Its all on – the Royal Commission into Union Governance and Corruption

A story that I suspect will come to dominate the news more than the Abbott-Hockey budget starts off today. The Royal Commission into Union Governance and Corruption begins hearings today. Readers can watch online here. I don’t know if Sky News will have live coverage or not (I suspect if they can, they will; just press red).

A taster from The Australian of what we can expect:

… Mr Blewitt intends to tell retired High Court judge Dyson Heydon’s royal commission about his role in a criminal fraud in the 1990s. He will give evidence of how he and his then boss, Mr Wilson, allegedly siphoned hundreds of thousands of dollars from a building company to the union slush fund, the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association.

Mr Blewitt’s Melbourne-based solicitor, Bob Galbally, said: “Ralph is prepared to incriminate himself and reveal all. I have been told that he will be in the witness box for a day or two.”

Adding to the newsworthiness of the Royal Commission will be allegations that relate to former prime minister Julia Gillard. I would like to think that she was more of a victim than an accomplice in those events.

(HT:CL)

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310 Responses to Its all on – the Royal Commission into Union Governance and Corruption

  1. Foggyfig

    Vicki – sorry, did you mean you doubt the Commissioner missed one word today?

  2. A Lurker

    Here – it’s not a map, but a site where you can source documentation.

    Seems like New Zealand is covered under another treaty. Likely Canada is in the same boat.

  3. Gillard allegedly witnessed the rather inadequate Power of Attorney, Vicki, though she’s always refused to say that she was present when Blewitt signed it in an honest, straightforward manner. If she did actually witness it, which I doubt, we’d then have to ask her why it was so incompetently done.

  4. Infidel Tiger

    This slush fund thing is huge! It’s all over the media.

    Who knew the NSW Libs were so crooked?

    Not a peep on JEG.

  5. Infidel Tiger

    There is plenty for the media to pursue in today’s RC proceedings.

    Smoking peoyote and dreaming of flying unicorns is cool, but anyone who seriously thinks Gillard will ever be held liable is dreaming.

    The media will play dead. The establishment won’t want a former PM in trouble and the general public couldn’t give a shit. FFS, it’s not like she was given a bottle of wine!

  6. H B Bear

    Gillard seeking asylum in North Korea would have a nice closure on her earlier career as a typist for the Party. Her parliamentary superannuation would ensure no bark or rat soup for her.

  7. val majkus

    On 23 April 1994, a huge crowd arrived for
    the official opening ceremony. Richard Court,
    the sixth Premier to hold office in Western

    the interesting thing about the Thiess remittances to the AWUWRA is that invoices continued to be sent until 30/10/94 (last of the AWUWRA invoices for Dawesville) which was paid by cheque on 13/12/1994
    What was being paid for during the time of the opening ceremony and the time of the last cheque?

  8. Splatacrobat

    More Vera from no. 96.

    looooooooooooooooooooool

  9. Grigory M

    the interesting thing about the Thiess remittances to the AWUWRA is that invoices continued to be sent

    Wasn’t Wilson’s brother-in-law the contact in Thiess with whom the arrangement was made?

  10. val majkus

    to give you an idea of the size of the AWUWRA fraud the total paid by Thiess to the AWUWRA for the Dawesville channel project was $308,952.64
    and for Melbourne Water 12/10/93 to 30/6/95 was $112,680.00

  11. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The establishment won’t want a former PM in trouble

    The establishment won’t want a former Labor Prime Minister in trouble.

  12. Splatacrobat

    to give you an idea of the size of the AWUWRA fraud the total paid by Thiess to the AWUWRA for the Dawesville channel project was $308,952.64
    and for Melbourne Water 12/10/93 to 30/6/95 was $112,680.00

    No wonder these contracts run over budget. Turnbull needs to look into the NBN for similar over runs.

  13. .

    Joe Trio?

    Correct, Grigory

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/investigations/we-put-300000-in-awu-slush-fund-says-bruce-wilsons-brother-in-law-joe-trio/story-fng5kxvh-1226542152787

    We put $300,000 in AWU slush fund, says Bruce Wilson’s brother-in-law Joe Trio…

    HE is Bruce Wilson’s brother-in-law and he admits he authorised $300,000 in construction company payments that bankrolled the secret slush fund at the heart of the Australian Workers Union fraud scandal.

    But Joe Trio, a former senior executive at building giant Thiess, maintains he knew nothing of the fraud committed under his nose by Mr Wilson and his bagman, fellow AWU official Ralph Blewitt, until told by the West Australian police fraud squad…

  14. Armadillo

    In relation to the loan provided by S&G, it was a private mortgage. It’s what is now called a “Lo Doc Loan” meaning that no proof you are able to make the repayments is required (other than for you to say you can).

    The sniffy thing is the POA. Even back then, with DX you could get documents anywhere overnight. A POA for a property purchase is absolute overkill. From memory, it gave Wilson immense power (such as the ability to organise loans on Blewitts behalf an so on) The real question for JEG as a lawyer, is why would you do that to ‘your client’ in the first place?

  15. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    From memory, it gave Wilson immense power

    One solicitor did tell me a Power of Attorney gave you the right to do anything on the giver’s behalf, except cast their vote for them.

  16. stackja

    Armadillo
    #1302630, posted on May 12, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    young and naive?

  17. Armadillo

    Fair dinkum, if I walked into a Solicitors office and told them I wanted to buy a place in Melbourne and they suggested I give a POA to some bloke I worked with who lived there, I’d walk straight out of the office. The fact that this ‘bloke’ was shagging the Solicitor giving the advice is incredible. This tells me she was either utterly incompetent, or she knew what was going on. Question for Val (as a Solicitor), what do you make of it all?

  18. Foggyfig

    I noticed Bull Shitten looks like he has lost weight today or were my eyes deceiving me? Stress maybe.

  19. Tiny Dancer

    The disposal of title to the house and any proceeds of its sale will cause her all sorts of problems. It will show what a sham it was. That is on top of the mortgage documents. She is in it up to her neck. Cannot wait until TLS cops has to answer some questions

  20. Carpe Jugulum

    I noticed Bull Shitten looks like he has lost weight today or were my eyes deceiving me?

    What? His manboobs have shrunk to DD?

  21. Grigory M

    This tells me she was either utterly incompetent, or she knew what was going on.

    It tells me that she was absolutely complicit in the fraud. She knew from the outset what she was doing and how to do it.

  22. old bloke

    Here is a map of countries that don’t have an extradition treaty with Australia – which is everything coloured grey.

    That’s interesting, didn’t Gillard give a donation to some Emily’s List outfit in the Carribean on her way out of the office (alongside the donations to the SA Uni and some UN education fund)?

  23. val majkus

    Question for Val (as a Solicitor), what do you make of it all?

    Hi Armadillo, it’s not a precedent I would recommend to any solicitor or their hapless (in this case) client
    the other issue with the POA is that (from memory) it permitted acts and documents relating to the purchase of property; question is does that cover entering into a mortgage;
    what’s your view? My view is no

  24. cohenite

    The fact that this ‘bloke’ was shagging the Solicitor giving the advice is incredible.

    Even more incredible is that Michael Smith put his hands on an ethical guide for solicitors who were fucking their clients which had been put together by S&G, after Gillard had left employ.

    Wilson was not Gillard’s client for purposes of AWU activity, the AWU was; for purposes of the slush fund that would still apply since it was nominally under the AWU auspices. The house is getting more tricky.

    In respect of the AWU, as the link to Pickering shows AWU brought a successful claim I the Federal court to recover the money Wilson had received; that judgement in favour of the AWU which would have had implications for Gillard was never enforced.

  25. Grigory M

    Wilson was not Gillard’s client for purposes of AWU activity, the AWU was

    Splitting hairs for mine. I would think that in any legal action, Wilson and the AWU would be joined and jointly sued – and so would Gillard.

  26. cohenite

    Actually Wilson can’t be sued with the AWU because the AWU has already sued Wilson on the facts. The obvious defence of the AWU being joined to any claim against Wilson, and I am talking about civil action, is that Wilson was acting ultra vires.

  27. old bloke

    Is the WA Government represented at the RC? I understand that they (in Brian Burke’s time) paid money to Thiess for some obscure reason, and those funds went through to Wilson. I wonder if there’s any way they could recover those funds.

  28. val majkus

    Actually Wilson can’t be sued with the AWU because the AWU has already sued Wilson on the facts

    Cohenite I think the only action was for recovery of the so called ‘redundancy funds’ and there is a judgment for that recovery
    was there some other action?

  29. Natural Intinct

    ABC 730.
    Not one word on the opening day of a Royal Commission in the entire show.
    Must not have been newsworthy. Royal Commissions must be commonplace.

  30. Armadillo

    what’s your view? My view is no

    Val, I’d agree with that. However, as an ex-finance broker I would say that she has acted in the role of an ‘introducer’. S&G ran their own own private mortgage business. I seriously doubt there is any problem with her saying she has a client who needs some cash and what does he need to give you. From memory, she did the legwork in getting the paper work together. With those Lo-Doc loans, there is bugger all required. They are only available if it’s for “Business or Investment Purposes”. In this case, it was an Investment property. Perhaps that was ‘the angle’ today with questions about repayments and wether Blewitt was getting any rent? If JEG knew that Bruce was just going to live there rent free, then that gets a bit sticky. Be interesting to see where that particular line of questioning leads.

  31. val majkus

    S&G ran their own own private mortgage business. I seriously doubt there is any problem with her saying she has a client who needs some cash and what does he need to give you

    yes, but the point Armadillo is that Blewitt did not sign the mortgage so far as I can recall; Wilson did with the purported authority of the POA
    now, did the POA give him that authority; my view is no

  32. Armadillo

    Blewitt did not sign the mortgage so far as I can recall;

    OK, yep that’s going to be a matter of interpretation considering the wording of the POA. You would have a much better insight into that side of things than anything I could offer.

  33. Vicki

    Re the mortgage: I have to say I was concerned to hear today that the Vic police had turned up evidence that Blewitt (who insists he can’t recall) met 2 quarterly mortgage payments. This is despite his insistence that he did not know anything about a mortgage on the house.

  34. val majkus

    Armadillo, from his bank (HSoc) acct it seems he made 2 quarterly payments (late 1993 from memory) – each of about $3,000
    Counsel assisting was going to calculate if those figures fitted into the interest rate pursuant to the loan
    the curious thing is that Blewitt has always denied any knowledge of the mortgage and was in his words surprised when the Fraud Squad presented him with that evidence; if he did know about the mortgage it would have made no difference to his position; I’m wondering whether his HSoc paid those amounts at the bequest of the mortgagee; so much unknown

  35. val majkus

    in other words no benefit to him if he did or did not know of the mortgage

  36. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I wonder if there is any way they could recover those funds.

    West Australian Government, if I recollect properly, basically said they couldn’t be ar$ed.

  37. A Lurker

    Is the WA Government represented at the RC? I understand that they (in Brian Burke’s time) paid money to Thiess for some obscure reason, and those funds went through to Wilson.

    From memory the money iriginally came from the WA Government – I think the ‘obscure reason’ was training. Also from memory the assumption was that Wilson’s Brother in Law (representing Theiss) allegedly got wind of the potential government money and gave a head’s up to Wilson who then allegedly tried to get the association going in order to tap into this river of Government training gold. I did get the impression that he allegedly wanted this association to happen ASAP and was frustrated by the powers that be. The association failed on its first couple of goes, and then Gillard allegedly entered the scene and used her legal knowledge and prior skills drafting up a similar association (I think for the Socialist group she was a member of) to get the AWU-WRA through on a subsequent attempt. At least that’s my understanding of it.

  38. A Lurker

    I’m wondering whether his HSoc paid those amounts at the bequest of the mortgagee

    Via the magic of the Power of Attorney?

  39. cohenite

    was there some other action?

    Not according to Pickering and Michael Smith. Pickering says Ludwig, presumably the AWU, commenced proceedings in the Federal Court to recover $114000. I wonder where the $114000 came from and why proceedings were commenced in the FC.

    In any event the AWU had a judgement in their favour but did not act on it.

  40. val majkus

    Shane Dowling has a post about a missing judgment see http://kangaroocourtofaustralia.com/2012/12/16/justice-rodney-madgwick-and-the-missing-court-judgement-in-the-julia-gillard-bruce-wilson-awu-fraud-scandal/
    and the judgment I’m thinking of is here http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2012/10/the-awu-scandal-orders-against-wilson.html
    (the latter relates to the purported redundancy monies and was never enforced by the AWU

  41. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I must be going stark, staring raving mad – the A.B.C. news in the Wild West gave some detailed coverage of the Royal Commission……..

  42. val majkus

    you’re delusional Zulu

  43. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    No, they had the footage of Bruce Wilson running for heavyweight champion of the A.W.U., and footage of Ralph Blewitt inside answering questions about Julia Gilliard’s handwriting.

  44. val majkus

    who knew Wilson would provide so much entertainment today

  45. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    val majkus, somewhere in the chaos of my filing system is the paper that you, Michael Smith and John Lourens prepared on the Fatal Accident and Death Fund. If you are remaining on this channel, could you answer some naive questions on the matter?

  46. cohenite

    Thanks val; I am not sure that any reasons beyond what was in the orders were necessary in the finding against Wilson and others. But it is certainly a matter of concern that Ludwig did not enforce the orders.

  47. val majkus

    hi Zulu – still here

  48. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    “Gillard. I would like to think that she was more of a victim than an accomplice in those events.”

    Turn it up Sinclair!

    The evil lying bitch is in this up to her ears, up to that hideous big snorter of hers, as guilty as sin and that couldn’t be clearer. Forget the fine esoteric nuances of the law and look at every move she has made, every word she has uttered and her very demeanour every time the issue has been raised.

    She had two journalists sacked for doing their job reporting on what she’d been up to for Pete’s sake, denied their income because protecting her was deemed more important just because she was prime minister – that makes as much sense as electing a barely literate drongo because he is black!

    The material Michael Smith has brought forward is unequivocally damning of her fraud and misuse of high position for personal gain. Her employer thought so much of her integrity that it gave her the option to slink off rather than be sacked.

    Be not alarmed though – she’ll duck this one ever so deftly because she is among friends in the judiciary sent on the vital mission to discover a good reason to find her innocent and let her off, with the most heartfelt apology for even doubting her.

    For two years now they’ve been discovering missing files on the matter lifted from court premises, lawyers offices and State repositories; and you can bet pounds to peanuts she has dirt files ready to activate on any dumb donkey of a judge who even looks like he’s getting close to the facts.

  49. val majkus

    Zulu, remember the AWUFADF is a good news story; although the fund was transferred to Perth under the auspices of the AWU in 1992 our ultimate conclusion was:

    The financial evidence we examined during our investigation suggests FADF
    assets are securely and properly managed. We found no obvious reason to
    believe otherwise.
    (2) The evidence we examined during our investigation suggests at no stage did
    FADF assets form part of the fraud perpetrated on the AWU.

  50. val majkus

    Zulu I’m off to bed; I’ll check in the morning to see if you have any questions; nite all – till 2 pm tomorrow

  51. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Val, yes thanks, I was trying to get my head around the story. My understanding is that FADF funds were used to buy the Australian Worker’s Union their headquarters’s building in Kalgoorlie, and those funds were also used to buy two holiday units in Kalbarri. Again, I’m going by memory (as in still can’t find your paper on the subject) but 1 – Was that was what the fund was about? 2 – Were those properties rented out, or were they just used for A.W.U. officials for their holidays? 3 – My understanding is that, when those units were sold, the money went back to the Goldfields. Am I correct?

  52. Andrew

    I assume everyone who brayed for two rich guys to be charged with affray and serve 10 years were hot on this case? After all, would Cats of average firmness have more cause to fear:
    a) 2 guys who know each other punching on with each other, or
    b) 1 guy lashing out randomly at people he doesn’t know?

    We can’t have 1 rule for the union oligarchs and 1 for everyone else now can we?

  53. MT Isa Miner

    Deadman

    #1302372, posted on May 12, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Pictured behind Ralph Blewitt and Bob Kernohan, surely, is Bruce Wilson having a word with Mark Latham.

    JH Christ. of course they are mates,Wilson and Latham.

    Ludwig, Shorten, Roxen, Murphy….. I am running out of alfoil. Forget the tinfoil hat, this shit is so deep and so wide that I’m foiling my whole house.

  54. val majkus

    Zulu you’re right!

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