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Nov 19, 2012

Latham's Bolt Watch: 'He will say and do anything to get at Gillard'

In round two of Bolt Watch, Mark Latham takes on more assertions made by blogger Andrew Bolt over the Julia Gillard AWU story.


For those who tuned in lately, ex-Labor leader Mark Latham has turned his special skills toward analysing blogger Andrew Bolt’s crusade to bring down Julia Gillard over the Slater & Gordon AWU story. Latham claims to have uncovered a series of false, ridiculous and “outright outrageous” information on Bolt’s blog, a claim rejected by Bolt in a lively exchange of emails and telephone calls between the pair.

In Friday’s Crikey, Latham tackled a series of assertions made by the News Limited polemicist. Welcome to round two of Latham’s Bolt Watch.

Bolt’s claim: “If the AWU scandal and Julia Gillard’s actions as a solicitor had been fully known and investigated at the time, it would have been impossible for Gillard to even stand for election for the Labor Party.” (October 30, 2012)

Latham’s reponse: This is a ridiculous proposition. Gillard’s actions were investigated internally by Slater & Gordon in 1995, which took no disciplinary action. The “AWU scandal” was then investigated by the police, who took no action against anyone. The Liberal Party also raised a series of allegations against Gillard in the Victorian Parliament that went nowhere.

Without evidence of any wrongdoing (then or now), there was no reason for Gillard not to advance through the ranks of the ALP. After leaving Slater & Gordon, she became chief of staff to the Victorian Labor leader, John Brumby, and then the Labor member for Lalor in 1998.  Bolt has made the claim above, not because it is true, but because it is the kind of thing his readers love to hear: don’t just attack Gillard’s prime ministership today, but seek to airbrush her entire career from Australian political history.

Bolt’s claim: “Logic suggests [Mark Baker’s] source is the publicly redacted parts of the record of interview between Gillard and her Slater & Gordon partners in 1995 — an interview in which Gillard was questioned over the file which had been found and about which the partners wanted answers. I have little doubt Baker has a copy of that record of interview, no doubt at all that he read it, and none on who showed him.” (November 13, 2012)

Latham’s response: Bolt arguably has a history of inventing claims against people. I know this from my own time in politics, when he publicly accused me of organising for a union official to abuse him in a Canberra bar. Earlier this year when tackled on this, Bolt was unable to provide proof for this claim: he thought it might have been true, so he decided to say it was true.

Now Mark Baker, a journalist at The Age, has received similar treatment. First some background: on October 13, Baker wrote of his “belief” in the existence of correspondence in 1992 between Gillard (a lawyer at Slater & Gordon) and the Western Australian Corporate Affairs Commission concerning the registration of the AWU Workplace Reform Association. Baker claimed (incorrectly) this was inconsistent with statements made by the Prime Minister in August 2012. Baker offered no source for this “belief” and subsequently, it was revealed that neither Slater & Gordon nor the WA government had any record of the correspondence.

Ever keen to support false claims against Gillard, Bolt jumped into print on November 13 (see quote above) to identify Baker’s source, claiming to have “no doubt” about it. Just one problem, when I questioned Baker about this, he wrote back to say: “Andrew Bolt knows as much about my confidential sources as you do — nothing. I have not spoken to him about any of these matters and have no intention of doing so.”

Oops. The evidence suggests Bolt is guilty of yet another invention, this time concerning a fellow journalist’s sources. He will say and do anything to get at Gillard.

Bolt’s claim: Gillard is focusing on Tony Abbott’s character as a “diversion from waste, bungling, division, deceit and allegedly corruption”. (November 13, 2012)

Latham’s response: This is a favourite Bolt technique in smearing the Prime Minister: raising a corruption allegation in the context of another issue (in this case, Abbott’s character). Based on the facts, he cannot support a charge of corruption against Gillard on the AWU matter, so he just leaves it hanging for his readers to absorb. Courage is not part of Bolt’s character. He specialises in the politics of smear.

Take, for example, his comments on Radio 2GB on November 12, when he said he was more convinced of the need for a royal commission into the AWU matter than the need for a royal commission into child s-x abuse in Australia — a bizarre and disturbing set of priorities. Bolt was so sceptical about the child abuse royal commission, his co-host Steve Price had to interrupt him to find out where he stood on the issue.

This is one of the striking features of the extreme Right: in their fanaticism about Gillard they are out of touch with public sentiment on issues like child s-x abuse, preferring to obsessively think and talk about party politics. On 2GB, Bolt even analysed the child abuse royal commission through the prism of electoral tactics and possible polling increases for Gillard. Sadly, this is what Australian conservatism has become — a morally empty cadre of political fanatics.

Bolt’s claim: “Now Blewitt tells all, it was backdated and Gillard wasn’t even there … [She witnessed] a power of attorney in favour of her then boyfriend that the donor insists was not signed in her presence or on the day she claimed.” (November 1, 2012)

In this allegation, Bolt is relying entirely on the word of Ralph Blewitt, a self-confessed fraudster who some might argue is trying to stitch up Gillard so he can secure immunity from criminal prosecution. This suits Bolt’s agenda perfectly. Mr Conservative Values is more than happy to associate himself with the likes of Blewitt, setting aside his law and order campaign in his desperation to get at Gillard. The criminal element Bolt normally condemns has become his political ally.

The facts, however, suggest this is just another Blewitt fraud. As Laura Tingle and Mark Skulley reported in the Australian Financial Review on November 10, “The Slater & Gordon documents do not support queries on the dates of the power-of-attorney documents witnessed by Ms Gillard”.


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38 thoughts on “Latham’s Bolt Watch: ‘He will say and do anything to get at Gillard’

  1. klewso

    “Logic”? Blot’s been reading the dictionary again?

  2. Matthew of Canberra

    “he thought it might have been true, so he decided to say it was true”

    Well … at least he _thought_ it might be true. That is a sort of standard, at least.

  3. tinman_au

    “Well … at least he _thought_ it might be true. That is a sort of standard, at least.”

    In Boltland, many things are true, mostly because Andrew wills them into existence (in that regard he’s kinda like a god…or maybe the Wizard of Oz).

  4. Matthew of Canberra

    The backdated PoA doesn’t even make sense. If it didn’t exist at the time of the property transfer, then it wasn’t relevant (or needed). So it either DID exist, or it wasn’t needed for the purchase and there’d have been no need to fake it after the fact. So why did the “donor” sign it at all, if he was in the dark about its purpose?

    As smoking guns go, this one’s more like a cigarette butt.

  5. BSA Bob

    And Bolt can’t lose, can he? At least not in his own mind & in those of his “supporters”. Any failure on his part WILL be seen & presented as another low blow by those dastardly lefties.

  6. Harry1951

    Bolt might consider a career in writing fantasy-or fiction at least. Assuming his political views are genuinely held the man will seemingly go to great lengths to try to persuade his readership. Unfortunately, mud sticks when thrown in sufficient quantities sufficiently often.
    Apalling man!

  7. Gauss

    Matthew of Canberra

    Are you serious mate. You don’t think the vendor’s solicitor would have wanted to see the POA before the transaction was completed. Get real.

  8. Gauss

    Question for you Mark Latham?

    Why are you harassing Bolt and not the 3 journalists who are making the running on this. Vis: –

    1. Hedley Thomas of The Australian.
    2. Mark Baker of Fairfax.
    3. Michael Smith of michaelsmithnews.com

  9. Matthew of Canberra


    I tend to agree. In which case the PoA _must_ have existed, and must have been signed and dated, before the transaction took place. So why would anyone need to back-date it? That’s why I don’t think the story makes any sense.

  10. Gauss

    Question for the Prime Minister. Perhaps you could pass it on to her Mark Latham.

    The existence if the sham Western Australian AWU Workplace Reform Association entity was not known to the AWU or the police till after Apr 1996 when its account was discovered by an employee of the Commonwealth Bank.

    As redacted excerpts from your exit interview with Slater & Gordon in Sep 1995 are now in the public arena and these show you knew of Bruce Wilson’s wrongdoing in respect of Victorian accounts at this time, why didn’t you report the existence of the Western Australian entity, you helped set up, to the AWU and the police.

  11. dazza

    Why is this bloke opposed to royal commission into child sx abuse?? That statement should be taken up by the media, and the Bolts employer made to ‘please explain’ why they sponsor and support such statements.

  12. shepherdmarilyn

    Why don’t they go after Gillard for her racism and bigotry instead of this nonsense.

    Today the senate were asked to approve another $1.6 billion for refugee prisons.

  13. JamesK

    I don’t have the energy to answer having read the headline and by-line; WHY THE FUDGLING are you giving this man lines? FFS.

  14. tonyfunnywalker

    Bolt is an attention seeking clown and no one should not take him seriously. He is doing Channel 10 no favours but at least Sky news were able to get rid of him.

    He is joining Christopher Pearson as the least read commentator and I wonder why Barry Cassidy invites Pearson onto the Insiders as he you can hear the remotes’ click as watchers move Channels.

  15. Matthew of Canberra

    “The existence if the sham Western Australian AWU Workplace Reform Association entity was not known to the AWU or the police till after Apr 1996 when its account was discovered by an employee of the Commonwealth Bank.”

    I don’t think your premises are in accord with the facts as known. I think the whole point is that the AWU _did_ know about the association, and the misdeeds had indeed been investigated – hence the scandal, and the cloud which might or might not have been over gillard’s departure from S&G.

    Whether or not they knew about the bank account – that’s a different question. But nobody at S&G opened that account, so they had no reason to know of its existence. The question of the cheque written against the account (one of many “smoking guns”) has already been dealt with – it was submitted in WA, far away from S&G’s melbourne offices.

    So … without going looking, why would gillard have known about the account?

  16. Liz45

    After Bolt’s past history, particularly the articles he wrote re certain aboriginal people not really being aboriginal and only stating thus to get a job – in an aboriginal organisation etc why would anyone spend any time following his so-called logic? Bolt admitted to only using the internet as his source of ‘information’, much of it proven, quite easily to be FACTUALLY INCORRECT? This person is ugly, inside and out, and has his own agenda, paid for by his ‘master’ – one Rupert Murdoch, who incidentally, hasn’t bothered to let truth or facts get in his way! Recent events only one of many instances! Others which have (allegedly) involved driving people to suicide – very young people at that????

    To assert that the PM did anything that could ‘bring her down’ after all this time, and at least one thorough police investigation, is to believe in the saying, ‘that if you stir enough s**t will rise’? Or words to that affect. I wish, like I wish about Abbott, that someone would do an indepth investigation of their past, and then tell us of the murky bits! I’m sure that there are some!

    Says a lot about the police perhaps? All this so-called ‘awful history’ being available to one shonky so-called journalist, but the police missed it? I’d be insulted if I was one of the investigators.

    What did Abbott do while he was at St Johns college/university for instance? Funny how neither he nor Hockey came out in righteous indignation about the sleazy, criminal and disgusting behaviours there? Could it be that they did this deliberately, knowing full well, that there were people ‘out there’ with the ‘dirt’ on them?

    I invite people to investigate! Bolt is a piece of garbage who writes accordingly. I wouldn’t let his articles anywhere near innocent people as it probably would contaminate them in a very negative manner indeed! His ‘only free if you agree’ attitude to peoples’ speech is very telling! He wants to get rid of the PM and his misogynist mates are willing to assist!

  17. cairns50

    why is it that everytime i post a comment in comes up AWAITING MODERATION

    nothing defamatory or bad language is ever said in my posts


  18. FunkyJ

    F*ck you Crikey for directing me to Andrew Bolt’s blog without a prior warning.

  19. Groucho

    How many times now has Bolt admitted in court under oath that his claims were either unsubstantiated or an outright lie?

    His freedom of speech crusade is an open demand to be able to lie and misinform with impunity.

  20. SimsonMc

    Andrew Bolt keeps his job at Ten despite poor ratings and yet they sack quality journalists like Helen Kapalos. Then Ten wonders why it’s in trouble.

    And in other news, Channel Ten will be reformatting next year’s series of Biggest Loser. The new show will be a reality TV series based on the company’s Board members.

  21. Hamis Hill

    Arch Blot of the Church of the Slush Fund Onanists has many acolytes it seems.

  22. Gauss

    Matthew of Canberra @ 6.34 pm

    “I don’t think your premises are in accord with the facts as known. I think the whole point is that the AWU _did_ know about the association,”

    Before Apr 1996? Let’s assume for a brief moment that the “new broom”, Bob Smith, at the Victorian AWU knew of the existence of the AWU Workplace Reform Association, in Jul/Aug 1995. Then why didn’t he report it to the police. If he had reported it then the police would have quickly found the account under the entity, AWUWRA.

    The link below is a post by Michael Smith on 15 Nov 2012 which contains a link to the entire Victoria Police FOI file


    “The entire Victoria Police FOI file

    This is the response by Victoria Police to Harry Nowicki’s application for the file of the Force’s investigation into the activities of Bruce Wilson in Melbourne.

    You’ll note that the AWU-WRA was not investigated and was not reported to police.”

  23. scotty d

    Wow Mark, whats that Scottish prick holding over your head? For somebody who has openly discussed his disgust at politics and the Labor party, I must say I am extremely surprised at your sudden re-emergence into the public debate.

  24. Joel

    I’m yet to find any information on Bolt’s blog that isn’t false, ridiculous and “outright outrageous”.

  25. GeeWizz

    Bolt is a bit of an idiot, but why are we getting Mark Lathams opinion on the goings on 20 years ago at S&G

    Let’s have a Royal Commission into the Unions and corruption and get all this stuff out there once and for all

  26. Sanjay

    Mark Latham needs to get a job, but nobody wants him. Maybe he should try driving a taxi.

  27. Suzanne Blake

    Latham? Latham who, the person famous for the taxi rage incident and other incidents?

  28. Suzanne Blake

    The AWU investigation will increase media coverage over the next few months, and be Gillards watershed by mid February

  29. Liamj

    @ Sanjay – Latham is doing a public service, testing the varacity of a leading rightwing advocate and showing Bolt to be deceitful – don’t you think that is worth knowing?

    Unless News Corp can prove that their customers want to be deceived, aren’t they guilty of selling shoddy goods? Repeatedly, over decades? Paging ACCC…

  30. Tim Mitchell

    It seems any requirement for journalistic rigour don’t apply to Bolt. If he cannot provide evidence or cite sources to back his claims then his writings are pure unfounded opinion and can be rejected.

  31. Gauss

    Matthew of Canberra @ Monday 5.26 pm

    I tend to agree. In which case the PoA _must_ have existed, and must have been signed and dated, before the transaction took place. So why would anyone need to back-date it? That’s why I don’t think the story makes any sense.”

    You might want to read through Michael Smith forensic analysis of this issue. Follow progressively through the seven links in the following link.


    Then come back and tell me that “the backdated PoA doesn’t even make sense”.

    1. The auction was on 13 Feb 1993
    2. On this date the contact of sale from the selling agent, GA Thomson & Co., was signed by “Bruce Wilson as per Power of Attorney”
    3. No PoA was attached to this document as noted by Olive Brosnahan, the para legal at S&G.
    4. Olive Brosnahan chases the PoA and it is sent by the agent, together with a letter dated 22 Feb 1993.
    5. Ralph Blewitt claims he signed the PoA the week after 13 Feb 1993 when Bruce Wilson went to Perth (see link 5 & 7)& that Julia Gillard was not present when he signed it. Ralph Blewitt further claims he was in WA on 4 Feb 1993, the date on the PoA.


    When people are that desperate to get what they want, all common sense and morals go out the window. Abbott and his supporters believe so strongly that they have been ‘robbed’ of power that they are willing to sell their souls in this vendetta against Julia Gillard. In the long run however all their smear and nastiness will be seen for what it is LIES upon LIES, and they will once again be ‘robbed’ of power, only this time they will lose the ‘unlosable’ election. KARMA

  33. GeeWizz

    I did like Mark Lathams direct democracy idea… maybe we could have voted on the Carbon Tax and whether to kick Craig Tommo boy out of parliament

  34. Billy Blogs

    There is no debate about what Gillard did as a lawyer. The available documents are clear and she has never denied any of them. She refuses to answer questions – she is in big trouble.
    There is only one way an association can be formed and that is with the direct assistance of an officer of the court. Any legitimate lawyer would see what Wilson had in mind and take it straight to his/her partners for clarification (as if any were needed). That would expose the scam before it began.
    Gillard kept the AWU-WRA off the record from her partners by not opening a file, and from her client (AWU) by not billing. Had either of those actions been taken the scam would have ended very early on.
    There is too much info to write here, see it all on Michael Smith’s blog, but I’m pretty sure if I had spent years in law school and worked my way to partner only to have a crook con me and prematurely end my career, I’d be pretty pissed off and I’d be telling the authorities everything I knew – which she did not. The documents prove that both Gillard and S&G kept the information secret so as to protect themselves from possible prosecution.
    She’s in it up to her neck.

  35. Hewett Michael

    Mark you need to learn to read English, Bolt said, “If the AWU scandal and Julia Gillard’s actions as a solicitor had been fully known and investigated at the time”. Was it fully investigated at the time? Of course not, all the main players did not want to talk. The key words Mark, “fully investigated”. It was not. Being questioned by Slater and Gordon is not the same as a full police investigation unhindered by unions, businesses and witnesses refusing to cooperate. If everything we know today was known then, are you honestly telling us she would have gotten preselection?

  36. Venise Alstergren

    CAIRNS50: As an expert in being ‘moderated’ I’ll give you a hint.

    You don’t have to using swear words to be moderated. It can often kick in if a word sounds like another word, or if the scribe is out for the afternoon.

    Or if commenting on fishing and you want to mention a fish which has the same name as “the people living in the Middle East but aren’t Muslims” This will get moderated as a lot of people dislike those people and write nasty letters about them. Notice I haven’t mentioned the Middle Eastern brigade’s name. If I did, the comment would have been moderated.

    Anyway, I just wanted to help you.

  37. Hewett Michael

    Liz45, in regards to the aboriginal bolt issue, even full blooded aborigines are not happy that people claiming to be aboriginal yet whose skin colour is no different to an anglo saxon, are getting benefits that are supposed to be for aborigines who are disadvantaged. I met a girl once, full blooded aboriginal, red hair, white skin but was she disadvantaged by being aboriginal? Not that I could tell. She would get opportunities where black skinned aborigines would not. That is what government initiatives for aboriginals should be about and how they should be decided in terms of the recipient. It is not wrong to question why white skinned aboriginals who are not disadvantaged because of their aboriginality are receiving benefits intended for those who are disadvantaged because of aboriginality. If you can’t understand that argument, you do not understand fairness and equity.

  38. iggy648

    Hi GeeWizz, I’m old and I have trouble keeping up. Just remind me of what Craig Thomson is charged with?

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