Revelations about the Prime Minister’s previous career as a lawyer get ever more salty.
Today’s piece in the Australian by Hedley Thomas and Pia Akerman suggests a $5000 cash payment into an account of Ms Gillard by union employee Wayne Hem. The money is said to have been deposited under instructions from Ms Gillard’s former boyfriend Bruce Wilson.
Ms Gillard had provided legal advice in 1992 that helped Mr Wilson and his union ally, Ralph Blewitt, set up a slush fund – the AWU Workplace Reform Association – which the two men used in the ensuing years to issue bogus invoices and fraudulently receive hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This is especially interesting since if money was deposited in a bank account there is a paper trial and as there was some apparently diarised documentation about it a year later by Mr Cambridge who was joint Secretary of the Australian Workers Union. Mr Cambridge swore an affidavit in 1996 which said he could not understand how the AWU’s lawyers, Slater & Gordon, could allow money “obviously taken from the union, in the purchase of private property (a terrace house) … without seeking and obtaining proper authority from the union … and without recording the interest of the union on the title”.
The June 7, 1996, diary entry by Mr Cambridge states: “During the course of the conversation with Wayne Hem he told me about an event that took place in about July last year (1995)”. If all this is true, the kindest explanation for Ms Gillard is that it was an under-the-counter payment for the services she rendered her boyfriend in establishing the the AWU Workplace Reform Association. In that case she was merely cheating on her employer, Slater and Gordon. Alternative explanations dig more deeply into the character of the Prime Minister
Mr Cambridge said his position as a member of a quasi-judicial tribunal made it inappropriate “to now offer any public comment about these issues”.
A government’s control of patronage – in this case the kangaroo court, “Fair Work Australia”, provides massive capabilities to reward the loyal and silence those who have material that could embarrass and even bring down the party in power. All governments exercise such opportunities but Labor seems to do so more spectacularly, rigorously and consistently than the Coalition.
[Update: I have modified parts of the post and added in some links. Sinc]