. I do not make that claim, and do not hold that belief. But her judgment — and that of at least one of her ministers — will come under severe question. She will seem compromised. It could be the last straw for Gillard’s leadership.’’

    Big call. But I do have a good deal of knowledge regarding Bolt’s claims. On Sunday November 11, 2007, just days before the November 24 election I interviewed Gillard, then deputy leader of the opposition, in my capacity as political editor for News Limited’s Sunday newspapers. The interview concerned the embezzlement of union funds — not disputed — and later the subject of a court conviction by a former boyfriend of Gillard, Bruce Wilson. I had researched the piece for months. It was the most heavily lawyered article I have ever been involved in writing. The story said that as a solicitor acting on instructions, she set up an association later used by her lover to defraud the AWU. But she has strenuously denied ever knowing what the association’s bank accounts were used for.

    Gillard, then in her early 30s, was a lawyer with Melbournebased Labor firm Slater & Gordon. At the time of the fraud she acted for the AWU. She met Wilson, then the West Australian AWU secretary, while representing the union in the Industrial Relations Commission. Wilson later moved to Melbourne to become Victorian secretary of the union.

    ‘‘These matters happened between 12 and 15 years ago,’’ Gillard told me. ‘‘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 wrongdoing. I didn’t do anything wrong and to have false allegations in the media was distressing.’’

    What the lawyers would not allow to be reported was the fact that Gillard shared a home in Fitzroy bought by Wilson using the embezzled funds. There is or was no suggestion Gillard knew about the origin of the money. We now await the issue to which Bolt refers.

    If it comes, and if it is powerful as Bolt suggests, it will be further evidence that the Victorian Right represented by the AWU is involved in a life and death struggle with the Right as represented by the Hospital Services Union. Thomson was a senior official of the HSU for 20 years before entering parliament via the seat of Dobell.

    The HSU split several years ago into two factions. Thomson was supported by Jeff Jackson, Kathy Jackson’s former husband. This so-called old guard was the support base for Victorian right-wing power boss, David Feeney. Feeney is now looking for a parliamentary seat because Gillard’s abysmal numbers have made his third Senate spot vulnerable.

    A defeat for the old guard by way of a successful prosecution of Thomson by police, would leave Feeney powerless and without a base or a seat.

    Jackson himself has been accused of using union money on escorts with enemies of the Victorian HSU boss releasing bank statements showing payments to the same Sydney brothel where federal MP Thomson’s credit card was allegedly used. Jackson has denied the claims. Ultimately at issue here could be the succession to Gillard, and I’ll explain why.

    When Kathy Jackson called in the wallopers, the stakes were high. Because a federal defeat for Thomson and his allies would enhance the power base of Victoria’s two other factional king makers, Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy
    who are both aligned with the new guard in the HSU. And we all know what Shorten’s ultimate ambition is.

    What a tangled web we weave especially when you consider Thomson is married to Zoe Arnold, a former Transport

    Workers Union official and adviser to former NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher. Alex Williamson, daughter of HSU national president Mike Williamson, is an adviser to Gillard. And, of course, as mentioned, Kathy Jackson, who blew the whistle on Thomson, was married to former Victorian state HSU secretary Jeff Jackson.

    Truly the NSW Disease has arrived in Canberra.

    Meanwhile amid all this interbred internecine manoeuvring Gillard attempts to adopt the high ground, attacking shadow attorney-general George Brandis for intervening in the course of justice. On Thursday morning Gillard attacked Brandis for speaking to NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher at a time when the allegations against Thomson were being assessed by NSW Police. Unfortunately she got her facts wrong because the NSW police only announced they were conducting an assessment four days after Brandis spoke to Gallacher and in fact only got Brandis’s dossier three days after he spoke to Gallacher.

    A small point but one that indicates the pressure is beginning to show on Gillard as she desperately searches for
    points of deflection. During the same press conference she also vainly tried to defend Thomson’s decision not to make a statement to the parliament on the facts. We all know why; if he lies he’s finished as an MP and Gillard is washed up as Prime Minister. Gillard and Thomson are shackled together just as surely as two First Fleet convicts.

    Oh, and here’s a small postscript on which to end. On September 7 at the Wyong Christian School at 2pm there will be the opening of a new hall built with funds from Gillard’s time overseeing the Building the Education Revolution.

    Thomson is scheduled to attend as the local member. My gut instinct is that both he and the Prime Minister will be
    otherwise engaged.


    Fairly full of implication but also full of “I dont believe it myself, but!

    The real proof of the pudding is this:

    Gillard did not move to Altona ’till around Easter 1998, its alleged she lived in Fitzroy with or without Wilson from 1993.

    This raises the question did she know he was a thief, using funds intended for the AWU to buy the Fitzroy premises?

    Highly probable as she must have handled the cheques to Slater and Gordon that were from Wilsons “cunning kick Accounts” as she was the AWU lawyer handling the AWU account taking instructions from Wilson.

    There were however TWO houses involved as well as two lots of renovations and a lot of clothing (womens) involved, if you believe Ian Cambridge, later promoted to the NSW Industrial Court (Ludwig in Gillards ear) when he signed an affidavit to that effect.

    So Gillard needs to answer, if she wasnt living in Fitzroy with Wilson (just visiting, where was she living, who owned the premises and who was paying for the renovations for any or all the premises she may allege she was living in (up until Altona)if not at Fitzroy.

    The fact that she was “sharing the love” with a person who was instructing her in a civil matter (AWU accounts etc:) is not a conflict of interest its simply bad judgement.

    The fact that she may have and probably did avail herself of benefits from assisting knowingly in a criminal offences, misappropriation, fraud probably and standover tactics is a crime as she well knows.

    Hence the floating of the story “I was naive and didnt realise”. It also explains the inferences abounding that she paid back the AWU, a union in which Shorten and Ludwig are major players.

    If any of the suspicians about her knowledge of the source of funds (as well as the Accounts from where the Fitzroy premises came out of) can be proven it would explain the absurd reaction she has shown to the re hash of the story.

    In that case it would obvious she has been captured / bought, paid for and used by the very people who supported her elevation.

    We could well have a puppet Prime Minister who is a thief and a liar.

  2. A corrupt government – election now – every time I see her I have to reach for my (excuse my coarsness of language) – spew bucket – her self interest at retaining power over the Australian nation and its people is truly sickening – get rid of her NOW NOW NOW. OH and along with the spineless thugs, and asberger sicko’s her minority government.

  3. I can’t believe that everyone thinks this union thug has changed his spots. When I was a young lad i remember this standover mafia brainless turd standing beside John Halfpenny – remember him?. These two made Al Capone look like Mary Poppins. I,ve had first hand experience in closed shop union meetings with Bill and John in the ‘bad ol’ days’ I wouldn’t give this shifty schyster the bloody time of day and if he told me the sky was blue, I would rush outside to verify it. He sleeps with one eye open because he doesn’t trust himself.

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