Royal Commission thread: May 14, 2014

Please all comments relating to the Royal Commissions on this thread.

Kevin Rudd will be appearing at the Pink Batts enquiry today.

This entry was posted in Open Forum. Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Royal Commission thread: May 14, 2014

  1. Poor Old Rafe

    We wait to see how the love media will play this, and how they position it in relation to the budget.
    Will it get front page billing?
    On the ABC, who will be invited on air to comment in addition to the usual in-house suspects?

  2. H B Bear

    “I’m Kevin from Queensland and I’m here to help.”

  3. Rabz

    Kevin Rudd will be appearing at the Pink Batts enquiry today.

    Sucked in to all the people at the commission who get to listen to the inveterate imbecile holding forth on matters of programmatic specificity.

    At least they’ll get to catch up on some sleep after all that budget excitement.

  4. val majkus

    other things on today so I’ll have to check in here for highlights

  5. David Black

    Isn’t it incredible that we have two Royal Commissions to enjoy, each one starring a much-loathed ex -Prime Minister! I’m just running out for popcorn before the shows get started.

  6. rafiki

    May I invite those on this blog (e.g. Val, Deadman & sorry if I have overlooked someone) to expertly speculate what Hanscombe’s cross-examination of Blewitt tells us about Wilson’s theory of the case? Or is it that there is no coherent theory but simply an attempt to lay a basis for various persons to claim to a public that is not across the detail that the whole show is a shonk and that they will not dignify it by responding? Or perhaps it’s both.

    For what it’s worth, it seems to me that Wilson’s case might be that the AWU-WRA was a genuine exercise and that it was Blewitt who took the opportunity to benefit personally from it. (This was not put to Blewitt but this won’t stop people from claiming that this is the case.) There may also be a theory that Blewitt set up the association and gave instructions to Gillard, with Wilson so occupied with other business that he did see what Blewitt go up to. It may also be said that the Fitzroy terrace was purchased to provide an AWU base in Melbourne with the intention of selling it back and returning funds to the association and that again Blewitt – a property investor – garnered the end profit.

    In saying this, I am not supporting this these theories, but trying to understand how in the hell Wilson, Gillard et al will try to meet what looks like a very strong case based on documents.

  7. Rabz

    but trying to understand how in the hell Wilson, Gillard et al will try to meet what looks like a very strong case based on documents.

    Simple – they’ll lie, about everything, as they have always done throughout their pointless lives.

  8. rafiki, it seems so far from his silk’s questioning of Blewitt, and from her tabling of letters to and from Julia Gillard, that the tenor of Wilson’s testimony will be that the inadequate specific Power of Attorney was witnessed properly, that the AWU-WRA was constituted and organised properly, that to his firm belief the AWU-WRA really did provide services to Thiess which warranted large payments, and that Wilson was an innocent and noble dupe who merely followed the advice of his legal counsel whereas that cunning mastermind, Blewitt, was the only begetter of any fraud.

  9. Baldrick

    Day 3 of the Unions Royal Commission and still the ABC’s flagship current affairs programme 7.30 Report refuses to acknowledge its existence. Simply stunning.

  10. Beef

    There may also be a theory that Blewitt set up the association and gave instructions to Gillard, with Wilson so occupied with other business that he did see what Blewitt go up to.

    This would mean Gillard, a senior partner, whose major client is the AWU set up an association with the name AWU in it and the only person she told was Wilson. Decided not to open a file because Wilson wanted it for his underling mate Ralph. This process led to a sacking from S&G, Cambridge et.al.

    Seriously who’s naive again?

  11. Baldrick

    … but trying to understand how in the hell Wilson, Gillard et al will try to meet what looks like a very strong case based on documents.

    The first rule of a politician giving evidence:
    Admit nothing, lie about everything and when in doubt say, ‘I don’t recall’.

  12. Simple – [Wilson, Gillard et al. will] lie, about everything, as they have always done throughout their pointless lives.

    Sure, but the documents will tell a different story. For example, in the “exit interview”, which Gillard has often since insisted was truthful, she told Peter Gordon that she’d had no further involvement with the AWU-WRA after her initial advice; in the letters tabled yesterday by Wilson’s counsel we have firm evidence that Gillard was communicating with the WA Corporate Affairs office (after the lodging of the rules of the association which she had written) and subsequently directing Blewitt to send thereto a letter which she personally composed. She can lie about that lie as much as she likes but the evidence will prove that she lied.

  13. rafiki

    Thanks Deadman. I missed the significance of the questions about what Blewitt knew (I think he said nothing) about AWU persons providing advice on the project the name of which I can’t recall. Maybe Wislon will say – “There was lot’s genuine work done on behalf of the WRA about which Blewitt knew nothing”. Maybe we can expect quite a few people to step into the witness box to give detail.

  14. Baldrick

    … oh, and if you’re backed into a corner, blame somebody else – (most important).
    If all else fails, fall on your sword and say that it was all done for the public good.

  15. rafiki

    Beef – you miss the point of my contribution.

  16. Rabz

    She can lie about that lie as much as she likes but the evidence will prove that she lied.

    Good – then here’s hoping she gets done for lying under oath as well.

  17. Beef

    Rafiki- apologies for misunderstanding, naive comment was directed at Gillard and what she must think we are. again sorry for any inference to your character it was purely unintended.

  18. A Lurker

    Re: the S&G “exit interview” – I wonder if all those redacted pages will come to light?

  19. Up The Workers!

    So the Federal Budget is predicting a $53 million cost for running the Royal commission into Union Corruption.

    If the Liberals are prepared to raid the piggy-bank of that well-known self-made H.S.U. multi-millionaire, Munificent Mike Williamson, they could pay for $20 million of that cost straight away.

    Somebody who steals $20 from a corner milk bar and gets caught, has to pay restitution, but it seems that if the thief happens to be the Federal President of the A.L.P., and the amount is $20 MILLION, instead of just $20, they get to keep ALL of the stolen loot.

    The Royal Commission is looking into Union Corruption. It seems only fitting that the criminal former President of the A.L.P. should be forced to pay for it with money he stole from his own union members.

    Has there EVER been a bigger SCAB on the unionists of Australia, than the former National President of the A.L.P.?

  20. Beef

    in the letters tabled yesterday by Wilson’s counsel we have firm evidence that Gillard was communicating with the WA Corporate Affairs office (after the lodging of the rules of the association which she had written).

    Deadman- Do you know the timeframe between lodgment and follow up letter to WA Corporate Affairs?
    Can she claim later letter constitutes ‘initial advise’?

  21. Beef

    Can she claim that the later letter still constitutes ‘initial advise advice’?

  22. H B Bear

    Gillard’s problem is that the bozos Wilson and Blewitt had already tried to have the AWU WRA registered by the WA Corporate Affairs Commission and been knocked back. Gillard then writes to Corporate Affairs on Slater & Gordon letterhead, making a series of representations that results in the slush fund getting registered.

    But for Gillard’s involvement, Wilson wouldn’t have had the vehicle to operate bank accounts, issue invoices or anything.

  23. incoherent rambler

    What are the chances of an ALP MP getting through a RC without lying to to the commissioner?

    Can we have a “lying lotto”, in the style of Carpe’s “interruption lotto”?

    You have to guess the number of times each ALP witness lies to the commission.

    Maybe, to keep the numbers smaller, we should change that to -
    You have to guess the number of times each ALP witness lies is caught lying to the commission.

  24. rafiki

    Thanks Beef. We keep our comments short and sharp, and that sometimes means we misunderstand each other.

    Deadman (or whosoever) – After it was shown that Blewitt withdrew various sums on many occasions (when I think Wilson was not active in this respect), was it put to Blewitt by Hanscombe that he was doing so to benefit himself without Wilson’s knowledge? If so, what did Blewitt say? If not, what was the point of this evidence? Heydon will not be happy if it is later suggested that this was the purpose.

  25. Dr Faustus

    I’m expecting an outbreak of amnesia – the Defendant’s Friend.

  26. was it put to Blewitt by Hanscombe that he was doing so to benefit himself without Wilson’s knowledge?

    Yes.

    If so, what did Blewitt say?

    He insisted that he’d write cheques at Wilson’s direction and give cash subsequently to Wilson.

    A transcript of Monday’s hearing is available (as .pdf or .doc), so I’d suppose that a transcript or yesterday’s hearing will be available from the commission’s site soon.

  27. rafiki

    Thanks Deadman. It will I suppose then come down to a question of who Heydon believes and by itself this cross-examination is not damaging to Blewitt.

    Beef’s reminder of Gillard’s claim that she was naive sparks another thought. I respectfully agree with you that Wilson will claim “that the AWU-WRA was constituted and organised properly, [and] that to his firm belief the AWU-WRA really did provide services to Thiess which warranted large payments”.

    Why then did Gillard cease her relationship with Wilson once (0n her ‘evidence) she discovered his fraudulent activity? It looks like their interests are not coinciding.

  28. Do you know the timeframe between lodgment and follow up letter to WA Corporate Affairs?

    6 March, 1992; March 6, 1992, a public notice to incorporate the AWU Workers Reform Association is published in The West Australian, under Blewitt’s name, claiming it was “formed for the purpose of promoting and encouraging workplace reform for workers performing construction and maintenance work”.
    23 April, 1992: an application to incorporate the AWU Workers Reform Association, with Julia Gillard’s handwriting thereon, is lodged.
    13 May, 1992: Gillard writes to the Office of State Corporate Affairs
    15 May, 1992: Neal, Assistant Director of Corporate Affairs, writes to Gillard.
    15 May 1992: Gillard was in Boulder, WA, on with Bruce Wilson, on AWU business.
    21 May, 1992: Julia Gillard sends letter to Ralph Blewitt directing him to send a supplied letter to Corporate Affairs.
    24 June, 1992: Western Australia’s Commissioner for Corporate Affairs issues a certificate of incorporation (#1002262) to the Australian Workers’ Union – Workplace Reform Association (WRA).

    Time passes.

    11 September, 1995: Peter Gordon puts questions to Julia Gillard:

    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 we had prepared a response submitted on Wilson’s instructions to that authority suggesting that 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?
    JG: 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?
    JG: That’s right.
    Peter Gordon: And did you get advice from anyone else in the firm in relation to any of those matters?
    JG: No I didn’t. […]
    Peter Gordon: Beyond that, and it seems from the file that after that letter it was successfully accepted as an incorporated association and duly was created and presumably accounts were set up. I should ask did we have anything to do with the setting up of the accounts or was that done by the officers of the incorporated association?
    Julia Gillard: Slater & Gordon didn’t have anything, did not have anything to do with setting up bank accounts for that association. We attended to the incorporation.
    Peter Gordon: Can I ask you then following the last thing that we did to setting up the incorporation, which appears from the file to be the letter arguing that it ought to be not construed as a trade union, did you have anything personally to do with that incorporated association afterwards?
    Julia Gillard: No I did not.
    Peter Gordon: Right, to the best of your knowledge did anyone at Slater & Gordon?
    Julia Gillard: To my knowledge no one at Slater & Gordon had anything to do with it post that time.

    23 August, 2012: Gillard says in a media conference:

    I was a solicitor at Slater & Gordon. I assisted with the provision of advice regarding the setting up of an association, the workplace reform association that you refer to.
    My understanding is that the purpose of the association was to support the re-election of a team of union officials and their pursuit of the policies that they would stand for re-election on.
    It was my understanding that the association would engage in fundraising activities, including, for example, there being regular payroll deductions from union officials who would be putting their money together to support their re-election campaign and that they may well have other fundraising activities like hosting dinners where it would be transparent to people that the money was going to support their re-election campaign.
    My role in relation to this was I provided advice as a solicitor. I am not the signatory to the documents that incorporated this association. I was not an office bearer of the association. I had no involvement in the working of the association. I provided advice in relation to its establishment and that was it.

  29. LesterPK

    To add to your timeline:
    9 April 92 – First AWUWRA invoice to Theiss paid.

    Even before they were incorporated they were using the name and issuing invoices.

  30. Cheryl

    My thoughts are this was Bill Ludwigs slushie and ok’d by him. Julia’s reward was home renos, Bruce’s was PM. Got stuffed up when Bruce got greedy with his own Victorian slushies.
    Why else did Bill support Julia so much.

  31. A Lurker

    Even before they were incorporated they were using the name and issuing invoices.

    I can hear the oinking from here. Greedy buggers.

  32. A Lurker

    Why else did Bill support Julia so much.

    To control her.

    This is my opinion only, however it makes sense to me.
    He (allegedly) knew what she had (allegedly) done, so he was prepared to keep ‘mum’ and so she became his thing, his puppet. Knowing that she’d not be able to practice Law again, he’d help fast track her career into politics but with the express understanding that she owed him big-time for help making her problem go away. That’s why she became a creature of the Unions – he recognised that she had no moral core, no moral code, no decency, and so she was shuffled up through the Labor party to become PM, and thus make life sweet for the Unions. Whether she will continue to be protected by The Labor Establishment is entirely unknown – they might cut her loose in order to protect another up and coming Labor leader.

  33. Forget not, A Lurker, that Ms Gillard would screw anyone who looked as if he or she could have a powerful future in the union movement or politics, particularly when a bloke already had a wife and kids; not one former leman has so far been willing to say a harsh word about her, which might suggest that she was either a really good root or that she has incriminating evidence…

  34. cuckoo

    FWIW, I think the ABC *will* cover Rudd’s testimony at the Commission. They supported him then, but they still loathed his guts, and now they don’t owe him anything. On the other hand, they’ll still die in a ditch defending Juliar. Radio National Breakfast, the morning after the slush funds commission opened, had not. one. word. to say about it. On the other hand, they ran a long interview with some pommy bint blathering about an endangered species of Sumatran hardwood.

  35. I am the Walrus, koo koo k'choo

    A Lurker – I think you’re exactly right.

    No coverage of the Unions Royal Commission on ABC lunchtime news. Their fingers-in-ears, eye-closed ‘its not happening’ routine is STILL going on! How can these people possibly justify their ongoing wilful ignorance?

  36. val majkus

    what’s happened to Rudd?

  37. thefrollickingmole

    My father just voiced his disgust at the midday bulletin on the radio (ABC).
    So i shot across to the ABC webpage and sure enough there is only mention of poor Peter Garret being “gutted” by the news of an installers death.

    Apparently nothing else newsworthy except the socceroos and budget.

  38. Lysander

    No coverage of the Unions Royal Commission on ABC lunchtime news. Their fingers-in-ears, eye-closed ‘its not happening’ routine is STILL going on! How can these people possibly justify their ongoing wilful ignorance?

    No. The ABC has sent all staffers to the RC into child abuse sessions only (like the fortnight they planned in Perth and actually only went for a week).

  39. Some juicy stuff with Peter Garrett right now. Briefly (I paraphrase):

    Did you lack knowledge of OH&S?
    No.
    The PM said you did, and gave the job to Combet.
    It was his job to assign ministers.
    But did you personally lack knowledge of OH&S.
    No.

  40. Peter Garrett’s counsel, by the way, is Anthony Whitlam QC.

  41. Kevin Rudd will appear in five minutes.

  42. Tintarella di Luna

    No coverage of the Unions Royal Commission on ABC lunchtime news. Their fingers-in-ears, eye-closed ‘its not happening’ routine is STILL going on! How can these people possibly justify their ongoing wilful ignorance?

    No. The ABC has sent all staffers to the RC into child abuse sessions only (like the fortnight they planned in Perth and actually only went for a week).

    Speaking of the Royal Commission into Child Abuse — anyone heard the ads about the Royal Commission encouraging people to come forward and how much better they felt — haven’t they got enough customers perhaps, or maybe people want to get on with their lives and not go there?

    This reminds me of the Senate Inquiry into Institutionalisation of Children from 1920 to 1970 which was actually the Forgotten Australians Senate Inquiry – reported back in 2004 and was the basis for another apology for which Rudd centre stage — did eff all for those who had been in those tough places but he looked nice in the photos and so caring and compassionate in the bear hugs and wiping tears. In that Inquiry there were 500 submissions from memory it was claimed that 500,000 children were in those institutions over those 50 years – what’s the arithmetic on that 0.1%?- perhaps people wanted to forget and not revisit the pain.

    I wonder if there will be ads encouraging anyone that knows of union corruption to come forward or who have had their union dues misappropriated or misused, or where the union to which you’d paid your dues for 40 years did sweet FA for you when you needed help? What’s the chance of that I wonder?

  43. stackja

    Kev’s version will not probably appear on TEN news. Too late? ABC? Or ABC too busy on budget?

  44. Tintarella di Luna

    Is he there yet?

  45. H B Bear

    Any idea how KRuddy got on today?

  46. Is he there yet?
    Yes.

    Any idea how KRuddy got on today?

    He has not yet answered a question.

  47. Counsels and the Commissioner are still discussing whether Mr Rudd’s submission may be redacted.

  48. H B Bear

    Arguing public interest immunity of Cabinet confidentiality.

    Very similar to the Heiner affair. Didn’t they run documents through the Queensland Cabinet to gain protection of them?

  49. H B Bear

    KRudd’s counsel is arguing that a Royal Commission has never been tasked with investigating Cabinet deliberations.

    Correct – but Australia has never witnessed KRudd levels of incompetence.

  50. Home Insulation Program RC adjourned without Rudd answering a question—except to state that he’ll be available tomorrow—because of legal argument over whether Rudd’s submissions may be redacted by the Commonwealth in favour of sustaining Cabinet confidentiality. The commissioner will decide overnight whether any questions pertaining to cabinet confidentiality tomorrow might be closed to the public.

  51. H B Bear

    Well – looks like we are done for the day. No decision made on the question of public interest immunity.

  52. rafiki

    The submissions on the immunity issue have concluded. Two thoughts: (1) it’s an imbroglio of alarming proportions, and it might be some time before Rudd gets to answer a question (having in mind too that the Commonwealth might wish to resort to court at this point); and (2) the policy adopted by Walker and more particularly Howe seems to be ‘ why use three or four words to state a position when thirty or forty are available’. Where available, all the lawyers prefer an archaic English word to a simple one.

  53. why use three or four words to state a position when thirty or forty are available

    This is what happens when people are paid by the hour instead of by the result. Tell lawyers that they’ll receive a set fee no matter how long the action take and see how laconically terse and efficient they suddenly become.

  54. H B Bear

    It looks like the judicial system has never been required to address incompetence on a KRudd government scale.

    All of which stems back to KRuddy sitting on the floor with Kate Blanchette, surrounded by butchers paper at the 20/20 summit. Someone (Mavis Bramston?) needs to sit down with Gough and quietly tell him it’s OK he can go now, he is no longer Australia’s worst Prime Minister.

  55. Splatacrobat

    Very similar to the Heiner affair. Didn’t they run documents through the Queensland Cabinet to gain protection of them?

    Labor Qld had a reputation for wheeling documents by the trolley load into the cabinet room and then wheeling them back out again without even opening a file just so they could claim cabinet in confidence.

  56. egg_

    Is he there yet?
    Yes.

    Has Dolly trimmed down since those background pics?

  57. Splatacrobat

    They can chose to waive the right of cabinet confidence if they want to. Annastacia Palaszczuk handed over cabinet files regarding the Qld Health payroll disaster.

    Rudd hiding behind cabinet confidence really says it all.

  58. H B Bear

    They can chose to waive the right of cabinet confidence if they want to. …
    Rudd hiding behind cabinet confidence really says it all.

    KRudd is not the one advancing Cabinet confidentiality – I expect he is looking to spread the blame via the collective decision making. It is being advanced by the Solicitor General on behalf of the Cth.

    I think the actual legal principle is public interest immunity and I’m not certain that this can be waived, even by the parties themselves.

  59. Bert

    For what its worth, they will want to do better than Blewitt if they expect to get anywhere.

    He was useless. A witness who was being helpfully led by counsel assisting. A self – confessed fraudster, who had poor recollection of dates, and had his Police statement written by someone else.

    Good luck with that.

    Whoever represents Gillard will rip him apart.

  60. Rabz

    Someone (Mavis Bramston?) needs to sit down with Gough and quietly tell him it’s OK he can go now, he is no longer Australia’s worst Prime Minister.

    Adding that the Gold Card is being phased out might also help.

  61. Whoever represents Gillard will rip [Blewitt] apart.

    Well, that could be true only if Gillard had a counsel with authorisation to appear at the royal commission; since, however, she has no counsel there…

  62. stackja

    Large sections of Mr Rudd’s witness statement have been blacked out or “redacted” to keep them from public view on the grounds of cabinet confidentiality.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/rudd-arrives-to-front-insulation-inquiry/story-fni0xqi4-1226917724083

Comments are closed.