27 Nov 2012

The AWU Scandal Unpacked

By Ben Eltham
Is the AWU scandal a media beat-up or does Julia Gillard still have questions to answer? Ben Eltham with all you need to know about the story that's dominating headlines around the country

What is the AWU "scandal" about?

In the early 1990s, two Australian Workers Union officials named Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt used money donated by construction companies to a union election campaign fund (the "AWU Workplace Reform Association") to buy a house at 85 Kerr Street, Fitzroy. This association is the "slush fund" at the centre of the current controversy.

The AWU Workplace Reform Association was intended to be an organisation that would gather and disburse funds for Wilson and Blewitt's re-election campaign for AWU positions. However, it appears that some of the money was in fact used for the personal gain of the two officials: in particular, the purchase of the house at Kerr Street.

The house was bought in Blewitt's name for Wilson, who then lived in it as a tenant. The house was bought using money from the association and with a loan from Slater and Gordon.

Wilson was in a relationship with Julia Gillard, a solicitor at law firm Slater and Gordon, at the time.

What role did Julia Gillard play?

Julia Gillard provided legal advice on the incorporation of the AWU Workplace Reform Association. However, she played no official role in the association and says she was not privy to any of its operations.

Gillard claims she had no knowledge of what was going on with the association's finances. Wilson says that he didn't tell her.

Slater and Gordon arranged the conveyancing for the sale of the Kerr Street house. Gillard played a minor role in some of the paperwork for the conveyancing. She was also named on the certificate of currency for the mortgage insurance.

In summary, Gillard:

  • Provided legal advice for the incorporation of the association.
  • Witnessed a power of attorney for Blewitt, used by Wilson to buy the house in Blewitt's name.
  • Attended the auction where the house was purchased.
  • Was peripherally involved in at least some routine aspects of the conveyancing and mortgage insurance, although these were principally handled by legal secretary Olive Brosnahan under the management of partner Nick Styant-Browne.
  • Was in a relationship with Wilson at the time when the house was bought, and visited the house when Wilson lived there.


Were Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt corrupt?

If the allegations levelled at them are true, probably yes. It certainly appears that Wilson and Blewitt used union funds in an improper manner.

But these allegations have never been tested in any Australian court of law. The affair was investigated by both Victorian and Western Australian police in the 1990s, and possibly by other agencies too.

No charges were laid. Indeed, at the time, setting up incorporated associations for union re-election campaigns was not illegal.

Several reports claim police may be re-opening investigations. So far, nothing has come of this. The fact remains that no charges have ever been laid regarding this affair, and hence there have never been any convictions.

Did Julia Gillard know about the Wilson and Blewitt scam?

As far as we can tell, no.

The Prime Minister has always maintained she did not know about the improper use of funds donated to the AWU association until the AWU found out about it in August 1995, despite providing legal advice on the incorporation of the association. Slater and Gordon were alerted to it in August 1995. They conducted an internal investigation, asking Gillard what she knew.

As mentioned, Gillard was involved in some minor aspects of the initial setting up of the association and in the purchase of the house.

Gillard told journalists in August this year that "once I became aware I had been deceived about a series of matters, I ended my relationship with Mr Wilson".

Wilson says Gillard did not know.

There is no substantiated evidence that Gillard knew about any wrong-doing or misuse of union funds. She points out that the deposit for the house was made by Blewitt, who she believed to be able to afford it.

Gillard has repeatedly explained that she became aware of the suspicions about Blewitt and Wilson only in August 1995.

Did the Prime Minister personally benefit from any union funds?

No. There is no substantiated evidence that Gillard ever received any money from the AWU Workplace Reform Association. The comprehensive affidavit by Ian Cambridge regarding the investigation and audit of the association does not list any funds disbursed to Julia Gillard.

It has been alleged that some of the renovations done on an Abbotsford property she owned in the 1990s was paid for with union money. The Prime Minister categorically denies this and there is no substantiated evidence to say otherwise.

What about the $5000?

The Australian's Hedley Thomas has published a report alleging that a union employee named Wayne Hem deposited $5000 from Wilson in 1995 to a bank account in Julia Gillard's name.

We only have Hem's word on the matter; the allegation cannot be said to be substantiated, as so far Thomas has not published any of the supporting bank records he claims to have seen. Wilson himself has told journalist Steve Lewis that "look, it's possible, but I don't specifically recall".

The Prime Minister said yesterday she does not recall the money being deposited, saying she would have remembered a large sum of money turning up in her account. Gillard says she took steps to obtain bank records of her account but these were not available owing to the length of time since the deposit took place.

Even if the money was given to Gillard, there is no information on the public record to suggest the money was sourced improperly, or that it came from the AWU association, or that it was due to the proceeds of illegal or improper activity.

Should Gillard have reported the malfeasance by Blewitt and Wilson to the authorities?

Gillard says she became aware of the suspicions at the same time that Slater and Gordon did, when the law firm was alerted by the AWU. She says that she had no concrete information about any wrong-doing, and therefore had nothing to report.

The AWU did conduct its own internal investigation into the matter, headed by respected industrial lawyer and then-AWU secretary Ian Cambridge (now a Fair Work Commissioner). Cambridge found significant improprieties when he reported on the matter in 1996. However, no charges were laid by police or other authorities on the basis of Cambridge's statutory declaration. Cambridge did not find any wrong-doing by Gillard. He did press for a Royal Commission, but it didn't happen.

Was Julia Gillard sacked by Slater and Gordon as a result of the AWU affair?

No. Gillard left the firm to run for a Victorian Senate seat.

Having said that, relationships at Slater and Gordon were not entirely amicable. S&G partner Nick Styant-Browne was dissatisfied with her account of her relationship with Bruce Wilson. As he told the ABC, "there was deep disquiet amongst the partnership about Ms Gillard's conduct". Styant-Browne argues that "that there is absolutely no doubt that Ms Gillard not only knew of the Slater & Gordon mortgage in March of 1993, but was specifically involved in taking steps to facilitate that mortgage".

So, Julia Gillard did know about the mortgage?

Not according to the Prime Minister. She argues that Nick Styant-Browne handled the conveyancing and that she did not recall the particular mortgage insurance certificate addressed in her name. "The conveyancing file was a file of Nick Styant-Browne's, he was the partner in charge. In terms of the day to day work on the file, it would have been done by the paralegal, Olive Brosnahan," she said yesterday.

If Julia Gillard did know about the activities of Wilson and Blewitt, does this mean she was corrupt?

If Julia Gillard aided and abetted her then-boyfriend in the improper use of union monies to buy the house, and if she knew about the mortgage he bought with those union funds, and if she hid her involvement from the firm by not opening a file, any of these would be serious charges.

But, in fact, all of these claims are contested and none have been substantiated.

Even if they were proven, none of them would necessarily constitute illegal conduct. Nor would they necessarily render Gillard constitutionally ineligible to be Prime Minister — for this, she would have to be found guilty of a criminal charge with a sentence of longer than a year.

Has there been a cover-up?

No. In fact, the Prime Minister has been unusually open and transparent in her responses to questions about this issue.

In August, the Prime Minister hosted a marathon press conference in which she answered every question put to her on the matter. Yesterday, she hosted another long conference which dealt with the issue again. In the course of the two press conferences, the Prime Minister has spent nearly two hours answering press gallery questions on these matters.

The allegations of a cover-up centre around Gillard's decision not to open a file when giving legal advice on the AWU association. Nick Styant-Browne is on the record as being critical of that decision.

There have also been claims of missing files in various state jurisdictions relating to this matter. Some of these files have since been found.

Despite these claims, there is no evidence of a cover-up. No documents have been destroyed, as far as we know: indeed, documents continue to surface from 17 years ago.

Nor is there evidence that the Prime Minister or her office have tried to stifle or in any other way hinder media interest in these stories. It is true that Gillard has threatened to sue over claims in the media she regards as defamatory. However, no defamation action has actually gone to court. And defamation is not really a "cover-up", either, because defamation action can be taken only against public allegations that are untruthful.

So, what are the allegations against the Prime Minister?

According to the Prime Minister's office, nothing. Despite all that has been written about the affair, the Prime Minister claims there is no specific allegation that has been made about her.

During yesterday's press conference, no new claims emerged.

However, Michael Smith, formerly a radio host for 2UE, has made a formal allegation to Victorian police. He alleges that Gillard falsified the power of attorney of Blewitt, because she did not witness it. This would contravene Section 83A of the Crimes Act Victoria. relating to the creation of false documents.

Julia Gillard denies the allegation, saying she did witness the document correctly, and saying it comes down to her word against Blewitt's. In the absence of conclusive documentary evidence, if it is the Prime Minister's word against Ralph Blewitt's, it is difficult to imagine she could ever be charged.

What about the Prime Minister's judgment and credibility?

Daily Telegraph journalist Steve Lewis argues the current claims go to the Prime Minister's "judgment and credibility".

"The current issues in the AWU scandal raise concerns about the Prime Minister's judgment and credibility," he writes.

Undoubtedly, they do. But so what? "Judgment and credibility" are simply media constructs: they have no legal or constitutional relevance. In a democracy, voters get to decide who they elect to parliament. They may decide that issues of character are important; equally, they may decide to vote according to which party embraces the policies they desire. Or they may vote for other reasons altogether: for reasons of personal loyalty to a popular local member, for instance.

Ultimately, arguments about relevance of the AWU affair to the Prime Minister's fitness for office are a matter for voters, whatever the media may assert.

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Venise Alstergren
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 15:54

BEN ELTHAM: Thank you for a first class, dispassionate, and even handed summation of the tawdry efforts by the leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, and his ankle biting little deputy, Julie Bishop, to turn this country's parliament processes into a freak show. Taxpayers should be appalled at this outrageous squandering of our money.

Equally am I appalled by members of the Opposition such as Malcolm Turnbull who apparently endorses this squalid behaviour.

umbria
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 16:03

So, Ben, we'll know who to come to when preparing Saint Julia's cause for canonisation, then? :-)

amsadl
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 16:11

Umbria: you're response is representative of the sort of treatment the P.M. has been getting for years now. When presented with an objective, factual argument, you respond with a snide remark.

denise
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 16:16

The coalition seems intent on trying to prove Julia Gillard's incompetence by dredging through her past.
Meanwhile they are providing her with opportunities for the public to see her strength and determination to brush aside these smears and unfounded allegations.
As the story stands she was deceived by her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson and his partner in crime Ralph Blewitt into creating what she obviously believed to be a legitimate 'slush fund' for the AWU.
And she was only alerted to the deception, when her firm Slater & Gordon were informed of the impropriety of the AWU fund.
Since the mortgage for the house was set up well before she discovered the fraudulent nature of the AWU fund, it seems a bit illogical to try and accuse her of any wrongdoing at that particular time, when she would have still believed the fund to be legitimate.
Young and a bit naive then, but twenty years later a lot older and wiser.
This tactic by the coalition makes them appear desperate and fearful and only empowers JG.

Frank Campbell
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 16:37

For a genuinely non-partisan summary of this affair, read Mark Baker's piece in today's "Age".

Eltham's account shows he's a long way from being a journalist.

CanDoh
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 17:05

By 'genuinely non-partisan' you mean the Mark Baker who was Nick Styant-Brown's best man?

Or is that another Mark Baker you're referring to?

Eltham is one of three journalists in Australia with the courage to bust out of the pack and present the facts of the story, the others being Paul Bongiorno and Jon Faine.

However, judging by Julie Bishop's shocking performance at the press conference she just attempted to give, it seems the pack have finally caught up with these three.

Game over.

Now can someone from the Opposition stand up and start talking about the future of this country? No? Didn't think so.

jackal01
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 19:04

Ben Eltham, Good Work.

CanDoh nice shooting.

Tim Macknay
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 19:35

The Baker piece is just more of the same: innuendo without evidence.

Geoffrey Andrews
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 20:13

Come on, Frank Campbell, step up to the plate and tell Candoh (I hope you know what you're talking about. mate) that you honestly didn't know that Mark Baker of the Age had ANYTHING to do with Styant-Brown; can't take more that 90 minutes to deny the obvious?
I thought it was interesting that the attractive Mr Pyne (I hope Alexander hasn't donated his fishnets to the archives, yet) implied that Ms Gillard's total of two hours of media conferencing questioning meant nothing as there is no penalty for lying outside Parliament!
Sort of reminds me of Tony Wallbanger's advice that we shouldn't believe things that he says; and "core promises"; and... oh, that's right Ms Bishop "didn't mean to say" anything libelous today. Maybe she only meant it to be malicious?

Alan Austin
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 20:36

Succinct summary. Best so far. Thanks, Ben.

Mark Baker gets things wrong.

Tha Age admitted this in its awkward editorial last week 'The Age and the Prime Minister', November 22, 2012.

Frank Campbell
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 21:18

Nothing would surprise me about the incestuousness of the political class and its cronies, but if Candoh is right, why hasn't anyone popped the question to Baker?
The only source I can see for the "best man" claim is...Andrew Landeryou. A character as dubious as creepy Blewitt (eg "Age", Leonie Wood and David Elias, 23rd April, 2005). Landeryou is a rumour-monger who is sometimes right.

Any fool can see this malodorous business needs a judicial inquiry. Missing files, files hidden by "confidentiality", indubitable corruption etc.

Was Gillard just a dupe? I don't know, but we need to know precisely because she is Prime Minister.

Some of her answers look distinctly Nixonian. She "witnessed the document properly" but can't recall because she witnessed thousands...doesn't think renovations were paid by others, not sure about the alleged $5000 deposited in her account...she comes across as an unreliable witness.

Alan Austin
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 22:55

Frank, answers to your concerns seem embedded in your comments.

The worst that could possibly be found about Ms Gillard is that she was a dupe, which is not an offence, or that she has lied, which is not the problem it once was.

John Howard lied to the Parliament over the Honan matter with no consequences. He and his ministers lied repeatedly over children overboard, secret payments to Sadam Hussein, Iraq’s WMDs and many other matters.

Howard’s unfortunate nickname “the Lying Rodent” was coined by members of his own party.

The current leader of the Opposition is also widely known to fib regularly. If you Google ‘Abbott lies’ it comes up with “About 9,400,000 results (0.26 seconds)”.

Perhaps current attacks on the PM would be more credible if her critics now – searching for possible lies 19 years ago - had been at all exercised about actual contemporaneous lies by other party leaders.

bill hartigan
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 01:26

Bill Hartigan
Julia Gillard was chief of Staff for Brumby after she left Slater& Gordon and well before she stood for Parliament. She may have stood unsuccessfully for the Senate but that canditure was unrelated to her departure frm S&G. Her association with corrupt union officials both personally and commercially over a period of time was at best very poor judgement. At the end of the day or years it may take to see the outcome of police investigatios, the allegations may be tested. The PM has the right to limit access to material that reflects her status with G&S or indeed any material subject to legal confidentiality. Unfortunately, given her position her use legal rights in these regards is not well received publicly, against the background of Union rorting of members funds. It is strange that the slush fund available to the AWU officials does not appear to have been brought to the attention of the police, or acted upon by the Union movement

jhahilt
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 02:04

Good one Ben, send the article to the mad monk with an invitation to poke holes in it if he can.

Frank Campbell
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 09:06

A. Austin says:

"The worst that could possibly be found about Ms Gillard is that she was a dupe, which is not an offence, or that she has lied, which is not the problem it once was."

The first assertion is false. "The worst" would be that Gillard was an integral member of an unsavoury clique acting in concert in a major fraud.

Currently Blewitt blames Wilson, Wilson blames Blewitt and Gillard blames Wilson. Judicial inquiry needed.

Secondly, "politicians lying"...pure sophistry: there's a difference between changing policy deceitfully (thay all do it, not least Lying Rodent and Gillard) and committing a major criminal offence. The current example is Thompson/Williamson- after years of stalling and denial by the ALP etc, the police have finally lumbered into action. Remarkably similar to the Wilson affair.

It's the same old story, reading these posts (and Eltham's biased account): none of you have a clue what real criticism is. Partisan myopia. Collingwood's Disease.

You think that defending progressives is progressive. But even the ALP knows it is in an advanced state of decay- in fact it whines about symptoms like geriatrics at a bus stop. (This doesn't mean it won't win elections. It's a two-party system)
What is Gillard, if not a ruthless, ambitious low-rent lawyer (like much of the parliament).
Progressive? I hardly saw a mention of Gillard's intimate links with the Israeli Right until yesterday, when she was rolled on Palestinian observer status at the UN. Yet on page one of the Age just before the election, Gillard's current boyfriend, the failed hairdresser, was exposed as an employee of Melbourne developers anxious to influence the Vic Labour govt. via the partner of Brumby's former chief of staff- Gillard. These developers were tied to the Israeli Right. Gillard's anti-Palestinian politics defined her for decades as she used the Socialist Left faction (!) to advance her career. Gillard knew that craven support for the US and Israel was a necessary condition for winning the labour leadership- note Hawke, Beazley, Paul Howes (the latter exposed by Assange as a conduit to the US embassy). Exceptions? -Latham as the now-vilified non-conformist.

Now we have the ex-Trot Howes, leading his union against a vicious Qantas, teaming up with Joyce's mate and mouthpiece Olivia Wirth- coming out Womens Weekly style at the Melbourne Cup celebrity enclosure. Such exquisite banality.

A Day at the Races indeed. Howes as Groucho.

And we all thought Paul would never join a club which would accept him as a member...

No one mentions Shorten, the Minister for Advantageous Marriage. A former AWU boss and student of Jane Austen, he no doubt knows the inside story of Wilson/Gillard. Shorten slammed the phony "association" this week- and therefore Gillard. He has to distance himself from the mess- and nudge Gillard to the exit. After all, Shorten is next in line...

Progress, progress, progress...

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 09:18

Good summary of the state of play by Ben Eltham . However pro-war, pro-Zionist, US lackey Julia Gillard DID utter egregious falsehoods in her bottom-of-the-barrel character assassination of Mr Blewitt - I have seen him interviewed on TV and he clearly is NOT an "imbecile" or an "idiot".

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

denise
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 10:37

I'm pleased bill Hartigan mentioned John Brumby, because he gives nothing but glowing reports about Julia Gillard's integrity, honesty, diligence and ability.
And she's obviously no one's 'lacky', and is still the best performer in Parliament.
But as far as trying to defend a fraud like Blewett, it seems DrGIdeonPolya has sunk to new depths of deception to try and deny the public the truth in this matter.
Much like the Opposition's desperate attempts to smear Julia Gillard at any cost, although his reasons are obviously because she is a strong supporter of Israel and she is more hesitant to support the current Palestinian leadership, probably more doubtful of its readiness for autonomy than most punters.
Afterall the Palestinian Authority did just execute six suspected collaborators with Israel (shot on the spot) without fair trial.

meski1
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 12:19

Trust Gideon to drag Zion through an article that involves it not at all.

Tim Macknay
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 12:54

<blockquote><em>Trust Gideon to drag Zion through an article that involves it not at all.</em></blockquote>

Not to mention gratuitously distorting the facts. Gillard's comments were quotations of what others have said about Blewett. Dr Gideon's opinion may be that Mr Blewett is not an idiot, but it's just that: an opinion. Others, who know Blewett well, seem to have a different impression of him.

CanDoh
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 16:55

"It is strange that the slush fund available to the AWU officials does not appear to have been brought to the attention of the police, or acted upon by the Union movement"

Indeed.

Well, except for the fact that the AWU brought its misuse - slush funds themselves are common in all areas of society, including business - to the attention of the police and it was investigated in 1996.

So, yeah, apart from that little fact. But then, much like Gillard and Wilson, it seems fact severed its relationship with the Liberal Party once it realised it was being used and abused, about three years ago if I remember correctly.

You'll have to forgive my memory, though. I even struggle to remember what happened last week, just like that nice Julie Bishop and her razor sharp legal mind.

zeroxcliche
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 17:30

I think Ben has done a commendable job - it made it a little clearer for me, though I must confess skipping this opaque story as it gathered momentum. My general take on the matter - there is something in this and I don't blame people for pursuing it. I just think for a long time this was a "few paragraphs on a page 8 kind of story". Now there is a bit more mud around with Blewitt and Wilson rearing their heads, it is potentially front page material. One thing that seems clear is that dirt units care less about what they find and more about generating the maximum duration and focus on an issue. She may be guilty of keeping her mouth shut on aspects of union culture she has seen up close - there would be an amazing amount to bring up. Why wasn't this story around at the last election - its like the dirt units are incompetent - why not bring people's pasts and dredge it all up, see if you find something and make the story - it feels like they have only recently discovered a worn story that they could revive and now they are clumsily bumping from meta event to event randomnly. The mentality at work seems so narrowed, the language of the soundbyte, the reduction of concepts to movie allegories - the opposition actually looks insanely incompetent - the choice we have - pro corporate loonies or corporate owned pretenders with a predilection for debt.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. DrGideonPolya
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 18:04

@ Tim Macknay - yes indeed, pro-war, pro-Zionist, US lackey PM Julia Gillard, a former law practitioner, slimily and smearingly quoted unspecified people as saying Mr B was an "imbecile" and an "idiot", assertions that are not merely patently and egregiously false but also highly offensive use of terms of abuse in relation to disabled people with intellectual disability - an immediate abject apology is required.

Wikipedia; " Imbecile was a medical category of people with moderate to severe mental retardation, as well as a type of criminal. The term arises from the Latin word imbecillus, meaning weak, or weak-minded. It included people with an IQ of 26–50, between "moron" (IQ of 51–70) and "idiot" (IQ of 0–25)... In recent decades, the phrases "mental retardation", "mentally retarded", and "retarded" have similarly come to be viewed as derogatory terms and their usage now is considered to be politically incorrect much like the words moron, imbecile, and idiot, formerly used as scientific terms in the early 20th century, also came to be viewed as derogatory. On October 5, 2010, President Barack Obama signed Senate Bill 2781, known as "Rosa's Law", which changed references in many Federal statutes that referred to "mental retardation" to refer instead to "intellectual disability" (see "Imbecile", Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbecile ) .

Julia Gillard is rightly being pursued over her involvement - albeit apparently within the law - in the AWU scandal. However she should be brought to book for VASTLY more serious matters e.g.

(1) the pro-war Labor Government complicity in the Afghan Genocide (post-invasion violent deaths and deaths from violently-imposed deprivation totaling 5.6 million, 3-4 million refugees, and 2.9 million under-5 infant deaths, 90% avoidable and due to US Alliance war crimes in gross violation of the Geneva Convention (see "Afghan Holocaust Afghan Genocide": https://sites.google.com/site/afghanholocaustafghangenocide/ );

(2) the pro-Zionist Labor Government support for nuclear terrorist, war criminal, racist Zionist-run Apartheid Israel and its appalling war crimes e.g. 2 million Palestinian deaths from violence or violently-imposed deprivation since 1936; 7 million Palestinian refugees (50% children); 0.9 million Palestinisn children highly abusively imprisoned in what the Catholic Church has described as the Gaza Concentration Camp; of 12 million Palestinians , only 6.7% are permitted to vote for the government ruling all of Palestine, Palestine , 6 million are forbidden to even step foot in their own country; 1.7 million are highly abusively imprisoned in the Gaza Concentration Camp; and 2.5 million are confined to Apartheid-style Bantustans in the militarized West Bank; 90% of Palestine has now been ethnically cleansed of Indigenous Palestinians (see "Palestinian Genocide": https://sites.google.com/site/palestiniangenocide/ );

(3) US lackey Labor being party to hosting nuclear-armed US ships, 2,500 child-killing US Marines and US nuclear terrorism electronic infrastructure and has made ALL Lib-Lab Australians party to post-1950 US Asian wars (38 million deaths from violence or war-imposed deprivation), the post-1990 US War on Muslims (12 million dead), the post-2001 US War on Terror , the post-1990 Iraqi Genocide (4.6 million deaths), and the post-2001 Afghan Genocide (5.6 million deaths) (see "Muslim Holocaust Muslim Genocide": https://sites.google.com/site/muslimholocaustmuslimgenocide/ ) ;

(4) by its blatant , unprincipled, repugnant support for war criminal and genocidal Apartheid Israel, Labor is party to egregious anti-Arab anti-Semitism and also implicitly to anti-Jewish anti-Semitism by sidelining, ignoring and variously defaming anti-racist Jews opposed to Apartheid Israel's genocidal, human rights abusing policies by falsely identifying the activities of Apartheid Israel with decent, anti-racist Jewish Australians (see "Jews Against Racist Zionism": https://sites.google.com/site/jewsagainstracistzionism/).

Thus, for example, Labor ignores Australia's most eminent Jewish figure Sir Isaac Isaacs, (first Australian-born Governor General of Australia) who in 1946 stated : “The honour of Jews throughout the world demands the renunciation of political Zionism" (see Sir Isaac Isaacs, quoted by Wikipedia, ”Isaac Isaacs”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Isaacs ). Pro-Zionist Labor has defiled the honor of ALL Australians.

Pro-mother, pro-child, anti-racist Jewish Australians, anti-racist Catholic Australians, anti-racist Christian Australians, anti-racist Muslim Australians, and indeed all pro-mother, pro-child, anti-racist Australians will demand war crimes trials and vote 1 Green and put Labor last until it reverts to decent Whitlam era values.

Peace is the only way but Silence kills and Silence is complicity.

Tim Macknay
Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 20:01

<blockquote><em>@ Tim Macknay - yes indeed, pro-war, pro-Zionist, US lackey PM Julia Gillard, a former law practitioner, slimily and smearingly quoted unspecified people as saying Mr B was an “imbecile” and an “idiot”, assertions that are not merely patently and egregiously false but also highly offensive use of terms of abuse in relation to disabled people with intellectual disability - an immediate abject apology is required.</em></blockquote>

Honestly Dr Polya, I don't why you feel the need to constantly resort to such strident exaggeration. Calling an intellectually disabled person an "idiot" or "imbecile" on account of their disability would doubtless be highly offensive, but in current usage, calling someone an idiot on the basis of their having made, or being prone to making, stupid decisions, or holding stupid opinions, does not warrant an "abject apology" to the intellectually disabled. If it did, your repeated misuse of the term "genocide" would surely warrant an abject apology to the survivors of real genocide (having read some of your writings on your web site, I know that you are aware of the definition of genocide, so your constant misuse of the term must be deliberate).

Your disgust at the degree of unnecessary death and suffering caused by various US-led wars is perfectly understandable, but I simply don't understand what you're trying to achieve with constant distortion and exaggeration.

denise
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 10:53

So CanDOh if Julie Bishop has a razor sharp legal mind, then she should know she is wasting precious Parliamentary time with her little barbs and cuts against the legal behaviour of Julia Gillard 20 years ago.
If there was a case to answer to, she would have been prosecuted in 1996.
It wasn't and that should be, in any civil society the end of the matter.
But no Bishop keeps slashing away with her allegations and innuendoes against Gillard, with not one iota of evidence being produced, other than the word of a fraud.
This amounts to the abuse of Parliamentary privilege and is yet more evidence the Opposition is so short on policies, the only tactic they have to employ, is to attack and discredit the PMs character by referring to a matter that occurred 20 years ago.
They really are a vicious, draconian lot.

Paul Munro
Posted Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 13:38

What a grubby professionally demeaning dogfight this has become.
Mark Baker(Letter Contradicts PM Gillard said fund had no union links SMH 29 November) might not know the distinction between an incorporated association and a "trade union organisation” but Tony Abbott should. His related assertion that Gillard’s mid-1992 letter to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission constituted a false representation is a blatant distortion. State legislation then and now distinguishes clearly between the requirements for incorporating associations that are trade unions and associations that are not. The former must be registered and incorporated, if at all, under industrial legislative regimes. The latter are able to be incorporated under what are usually styled Incorporated Associations Acts for each State; associations that are in substance trade unions cannot be incorporated under that legislation . Because of the use of the prefix “AWU" for the AWU Workplace Reform Association, the WA authority quite correctly may have sought assurance that it was not a trade union; Slater and Gordon through Gillard affirmed that it was not. That was an unimpeachably accurate depiction of the body that was to be registered.

To make his story, Mark Baker or his subeditor, docked the words “AWU" from the name of th relevant association; the subheading then reconstructs the question raised about it to convert the answer into a denial that that the putative association had “union links”; a pretty extraordinary contention since the name sought to be registered itself asserted a union link and the officers were AWU officeholders.

The aspect of this storytelling that baffles me is the almost total lack of context. Campaign organisations for factions aiming at union office were and are ubiquitous, even more so in the 90’s when unions were in amalgamation chaos; the campaign bodies, slush funds if you like, took various forms and names that regularly used “reform” or “progressive” in juxtaposition to whatever union was being targeted. To foster support against incumbents, candidates and their teams undertook site level activities. The AWU throughout the 90s and before was regarded by many as a tame-cat union widely preferred by employers in the construction industry to the BLF and later the CFMEU. According to Cambridge’s affidavit in the NSW IRC about income and expenditures from several AWU linked bank accounts, Thiess, Phillips Fox and other employer representatives poured money in Bruce Wilson's direction through the AWU WRA, some of it apparently sourced from WA Government grants. Wilson morphed, it seems from WA Secretary of the AWU to Victorian Secretary, bringing Blewitt with him. In late 1991, the AWU had significant employer support from at least Comalco and QAL to secure demarcation orders from the AIRC to oust left militant unions such as the FEDFA from sites at Gladstone and Weipa in Queensland. An almost inescapable inference is that at around the same time as the Kierath Government was operating in WA and Kennett was coming into power in Victoria, the benign attitude of some employers towards Wilson and his team was motivated by a desire to influence union representation in their construction actives. It is unlikely that Bishop, as a WA practitioner in Industrial law for one of its bigger firms was not at least peripherally involved in similar promotions of an employer's favorite union.
The reasons for the employers support for Wilson; and why and how he fell out of favour to be later ousted by another faction seems to be of no interest at all to the editorial scriptwriters; but then if it were to become so, the propagandist function of the story would be lost.
Shame on all of the latter day Salemites, bishops, abbots and their ethically depleted claque who resort to such desiccated distortions as tinder for burning at stake the red-haired witch for her 1992 dalliance.

jackal01
Posted Monday, December 3, 2012 - 04:21

Paul Munro, thank you.

Just goes to show that the looney RIGHT don't mind Union and Union Mentality as long as they own it.

The Farmers Federation is after all the same mentality, a Political Influence Grouping charged to look after the Greedy needs of a specific Group within a Society that basicaly survives on a Tax Purse funded by exports and the re-direction of those export Tax dollars to the rest of Society and Business is a High priority on the minds of many business leaders who relay on the Tax purse for their wealth creation.

77% of all Australians do not actualy pay real Taxes, only Exports bring in real Tax Dollars and getting our grubby hands on those dollars is of high pririty.

Subsidisation of the Farmers after WW2 to help our Landed Gentry survive Englands demise is a good example of the missuse of Government spending.

Money, Money always funny.

As somone else here commented 6 Dollar Lawyers as Politicians.

zeroxcliche, good comment.

"- the choice we have - pro corporate loonies or corporate owned pretenders with a predilection for debt."

zeroxcliche, Governments create Debt when export Generated Tax Income falls off. Labour Governments get shoe horned in when the Nation needs to raise Debt to finance Business activity or stimulate the economy, that way the Looney Right never gets exposed as the drop kicks that create the mess in the first place.

The Looney right sold all our Gold at 325.00, now worth 1700, to fund business activity and the Middle Class hand out rorts to keep themselves in power while the export cash cow was pumping money into the Tax Purse. China's economic Pump Priming is about to fall over, because their Business pump priming isn't leading to exports funded Tax Dollars either so I doubt that the Mad Monk would want the leadership then. leadership is never easy when you haven't got export funded Tax money to throw around to make yourself look inteligent or a good financail Manager. LOL.

bladeofgrass
Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 16:11

Gillard: "Mr Blewitt, according to people who know him, has been described as a complete imbecile, an idiot, a stooge, a sexist pig, a liar, and his sister has said he's a crook and rotten to the core. His word against mine: make your mind up."

Honestly, is this the same woman who accuses Abbott of resorting to "sleaze and smear"? I don't think Abbott could hold a candle to the PM in this department!

Business battler
Posted Friday, January 10, 2014 - 08:17

How does this thread look now with a full scale police invesigation compleed and gillard about to be charged? How did it happen that so many media outlets covered up this huge union coruption. why is it now still today a fringe sory this is australias watergate with shorten the current prime minister involved in the cover up?

When this royal commision is done i hope there is action taken to get some honesty back in the media. funny if there was no story how we now have a pending court case and royal commision into union scandals.