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AWU scandal: this ends today, one way or another

The AWU scandal will, in parliamentary terms, end this afternoon. And it seems the Prime Minister is fired up for a final showdown.

Amid dramatic claims that the Prime Minister had acted corruptly and Coalition demands for her resignation, this morning the opposition rushed into Parliament to move a suspension of standing orders.

The suspension, one assumed, would be to demand the Prime Minister resign, or to call a vote of no confidence to test the Prime Minister’s support, or at least demand she front the chamber and explain herself. It turned out to be to:

… enable this Parliament to take action to deny people smugglers a product to sell before the Parliament rises and the onset of the monsoon season …”

So with claims of “smoking guns”* and the most serious accusations that can be made in Australian politics, the opposition preferred to chase monsoons rather than do what you’d expect they’d do if they had a skerrick of belief in what they were alleging about the PM.

It’s hardly a smoking gun, but at least now, after acres and acres of newsprint and over 30 question time questions across weeks — the government even extended question time yesterday so that the opposition could get its full share in after Bob Katter confused everyone in the chamber by moving a suspension motion during question time** — we have a specific accusation.

The Prime Minister, it is claimed, misled us all by saying she had only advised on the establishment of the AWU Workplace Reform Association when in fact she wrote a letter to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission when the Commission queried whether in fact they were trying to establish a trade union, which needed to be registered under different legislation.

The incriminating letter, which Gillard has said she can’t remember, makes the grave claim that a body that was not a trade union was not, um, a trade union. She even cut and pasted from a template to do it — a shocking allegation as, of course, all lawyers write all letters from scratch. That’s why they charge such outrageous fees.

What illegality or impropriety was committed in that letter sent in 1992, assuming Ms Gillard was the signatory, I can’t tell you; it takes minds more conspiratorial than mine to see exactly what scandal lurks in stating a non-trade union body wasn’t a trade union. More to the point, to the point that keeps being ignored by virtually everyone covering this saga, it has not a shred of relevance in 2012.

But this was the one issue that remained unresolved after all the questions this week, the one thread still dangling when all other efforts to claim that somehow Gillard acted corruptly or illegally or unethically have either been shown to be false, or shown to have no evidence, or retracted by her accusers.

This is the one issue on which the Prime Minister refused to give an answer in question time. Yesterday, in what could — and should — have been a key moment in this drama, Gillard, asked directly about the 20-year old letter by Julie “I forgot I spoke to Ralph Blewitt a week ago” Bishop, turned to Tony Abbott and said:

Given that the Leader of the Opposition read along with every word of that question from the Deputy Leader: get up and ask it yourself, and then I will answer.”

Abbott should have leapt to his feet and met the challenge. Until recent events he would have. But so mortified was he by the prospect of being filmed participating in this campaign and aggressively pursuing the Prime Minister, that he sat there silent. A key moment of confrontation passed. How would Gillard have reacted if he did? Her response about the letter, that she doesn’t recall writing it, might have looked feeble in that moment and context, unless she is purposefully baiting Abbott and has a comeback prepared that will punish him for doing so.

Still, Abbott gets another bite at the cherry today, the last question time of the year. This is it, folks. This issue can’t limp on beyond this. Sure, Nick Styant-Brown’s mates in the media, and The Australian, can, and will, keep trying to breathe life into it, but in parliamentary terms it ends now.

The opposition needs a kill, or to badly wound the PM on this final day before the summer break, at least ensuring that all her momentum acquired in recent months is lost. That, after all, has been the object of this smear campaign, which has grown ever more hysterical as Labor has come back to within touching distance of the Coalition in the polls.

The likely tone of question time was indicated by a statement the Prime Minister’s office released about the letter a short time ago. If people were expecting any sort of backdown or admission from Gillard, they’ll be disappointed. This was a highly aggressive statement.

After months of speculation about a smoking gun, the Liberals have nothing.

So, the Prime Minister wrote to the WA Commissioner? So what? She did what lawyers do. Act on instruction. Provide legal advice.

So, the Prime Minister can’t remember writing one letter from 20 years ago. So what? Lawyers write thousands of letters in their careers.

And what does the transcript show? That the PM said the association wasn’t a union. So what? It obviously wasn’t.

In fact, the unredacted transcript backs up what the Prime Minister has been saying.

On it goes. And the Prime Minister has also written to Fairfax demanding a retraction of elements of Mark Baker’s article in The Age this morning, including the assertion, which no one else has made and which isn’t backed up by the facts, that she said the AWU Reform Association “had no union links.”

Stand by for a final showdown this afternoon.

*To be fair, Christopher Pyne, subbing in for Julie Bishop who was off injured with a damaged credibility, demurred at the term “smoking gun” — it was much too serious for that apparently; he preferred “second shoe to drop”.

**On, quelle horreur, on a policy issue, the Murray-Darling Basin.

119
  • 1
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    We cna only hope that today is the ned of this ridculous farce and that the opposition take the summer to have a good hard look at themselves.

    How this issue even made it to page 7 of a newspaper for 1 day is beyond me, let alone front page for months.

    Watergate was the worst thing to happen to journalists, they now all wnat to be the one to take down a govt - regarldess of the truth.

  • 2
    Apollo
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I demand Gillard and Abbott to produce their birth certificates. I’ll bet you they contain secret invisible ink which certify that they were born on planet Uranus.

    They are all part of a great conspiracy for ali en invasion.

  • 3
    Dion Giles
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    All this trumped up hullabaloo from a coalition that brazenly lied our country into war.

  • 4
    Apollo
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    baaaaaaaaah, ever since your article on R.a.y H.a.d.ley your moderation system gone pathetic. outsource your moderation to NZ or Bangladesh now?

  • 5
    Scott
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    So you honestly think this will end today? No way

    This whole saga fits in perfectly with the opposition narrative that Federal Labor is a creature of a corrupt union movement that has it’s tenticles in the PM’s office.

    That the PM herself has no ethics and cannot be trusted to hold the highest executive office in the land.

    The PM is going to have to do a bit better than “I can’t recall” and “So what” if she wants to put this behind her and get her message out. Law firms don’t record exit interviews and ask questions about senior partner liability from lawyers they are disappointed to see leave the business.

    This whole affair is tailor made for the Libs and they will milk it all the way to the election.

  • 6
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Scoot - So what do you think that Gillard did wrong? Why do you think this issue deserves to continue?

    To help you respond here is the exerpt from the transcript that is causing all the trouble today -
    “This interview is between Slater & Gordon senior partner Peter Gordon and Ms Gillard, then a salaried partner at the firm.

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    Peter Gordon: And last Monday I think you gave to Paul Mulvaney a follow-up which demonstrates that Slater & Gordon had drafted model rules for, for that, had submitted those rules to the relevant Western Australian government authority, that there’d been a letter from the authority suggesting that it might be a trade union and therefore ineligible for incorporation under that legislation, and that had we prepared a response submitted on Wilson’s instructions to that authority suggesting in fact it wasn’t a trade union and arguing the case for its incorporation. My recollection is that all of that happened in or about mid-1992. Is that right?

    Julia Gillard: I wouldn’t want to be held to the dates without looking at the file, but whatever the dates the file shows are the right dates, so …

    Peter Gordon: Yes. And to the extent that work was done on that file in relation to that it was done by you?

    Julia Gillard: That’s right.”

    Note the line “we prepared a response submitted on Wilson’s instructions to that authority suggesting in fact it wasn’t a trade union”, clearly the association wasn’t a union so what is the issue - that Gillard forgot she wrote a letter 20 years ago?

  • 7
    Andybob
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Get with the program Bob ! Why would we want parliament devoting any time to the Murray-Darling basin when obviously the most important issue before the nation is …. I forget, what was it she nearly did again ?

  • 8
    Grant Butler
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Just back from the Kimberley a couple days back. I can report that they’ve missed the boat - the monsoon has begun.

  • 9
    Julia
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Mm.. listening to Abbott…I think he just doesn’t know what he has just let himself in for….

  • 10
    jason white
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    It only ends today, If the ALP replace Gillard

    Otherwise,
    This ends in the new new when parliament resumes with the ALP in complete tatters as the Xmas break will do Gillard government no favours as many more people will see and understand that this is in fact some meat behind the allegations

    Some very senior members of the ALP should realise this fact (Wong, Roxon, Carr etc.) and they should be able to convince the cabinet that they have to move to replace Gillard and that it is better to do this sooner than later
    Logic also suggests that if Cabinet can agree on a cabinet, together with the block that has been pushing for a Rudd return that they will have the numbers
    (Surely the Rudd block would support a compromise candidate)

  • 11
    tonyfunnywalker
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I felt sorry for Bob Katter yesterday, he has a valid point that a piece of critical legislation will pas without debate on the sorry outcome for producers and businesses along the Murray. I lived in the region during the early 1980’s and realise the pain faced by the communities then from a natural event rather than what will be a bi a bi partisan economic disaster. I was ashamed of the reaction of Pyne for example at Katter’s plea. Shame on you.

    Katter has spent the time listening to Bullshit and self promotion a complete time waste on event that unlike the Murray Darling plan affects no one / no one at all except Tony Abbott and his falling popularity.
    He shows the same self serving attitudes as Pyne as he remains silent so that he cannot further tarnish his image of aggression and make way for his make- over in 2013 prior to the election. Pathetic.

  • 12
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Jason White - “as many more people will see and understand that this is in fact some meat behind the allegations” What is this meat - so far all the bluff and bluster has come to nothing, so how will people come to this fanciful realisation. Also feel free to refer to my above post (4) and highlight exactly what Gillard has done wrong!

  • 13
    drmick
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    The opposition have proved one thing. They are good at nothing. Not one piece of mud throwing has come to a conviction. Geez they must be about 100 not out. When your whole team fields at silly point, your captain has no idea & is demonstrating a distinct lack of knowledge of the game and leadership. Lots of attack with no b@lls everywhere. More silly points and the game is lost. See you in three years for the next series.

  • 14
    David Hand
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    The allegation is clear and has not changed. It is that Julia Gillard acted for her boyfriend in 1995 to establish a slush fund that she helped hide from the AWU by failing to open a file on it.

    All the subsequent discussion and debate is about the substantiation of this allegation.

    Sorry Bernard, it does not end today.

    And why do you believe that he should have risen to Gillard’s challenge to ask the questions himself? The whole world knows why. There’s a video on You Tube with over 2 million hits that explains why.

    You are in campaigm mode, mate.

  • 15
    drmick
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    PS. BTW am happy to belong to a Blot designated “smear site”. He should know what one looks like; so that is high praise.

  • 16
    jason white
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy
    I was sceptical about this whole story at the beginning

    But I do believe there is a smoking gun (despite the claim that there is still no smoking gun). In Particular, there is enough evidence to show she mislead the Western Australian commissioner and that she knew this association had a different purpose to what she told the Commissioner

    I also now believe other various allegations have some meat based on an opinion from body language and circumstantial evidence from recent interviews (I will not state these as fact as they are allegations only at this point), but I think that there could be further evidence develop to support these allegations.

    The Bruce Wilson interview troubles me, as I believe there were some bad signs of untruthful answers to question I previously though had no weight.

    I really can see this getting a lot worse for Gillard and the ALP is they allow this investigation to continue

    I truly believe it is in the best interest of the ALP to move sooner than latter

    The Coalition would be better serves if Gillard remains in the role over the Xmas break

  • 17
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    David Hand - Answer me these questions -
    1) Is it illegal for a lawyer to act to create an association for a client or not advise a regulatory body that siad association is not a union when it isn’t?
    2) Is a lawyer responsible for any acts that said association undertakes after it is incorporated if they have no other involvement with the association?
    3) Is it illegal or even unusual for a professional (lawyer, accountant, doctor) to perform simple tasks for family and friends without opening a file?

    And “And why do you believe that he should have risen to Gillard’s challenge to ask the questions himself? The whole world knows why. There’s a video on You Tube with over 2 million hits that explains why.” If that video is the reason then Abbott is weak!!

  • 18
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Tony Abbott isn’t even a good ventriloquist - his lips moved while his “Princess of Plagiarism” was supposed to be delivering lines someone else wrote for her anyway?

    Next “Australia’s Got Talent” - can we have them doing the “Big bright butterfiles blew blithely by Billy-Bob Brandis’s billy-cart”, while drinking a glass of water, routine?

  • 19
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Jason White - ” In Particular, there is enough evidence to show she mislead the Western Australian commissioner and that she knew this association had a different purpose to what she told the Commissioner” Have a look at the transcript I posted earlier, it clearly shows that the “Western Australian commissioner” was advised this association wasn’t a trade union - it clearly isn’t, how did she mislead?

    If there was a smoking gun they would of produced it by now, this story will die over summer if not by tonight.

  • 20
    Scott
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    @Jimmy. For mine, it’s all about the ethical issues.

    1. Didn’t keep firm fully informed of her activities on the account (by not opening a file) - Ethics breach

    2. Conflict of interest in performing legal work for her boyfriend - Ethics Breach

    The other allegation of taking a $5000 kickback (also an ethics breach) isn’t quite there yet as far as evidence is concerned. Needs a transaction record.

    The new allegation of Replaceable rules being a straight copy and paste from a group called the Socialist Forum (not using the Corporations Act template as is the usual method) is a dilligance and competance question.

    Lastly there is the WA Corporate Affairs Commission. Again, this is a questionable one and depends on what Gillard knew. If she knew that the association was set up for the sole purpose of union activities (which was it’s original purpose and I believe she said this in the transcript) but told the WA corporate affairs commission that it had nothing to do with the trade union, then it’s potential misrepresentation. The original letter will be the smoking gun on that one.

    So while the legality is passable, at the minimum it adds up to unethical conduct as a lawyer. You’re an accountant Jimmy. If you’re a CA or a CPA you have a code of ethics to follow and can lose your accreditation if you breach the code. Do you really want someone who is so casual about ethics to be your leader?

  • 21
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    And no it probably won’t go away - “As long as Murdoch is blowing smoke up your arse you have to keep dancing”.

    And yes it is possible (if improbable) Gillard is guilty of “something” - that happened 20 years ago when she was young and “silly” - but what a bar is being set in concert with a lump of our media, for all politicians after this, if this causes her to lose her position? They’ll all have to answer to a lot of scrutiny they haven’t before?

  • 22
    mikeb
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Honestly - this performance by the opposition is a complete disgrace. It is obvious they are working with the theory that even you say something often enough the public will believe and remember it. If there was any evidence at all we would have seen it before now. There is no evidence - only suspicion by some who don’t know any better, and I believe a deliberate misrepresentation by the opposition.

  • 23
    mikeb
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    @david hand. we all know what the allegation is. Trouble is for you is that there is NO evidence to substantiate it.

  • 24
    robinw
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    There are two things that this whole sorry episode has proven to me.
    1. Only the most desperate of Julia haters think that contrary to the evidence there is anything to these accusations and
    2. The Coalition has proven that when it comes to muck slinging they are lousy shots as it appears to me that all they have hit is themselves.

  • 25
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Scott - “1. Didn’t keep firm fully informed of her activities on the account (by not opening a file) - Ethics breach” This “ethics breach” is completely over blown - as an accountant I do my brothers tax work all the time without telling my boss, would this act preclude me from being PM, no. People only substantiate the ethics breach because the association went on to do something dodgy which had nothing to do with Gillard. Even if this is an ethics breach all by itself it is very minor and not worth the amount of press it has gained, and I suggest many other MP’s would fail this test.

    2 - “2. Conflict of interest in performing legal work for her boyfriend - Ethics Breach” Again this would be very common and very minor.

    As for the $5k, there is no evidence that it was even paid let alone that it had come from something dodgy or that it was a kick back

    And the WA Commission - unless you are arguing that the association was a trade union where is the “questionable act”?

    Also how many “ethics breaches” has good old Tony had according to you, after all “ethics” don’t just apply to lawyers or even to your work!

  • 26
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Oh and Scott where does bailing out your brothers business with tax payers money fall in your breach of ethics scale?

  • 27
    jason white
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy

    I am not here to try and destroy the ALP so I am being careful with what I post.

    But you need to look at who is saying there is no smoking gun. These people are likely to support the Government no matter what.

    There is a strong case for the PM to answer now.

    QUOTE
    ” 1) Is it illegal for a lawyer to act to create an association for a client or not advise a regulatory body that said association is not a union when it isn’t?”

    There is some evidence to suggest that Gillard understood this association to be a re-election fund for the AWU union and that she mislead the regulatory authority. As a Lawyer this is an offense and yes it is illegal. Perhaps not a serious offence, but yes a lawyer could face some severe penalties and be disbarred as a lawyer. Gillard also has a creditability issue here as she has not been truthful with the voting public on this issue.

    QUOTE
    “2) Is a lawyer responsible for any acts that said association undertakes after it is incorporated if they have no other involvement with the association?”

    There are some claims and again circumstantial eviednce that she was aware that a fruad had taken place and she did not noticify the AWU or the Police. I have reason to now believe that there are people that could testify to this being the case, and that that the PM needs to be careful. I also believe that this will be revealed as the reason as to why a former Slater & Gordon Partner keep records on this matter when he left the firm. (highly unusal). There are perhaps people who would not want to commit perjury to defend Gillard should they be asked to give a sworn statement in a police interview

    QUOTE
    ” 3) Is it illegal or even unusual for a professional (lawyer, accountant, doctor) to perform simple tasks for family and friends without opening a file?”

    If you looked at the facts and circumstances of this particular case. The AWU being a client of Slater & Gordon and varuious evidnece that Gillard do a little more that a bit of advice. Then Yes, It is highly unsual for a professional to not open a file, hence the recorded Slater & Gordon interview

    You don’t have to believe me, but mark my words, if Gillard remains the PM, this will get worse over the Xmas break

  • 28
    mikeb
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Claims claims & more claims - but still no evidence. Maybe the reason that there is no evidence is because the claims are false? Conspiracy theorists tend to believe the unbelievable yet ignore the facts because they don’t fit the argument.

  • 29
    Shaniq'ua Shardonn'ay
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    @Jason white : “based on an opinion from body language…”
    yep, right. have you had her chakras & horoscope checked as well?

  • 30
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Jason White - This issue may well go on after christmas but that doesn’t mean it should, the only reason it would is that News Ltd has an agenda.

    Look at your responses to my questions -
    1- even if this association was a re-election fund it wasn’t a trade union, so saying it wasn’t a trade union is not misleading anyone.

    2 - “There are some claims and again circumstantial eviednce that she was aware that a fruad had taken place and she did not noticify the AWU or the Police” Where is the evidence? There isn’t any and anyone who has asserted otherwise has retracted the statement.

    3 - “Gillard do a little more that a bit of advice.” Really? That is the basis for this being an issue that the advice extended beyond what you belief to be acceptable? And setting up an association isn’t exactly a big job.

    And all you responses are along the lines of “There are some claims and again circumstantial eviednce” if after months of investigative journalism that is the best they can do this issue should die.

  • 31
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Hi Bernard,

    You know when the PM is not telling the truth, cause she directly does not answer the question. She has ample opportunity this week to make a full and frank statement to Parliament and did not. Look at every question asked, ask youseld did she answer or did she spin and attack.

    She waved the white flg and this will drag through summer.

  • 32
    Holden Back
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I believe the LOTO has just reduced his argument to the PM failing a ‘character test’.

    So any pesky evidence (or lack thereof) is irrelevant.

  • 33
    zut alors
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Having witnessed Mr Rabbott’s efforts in Question Time to wield his shallow bucket of mud he now deserves retitling: Leader of the Slopposition.

  • 34
    GeeWizz
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Gillards lover Bruce Wilson said on the 7:30 report that he tried to get the slush fund registered but couldn’t and the application was rejected. So he asked Gillard if she could “fix” the application and she made amendments to allow the slush fund to be registered.

    We now find out today that Gillard wrote a letter to the WA Corporations Committee boldly proclaiming this slush fund that she claims for re-electing Union officials had nothing to do with the Unions. Isn’t that interesting!

  • 35
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - Refer to my post above (4) that makes you statement incorrect.

  • 36
    GLJ
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I am convulsed with the hypocrisy . These lawyers , these big business end lawyers trying to find fault 20 years ago because the PM did a freebie for her boyfriend . How many shonky deals have these red faced bloated barristers done for their :mates: that would dwarf the worsts accusations made by JB & TA.
    They will have nightmares hoping no one will shake their legal trees.

  • 37
    jason white
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy

    There are stories and rumours that have been known about this fraud in the Union circles for years.

    There are a few Alp people that may not be prepared to commit perjury for Julia Gillard if the coalition are able to bring upon the situation where some people are asked to give sworn statements. These witnesses may be able to simply provide a timeline to when Slater & Gordon and Gillard were made aware that a fraud may have taken place that could create further problems for Gillard

    The missing federal files, and the allegation with the police about the Power of attorney could give reason to question some individuals that might lead to further contradictions in Gillard’s recollection of events

    Questions that Gillard has been avoiding and giving indirect answers. For example: Why did she not notify the AWU or the Police ? Over the Xmas / Summer break, I can see this move from circumstantial evidence that the PM was aware that perhaps a fraud had taken place at a certain date to actual sworn statements that both Slater & Gordon and the Gillard knew at a certain date.

    I don’t want to see the ALP destroyed but I do want a restructure / cleanout of sorts

    Right now, this issue will remain news thoughtout the Xmas break. This is exactly what the coalition wants, this issue to remain news and hurt the Alp further over the Xmas break.

    Again,
    Mark my words this can only get worse for Gillard and the government over Xmas and this issue is not going away

  • 38
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Jason White - “There are stories and rumours that have been known about this fraud in the Union circles for years.” Yep but are they any more than stories or rumours?

    And even if ” These witnesses may be able to simply provide a timeline to when Slater & Gordon and Gillard were made aware that a fraud may have taken place” where is the legal imperative that a lawyer should dob in their clients?

    As for “The missing federal files,” which files are those, a lot have turned up and a lot that a supposedly missing have simply been destroyed because it was 20 years ago and documents aren’t kept for that long.

  • 39
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    GRow up, nothing happened.

  • 40
    Kate Ahearne
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I wish to register my support for Julia Gillard on this matter. There are other things, more important things, that I’d like to take issue with her about - refugees, to start with.

    Reading through Bernard Keane’s article, I enjoyed some relief at the good sense of it. But reading through the comments, I’m dismayed at how easy it is for any of us to allow our pre-dispositions to lower our IQ. I hope I’m learning something for myself from all this.

    I’d rather see a robust, honest Opposition, which is not what I’m seeing now. And, because I do lean towards the ‘left’ of politics, I’d like to see a Labor Party that was more interested in the welfare of our fellow human beings. In fact, I’d welcome the opportunity to become a swinging voter.

    At the moment, I’m listening to Parliament. Both ears open.

  • 41
    zut alors
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    @ Jason White: ‘Mark my words this can only get worse for Gillard and the government over Xmas and this issue is not going away’

    Au contraire, the electorate is heartily sick of the subject and most unlikely to buy a newspaper or a subscription to get the latest (unriveting) chapter.

    Ponting has just announced his retirement, that should distract the nation. And no doubt some footballer involved in boofhead behaviour at a nightclub will promptly wipe the AWU drivel off the front page. The PM asked TA to serve her an allegation on a plate in Question Time and he squibbed - because he and his lynch mob have nothing.

  • 42
    GeeWizz
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I am convulsed with the hypocrisy”

    Heaven forbid union heavies should have to abide by the laws that the rest of us do.

    So sick of the strawman arguments. “Sure these union heavies were ripping people off…. but look over there! Quick! Don’t worry about union members being ripped off! Theres a distration over there I really want you to look at!”

  • 43
    Steve777
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    This issue not going going away. There are plenty of friendly Coalition state governments to set up enquiries if the Opposition wants them to. In any case the Coalition and their various media shills will see to it that there are more ‘new’ revelations. What if there’s nothing to reveal? No problem, they’ll just rehash the old stuff or make new stuff up.

  • 44
    Harry1951
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Scott: you wish! Seriously, this issue is a goner but the LNP do not know it yet. Apart from the indulgent bear pit that is parliament there is just the campaign against anything Labor by The Australian.

  • 45
    qwerty bluett
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    wow

    just…..wow

  • 46
    CheshireCat
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    In fact, I’d welcome the opportunity to become a swinging voter.”
    best line I’ve ever read on here Kate, well said.
    I am lucky to be in an independents electorate. If only we could do away with parties, maybe the petty crap we see now would disappear and parliamentarians would vote in the interests of their constituents and the nation :(

  • 47
    Jimmy
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - You are getting the issues confused - Union heavies were ripping people off, Gillard had nothing to do with that, if you have evidence to the contrary please provide it.

  • 48
    Kate Ahearne
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m wondering why this article, which was only listed today, has found itself almost immediately relegated to the sidebar. As Pauline would say, ‘Please expain’.

    I can understand why you might want it all to go away. Me too. But this is not the way.

  • 49
    phil
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Not being a legal industry expert, I’m wondering how often partners at Law firms leave under the circumstances that JG did?

  • 50
    Peter Shute
    Posted Thursday, 29 November 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Does the Opposition think we are complete dills?

    We’ve all had to use a lawyer to prepare forms, incorporate entities and so on. They must think we are ignorant to how these matters work.

    As for the tawdry campaign in The Australian- they have finally become our Fox News and an arm of the LNP.

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