Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Gillard past - an underplayed but still damaging Fairfax story

In the Sydney Morning Herald it only made it to page 10 while The Age had it on page three but this story will still prove damaging enough:
It marks yet another step in moving out from the relative obscurity of the internet into the mainstream the pursuit of details about Julia Gillard's past life as a lawyer and her relations with the Australian Workers Union. With the two Fairfax papers now joining, in a strangely understated way, The Australian in indicating this is a story that needs to be reported, the Prime Minister will find it increasingly difficult to dismiss it as the misogynist rantings of disreputable bloggers.
You will find the full fascinating account HERE but this extract gives the flavour:
A TRADE union association from which hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen by a former boyfriend of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was only registered after Ms Gillard vouched for its legitimacy to authorities in Western Australia.
Ms Gillard - then a salaried partner with the law firm Slater & Gordon - wrote to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission in mid-1992 confirming that the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association was a legitimate organisation under WA law.
In August the Herald reported that Ms Gillard may have breached West Australian corporations law by her involvement in setting up an association for her then-boyfriend Bruce Wilson, a senior AWU official, because the application documents, lodged by then state secretary, Ralph Blewitt, for the association stated its purpose was the ''development of changes to work to achieve safe workplaces''.
During an investigation into her work by Slater & Gordon in 1995, Ms Gillard described the association as a ''slush fund'' that would be used to bankroll union election campaigns.
The newly confirmed correspondence contradicts claims by Ms Gillard that she did no more than provide limited professional advice about establishing the association at the centre of the corruption scandal involving Wilson.
Inside both The Age and the Herald Mark Baker provides an intriguing insight into PM Gillard's leaving the law firm Slater & Gordon.

The feature ends with this assessment of Ms Gillard by the former Slater & Gordon partner Nick Styant-Browne who was involved in determining her future with the firm:

"Wilfully blind". Words we are sure to hear much more of as the next federal election gets closer.
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