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Nov 16, 2012

Gillard and the AWU slush fund: sorting the smoke from the fire

Thousands of words have been written about Julia Gillard and her past at Slater & Gordon. So what have we really learned, and does any of it count? Here's our cheat sheet (so you don't have to read any of it).


Since July, the front pages of The Australian — and more recently The Age — have been dominated by stories about a 17-year-old scam perpetrated by Julia Gillard’s former boyfriend, ex-Australian Workers Union official Bruce Wilson. Conservative commentators and bloggers are convinced it could bring the PM down; the Prime Minister and her allies call it “smear”.

Crikey has reviewed the news coverage since the issue was revived and tried to distill — beyond the rhetoric — what has actually been uncovered …

July 14: The Australian‘s chief correspondent Hedley Thomas dominates page three of the paper with a story examining former attorney-general Robert McClelland‘s role in the affair. At the time, McClelland was working as a lawyer and one of his clients was the union’s then-national secretary Ian Cambridge. Thomas’ 1300-word story, based on an interview with McClelland and archival documents, contains no fresh revelations besides McClelland’s claim that an unnamed “third party” may have benefited from the alleged scam.

August 3: The Oz runs three pieces by Thomas totalling around 3500 words. On page one Thomas reveals that Ralph Blewitt, a former close associate of Bruce Wilson, is willing to provide a statement to police on the AWU affair in exchange for immunity from prosecution. This is the first time Blewitt, the former legal owner of a Fitzroy home allegedly bought with misappropriated AWU funds, has spoken publicly on the matter. A lengthy feature and news story provide background, including a piece explaining Thomas came to speak to Blewitt through lawyer and amateur union historian Harry Nowicki.

August 4: Another Thomas splash: internal police documents from the 1990s show WA police believed Wilson and Blewitt were “crooks” and wanted to criminally prosecute them over the alleged fraud. No charges, however, have ever been laid against either man.

August 11: The Oz reports that the managing director of Gillard’s former law firm, Slater & Gordon, has asked the AWU and Wilson to waive lawyer-client privilege so the firm can make a public statement about the scandal.

August 18: In the first of a Walkley Award-nominated series of pieces, Thomas scores an interview with Slater & Gordon’s former equity partner Nick Styant-Browne. This marks the first time any of the firm’s senior figures have opened up about the affair and is the first contemporary story to reveal genuinely fresh information about Gillard’s role in it. Styant-Browne reveals the law firm launched a probe into Gillard’s conduct and “took a very serious view” of her actions. However, the headline — “Gillard lost her job after law firm’s secret investigation” — appears to be an overreach. As the article makes clear, Gillard resigned after the probe but was not sacked.

August 21: The Oz has again got its mitts on a fascinating document: a draft statement by former Slater & Gordon partner Peter Gordon giving his take on why Gillard left the law firm in 1995. According to Gordon, Gillard left after her relationship with other partners had “fractured, and trust and confidence evaporated”. He also reveals the firm had considered firing Gillard over suspicions she may have been involved in fraud, but concluded “she should be accorded the benefit of the doubt and her explanation accepted”. No evidence has ever emerged, Gordon says, that contradicts Gillard’s defence she was naive and had been taken in by a conman.

August 22: In a scoop any self-respecting news outlet would publish, The Oz reports on a transcript of Gillard’s 1995 interview with Gordon about the affair. The big revelations: Gillard never opened a file when setting up the “workplace reform association”; she knew the association was a “slush fund” set up to help get Wilson and co. re-elected; and she could not rule out that funds from the association were used to pay for her renovations. (Gillard has since stated she paid for the renovations herself.)

August 23: Two more front-page news stories from Thomas. The first reports Nicola Roxon did legal work for the AWU after Gillard’s departure. The second fleshes out that Gillard wrote the formal rules for the association which emphasised the promotion of safer workplaces and skills training. No mention was made of raising money for union elections. In an accompanying colour piece, reporter Ean Higgins refers to the association as a “trust fund” — a defamatory (if minor) error that allows Gillard to go on the front foot in a marathon Canberra press conference.

“… in the tens of thousands of words devoted to the story, no evidence that Gillard knew the fund was going to be used for Wilson and Blewitt’s personal gain has emerged.”

And that’s where it ended until …

October 10: Just when the story seemed to have run out of puff, it gets surprisingly resurrected in The Age. Recently appointed editor-at-large Mark Baker has obtained fresh documents showing Gillard managed legal work on the 1993 purchase of the Fitzroy flat (paid for, in part, by funds taken from the workplace reform association). The Age does not allege Gillard knew the funds had been misappropriated. An accompanying 1800-word feature spells out the background of the story, drawing heavily on Thomas’ revelations in The Oz.

October 13: Baker reveals Gillard had written to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission in 1992 to vouch for the workplace reform association’s legitimacy under WA law. According to Baker, this “contradicts claims by Ms Gillard that she did no more than provide limited professional advice about establishing the association at the centre of the corruption scandal”. Fairfax also runs a 2655-word feature focusing on Nick Styant-Browne’s role in bringing the story to light.

October 17: The Age reports informal Slater & Gordon files detailing Gillard’s involvement in setting up the workplace reform association have gone missing.

October 29: Russell Frearson, a former account at the AWU’s WA branch, says the union already had an election fighting fund prior to the creation of the workplace reform association and there was no precedent to establish another one. The fund was operated in secrecy, he says, until it was discovered in 1995.

November 14: The Australian rejoins the fray with another Hedley Thomas front-page story. A former AWU official claims he deposited about $5000 cash into Gillard’s bank account at the request of Wilson, who had been been gambling the night before. This detail was noted in a diary kept by former AWU national secretary Ian Cambridge in the mid-1990s.

November 15: Former AWU official Helmut Gries tells The Oz he can’t remember telling Cambridge that misappropriated union funds were spent on renovations to Gillard’s house despite Cambridge noting this in his diary. According to The Oz: “There is no evidence that she [Gillard] received union money, or that anyone other than Ms Gillard paid for the renovations to her Abbotsford home in Melbourne’s inner-east in the mid-1990s.”

November 16: Despite evidence they were involved in fraud, Wilson, Blewitt and their friend, Bill “the Greek” Telikostoglou were given redundancy payouts to leave the union in 1995, The Oz reports. According to Cambridge, this helped stymie his investigation into fraud.

What have we learned?

Despite Gillard’s “smear” claims, news reports in The Australian and The Age have been forensic and based on interviews and primary documents. More has been learnt about the murky world of the AWU circa 1995 and the circumstances that saw Gillard leave Slater & Gordon.

Despite Mark Latham’s insistence in Crikey, the AWU workplace reform association established by Gillard was inherently dubious. This re-election “slush fund”, as Gillard described it, was registered as an association to promote occupational health and safety. Some voters may believe this casts doubt on Gillard’s character.

There is no doubt this story is being pursued — and reported so prominently — because of Gillard’s involvement in it. But, in the tens of thousands of words devoted to the story, no evidence that Gillard knew the fund was going to be used for Wilson and Blewitt’s personal gain has emerged. Or that Gillard was aware of the scam until before it became public. Or that she personally benefited from it. Or that she has lied about her actions.

Unless such evidence emerges, it seems the Prime Minister will be able to stick to her refrain that she did nothing wrong and no one will be able to disprove it.



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63 thoughts on “Gillard and the AWU slush fund: sorting the smoke from the fire

  1. wilful

    Thanks for doing this. I couldn’t bear it any more. What a load of bollocks it all is.

  2. paddy

    A big thank you from me too.
    Trawling through all that dross to come up with a readable article. You’re a legend MS!!

  3. Edward James

    It is politics being played out nationally in the peoples court of public opinion. It may find its way into the law courts eventually, we will see. In the meantime the peoples court of public opinion may continue to discuss and consider what is being reported and how that topic may influence our votes. Edward James

  4. The Pav

    So what you are saying is despite years of investigation by a wealthy media corparation with the required investigative skills and resources and a clear hostility to the PM they haven’t actually been able to conjure up anything?


  5. Peter Shute

    It’s an attempt at guilt by association with reams of rumour that do not mean fact and the endless digging up of little tidbits are quite silly.

    If lawyers were to be damned by their client’s actions or indeed their partners, we’d lose half of the legal fraternity.

    Even tricky words like “unless such evidence emerges” implies it’s there for the finding. It’s a beat-up, clear and simple and the combined readership of The Age & Australian are not going to swing an election.

  6. Steve777

    Thank you for this succinct and, as far as I can tell, comprehensive and unbiased summary of the affair.

  7. Edward James

    Someone once said politics is all about (the voters) perceptions. True enough. While paid spin doctors and wordsmiths, make a very good living out of hanging their words on a line to influence us. In a way which makes those words both interesting and influential as opposed to instructive. There are people who can and do focus beyond what is being promulgated on the three course media table, print, radio and television for naive voter consumption. Many of us are being damaged by the rorting, malfeasance, abuse and misgovernance accommodated by those political allsorts and parties whom we have given our votes to in trust only to be betrayed. Edward James

  8. Percy Pigeon

    Clearly Gillard can’t legitimately be Prime Minister in the same way that Barack Obama can’t legitimately be the POTUS. It just doesn’t feel right that they should be, respectively, the leader of Australia and the most powerful man in the free world.
    It definitely isn’t because they aren’t old white blokes. Definitely, definitely not.

    So ‘President’ Obama probably was born in Kenya, or is really a Muslim or an extreme left wing ideologue. It clearly can’t be that some people are uncomfortable with an African American POTUS. Its almost wrong to even suggest such a thing.

    In the same way – there is absolutely no sexism in Australia today. Why, don’t we all know that many, many adult men are married to women? Some even have daughters! I don’t know why people would want to suggest that some just can’t accept Gillard as Prime Minister because she’s a woman. And it certainly has nothing to do with Rupert. So she must have done something grubby in this union affair. Its the only way to explain the nagging discomfort we have about her being in charge. Because none of us are sexist at all, lordy no.

    We would treat a man just the same, of course we would!
    Don’t we all remember how John Howard’s prime ministership was brought down by favours he did for members of his family? How these matters – Car parking for his daughter, largesse for his brother’s business – were pursued and pursued in the media until the poor man had no choice but to resign. We all remember that, don’t we?

  9. Dogs breakfast

    Now that the Oz has devoted so much resources to this misnamed union slush fund, I look forward to their intensive and thorough expose on the use of trust funds by the great and good captains of industry and the mega wealthy. No doubt they are all clean as a whistle and none of them were set up as tax dodges but in fact are genuinely for little freddy’s cubby house expansion plans and college fund.

    Meanwhile the Health Services Union have been mired in allegations of the rorting of millions and there is an ICAC inquiry into ministerial dealings which may have led to $100m windfalls for politicians and their families.

    Boy that $5000 put into her bank account 17 or so years ago truly deserves a Royal Commission of its own.

    Unfortunately there is a follow on effect from this. I’ve told the spouse that I won’t be able to give her any cash any more or transfer any money to her account, in the unlikely event that either of us wants to become Prime Minister one day.

  10. tonyfunnywalker

    To what end and Bernard this affair is the height of the cesspool that Australian Journalism has become. A poisonous cesspit permeates the News and Fairfax press. Voters are not stupid and they do not give a shit. Its a beat up!!! It is sad that it has snared Bishop and she is making a total fool of her self. I doubt the next leader of the Coalition will have her as deputy – she is useless.
    Voters are like me, they only care with what affects them and they already have a view of the Unions. As you highlight – Gillard has no case to answer and The Australian looks and sounds like a mixture of Fox News and Donald Trump claiming that Obama was a Muslim. What good did do Romney — HE LOST as voters turned out for Obama for what he could do for them and in droves. The Australian will do the same for Abbott by making him look like a spiteful brat and a political irrelevance. As Gillard as late as last night was saying– Forget the Political bullshit — Look at the Score Board. Gillard – the 7th Wonder of the World economy ( bit if an exaggeration) — Abbott Nil, no assists and no rebounds but TOO MANY dot balls —– a waste of space politically. He won a Boxing Blue? He has been throwing haymakers for 2 years, few have landed and what did land were below the belt. Gillard has been ” stinging like a bee” with meaningful policies which are valued by the electorate.

    American Voters valued Obama care for what it did for them not what might cost.
    Muck raking delivers no value its never read beyond the first article and the anger dissipates quickly.
    In the Australian letters section today there is criticism of Fran Kelly for not covering the AWU story on RN as ABC Bias. This morning’s broadcast of Brotherly Abuse was far more meaningful, a real life tragedy to illustrate the hope the Royal Commission will bring to allow closure for so many damaged children. That interview will be recalled as a justification for the Gillard snap decision to establish a Royal Commission. It provides hope, it may make Australia a better place to live and to bring up children in the future That’what matters —- not what someone may or may not have done 17 years ago.

  11. Merve

    After watching Hedley stich up the Queensland dam operators during the flood, I have no respect for the man at all. What he did was create a crime from nothing, destroying their repuations, and ignoring all the facts that didn’t suit him. The man is a disgrace to journalism.

  12. Warren Joffe

    A reasonable conclusion from what is now known and inherently probable is that Gillard was well inculcated into the whatever-it-takes competitive ethos of the union movement and ALP factions when she was a 35 year old partner (not someone young and silly, even if foolish) and, unlike the sort of (sometimes much much younger and less experienced) lawyer who would have been thrown out of respectable firms of solicitors for pretty minor failures to cross dot i’s and cross t’s, was pretty easy going about her ethical obligations to partners, clients, the profession and the community. After all she did a bit of private business for her boyfriend without notifying her firm or keeping a proper record and, most noticeably because she had the gall to make a point of the correct wording (!) in her opportunistic tirade against the Australian, she set up a “slush fund” which was to misuse donations, themselves to be obtained improperly by express or implied threats and inducements, for purposes other than the professed objects of the fund – and then made the necessary declarations or certifications to get the fund inorporated in WA with phoney objects.

    She wouldn’t get a job in a decent firm of solicitors with that on her record unless, perhaps, she had spun a convincing story, very apologetically, about being blinded by personal affection and unwillingness to see what Wilson was up to so that etc. etc. But that means admitting how much it all stank. Are we then to forgive her because she is now in a position where she can’t admit the obvious truth but must bluff it out? Fortunately the rest of us are without sin and can make our judgments either way with impunity and an easy conscience.

  13. zut alors

    After all that they can’t lay a glove on her, oh dear.

    A suggestion for The Oz’s editor-in-chief: how about investigating a real scandal on another subject? This one is suffering from over-handling and has long lost its gloss.

    Here’s an idea: what gives with the process of casino licenses being granted and their development applications short-circuited in NSW? Now, THAT’S a story.

  14. Edward James

    Hands up all who think that really old photo of the now Labor Prime Minister looks a little bit hot? Edward James

  15. klewso

    Too Right, Percy – some of my best friends aren’t either!

  16. Desmond Carroll

    Of course Nicola Roxon did work for a union. Before winning the seat of Gellibrand, she had worked with — and subsequently became an associate at — the legendary Maurice Blackburn legal firm, after having been a judge’s associate to High Court Justice Mary Gaudron. If only these blasted women would get an education!

  17. Patriot

    Knott, you failed to mention that she has stands accused of at least two criminal acts – that she backdated and falsely witnessed a power of attorney for Blewitt and that she failed to report the existence of the fund to her client, the AWU, or to investigators who, contrary to her statement in parliament, were not aware of it. Her denial of involvement in the conveyancing work for the property has been challenged by Slater & Gordon.

    Police will speak to Blewitt as early as next week in response to the reporting to them by Michael Smith of a serious indictable offence committed by Julia Gillard.

    This is bigger than Watergate.

  18. mattsui

    Presumably the people who elected her to public office were aware that Julia Gillard had been working as a lawyer (at least it’s never been a secret).
    Ms Gillard did then what lawyers do and will always do and weather we think it might have been a bit dodgy now is really irrelevant.
    Show us an indiscretion of this magnitude that ocurred after Ms Gillard took office……. you can’t.

  19. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Patriot, “stands accused” by whom? You make it sound as though you personally have the evidence in your own hands and can attest to the quality of it. Are you for real?

  20. Warren Joffe

    “Posted Friday, 16 November 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink
    Your comment is awaiting moderation”

    Can that still be right at 6pm on the 17th? Is it part of the discussion or simply visbible to the person who posted it?

  21. zut alors

    Warren, it’s simply visible to the poster. There’s rarely supervisory action over the weekends – on a holiday weekend a comment may not appear until Tuesday. That’s been my experience.

  22. Patriot

    Julia Gillard, go directly to gaol. Do not pass Kerr Street. Do not collect $5000 dollars.

  23. geomac62

    What body has made these accusations or what court is presiding on these charges you cite ? Surely your not quoting the likes of Bolt who has twice been found guilty in court of not following the journalistic code . In other words he makes things up rather than checking his facts then writes articles that open up legal cases .
    You want old cases to open up ? Lets try Anderson , Vaile , Downer , McGauran or Wooldridge . What about Croger and the ABC connection re child care with Doug and his son , Nationals ? Abbott and his slush fund to sink Hanson could be a rich vein to investigate regarding probity and legality . My pet obsession is Abetz and his mock inquisition of Greche which was scripted but Rudd let him off the hook having put Turnbull to the sword . Treason , deception or trying to bring down the government with fraudulent emails . Its a disgrace that that man still fronts senate inquiries . I simply cannot believe it . As someone mention earlier and has never been properly explained , why did Howard bail out his brothers company with taxpayer money ?
    I do wish you would use a more appropriate moniker because its obvious your no more a patriot than Abetz . Ahhh a patriot of the libs , yeah , got it .

  24. geomac62

    Hmmm must be a new word tripping moderation . Monday I guess .

  25. burninglog

    Patriot? In what way is this bigger than Watergate?

  26. C@tmomma

    Isn’t it just so typical how the muck-rakers from the Right, wrap themselves in the flag and call themselves ‘Patriot’, in order to give their attempts at smearing the PM further with more red-herrings and spurious assertions, a veneer of respectability?

  27. burninglog

    Patriot? Are you saying there are ‘Woodward & Bernstein’ type journos currently at The Australian? If so, who are they?

  28. sottile6

    After the Wivenhoe Dam fiasco, Hedley Thomas should be scuttling away to hide under a cupboard. Those reports, like this one were pathetic beat ups and resulted in the persecution of the four dam operators who should have been given a commendation for preventing a far worse flood. Instead they were hounded out of their jobs. Thomas should be publicly castigated for his role in that process. Thomas is a disgrace to journalism.

  29. geomac62

    Actually its more like patrat or packrot . Certainly nothing to do with any ideals but naked bias towards the right . Was Pinochet a patriot ? Saddam or Bush ?

  30. tonyfunnywalker

    Gee Wizz what’s this thing you have against lefties.
    A comparison of the rhetoric both here and the US mirrors that of the early 1930’s in Europe and the US. It is interesting the way in which the press of the day looked up to and supported the right who were so buoyed it led to the growth of totalarian regimes and WW2.
    In recent times : ” grubby” by the press corps.
    The Post Obama re- election is an analysis that the modern press is increasingly impotent with the growth of the influence of social media. We can now answer back and a read of the moderation on letters etc to the Australian shows considerable bias.
    I wonder if these letter writers actually exist or are they trained puppets. It is well known that Talkback radio has deployed trained puppets for years and any contrary views are either intimidated, talked over. or just cut off. BTW Thomas won a prize for his investigative journalism for the Wyvenoe affair.
    Murdoch apologised to Kinnock in the UK after the disgraceful attacks led bt the Sun and I believe that Anna Blythe equally should be similarly apologised.
    She as heroine in leading Queensland through 3 disasters and the her vilification by the press was disgraceful and By the Courier Mail in particular.

  31. Patriot

    Ian Cambridge, personally appointed as a FWA Commissioner by Gillard herself, described the AWU fraud in his diary in September 1995 as:

    “a bit like the Watergate scandal whereby the attempt to cover up the original crime was now far worse perhaps than the original crime, although given some recent revelations the original crimes were taking on an entirely new dimension as well”.

    That’s September 1995. The AWU didn’t find out about The AWU – Workplace Reform Association until April 1996. The fraud was much bigger than Cambridge knew when he wrote that.

  32. tonyfunnywalker

    Gee Whizz and Partiot are drawing a strong resemblance to the AWB and the involvement of Downer. This cost the wheat industry dearly in lost markets and not only in Iraq.
    There is no damage and the credibilty of the key witnesses is debatable. The reputation of the Murdoch press in ruining lives is notorious and I suggest that both Patriot and Gee Wizz read it in the Leveson evidence.

  33. Patriot

    Another important detail that Knott missed in his review – Frearsons statement that the AWU – Workplace Reform Association was discovered in 1995 is at odds with his statement to Cambridge in 1996.

    Cambridge was first alerted to the existence of the association on April 3, 1996 by The Commonwealth Bank:

    “It is now 11.35 and a short time ago I concluded a telephone conversation with a Mr Andrew Chalker from the Commonwealth Bank.

    “Mr Chalker rang me, indicating that he was undertaking certain activities in respect to our request for the names of accounts held by the Commonwealth Bank which may relate to the AWU.

    “Mr Chalker then indicated to me, and in fact asked me, if I had knowledge of a Workplace Reform Association, to which I responded that I had never heard of such an organisation before, and I asked him if that was one of the names that had been thrown up by his computer search.

    “He said that was something which had been uncovered in the search to date and I indicated to him I thought that may well be something that we would have some interest in further investigation of.”

    Cambridge records Frearsons response when he is asked about the association in July 1996:

    “I thought it would be easy to remember because approximately $400,000 had gone through it, to which he responded by saying words to the effect that ‘shіt, I certainly could have done with that sort of money…He said he could not remember and would have remembered any account that handled amounts of money like that.”

    That’s how we know Gillard was lyіng when she said in Parliament that the matter was already the subject of inquiry and investigation in 1995.

  34. Patriot

    Looking more and more like Gillard is just a big Welsh bullshіt artist.

  35. pritu

    “Patriotism: the last refuge of the scoundrel. How surprisement!

  36. Lance Boyle

    The Oz just googled SLUSH FUND and picked the wrong one by mistake. The one that was lied about, conclusively, and is the smoking gun was there all along and definitely requires significantly more investigation by MSM.


  37. geomac62

    Do we now call Julie Bishop Hardie Bishop ? Perhaps if I was truthless or Patrat I would but there is no purpose other than smear . I almost feel sorry for Bishop as she appears to be the token female , three times elected deputy but never considered as leader material . Even Andrews contested up and he is even more suspect than Abbott . Still Andrews may have been the Trojan horse to nobble Turnbull . Thing is he was contesting the leadership while Bishop was never even considered . The talent well is nearly empty .

  38. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    Patriot, your “Watergate” assertion relies on Julia Gillard, lawyer, being the author and exponent of the/a cover-up. Nothing you have put forward connects Gillard to any cover-up that occurred. Just because she knew the people who may have been up to mischief does not implicate her. It would be great for your argument if it were true (or even if there was a fact or two) but since you don’t have any evidence whatsoever you don’t actually have an argument.
    What’s the point of saying ‘we might have another Watergate and Julia Gillard is the new Nixon’, when you know you don’t?

  39. Karen

    So, if Gillard was in on the scam, why did she leave Bruce Wilson? The plausible answer is that she left him after she found out about his role in it. Dudded by a male cretin.

  40. Karen

    @tonyfunnywalker #33 – agree, Patriot and Troofie likening any alleged Gillard involvement in the AWU fund fraud to the AWB is a joke. We have l* es about wheat and war on one hand, and a tawdry little union fraud on the other. A tawdry little fraud which doesn’t appear to involve Gillard either, for that matter. On the contrary. We have a plain fact in which Gillard leaves Wilson after this stupid fraud is uncovered, feeling chastened, used, bitten and hurt. Completely dudded by a cretin. Can someone tell me how long we have to put up with this bollocks story?

  41. Edward James

    The source of the “Watergate” reference has been identified for us all by Patriot at 32 above as Ian Cambridge, personally appointed as a FWA Commissioner by Gillard herself. he is quoted “a bit like the Watergate scandal whereby the attempt to cover up the original crime was now far worse perhaps than the original crime, although given some recent revelations the original crimes were taking on an entirely new dimension as well”. I have identified Kevin (Heiner) Rudd and Julie (Slush Fund) Gillard as a pair dud Labor Party book ends. Their perceived dislike for “documents” which seem to have disappeared from files and boxes. Perhaps because they may become problematic should they find their way into our legal system, is legendary. The very ordinary work product of Labor Party members generally is mapped out by the number of identified party members bringing their party into disrepute, some of them in NSW lined up outside ICAC. As politicians too many labor politicians are being perceived to be simply no dam good. Edward James

  42. Edward James

    What a shame the directors who took part in working so hard to move James Hardie fiscal resources beyond the reach of potential claimants in Australia, have had their sentences reduced by appeal. I understand they may now be able to become directors again. That said lets not forget our elected representatives the Bob Carr Labor Government failed to out law the process which James Hardie was playing out. They were in the process of putting their fiscal resources beyond the reach of Labor and Liberal National constituents while so many lawyers and others with enough legal background to know exactly what was unfolding. and supposed to be exercising their influence representing us. Sat on their hands and did nothing while their supporters also remained sadly silent. Edward James

  43. Edward James

    Karen. Our Prime Minister is on public record identifying what she helped put in place for her boy friend Bruce Wilson under the umbrella of the AWU as a “slush fund”. Is Bruce Wilson still a member of the Labor Party? Or could he be suspended, like one time big note Labor man Williamson and incidental trainee Craig Thomson . ha ha ha Edward James

  44. geomac62

    A curious thing , why would a person attach their name at the end of their post when its already displayed above the post ? Reminds me of that old song I saw on black and white tv as a boy . I,m going to sit right down and write myself a letter and make believe it came from you , Bee bop ? Gotta be over 50 years ago , John Eden top ten ?

  45. Edward James

    What a surprise no bites from Labor supporters in the Northern Territory and else where like old george mac 62 on the source of the Watergate reference! Ian Cambridge, personally appointed as a FWA Commissioner by Gillard herself. Are there any other crikey subscribers who witnessed what Julie Bishop had to say on Channel ten TV the Bolt report. Outside cowards castle on the weekend ? What a shame Labor numnuts want to draw attention to the way all of our elected representatives let James Hardie move their fiscal resources beyond the reach of Australians who could be reasonably expected to claim damages from. James Hardie . Edward James

  46. Edward James

    I like to sign my name at the end of my published comments Edward James. If you have a problem with that, perhaps you might like to find somewhere else to ply your political opinions geomac63 Edward James 0243419140

  47. Edward James

    Labor Nationally is eating itself politically thats why supporters are trying to distort the way things are. Consider the isolation of geomac62 Edward James

  48. Edward James

    Darwin and surrounds is a good place to migrate too. I am looking for a small holding. Edward James Do you know a great place Geomac62?

  49. geomac62

    My money is the equal of yours as in sub for Crikey . I have no problem with your penchant for seeing your name constantly just think its a curious thing to do . As to your last bit , is that like saying go back to where you came from ?
    BTW commenting on a quirk is not a political opinion , at least in this case . If I said CSR and Bishop then that would be political . Maybe your too sensitive for Crikey posts Ed > Lets face it it was a comment without any vitriol or rancour , hit with a feather .

  50. geomac62

    Haven,t you heard there,s good light in Broome so Neil Murray reckons .

  51. tonyfunnywalker

    Its always said that where you have week argument resort to abuse. Edwards, Gee Whizz and Partriot – grow up. Your immature biggotry is more attuned to the columns of News Ltd not Crikey. I am also offened at your reference to the Welsh and bullshit. I am Welsh but also I am proud to be Australian.

  52. Edward James

    You clearly do have a problem geomac62 with how I using my name. My name should not be your problem unless you are frightened to use yours and envy me? My last bit? Darwin and surrounds is is a good place to migrate too. Do you know a great place Geomac62? I am looking for a small holding. That is a simple question. Commenting on a quirk of mine more than once on Crikey strings stinks like a personal attack. Why would you want to do that geomac 62 are you an identified Labor Party supporter with issues? Edward James

  53. Edward James

    Whose arguing? Labor from the top to the bottom are just no dam good! There is nothing for you to argue! Thats why our Labor Prime Minister has gone overseas again. Edward James

  54. Patriot

    Hugh (Charlie) McColl,

    The facts and evidence are recorded in Gillard’s departure interview with Peter Gordon and Cambridge’s diary and affidavit. The former records that Gillard was aware of the fraud involving The AWU – Workplace Reform Association in 1995. The latter records that it was concealed from police and the AWU until April 1996, when it was brought to their attention by The Commonwealth Bank. Gillard concealed the fraud and lіed about the concealment in Parliament this year when questioned by Julie Bishop.

  55. Patriot

    And then there’s the destruction on at least four sets of documents by persons as yet unknown. If Gillard is innocent the easiest way to prove that and kill this story would be to find those documents and release them. You would expect her to be demanding the files be located and the disappearances investigated. She isn’t.

  56. geomac62

    Obviously you have spare time so maybe you could look for these documents you think are important . However why bother when in the same post you claim these documents are destroyed . The PM has other things to do such as her job not rake over 17 year old happenings . The PM took questions for an hour till the media had nothing to ask . Abbott cannot go ten minutes without sticking to script and message . Hence the walk offs and abrupt endings although with Marge in tow harder to do but puff pieces no hard yakka .

  57. geomac62

    I have no problem with you except your delusions of your worth . More an object of pity than scorn which is why I gently mock you . You profess one thing then only attack Labor . You like to see your name , so what ? You think your more important than you are , many people do .
    Get one thing straight : Your contributions are not more important to Crikey or its readership than anyone else who posts a comment . The only difference is most people make their comment not pompously announce their name and phone number numerous times . They let their comment stand on its merits while you want a personal soap box to stand on . Be thankful I dont vent to the extent some would , not in my nature . Be thankful your not Mirabella or Bernardi then you would see another side of me that does not use kid gloves .

  58. Patriot


    “The PM has other things to do such as her job not rake over 17 year old happenings.

    Not so. She just called a Royal Commission into happenings much older than that.

  59. geomac62

    Are you trying to equate abuse of children , clergy peds and church type organisations avoidance of responsibility with some work done by a single lawyer ? A lawyer who became PM and whose firm 17 years ago absolved her actions . Who police found no reasonable reason for prosecution or in fact reason to lay a charge . The principles who in fact did have reason to be charged are not the focus of your accusations but the person who had no knowledge of wrongful intent , the lawyer . I find that very strange and now I read today that the union recovered the bulk of the money concerned but was omitted from the statement by the union official . Much ado about nothing regarding the PM . To compare that to a royal commission into child abuse and attention required is really puerile . That is getting to the level of Bolt and thats the last place you would wish to occupy .

  60. Patriot

    Police have found reason to investigate her conduct. As reported elsewhere, they will speak to Blewitt this week in response to a report of a serious indictable offence committed by Gillard.

  61. geomac62

    I notice you haven,t used the word alleged in post 61 . ” to a report of a serious indictable offence committed by Gillard. ” so its trial by media and bloggers again it seems . Blather on all you like , nothing will eventuate regarding the PM . The court room Bolt ever got anyone into was himself .

  62. geomac62

    ” The only court room Bolt ever got anyone into was himself . “

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