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Nov 29, 2012

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.


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119 thoughts on “AWU scandal: this ends today, one way or another

  1. Jimmy

    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

    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

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

  4. Apollo

    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

    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

    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.


    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

    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

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

  9. Julia

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

  10. jason white

    It only ends today, If the ALP replace Gillard

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    @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

    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

    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

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

  24. robinw

    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

    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

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

  27. jason white


    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.

    ” 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.

    “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

    ” 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

    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

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

  30. Jimmy

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

  36. GLJ

    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


    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.

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

  38. Jimmy

    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

    GRow up, nothing happened.

  40. Kate Ahearne

    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

    @ 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

    [“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

    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

    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



  46. CheshireCat

    “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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  51. elknwit

    Bernard, I’m curious about your journalism vocation. Which Labor pre-selection battle did you lose? I sense that this is very much a grudging second option for you although you are in very safe company here in quaint old Crikey which has now clearly degenerated into an obscure leftie group think forum.

  52. tonyfunnywalker

    This is reminicent of the recent Test Match – on the first day South Africa rested its best bowler after lunch – and Australia plundered and embarrassed the spinner to a test record.

    Julie Bishop the 2nd string strike bowler kept bowling full tosses and when she tried to bowl bouncers Gillard drove and cut them for boundaries on all sides of the wicket.

    But Captain Abbott persisted for the 4 sessions with a weak bowling attack but they kept bowling wides and no balls.

    He got a bit of coaching from some very dodgy sources and came into the attack itself given a free hit but was immediately no balled for overstepping.

    The extra ball went wide as Gillard stepped back to the crease and not even the keeper could save another boundary.

    Gillard played a straight bat till stumps and was still sledging when stumps were drawn.

    The match was drawn as neither Gillard or Abbott will gain in the polls as no one bloody cared – it was a dead rubber game and won’t decide the series.

    The Liberals need a new captain and a new coach and there needs to be some rotation in the attack.

    Irrespective of the draw Labor were able to amass a comfortable score with record number of boundaries and no dismissals.

    The opener and captain carried her bat throughout the innings but the match referee will need to look at the number of bouncers per over and bringing back the underarm ball was an act of despiration and to slow the scoring. That’s not Cricket.

    Tactics to achieve ” retired hurt” were hoped for but they did not eventuate either.

    Labor can come out after the break in the knowledge that they are still batting for a test win when stumps are finally drawn in 12 months time.

    In the meantime bring on the South Africans for some real cricket played in the spirit of the game.

    Ponting will be sorely missed.

    Satire with apologies to cricket and cricket lovers everywhere.

  53. Liz45

    Have followed this. Listened to Question Time again, and the best that Abbott/Bishop could do was “allege” that something happened? Not one shred of evidence as far as I could tell.

    This smells like the last attempt of the Libs, (Peter Slipper and his employee?) and the one before that? Malcolm Turnbull and the Grech affair! You’d think they’d have something concrete before they allege that the PM had committed a crime – in public, not under Parliamentary privilege! Hope she sues the pants off them!

    The Fairfax/Murdoch? media apparently back pedaled, withdrew their claims etc? Funny how Abbott is either so devoid of intelligence or it’s overwhelmed by his need for spin and sleaze (devoid of any evidence, just innuendo – doesn’t work in court cases? Usually thrown out by a Magistrate/Judge? Heresay is not evidence? Disallowed?) And I’m not a lawyer, just a person with an average IQ not driven by pure lust for power!!!!

    Not one question on Policy or anything of interest to the rest of us! Just shows how much they care about this country and its citizens! Pathetic!

  54. Liz45

    @tonyfunnywalker – As a cricket ‘tragic’ I forgive you! Very good/clever!

    I’ve said more “borings” to the TV/Radio this week than in my life before this I reckon! Honestly! Kids in a primary school playground are smarter than this Coalition?

    I almost ‘felt’ Julie Bishop’s ‘stare’ in that interview where she said she only spoke to Blewett once! Honestly! she just happened to get a phone call from Mike Smith who was sacked over his libellous claims on radio! And MS just happened to be with Blewett, and Julie Bishop’s call ‘dropped out’ before she could find out his name! Honestly! I’ve been on this planet a bit longer than 5 minutes???

  55. Mark Smith

    So Keane, Gillard did what lawyers do did she? Like not opening a file? Like keeping it secret from the senior partners? Like acting for her boy friend and creating a conflict of interest? Like losing her firm their lucrative client? I would rate that as FAIL by you.

  56. klewso

    “Slush fund”? The very phrase sounds tawdry?

    …..Which reminds me, whatever happened to Pauline Hanson’s political career? Who funded her demise? Who wielded those “Last Rights” – after the party pillaged her policy locker? How and under what circumstances did she get out of gaol eventually?

    See too where some decry the use of certain derogatory language now. But it worked for Keating. It worked so well Costello took “Keating pills”. So did Abbott. So did Cousin Jethro. It hasn’t seemed to have hurt their political image (going on the punditry and their apologists)?
    But they do get testy when they get back what they give off. They can slop it but they can’t cop it?

  57. iggy648

    Julie, Tony, Christopher, GeeWizz, if you have evidence of a crime committed in WA, call this number 131444 and tell the WA Police. Nick Styant-Brown thinks he has evidence so he took it to … the Weekend Australian ???

  58. GLJ

    geewiz : Hypocrisy in this case is when a person who is as guilty as the rest puts on a show of delectable performance at the behaviour of others. Not really talking about union heavies but about lawyers and solicitors here. Most of them have manipulated the law in clever law-abiding ways to their clients benefit. That’s what their job is. Minimising tax , you know the sort of thing.
    My comment is about the PRETEND SHOCK AND HORROR of JB et. al. when they know their own ground is very shaky. It is after all grab for power # 37 & dressing it up in emotional angst is all part of the show. Gosh Tony was upset…

  59. klewso

    Tony F.W. “… meanwhile back here at the Wacker, to continue trundling in from the Inuendo will be Bishop, with the old bawl….”?

  60. tonyfunnywalker

    you guys are just like ” On the Couch” replaying the game. You sound like some of the TV expert analysis panels. The game is over, they drew stumps a few hours ago. There are no winners in these types of games and its a bit like watching a district cricket game.
    Politics is not a sport and if it is then you cannot make up the rules as you go along.
    Pyne and The Speaker today discussed relevance.
    This issue is irrelevant to the average voter. They have made up their minds about Gillard and Abbott.
    Abbott stayed out of the fray as he knew that it would be less than helpful for his makeover. Gillard in her mysogony speech repositioned Abbott ( a very good marketing tactic and that is to reposition your competition).
    She also repostioned most of the political press irrespective of gender and that has spooked both the press and Abbott
    Abbott hoped that the AWU issue would win back ground and that is why he used his second string bowler and why this ” non – issue” has been pursued so vehemently.

    Gillard’s is wise to this by linking of Abbott and Turnbull through her reference to Gordon Grech and Pyne and Ashby as a warning that they too were marred by poor research, rumour and inuendo and contrived evidence.

    News Ltd will plough on but the voter won’t care, its the test series, Ricky has retired and the Pup had tears in his eyes, (so did I) The Crows are in trouble with the AFL, its the Christmas season and Harvey Norman is belly aching already and Alan Joyce is screwing Qantas.
    Get a life you guys and remember that todays newspaper is probably in the recycling by bedtime or Cricky emails in the trash and the Laptop/ Ipad is for Xmas Shopping and watching movies if you are not into Christmas Shows and Carols.

    Have a nice glass of wine and enjoy the rest.

  61. GLJ

    klewso : Brilliant but will have to refer to the second umpire.

  62. iggy648

    And at the end:

    Team A: NBN, NDIS, Paid Parental Leave, Murray-Darling deal, Tassie Timber deal, Security Council seat …

    Team B: “Can I have a slushy please mummy?”

    Australians are watching all this.

  63. klewso

    “… oh wait a minute, she’s tripped over her traces …!”

  64. klewso

    “…. It looks like the captain, Tony Abbott, will have to finish her over …. oh wait another minute hear comes the bad light …. lucky him, looks like he won’t be able to finish it?”

  65. Tim nash

    The opposition is squandering all that question time pursuing an issue that only seeks to tarnish the prime ministers name.

    It has nothing to do with the people of Australia, or even the conduct in her time as a minister. This is something that happened years ago and there is no evidence that she actually did anything wrong.


  66. AR

    To paraphrase the summing up of every duplicitous politician in the last 50yrs, “what didn’t she do, and when didn’t she do it?”
    This is about a deceased parrot.

  67. tonyfunnywalker

    For those of you who watched Clark and Doyle this evening, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not the writer of their script and that the similarity with my blogs is entirely coincidental –I hope. Other wise I will run them both through Turnitin and if the similarity is above 60% the ABC will get a ” please see me”.

  68. tonyfunnywalker

    Erratum its Clarke and Dawe 730 Report 28/11/12


    Enough; it is over.

    Another tawdry attempt by Abbott to punch through at all costs has backfired, and after 2yrs of trying you’d think he might have learned that huff and puff will not blow her down.

    Keep doing it Abbott, the electorate already sees herpes as more popular than you.

  70. Karen

    @tonyfunnywalker #52 – +1 – a very funny post that segues nicely between the biggest stories for today: JG and AWU on one hand and Ponting and cricket on the other.

    @ Mark Smith #55 – Gillard exercised her discretion as a partner to do a freebie for her AWU boyfriend, hence no file. With the benefit of hindsight, not a wise move. However, at the time, this would have been no big deal if she wracked up her billable hours elsewhere. In addition, there would have been no conflict of interest either because the client was AWU, as were Wilson and Blewitt. None of this would have been an issue either had the fund not been rorted and the AWU compromised as a result. It also explains why she left Wilson who used her and singlehandedly destroyed her legal career, not to mention a big client of Slater and Gordon. Gillard was dudded as was Slater and Gordon. Her mistake was getting involved with a hopeless tw*t like Wilson.

  71. zut alors

    Slightly off topic, when Sales back-announced Clarke and Dawe tonight she assured the viewers they’d be back “on ABC1” next year. A rather general comment, ABC1, no mention of them returning to 7.30. Call me suspicious.

  72. Dion Giles

    Why doesn’t Julia Gillard answer questions in parliament about what happened back in – when was it? -1993? It would because as a lawyer she knows full well that as parliament has coercive powers the stupid “debate” would quickly blow out way past question time and become a star chamber dominating the scene for maybe weeks or months, making it impossible for the government to carry on.

    This would be the intention of Abbott and his narcissistic – er – deputy. It’s not about what Ms Gillard did way back when, it’s about his party’s sponsors slavering for an early end to the government and reversal of its reforms. This scenario would achieve its objective without Ms Gillard lying or having done anything dishonest back in the dawn of our political time.

  73. taylormade

    tonyfunnywalker – She copped a few bruises from those bouncers though. The link between union corruption and the ALP has been strengthened, the Vic MP’s tweet put her sexism speech into perspective, and she struggled to see the UN vote that nearly knocked her head off until the last minute.

  74. Achmed

    I have heard enough of the Abbott and Bishop claims that Gillard acted criminally or unethically. They keep claiming to have all this information that will result in her dismissal or cbeing charged. Make copies, hand it out to the media, scan it and post it on the internet, take out a full page advert in one of thoseLiberal supporting newspapers, it’ll be free. Unless they are prepared to do that..they should shut up.
    No lie Gillard told now or in 1993/5 could match the pain and suffering that Howards lie about weapons of mass destruction has resulted in…

  75. klewso

    Tony Windsor put it so well, on Lateline tonight – he reckons the media has dragged this from the peripheral to the centre of the political stage – a bit subtle for interveiwer Tony Jones to pursue (being one of that “club”)?
    So a little later Windsor let us in on the secret that his family doesn’t read The Australian, they still use Sorbent.

  76. iggy648

    What no-one seems to have noticed, is that while the more dimwitted journalists and politicians have been chasing their own tails looking for smoking shoes, the Government has actually been getting on with the job. If the Coalition and the 10th rate journos don’t keep pursuing it next year, let’s hope something else stupid and time wasting comes up to distract them. (I reckon Kevin Rudd is ready to make a comeback!)

  77. jason white


    The missing files are the files that incorporated the assocation with the West Australian Corporate Affairs, a copy of the files that Slater & Gordon had. They had a copy of a letter at the time of the Gillard interview and files that Ian Cambridge had ampiled that were in the possession of the NSW state court acheives.

    The West Australian Corporate Affairs file was sent to WA State Achieves. The file has the cover and no documents inside. The Documents have not been authorised to be destroyed – they have simply gone missing

    The letter Gillard wrote to assist the incorporation of the association is missing. We do not know exactly what she said to the commission to satisfy the commission that this was not a trade union and that this was an authorised use of the AWU name. As this was actually not authorised by the AWU body, there is evidence to make certain conclusions. The excuse that she believes Bruce Wilson had that authority is one of two possibilities
    Either a act of complete incompetence or she has intentionally mislead a Statutory body.

    There is also a missing files from NSW federal achieves which is alleged to contain the case and documents that Ian Cambridge put together on this alleged fraud . It is not clear what was contained within this file, but again this file has not been commissioned to be destroyed.

    The fact that these files are missing stinks,
    Gillard may have nothing to do with the disappearance of these files, but it looks very much like someone has tamped with these files.

    This story is not over.
    The Coalition might be finished with this, but the likes of Michael Smith, Hedley Thomas, Andrew Bolt are certainly not done with this story;
    # No one has been charged with the alleged fraud
    # No funds are ever been recovered from this alleged fraud

    This is an opinion, but best case for Guillard is that her role in this can just be shown to unknowingly assist a fraud and limited to acting in an unethical way as a Lawyer
    The Worst case for Gillard, is that a number of people make sworn statements which put further pressure on Gillard

    I now believe that Gillard was more of less living at the property when Bruce Wilson was in Melbourne. (Something she has denied and something she used to discredit a earlier story on this a couple of years ago. I now believe that some funds may have been used on Gillard’s renovations. (I am not suggesting that Gillard was aware at the time that these were stolen funds)

    I truly believe that Gillard does not have any credibility left on this issue, as she has chosen to provide half answers all throughout.

  78. Karen

    @ Achmed – “No lie Gillard told now or in 1993/5 could match the pain and suffering that Howards lie about weapons of mass destruction has resulted in…” Indeed. Let’s expand this – hundreds of thousands dead, maimed, mentally destroyed, lives ruined, businesses lost, families fragmented, refugees, hate, pain and suffering.. And Howard kept his job.

    “No lie Gillard told now or in 1993/5” (if indeed there was one) is comparable to the rip-off Howard engaged in to bail out his brother with tax payer money when the brother failed to leave money aside to pay off his workers’ entitlements. Fine pair of Liberals, the pair of them. Abbott, Bishop, Pyne et al defended Howard to the death, good liberals that they are, and the voter voted for Howard.

    How about the cropped photos used by the Libs and the media to perpetrate a horrendous r*cist l*e about refugees throwing their children overboard, in order to win a Federal election in 2004. Cynical, blatant, contemptuous manipulation of the public who were used like fodder by the Liberals to vote them into power. Lovely bunch aren’t they.

    Or the corrupt decisions taken to allow wheat to be traded with Hussein, as Australia was signed up to the Iraq war without the Australian public even been told about its involvement until AFTER Howard did the deal with Bush. Another fine example of honest and competent Liberal Party policy.

    Then we have Abbott yesterday accusing Gillard of a crime, only for him to come back into parliament, back away from the SMH story that the SMH itself backed away from, and simply throw a damp squib and call Gillard’s “conduct unbecoming”. And even then, for what, precisely? The fact that Wilson used and trashed Gillard, including her career with Slater and Gordon? Unfortunately for this, there is actual evidence. And the Liberals want her scalp… Tawdry hypocrites.

  79. Suzanne Blake

    @ Jason White

    You are absolutely correct. The files have gone misisng, I suspect the the same way that the HSU fils were about to go missing out the carpark. Lucky the Police were waiting.

    Smell the roses Jimmy

  80. Jimmy

    Jason White – Look at all the papers this morning and see who they are saying lacks credibility on this issue after yesterday, here’s a hint it isn’t Gillard.

    B-o-lt et el may not be finished with this story but they are hardly credible journalists now are they.

  81. Suzanne Blake


    I think you would still back Gillard, even if she started a nuclear war. Breathtaking

  82. Holden Back

    Broadcast media seem to have Gillard winning the verbal stoush on the strength of the footage and audio from QT, and the syndicated cartoonist in The Border Mail has decided that Bishop’s past work for James Hardie is fair game.

    But the readers of The Australian have all had their opinions and voting intentions changed, yes?

  83. klewso

    The way Wilson was talikng about the “house” the other night it wan’t a “fit place to live” – he used it when he was in Melbourne – Gillard had her own home – the place was used for meetings and members were dropping in all the time – it sounded more like a “union shop” – that shouldn’t be to hard to verify?
    Personally I don’t know how I’d cope with strangers dropping in to a house someone else owned, that I was “living in”, all the time at any hour, while I had my own place “up the road”? Then again that might just be me?

  84. klewso

    [To some it sounds like maybe Wilson was a “good root” – and she was just waiting there for him to get back home to Melbourne? Like a Trap Door spider?]

  85. Jimmy

    Holden Back – This is where it get’s interesting for the oppostion, the media have given the points to Gillard and one journalist (can’t remember which one) said today that if they keep going on it in the new year the allegations that they are conducting a smear campaign will be proved.

    Meanwhile we have ms Bishop out today saying that Gillard has to prove her innocence which is a unidue take on things to say the least.

    As for “The Border Mail has decided that Bishop’s past work for James Hardie is fair game.” I wonder where that sits in Scotts “Ethical Breach” scale.

  86. tonyfunnywalker

    A few responses if I may. I was not to the cricket tragics suggesting that Gillard was unscathed. Opening batsman worth their salt sport bruises broken fingers all to reduce their resolve. Gillard is no exception, even from bad throws to the keeper by Rudd. One in February was intended to decapitiate her. She survivived and changed tactics and although battered and bruised she is still at the wicket. The Opposition’s attempt to decapitate was pathetic. A bouncer from Abbott aimed at the throat ( it was a bit high and he got called ) for a return catch or a catch to gully for Pyne to take, or for Brandis for a caught behind the protective screen of Parliamentary priviledge. NO BALL – Gillard broke tradition and gave Abbott a FREE ball because he has been crying for 2 years (its my turn now to bat) so when he had the bat he is so out of form he went on the Back foot and was dismissed TROD on WICKET).

    Final word

    For the dismayed press I will continue to buy the Australian as it makes excellent garden Mulch. Since I have been using the OZ as mulch my crop of vegetables has broken all records. The Plants are not competing with weeds and the results have been achieved with minimum water and fertilizer and the OZ is biodegradable which is a surprising bonus. You need to be careful as onsome days though as there is more bullshit than others and that can cause excessive vigor problems.
    If Hedley is to continue on the AWU that is good news for the planting for an autumn crop and $3 for a news paper is a great saving on our water bill and that is good news for the household budget and I can spend more at Harvey Norman or maybe not as the ACCC still has to have its say.

  87. Jimmy

    SB – “I think you would still back Gillard, even if she started a nuclear war. Breathtaking” Well in this case what exactly has Gillard done wrong?
    She wasn’t a party to any Fraud, she didn’t mislead the WA authority – What is the allegation?

  88. zut alors

    Jimmy, in line with Coalition best practice this week, it’s clearly the PM’s duty to PROVE she didn’t start a nuclear war.

  89. mikeb

    Well the suggestion she started a nuclear war is now online so should start building momentum. The fact that there is no record of a nuclear war being started anywhere just proves JG has something to hide and has ensured the evidence has disappeared.

  90. dasha xie

    I don’t believe her at all.
    Clearly Gillard’s involvement in the successful registration of AWU Worker Reform Association ( slush fund as she admitted) was much deeper than she tried to play down to the public.

    Please refer to Wilson 0730 report interview and the transcript of her exit interview with Slater and Gordon published in both The Age and The Australian in 29/11/2012:
    Wilson sought Gillard’ s help after initial objection by WA register. Gillard wrote a letter and helped filling the application formalizing and legitimizing the association which enabled the registration.

    Why did Gillard state it’s purpose was for worker’s safety training knowing it was actually for union officials re-election? Not open a file added suspicion of cover up.
    If she didn’t do anything wrong as she claimed, why was the law firm concerned enough to have the internal interview and basically forced her to resign?

    Why didn’t she alert AWU ( her client as well as victim) or other authorities about the fraud once she became awared of and felt serious enough to terminate her relationship with Wilson? As the result of her inaction, further $100,000 was stolen from the slush fund until the fraud was discovered 8 months later.

    No doubt she is a tough political operator and good performer. She is a street gutter fighter.

  91. iggy648

    We think the nuclear war was 20 years ago. We believe certain people may have hidden the evidence. If anyone has evidence of a nuclear war, please contact the WA Police. Or the Sunday Australian.

  92. Jimmy

    Dasha Xie – “Wilson sought Gillard’ s help after initial objection by WA register. Gillard wrote a letter and helped filling the application formalizing and legitimizing the association which enabled the registration.”

    Yes the WA commission rejected the application becuase they thought it was for a trade union, which needs to be registered differently – Gillard wrote a letter alerting them to the fact it wasn’t a trade union – where is the issue with this?

    The rest of your “issues” have been dealt with numerous times and generally aren’t issues in the first place.

  93. drmick

    Klewso et all;
    I am getting out of here before the war doesn’t start 20 years ago. There are too many aggressively illiterate w@nkers in here now. The blot bog must be flat out handing out colouring pencils, crayons & prozac.

  94. GeeWizz

    [“Yes the WA commission rejected the application becuase they thought it was for a trade union, which needs to be registered differently – Gillard wrote a letter alerting them to the fact it wasn’t a trade union – where is the issue with this?”]

    Actually no. They rejected it because they said it related to a Trade Union.

    Now Dillard has said she thought it was a slush-fund for re-electing Union Heavies.

    So why did she L1E in the letter saying it had nothing to do with the AWU Union?

    You see… Dillards been caught out in her own L1E.

  95. mikeb

    @geewizz. You are either deliberately distorting the evidence (as are the opposition) or not very good at reading. The letter was confirming that the incorporation was not a trade union and therefore eligable for incorportion. Nothing to do with being related to a trade union or being managed by trade unionists. If JG was trying to set up a trade union then in would be ineligable. That was the point of the query by WA comm and the reply from JG. Is it really that hard to follow?

  96. Jimmy

    Geewizz – “Actually no. They rejected it because they said it related to a Trade Union.” Please provide some evidence for this because if this is true and Gillard told them it didn’t relate to a trade union then she has committed a crime. Mr Abbott could really have used the evidence you obviously have yesterday when he was challenged to put up or shut up.
    In fact the Fairfax editors could of used your evidence yesterday when they were forced to retract the exact allegation you are making because it was false.

    She did not say it had no links to the union, just that it wasn’t a union – do try to keep up.

  97. Dion Giles

    In the woodwork class, class captain Bob gets on with building things. Jealously Jack king-hits him. Bob bloods Jack’s nose and tries to get back to working. Jack starts pummelling him. Bob blacks his eye and turns back to work. The class is in uproar. “Fight! Fight!” gleefully bray a bunch of cretins. “They’re both causing the ruckus”, cluck staff do-gooders, “why can’t they both behave?”. Who is right, the cretins or the do-gooders? Answer: Neither, because neither cared who did what, when.

    As for the WA kerfuffle, a fraudulent scam was built on the back of a legal creation. Gillard did the routine lawyer stuff on the legal creation then got on with her day job. Later the scam developed. Files and funds went missing, authorities were conned. Gillard dumped W. There’s not a shred of evidence that Gillard was in on the scam, stole the files and funds or conned the authorities. Lawyers assist creation of companies. That’s what they do. Some companies later do bad things. That’s what THEY do. Abbott and the narcissistic – er, you know – are debasing the parliament and the nation.

  98. dasha xie

    Jimmy No. 92
    Be honest, do you truly believe Gillard’s letter was simplely clarifying ” trade union” title?
    Clearly shown in the transcript, she told senior partners during the interview that she didn’t consult incorporation lawyer for advice ( ?hiding something) and she drafted the letter/ application using the model from Mannuals of Socialist Forum ( cut and paste in her own words ) and researching WA register guidelines —this is not ” only provided very limited advice ” !!!

    There are too many inconvenient questions and probable truths for Gillard and her supporters. Statements like ” I can’t recall” , ” I have answered …”, ” so what? ” enforce my impression that she is either incompetent/ doggy , willfully blind or acted unlawfully.

    A judicial inquiry is the way to go because Gillard and union officials seem untouchable. It may clear her if she didn’t do anything wrong.

  99. Jimmy

    dasha xie – “Be honest, do you truly believe Gillard’s letter was simply clarifying ” trade union” title?” Yes – for a very simple reason, the commissioner denied their application because they believed they were a trade union – hence all that was required to get them incorporated was to clarify they weren’t a trade union.

    And why is it peculiar that a partner in a law firm did not consult others when doing something as simple as incorporating an association?
    And how are the simple tasks you outline not “limited advice”

    This will backfire on the libs in the polls because the only people who beli eve Gillard has questions to answer (despite answering every question journalists could think of twice and giving Abbott 15 minutes to make an allegation) are ultra right wing, everyone see’s it for what it is.

  100. Jimmy

    dasha xie – “Be honest, do you truly bel ieve Gillard’s letter was simpl y clarifying ” trade union” title?” Yes – for a very simple reason, the commissioner denied their application because they bel ieved they were a trade union – hence all that was required to get them incorporated was to clarify they weren’t a trade union.

    And why is it pecul iar that a partner in a law firm did not consult others when doing something as simple as incorporating an association?
    And how are the simple tasks you outline not “limited advice”

    This will backfire on the libs in the polls because the only people who beli eve Gillard has questions to answer (despite answering every question journalists could think of twice and giving Abbott 15 minutes to make an allegation) are ultra right wing, everyone see’s it for what it is.

  101. tonyfunnywalker

    Why did you give Abbott the bat – He was pulling your pigtails again, fair enough. But he batted for 15 minuites and got out Trod on Wicket and this does not happen too often even for an out of form batsman.

    Now look what you done —- you have Brandis taking off his parliamentary protective gear off and sledging. Perhaps he wants to bat and control the Senate?

    He could not do worse than Abbott- or could he, but the News / Bolt/ Smith team as coaches don’t seem to think so.

    Now they are all in the nets with Abbott and some crazy idea for a judicial inquiry – how much is that going to cost the taxpayer?

    So far this circus has cost the country millions as we demonstrate Liberal Policy is driven by num- nuts who can’t bowl, can’t bat and can’t throw —- telling the Opposition Leader his tactics to win the next election.

    It defies logic and if Abbott thinks he is onto a winner then think again, the dummy spit behavour has not produced one iota of success so far ( remember the carbon tax) and all you are doing is crying over what might have been and because you aren’t at the crease and you thought you deserved to be. You were not ready.

    Abbott you have to prove that you can bat and bowl.

    You do not deserve to be on the team let alone captain at the moment and the best “go to” players are on the bench but you won’t give them any time in the nets in case they are able to bat or bowl better than you and Julie demonstrated when given the chance this week.

    Brandis is not a threat, neither is Julie after her poor bowling preformance, but the rest need net practice if you have any hope of winning this test series.

    The Perth Test is a case in point – Mitchell Johnson, written off by the pundits and look at the score board he is taking valuable wickets but not before he has prepared himmself wih a lot of practice and game time to get his confidence back, to be selected and then to reward his captain and preform.

    Abbott you need to get the score board ticking over and wasting taxpayers money on a judicial commission is not the way to do it.

    A strong policy on Workplace Reform, NOW that’s a different story.

    Pity you made a blue by NOT voting for Peter Reith as Chairman of Selectors, he would have been an useful ally.

    The News / Bolt/ Smith need to be seen to be relevant while they are making you irrelevant to the electorate.

    This is an election for once for an opposition to win rather than for the government to lose.

    Romney thought otherwise and look at what happened to him egged on by US num-nuts HE LOST THE UNLOOSEABLE election in a landslide.

  102. GeeWizz

    Jimmy this is the same junk you said about Slippery Pete.

    Remember how that ended up?

    Gillard will probably be rolled early next year anyways because the ALP know they are stuffed with her. She’s damaged goods since her “No Carbon Tax under my Government”.

    No one believes a word she says anymore… and you don’t take that kind of liability to an election.

  103. Hunt Ian

    Gee Wizz, sorry to disappoint you. There is now zero chance that Gillard will be dropped. Her change of mind about the carbon tax is now seen as a “crime” by fewer and fewer Australians. But if you think it is poison, by all means urge Tony to keep on campaigning against the Carbon tax, or trading scheme with three years of fixed price up front. The astonishing prejudice of the Liberal party is shown by none other than its resident lawyer Brandis, who has the cheek to say that setting up an association with the purpose of improving workplace safety is incompatible with setting up an association whose main strategy to improve workplace safety is to elect AWU officials who are members of the Association and thus committed to improving workplace safety. The West Australian Commission is in no way misled by that, even if Brandis’ Liberal Party prejudices prevent him from seeing that electing union officials who are committed to workplace safety is one way to promote workplace safety. Tony Abbott’s final position was truly pathetic: Julia Gillard “might have” committed a crime (so might we all) and according to Tony’s conception of ethics, is guilty of “unethical” conduct (so might we all be)

  104. tonyfunnywalker

    Thanks Ian,

    It is one of the disappointments of the Liberals is the presumption of guilt- rather than that of innocence. Thompson/ Gillard and Slipper. It also suprises me about Brandis as he could be our next Attorney General – heaven forbid – he should have known better and other lawyers in the Party room should have warned Abbott and Bishop that they were running a high risk strategy by being fed from a fishing expedition by Michael Smith.

    They trawled the depths and came up with nothing tangible and when they left Abbott with nothing and Julie looking the fool (Julie I would have “lost it” as well for what they did to you )

    Abbott came up with a judicial enquiry in the hope that the issue would have gone away an dhe could ” save face” .

    Cameron did that with the ‘phone tapping ” scandal in the UK (especially as he was implicated in his appointment of Andy Coulson) and all it did was to come back and bite him, so much so he now rejects the key recommendations.

    Fitzgerald in Queensland brought down the JBP Government.

    It may well spell the end of Cameron as well and like Abbott he does not have public opinion on his side any more.

  105. Suzanne Blake


    Ex Labor Minister Costa recommends a Judicial enquiry as well? Ex Labor AG McLelland was the FIRST to raise the AWU scandal in Parliament. Explain that.

    You need to weed out corruption and fraud from top to bottom in every organisation where it has taken hold.

  106. Hunt Ian

    Suzanne Blake, are you saying that the AWU today is full of corruption from top to bottom? There has always been a problem in the trade union movement that representatives of workers have been “duchessed” by employers so that they represent their members less effectively than they could.
    In recent years, trade union officials have been tempted to get excessive salaries for themselves by excessive executive salaries in business. This varies from union to union but the HSU is a good recent example where top federal officials earned over $250 K for no real reason at all, since they occupied elected positions, which voided the usual excuse given to justify paying excessive salaries to CEOs-you had to attract them in an international market where others offered high salaries.
    But then perhaps you are just trying to engage in US Republican Party style character assassination, since the matters you want to enquire into occurred 17 years ago and are hardly likely to produce any change in the AWU, as it is today. The standard explanation for McLelland’s reference to it is that it was a bit of mischief making, which hardly justifies a judicial inquiry. I have no idea what ex labor minister Costa is up to but I have never seen anything about him that would suggest he is an authoritative figure on the need for judicial inquiries. We would do better to ask ourselves why you wrap yourself in the Australian flag when you pursue partisan politics through Crikey comments.

  107. Suzanne Blake

    @ Hunt Ian

    I think you are in ddenial regarding the level of corruption in Labor and the Unions, take a look at the Corruption Commission in NSW, HSU, AWU, etc etc etc etc. So much evidence.

  108. David Hand

    I doubt very much that SB thinks that the AWU today is corrupt from top to bottom. You are engaging in the usual overstatement from friends of Julia towards those of us who have a low regard for the governance of the Union movement and are alarmed at the sense of entitlement their leaders display.

    I’ll say this for the AWU of today. Their leader led a coup on 23 June 2010. He did this by reminding ALP MPs who they really report to and threatened their pre-selection if they did not support a change of Prime Minister. Such was his hubris, he even went on TV and boasted about it.

    Gillard’s behaviour 17 years ago may be old, but she is the Prime Minister and there is documented evidence of less than appropriate professional behaviour. The opposition is going hard on it because it shines a window on how union officials do deals to get ahead and abuse and misuse their members trust.

  109. Karen

    @SB – “Ex Labor Minister Costa recommends a Judicial enquiry as well? Ex Labor AG McLelland was the FIRST to raise the AWU scandal in Parliament. Explain that.”

    Easy. Its personal. They are both from the ALP Right and they both hate Julia. McClelland, especially, as he got sacked. Poor loser hasn’t been able to cope.

  110. Suzanne Blake

    @ Karen

    The good news from last week is that Gillard will never recover and is destined to be replaced early in 2013 or suffer a Queensland like defeat come the election. The anger out there is not reflected in the polls.

  111. Hunt Ian

    It is hard to see why David Hand doubts very much the implication of SB’s comment “You need to weed out corruption and fraud from top to bottom in every organisation where it has taken hold” when coupled with her call for a judicial inquiry what happened in the AWU 17 years. Nor am I in denial about corruption in some trade unions, as SB claims.

    As a trade unionist I am acutely aware of an ongoing campaign to hobble the capacity of trade unions to represent their members on behalf of the disappointment of those in business who think that the industrial relations climate does not give them enough power over their employees’ wages and conditions. This campaign is in turn hobbled by connection with “Work Choices”, which did very real damage to the capacity of trade unions to defend their members’ interests.

    So, I am not in the least inclined to support any campaign against union corruption that might serve as a trojan horse for the resurrection of individual agreements and loss of access to businesses or the ability to force businesses to negotiate agreements. Nor am I in the least inclined to believe that the Coalition is pursuing what happened 17 years ago because it believes thatby shining a light on union leaders who abuse their members trust it will strengthen trade union representation of their members. I am more inclined to think that they have shuffled through the US Republican campaign book for ways in which public character assassination will improve their chances to get in do what they like in government.

  112. David Hand

    No Ian
    The Coalition is going after Julia Gillard not because of admiration for the losing GOP campaign book but because of a shameless, spiteful attack on the character of Tony Abbott she made in parliament in October. The gloves finally came off then.

  113. tonyfunnywalker

    David Hand,

    A spiteful attack on Abbott,poor Tony, he made the running and is still behaving like a spoiled child who has lost his dummy when he was rejected as PM by the cross benches.
    Gillard’s advisers are much smarter and as the Abbott think tank is driven by the OZ and Bolt it spells doom. Gillard had to break the cycle and the Mysogony speech was the vehicle and she did a great job in repositioning Abbott and his popularity as waned accordingly.
    For as long as the Liberals continue Gillard will be seen as the one who cares while Abbott is still trying to demonstrate his frailties.

    It was not the October issues but that Abbotts sole policy – repeal the Carbon Tax was a fizzer.

    He overeached with immoderate and hysterical comments which were with time proven to be wrong.

    Slipper/ Thompson were all about having an election before 1 July.

    The strategy failed and that’s when Gillard took the gloves off buoyed with the Carbon Tax being a non event.

    The confidence is obvious and she needed to pass that on to a sceptical front bench. With Kevin gone, they needed to be reaasured that they backed the right horse.

    There was some childish spite such as McLelland who sparked the AWU beatup but for the rest of the Party she looks a winner.

    All she needs to do now is to keep winning and Dr Yes is perhaps a little late as he has a lot of ground to make up and Malcolm is lurking with intent.

    The Body Language of the Opposition when Bishop was stumbling was very revealing, they did not want to be there.

    The cross benches were engaged in other matters that were important to their electorates so they were token bystanders.

    After last week Public Service as an MP was degraded to the level of journalism – the gutter.

    Both are concerned with personal relevance – its all ego centric and stuff the electorate lets make sure we keep the advertisers happy.

    Gillard can now be marketed as a winner and no one claps losers — “one hand clapping: as was demonstrated by the Opposition who the booed the Gillard announcement of Pontings retirement until they realised what she had announced.

    So is the level of respect shown in the Australian Parliament– the South Africans today put our politicians to shame as well as our hopes of No1.

  114. David Hand

    Keep drinking the cool-aid, Tony

  115. Hunt Ian

    David Hand, I thought the gloves were off long ago when Tony started the ever popular “Ju-liar” campaign, which was joined by many other contributors in the media and “shock-jock” world, and which included such thoughtful contributions as Alan Jones’s claim that Gillard’s father had recently died of shame at his daughter’s lies.

    How could you describe Julia Gillard as “shameless”, as though she lacked provocation when she turned on Tony. Tony after all was just simply trying to accuse her of hypocrisy on issues of gender if she was prepared to criticise such up-standing citizens as Alan Jones for sexism, while proposing to reject Tony’s motion that the parliament sack Slipper as speaker, and so defend Slipper’s too terrible sexism, revealed in once private text messages commenting on how female genitalia looked.

    You suggest that only spite could lead Gillard to turn round and say “I will not be lectured on sexism by this man” and then give him both barrels. I think that she might have felt pushed a little to far by the long used GoP campaign book. In fact, since the campaign was in danger of being turned around it became more necessary to get back at her. True, you talk of the failed GoP campaign book and we can hope that its use in Australia will be equally successful. But I was simply taking the long, overall look at why we are now to be bored into the ground with repeated allegations against Gillard.

  116. David Hand

    Juliar “provoked”???
    She is following the playbook dictated by John Mcternan mate. nothing less.

    There’s 11 long months before the next election unless she goes early, which I doubt. I have supreme confidence she will offer up more reasons why the voters should reject her between now and then, starting with ever more flimsy reasons why she hid the establishment of the AWU Workplace Reform Association fron the AWU.

    Keep drinking the cool-aid , Ian

  117. David Hand

    Julia “provoked”???
    She is following the playbook dictated by John Mcternan mate. nothing less.

    There’s 11 long months before the next election unless she goes early, which I doubt. I have supreme confidence she will offer up more reasons why the voters should reject her between now and then, starting with ever more flimsy reasons why she hid the establishment of the AWU Workplace Reform Association fron the AWU.

    Keep drinking the cool-aid , Ian

  118. David Hand

    No Ian,
    I am not suggesting at all that it was spite that led Julia to state “I will not be lectured on s*xism by this man. It was a carefully constructed strategy by John McTernan.

  119. Hunt Ian

    Well, well, David Hand, such inside information suggests you have a hand in all these events. David McTernan is no doubt behind all planned performances but I thought, along with other observers, that Julia Gillard’s response to Tony had significant elements of spontaneity, taking up points Tony made (but no doubt McTernan anticipated all of these). In any case, however well planned Julia Gillard’s speech, we can also be assured that Tony’s speech was well planned too. You might even know who plans them, if it is not his PA. The question is whether, given preceding events, the public should take what she said as “shameless” and “spiteful”, if we suppose they were not planned If it was planned, as you say, then the only question would be whether it was successful, which does depend on how people would take it. I agree with all those people who thought her speech was a good response to an attempt to “wedge” Gillard and a timely reminder of how many women would like to respond to belittling conduct from less than thoughtful men, if only they did not have to fear repercussions. I will keep drinking wine, thanks all the same David.

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