The value of Royal Commissions

Graham Richardson asks the question:

… you have to wonder what prompted the Abbott government to set up a royal commission that could spend millions of dollars to work out that Gillard could never be charged with an ­offence.

This was a royal commission set up to get someone who was already got.

How so?

History will not be kind to her and it is doubtful she has the pan­ache and overpowering intellect of a Gough Whitlam or a Paul Keating, who would rebuild themselves after humiliating election defeats. Surely that is penalty enough. Surely that was enough for her to deal with.

Okay. Fair point.

But, but, but … Richardson should have quit while he was ahead. He finishes off with

Royal commissions are expensive. Really good journalists are so much cheaper.

Another good point – but then I thought about Glenn Milne, hounded from his job at the Australian, fired from the ABC. Michael Smith sacked from Fairfax, and then the Frankenstein Media Inquiry.

Then I realised why Royal Commissions may well be more valuable, albeit more expensive, than good journalists.

Gillard got to answer questions about her involvement in fraudulent activities twenty years ago under oath without there being any threats or intimidation against the person asking the questions. As it turns out her involvement appears to have been peripheral.

So while Richardson craps on about “abuse of process” the real issue is why Gillard used her office and state power to threaten and intimidate journalists trying to get to the bottom of a story?

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99 Responses to The value of Royal Commissions

  1. blogstrop

    The shadow which still hangs over this whole affair is that of documents “disappeared” from some places, and others not accessible under “privilege”, which seems a bit precious given the nature of the activities under investigation.
    As to the Royal Commission being a waste of money, the airing of various matters in respect of various unions, coming on top of the legal actions against some former officials of the HSU, is valuable. Union officials ought to be as accountable as company directors. Plainly they have not been.

  2. stackja

    As it turns out her involvement appears to have been peripheral.

    Again we do not know the whole truth.

    If Julia had said in the beginning when the story first surfaced ‘I was young and naive’ and then asked forgiveness that would have been the end of the story. But no, the cover ups started and still continue.
    BTW Richo has never fully explained many events.

  3. Rabz

    Ahem, cough, cough, Offset Alpine, cough, cough…

  4. What ever it takes

    Has Offset Alpine put in a bid to print the Royal Commission findings.

  5. What ever it takes

    I was a minute too slow.

  6. H B Bear

    Love, exciting and new
    Come Aboard. We’re expecting you.
    Love, life’s sweetest reward.
    Let it flow, it floats back to you.

    Love Boat soon will be making another run
    The Love Boat promises something for everyone
    Set a course for adventure,
    Your mind on a new romance.

    Unsurprisingly Richo misses the point completely. So far (and most likely permanently) Gillard has been the beneficiary of the passage of time, missing documents (including some very convenient ones) and her ability to stonewall. Nobody is better placed to explain the difference between innocence and unable to prove guilt than Mr Offset Alpine.

    The Slugs & Grubs partners knew which way the wind was blowing with Gillard and Murphy gone within weeks. Gillard then fell back on the patronage of Emilys List, Big Bill Ludwig and the Labor party to allow her to become the worst Australian PM in living memory.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    Civilization requires the rule of law and justice to be done without fear or favour.

    Journalists used to live by these principles, but now they no longer do their job if the culprit is “on their side”. So we the people need justice to be done another way. Royal Commissions are that way.

    IMO she has not answered the critical question, which is where the $5000 came from and what was it for. A second question of interest is whether she paid tax on it.

    She may be narrowly right that “her money” paid for the renovations, but there is a question whether it was “her money” a microsecond previously in that timeline. Or was it someone else’s money that was hers for a very short time.

  8. Bill Thompson

    After listening to ex-SLAG partner, Peter Gordon’s remarks to Jon Faine on ABC774 this morning – regarding Julia Gillard’s recent evidence at the TURC (per the attached video), I raced around to the ABC studio at about 10am, to see if I could do a YouTube interview with Peter, when he finished the ‘Talking Footy” segment. When he emerged, I called out to him, introduced myself & asked if he was prepared to have a short YouTube chat with me. He declined, saying, to the effect that (ie NOT his words) he had no idea who I was or what motives I might have, but that if I contact him via his email address, he might be prepared to talk to me – once he has had a chance to check my bona fides. I referred him to my so-called ‘Outside “Insiders” ‘ videos on YouTube as an example of the stuff I do. Anyway, in parting, I asked Peter if he could answer just one quick question: Is there an ethical problem with a lawyer having a sexual relationship with a client of their firm, or, indeed, an employee of a client of the firm?

    Peter thanked me for my question but again declined to comment further & he went on his way.

  9. Paul

    Royal commissions are expensive. Really good journalists are so much cheaper.

    Interpret that any way you wish.

  10. Arnost

    the real issue is why Gillard used her office and state power to threaten and intimidate journalists trying to get to the bottom of a story

    Indeed. Just so.

  11. H B Bear

    Jon Paine must be the least credible “journalist” in this entire matter. He had the pom poms out months ago.

    Has the ALPBC complaints process ticked off on his treatment of Michael Smith yet?

  12. A Lurker

    What concerns me about this Royal Commission is that the questions that should have been asked, weren’t asked, and I’d really like to know the reasons why.

    It also seems clear that if you are of the Left and are a person of influence, then you could commit a major crime and still be let off the hook by your maaaaates in the judiciary.

  13. Tim Neilson

    FFS:
    (a) the RC is about union corruption generally, not about Gillard’s conduct per se:
    (b) Gillard was a WITNESS, and her evidence may well be relevant to the frauds committed by Wilson et.al. which are clearly within the remit of the RC;
    (c ) to the extent that Gillard shopped Wilson and Blewitt it was well worth the effort irrespective of whether Gillard herself was implicated enough for her to get put behind bars.
    Richo’s comment reflects the whole grubby self-seeking tribalistic mentality of the left. He can’t understand that the RC may have purposes beyond revenge or political advantage (though they may be welcome by-products), but about, e.g., trying to ensure that large construction projects in the People’s Republic of Victoria can be done in future without multi-million dollar additional costs just to make union troughers fabulously wealthy.

  14. stackja

    Bruce of Newcastle
    #1445505, posted on September 12, 2014 at 12:28 pm
    Civilization requires the rule of law and justice to be done without fear or favour.

    Journalists used to live by these principles, but now they no longer do their job if the culprit is “on their side”. So we the people need justice to be done another way. Royal Commissions are that way.

    Journalists are going the way of typewriters and Kodak film.
    ALP did not like the Petrov Royal Commission.

  15. stackja

    A Lurker
    #1445526, posted on September 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm
    What concerns me about this Royal Commission is that the questions that should have been asked, weren’t asked, and I’d really like to know the reasons why.

    It also seems clear that if you are of the Left and are a person of influence, then you could commit a major crime and still be let off the hook by your maaaaates in the judiciary.

    questions that should have been asked, weren’t asked, and I’d really like to know the reasons why.

    Maybe terms of inquiry.

  16. johanna

    Bruce of Newcastle
    #1445505, posted on September 12, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Civilization requires the rule of law and justice to be done without fear or favour.

    Journalists used to live by these principles, but now they no longer do their job if the culprit is “on their side”.

    No. The “golden age of journalism” myth needs to be squashed at every opportunity.

    If you look at newspapers in Australia from the early days (the Trove database is a national treasure), or at old UK and US newspapers, you will find that journalists have always been a very mixed bunch. A lot of the stuff that was published was inaccurate, biased or downright wrong. Sometimes it was because of the owner’s editorial policy, other times it was because the journalist was lazy, incompetent or had a barrow to push. But, there was never a golden age of fearless, brilliant journalists across the board. As now, there were a few stars, but most of them were and are hacks. Luckily, we now have the internet, where I would argue that there are a lot more stars than we ever had access to in the past.

    And yeah, Graham Richardson pontificating on integrity is like Bill Clinton sharing his views on the desirability of marital fidelity.

    A Lurker, what questions (within the ToRs of the Royal Commission) did not get asked?

  17. Vicki

    As it turns out her involvement appears to have been peripheral.

    There was nothing “peripheral” about it. She had formed the view that incorporation of an “association”, which conveniently had “AWU” in its title, would suit the “funding” purposes of her boyfriend, and advised him accordingly. It was so successful that Wilson used a similar structure many times over, until the union movement finally got wind of it.

    And an unexpected witness on the last day of the hearing into the matter declared in his initial statement to the RC that Gillard had advised a similar funding structure for the HSU! But although in his Statement he reported that he had thought such an arrangement as “exotic and suspect” at the time, when he got on the stand he totally recanted and said he’d had a memory failure!!!

    If you think that all that we heard at the RC is the end of the matter, I think you’d be “young and naive”!!!!

  18. john constantine

    gillard does not have to rebuild herself.

    the australian taxpayer has stumped up hundreds of millions to renovate gillard as a professor of adelaide university, and a powerful head of a progressive united nations department, in charge of indoctrinating impoverished little brown kiddies in the gillard way to think, and the gillard things to believe in.

  19. john constantine

    Should have suggested it was a united nations slush fund, instead of a united nations department.

  20. hammy

    If the police had any evidence of criminal activity, let them charge her. Otherwise it’s all just sour grapes on your part because she’s not at fault at anything. Can Sinclair Davidson honestly say he wouldn’t do some things differently today, given his life experiences since he did them years ago? If the answer is No, then he’s either a saint, a fool, or a liar.

  21. Vicki

    what questions (within the ToRs of the Royal Commission) did not get asked?

    The RC suggested for the first time that the “exit” interview (unredacted) actually referred to the AWU Workplace Reform Asson, as well as the Welfare Assocn that had already been uncovered.

    If this is the case, Stoljar or Galbally should have asked her why she (or S&G) didn’t refer the matter immediately to the police. When there is a reasonable belief that fraud has been committed, I understand this is required.

    And why was the substance of the explosive phone call of AWU Secretary Bob Smith to her in respect to “the financing of the renovations of the two union houses” not put to her?

    And also the witnessing of the Specific Power Attorney (which is in dispute) & its use for matters concerned with the mortgage.

    I guess these matters concern what is simply dismissed by Richardson as her poor performance as a lawyer. But nevertheless, they are part of the context for what will almost certainly prove to be criminal behaviour on the part of her boyfriend and client.

  22. Adam

    hammy,

    What a strange comment. Are you saying that the passage of time and getting older remove the burden of criminal acts done earlier in one’s life?

    If so, I wish I’d been a bit more naughty in my youth. Or had access to large sums of money from slush funds.

  23. AngusBlack

    Really good journalists may be cheaper, but they’re as rare as hens teeth (or so it appears to (inadvertent) consumers of Pravda on the Yarra and the Voice if Ultimo)

  24. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    If the police had any evidence of criminal activity, let them charge her.

    You haven’t really been following this case, out there on Planet Hammy, have you?

  25. Robbo

    ” As it turns out her involvement appears to have been peripheral.”

    It would be wise to hold judgement on Gillard until all the investigations are over. The Victoria Police investigation might well see some charges laid against her and that could prove embarrassing for those who still claim she did nothing wrong.

    Incidentally it appeared to me that as she answered questions at the Royal Commission her nose got longer each time she opened her mouth and spoke. Anyone else notice that?

  26. PeterF

    Richo under oath would be interesting.

  27. hammy

    What a strange comment. Are you saying that the passage of time and getting older remove the burden of criminal acts done earlier in one’s life?

    I neither said nor implied that, you fool. What I said was “If the police had any evidence of criminal activity, let them charge her”. What part of that plain English don’t you understand?

    To say you would do something different from what you did 20 years ago is normal and simply demonstrates life experience. Perhaps when you grow beyond your present early adolescence, Adam, you will appreciate that.

  28. johanna

    Vicki

    The RC may have “suggested” something about her exit interview, but as she steadfastly maintained that she knew absolutely nothing about how the Association’s funds were used, she had no case to answer about why she didn’t report it to the police. Dry hole there. And, S&G claimed legal professional privilege about that as well. Another dry hole.

    I don’t know the details of the “explosive” phone call (although I have read about it), but there is no proof that it was along the lines that Smith claims. He said/she said – another dry hole.

    She was asked about the witnessing of the Power of Attorney – and she denied that it was done improperly. There is no proof to the contrary.

    Much as people (including me) may believe that she lied about things, in the absence of proof, asking pejorative rhetorical questions would have quickly (and correctly) been shut down by Heydon.

  29. cohenite

    Richo under oath would be interesting.

    Richo is always under oath; my oath!

  30. I am the Walrus, Koo Koo K'choo

    As it turns out her involvement appears to have been peripheral.

    Peripheral. Yes, of course.

    I simply can’t imagine why she never worked again as a lawyer once her employer had found out what she’d done.

  31. Ivan Denisovich

    The RC may have “suggested” something about her exit interview, but as she steadfastly maintained that she knew absolutely nothing about how the Association’s funds were used, she had no case to answer about why she didn’t report it to the police.

    Shane Dowling asks the question:

    So why did she not go to the police in 1995 when the fraud and theft were discovered.

    http://kangaroocourtofaustralia.com/2014/09/11/julia-gillard-should-be-charged-with-criminal-offences-after-disgraceful-performance-at-royal-commission/

  32. stackja

    I am the Walrus, Koo Koo K’choo
    #1445611, posted on September 12, 2014 at 1:53 pm
    As it turns out her involvement appears to have been peripheral.

    Peripheral. Yes, of course.

    I simply can’t imagine why she never worked again as a lawyer once her employer had found out what she’d done.

    Piers Akerman
    What is indisputable is that Gillard’s partners at Slater & Gordon were so concerned about her involvement in setting up a slush fund, possibly corruptly, possibly involving corrupt money, that Gillard abruptly left the firm.

    Julia cannot ever work in a legal office again. Not meet ethical standards. Politics are different of course.

  33. jumpnmcar

    Tim Neilson,

    (a) the RC is about union corruption generally, not about Gillard’s conduct per se:

    Spot on, things like this:

    Construction Unions Minting Millions from Insurance: – See more at: http://sourceable.net/construction-unions-minting-millions-from-insurance-ai-group/#sthash.y80etPou.dpuf

    Gillard is now an inconsequential shitbag not a participant of the ongoing criminality.
    My question is what were the old ABCC doing and why re establish it if it failed to do it’s main goal ?

  34. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Can Sinclair Davidson honestly say he wouldn’t do some things differently today, given his life experiences since he did them years ago? If the answer is No, then he’s either a saint, a fool, or a liar.

    Meanwhile, Hammy is a Time Machine. He doesn’t think anything different from those things he thought and believed in his salad days. A university Trot, still operative like PM Jules. Gillard is still till eating that same salad, with Ham. So? Saint, fool or liar, Hammy? One for you, one for Jules, and one for the country. Your pick.

  35. A Lurker

    what questions (within the ToRs of the Royal Commission) did not get asked?

    What Vicki wrote.

  36. Roger

    So while Richardson craps on about “abuse of process” the real issue is why Gillard used her office and state power to threaten and intimidate journalists trying to get to the bottom of a story?

    Especially if her involvement was only “peripheral”.

  37. A Lurker

    What I said was “If the police had any evidence of criminal activity, let them charge her”.

    Given that her letter to the WA Corporate Affairs Commissioner has gone missing, along with a number of files, one would suspect that all the useful and incriminating evidence has been long shredded or is now ash at the bottom of someone’s fireplace.

  38. johanna

    Shane Dowling’s and Larry Pickering’s annoyance does not count as evidence.

    Thank goodness (and our legal system, with all of its numerous flaws).

  39. candy

    The RC into the pink batts shambles has an excellent result, warning any future governments of rushing into risky huge undertakings without due process.

    I don’t know if Graham Richardson mentioned that one and I can’t see how good journalism has anything to do with this at all. What a ridiculous idea of g. Richardson.

  40. Ivan Denisovich

    Shane Dowling’s and Larry Pickering’s annoyance does not count as evidence.

    The question still stands, though.

  41. tomix

    JEGs longtime friend Robyn McCleod was also called by the RC.
    Any idea if her evidence was significant?

  42. Ant

    When I see Tubby Richardson 3 words come to mind: Whatever it takes.

    Nothing more needs to be understood with this individual.

    He, by his own admission, talks crap and tells you what he wants you need to hear.

    If you offset that against other shadowy aspects about his reputation you’ll know that the offsetting can be quite offputting.

    BTW, check out the letters page from today’s The Age. Quite remarkable that there are people out there who can both write while being that stupid.

  43. Linden

    Gillard struggles to recall at the RC yet in her book my story she has no trouble recounting issues as far back as 1969!!

  44. Linden

    Vic Pol sitting on over 300 pages of docs seized from S&G held up on appeal by Wilson, so the story is still alive and kicking!!

  45. Bill Thompson

    My growing suspicion about the ‘reason’ why nobody at SLAG notified the AWU or police about the fraud is that a strategy had been worked out. OK – it seems that one of our partners & a client may have been involved in something dodgy. We get the client to confess to us & ask for legal advice as to how to deal with it. Now that we know what was going on, we can’t represent the client anymore BUT because our knowledge came about in the course of providing legal advice to him, we can’t divulge the info to ANYONE else. Hey, presto!

  46. johanna

    Ivan, of course the question still stands. So what? Who said that it didn’t?

    The point is, in the big picture of the RC, Gillard was a bit player. Indeed, if she hadn’t subsequently become PM, arguably she would never have spent most of a day in the witness box.

    The RC is about something much more important than the passing involvement of an incompetent and [deleted by me on the grounds that I don’t want Sinclair to get sued] former PM. With luck, this will see senior union officials and some former politicians facing serious charges – cf the evidence about CFMEU operatives extorting money and threatening people, including government officials. It should lead to major reforms about the governance of unions. It should lead to massive fines which will deplete their coffers. It should lead to loss of credibility of the “friends of the wukkas”, as has already happened with the HSU.

    It’s a long game. Patience, people.

  47. Linden

    yep waiting on the RC is a bit like watching a kettle boil.

  48. Ivan Denisovich

    Ivan, of course the question still stands. So what? Who said that it didn’t?

    That seemed to be your inference at #1445643. Not so. Fair enough. We’re in agreement, then.

  49. custard

    I understand on the 24th of this month the hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates court will be heard which should result in the handing over of crucial documents from SLAG.

    Cant wait for that one.

  50. Linden

    The Thompson appeal still to come, they know how to drag things out, longer than Blue Hills

  51. Adam

    I neither said nor implied that, you fool. What I said was “If the police had any evidence of criminal activity, let them charge her”. What part of that plain English don’t you understand?

    To say you would do something different from what you did 20 years ago is normal and simply demonstrates life experience. Perhaps when you grow beyond your present early adolescence, Adam, you will appreciate that.

    My, my, you are an abusive little man, aren’t you.
    Also, this is the Royal Commission, in case you hadn’t noticed. I’m quite sure the police are not even close to being finished with this yet.

  52. outsider

    There are plenty of people working very hard to keep the truth where they think it belongs – down the memory hole. Bob Kernahan commented on PP that he saw VicPol in deep conversation with RC staff at the TLS appearance this week. Much material is still under Wilson’s privilege at SG, until the hearing late Sept.

    Elliott was got to in some way – his testimony was accepted in full though he recanted two key paras. They effectively outed TLS as shopping the illegal on-the-side slush fund scheme to another union official – and everyone who reads MS News knows this. It established her role in the setup and a clear motive beyond merely ‘doing what BW instructed’.

    Many many questions were unasked, and we don’t know whether this was complicity by the legal fraternity or some other reasons to do with privileged information. They all appeared incompetent on the day. She was excused after the Comm thought she had had a tiring day – not a concession afforded Kathy Jackson, for one. There was virtually no cross-examination at all. Which ever way it goes, it is hardly a good look for her..

  53. Tintarella di Lun

    When the Unions which traffic in billions of member funds and the industry funds which traffic in billions more funds are finally made to disclose in accordance with the Corporations Law and the law the binds all other superannuation funds then there will be a big thank you balloon go up for the eel-faced one!! you can bet on it.

    As for Richo — he is the Labor man who followed the fairies to the bottom of the garden and got Labor hooked on Green and then steeped the entire Labor movement with the Labor value of “whatever it takes”.

  54. johanna

    As for Richo — he is the Labor man who followed the fairies to the bottom of the garden and got Labor hooked on Green and then steeped the entire Labor movement with the Labor value of “whatever it takes”.

    Tinta, I first met Richardson in Young Labor, when he and his sidekick Paul Keating were running the joint. Rest assured, “whatever it takes” was his motto from Day 1.

  55. johanna

    Many many questions were unasked,

    This is getting tiresome. Which questions, within the terms of the RC?

  56. Linden

    how come the counsel assisting the RC did not take Gillard back to her interview with Ann Summers where she said that had burnt a heap of files and got rid of the crap out of her life. What was that all about, missing files that have never been found. The empty archives box found M&B after all it Roxon who took over the AWU stuff after it was lost on S&G

  57. Giorgio

    Giliard set these things up so that she and wilson would lead the good life ,after he left his wife and kids ,got a divorce ,then married her . Wilson never had any intention of marrying her ,he just wanted to find a way to launder the Extorted from Theiss,he and blewitt didnt have the knowlege of setting up false corporate bodies to hold the extorted money . They came unstuck when the other union crims foun they werent sharing the money extorted by threats ,crims hate mates who rob tgem of stolen money. They are just lime the Sopranos .

  58. Leo G

    As it turns out her involvement appears to have been peripheral.

    Peripheral to the focus of the Royal Commission. The ex-PM’s appearance was a necessary distraction for the Royal Commission.

  59. Tintarella di Luna

    Rest assured, “whatever it takes” was his motto from Day 1.

    Oh I know that, I know it was he that then overlaid that Labor value on the entire organisation- and of course there was Keating’s pre-selection and the flight in the night on the motor bike – matter of fact I saw the rider of that bike in the night this very day, didn’t a chance to say G’day though.

    Paul Sheehan sees it differently

    History will record that the largest criminal organisation in Australia was protected by the first woman prime minister of Australia.

  60. Craig Mc

    Really good journalists are so much cheaper.

    Really shit journalists are even more expensive than royal commissions. See The ABC’s budget.

  61. johanna

    how come the counsel assisting the RC did not take Gillard back to her interview with Ann Summers where she said that had burnt a heap of files and got rid of the crap out of her life. What was that all about, missing files that have never been found. The empty archives box found M&B after all it Roxon who took over the AWU stuff after it was lost on S&G

    The fact that she admitted to burning some old papers proves what?

    There is far too much wishful thinking around this subject, including that of middle-aged, starstruck (to put it politely) Michael Smith on the subject of the admitted criminal Kathy Jackson.

  62. 2dogs

    If it was not for the TURC, the police would never have gathered enough evidence to charge George Alex.

    The chattering classes might like to argue it’s about political score settling, but real results like Alex’s scalp are the true aim.

    If you have ever been threatened by a union thug, you understand the need for it.

  63. Myrrdin Seren

    So while Richardson craps on about “abuse of process” the real issue is why Gillard used her office and state power to threaten and intimidate journalists trying to get to the bottom of a story?

    Umm – hazarding a guess.

    Because, if I recall correctly, her exit interview at S&G read like ‘ well of course it was a slush fund ! Anyone who is ANYONE in the unions has a slush fund, sillies !’

    And given that Bruce Wilson was an AWU princeling at the time, I would bet he didn’t think up the concept – merely followed the examples he had seen from his mentors and peers and set up his own Slushie.

    Meaning there are goodness knows how many senior trade union and, likely, Labor people with their fingers in the Slushie machine. So if the thing wasn’t tossed down a well and forgotten from Day One, Labor and the unions could wind up on the wrong end of an inquiry looking for many, many bank accounts and the heavyweights associated with them.

    Which hopefully is where we are today.

    Frankly, it’s a wonder someone hasn’t been Underbellied to cover the trail.

  64. Linden

    It’s a pity that that statement from Sheehan was not adopted into the RC. That’s a bit more like it.

  65. Linden

    I’m sure that Gillard gave the same speech to the unions as she did to the US Congress when she said,’you can do anything’!

  66. Tracey

    It would be interesting to know how somebody so completely hopeless with money was able to service her mortgage over the 6 months between her being shit-canned by S & G and being thrown a lifeline by Brumby.

  67. Tintarella di Luna

    History will record that the largest criminal organisation in Australia was protected by the first woman prime minister of Australia.

    Sheehan said almost exactly the same thing way back in 1998 when his book Among the Barbarians was published . He has not change his mind one iota in that regard.

  68. Tintarella di Luna

    It would be interesting to know how somebody so completely hopeless with money was able to service her mortgage over the 6 months between her being shit-canned by S & G and being thrown a lifeline by Brumby.

    And that was against the good judgment of many others in the Layba pardee but Mother Russia won that one. The comments on Richo’s article today are expressed very much to the contrary.

  69. Vicki

    The RC may have “suggested” something about her exit interview, but as she steadfastly maintained that she knew absolutely nothing about how the Association’s funds were used, she had no case to answer about why she didn’t report it to the police.

    Johanna – you may be right. However, as Justice Murphy conceded at the RC, S&G was alive with rumours that an entity set up by Gillard, involving her boyfriend Wilson, was possibly corruptly operated. Since it was confirmed (correct me if I am wrong) for the first time that the AWUWRA was actually referred to in the exit interview, I still think it should have been put to her that the matter should have been reported.

    Further, I understand that it was only the discussions of Wilson with Murphy, and later John Cain regarding the allegations of his “criminality” that were claimed to be privileged.

  70. Perpetual Motion

    Giorgio, please don’t take this as criticism, because I’m guessing English is not your first language, or you were ill-served by our hopeless teachers. Bad writing diminishes your otherwise excellent points.

    But commas come immediately after a word, followed by a space. Not a space, and then the comma.

    Don’t get mad. Just trying to help.

  71. Boambee John

    ” trying to ensure that large construction projects in the People’s Republic of Victoria can be done in future without multi-million dollar additional costs just to make union troughers fabulously wealthy.”

    On this subject, we have Daniel Andrews stating that in government, he would abrogate contracts for major infrastructure (I assume he was speaking on behalf of the CFMEU, rather than the taxpayers of Victoria, who would bear the costs of compensation). His bleat about the caretaker period is weak when compared to the actions of Gillard et al just before the September 2013 election, but hypocrisy is par for the course with the ALP.

    However, the legal complaint being heard by the courts, that he bases his decision on, seems to relate to not following a business case – is he too thick to remember the lack of a business case for the NBN? On this basis, I assume he would have no problem with the Abbott government cancelling the whole project, for lack of a business case? //sarc//

    Similarly, Bill Shorten earlier this week threatened to cancel any contract with Japan to build new submarines for the RAN (I assume he was speaking on behalf of the AMWU). And the ALP says the Abbott government will be an international embarrassment??

    PS: If Tony Abbott had made similar remarks about the Japanese as Shorten did, what are the odds that the ABC/Fairfaux would have been wall-to-wall screams of “Waaaciisst” for the rest of the week?

  72. Hammy,

    That would be the evidence of criminal activity that was repeatedly denied, withheld and suppressed until such time as it was found to have been “lost”.

    Piss off, you apologist for criminal filth.

  73. sabrina

    RCs and ICACs serve one important function – expose the hypocrisy of politicians (and their advisers) of either side. Having said that, pollies with thick hide will still come back, there are examples in the past, and of few now on both sides; one of them now wants to make this country a better one, as if everyone wants him back!

    Hedley Thomas should now focus on Pyne-Ashby-Slipper affair, if he is allowed to.

  74. M Ryutin

    As it turns out her involvement appears to have been peripheral”.

    Not so. Her part was crucial when those two fools Wilson and Blewitt wanted their scam created. Her evidence on the day that she saw nothing wrong in using the name AWU in her (admitted) non-AWU business organisation was simply unbelievable. Neither was her claim that informing the AWU never entered into her head as being required. Lack of a top criminal law barrister to cross examine her allowed that to go through without the appropriate variation of a John McEnroe leading question: “Are you serious?”

    Like most trials, more evidence is in the mix than that of Gillard and her “co-accused” Wilson and Blewitt. People with more credibility than most gave direct evidence of Gillard getting money from people such as Wilson to pay for renovations which could not be anything other than slush funds. If they were paid why deny it unless you knew they were from the slush fund eh?

    Innocent lawyer? Well until the amazing memory loss/change of mind by a witness with a signed statement claiming that Gillard was hawking the slush fund model around one might have added that to the mix.

    Depending on what Victorian Police decide (and in any criminal law case not involving politicians or celebrities conflicting witness statements would normally be left to a jury to determine), it may well be that the only thing to help or save Gillard will be for her to metaphorically echo the words of a similarly-accused Politician:-

    “You can’t prove it”

    And, I might add, if the ALP got in after November elections any pending court charges would be dropped instantly. Echoes of the Laurie Brereton Botany Council or Barton fraud case cases in NSW

  75. johanna

    Vicki
    #1445826, posted on September 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    The RC may have “suggested” something about her exit interview, but as she steadfastly maintained that she knew absolutely nothing about how the Association’s funds were used, she had no case to answer about why she didn’t report it to the police.

    Johanna – you may be right. However, as Justice Murphy conceded at the RC, S&G was alive with rumours that an entity set up by Gillard, involving her boyfriend Wilson, was possibly corruptly operated. Since it was confirmed (correct me if I am wrong) for the first time that the AWUWRA was actually referred to in the exit interview, I still think it should have been put to her that the matter should have been reported.

    Further, I understand that it was only the discussions of Wilson with Murphy, and later John Cain regarding the allegations of his “criminality” that were claimed to be privileged.

    Fair points, Vicki. But, I repeat, she always claimed that she knew nothing about the disbursement of the funds – so what was she supposed to report? That there were rumours? Dozens of people must have heard those rumours, so she would argue that it was hardly up to her anyway.

    I am not across the technicalities and details of the S&G privilege stuff, so can’t comment on your second point. But, I am confident, given the way that Stoljar questioned Gillard, that he (and the RC) were across them. The bottom line is that they could not find a smoking gun, and given both Heydon’s and Stoljar’s performance to date, I doubt that there is one – at least in terms of the material available to the RC.

    It may be that the Victorian Fraud Squad will have better luck – and I hope that they do. It is possible that if they can get the disputed documents released next week, the RC could revisit the issue. But as things stand, they can’t (and couldn’t) take things any further.

  76. Robert O

    I have listened to some of the Royal Commission’s proceedings and am particularly unimpressed by the calibre of the witnesses, varying from stand-over men to heaps of lawyers, and a few decent souls such as the builders who did Julia’s renovations.

    I find the cronyism, nepotism, or whatever, insidious, bearing out the adage it’s not what you know but who you know to get on in life. Lots of jobs for the boys and girls. How can you get a job as a Water Commissioner without some knowledge of hydrology?

    If this country is going to get on we are going to have to do far better in the field of administration as the overheads of doing some constructive are far too high with all these free-loaders and way ahead of competitors.

  77. None

    So while Richardson craps on about “abuse of process” the real issue is why Gillard used her office and state power to threaten and intimidate journalists trying to get to the bottom of a story?

    Because her involvement was anything but peripheral.

  78. johanna

    None, I disagree. She was a bit player, but ironically her overkill in threatening editors and getting journalists sacked just drew attention. People thought – why does she care so much about a bit of ancient history? – and started digging.

  79. A Lurker

    Fair points, Vicki. But, I repeat, she always claimed that she knew nothing about the disbursement of the funds – so what was she supposed to report? That there were rumours? Dozens of people must have heard those rumours, so she would argue that it was hardly up to her anyway.

    She created the entity so it was definitely up to her to report it.

    I guess for me it comes down to how would I behave if I were innocent, and then found out that my boyfriend was using an entity that I had created in order to perform criminal acts.

    Personally, if I had been in Gillard’s situation I would have moved heaven and earth to clear my name and make things right. Clearing my name would have been going to the AWU and telling them what was going on, it would have meant informing the police, and it certainly would have meant informing my employer what had happened. That is what I would have done if I were innocent.

  80. johanna

    A Lurker – to report what?

  81. outsider

    Hence Stoljar’s anguished but very plain question: why didn’t you simply declare what the WRA was to be used for? He and JEG both knew/know that associations clearly cannot be used for union activities, and she was asked to offer a written undertaking of this, and did so. BW had failed to persuade the Corp Affairs Dept the first time around and got her to lend legal weight to the association application. She and BW lasted four long years as an item.

    S&G, she, BW et al all knew that (i) setting up a highly inappropriate secret entity in direct contravention of the regular practice unions used for election funds, (ii) raising no file ever, (iii) using the biggest client’s own name, (iv) without informing anyone there or at SG even of its existence, (v) an entity to be used outside the audit system entirely, with no meetings, accountability of any kind, (vi) nourished by industrial peace payments, (vii) to be used at the discretion of the main agent, all this opened the door to corrupt activity – enabled corrupt use of monies, encouraged this usage…with the notion that it can all be kept away from the union and would be operated by, and known about by just a few people, to (ix) then intentionally shop this bright new pathway to hot money to other unions, (x) all of whom are intimately aware that ‘safety and training’ are frequently union code words for ‘scam opportunity’. To never inquire of remotely domiciled aspiring investor RB whether he could repay the very expensive mortgage, to arrange that mortgage, help buy the house, waive the fees, arrange the POA. She would appear to be intimately involved, to a hypothetical impartial observer.

    Sure, all OK, nothing to see here, we would all act like this. They all (Bob Smith, Ludwig, Shorten, Gordon etc.) reacted exactly as you would expect, once you became apprised of the above – dismissals and cheques refunded to bemused industrial ‘donors’. You don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows.

  82. A Lurker

    A Lurker – to report what?

    To report that the entity that she helped set up was not being used for ‘Workplace Reform’.

    I could understand her ignorance if it were her neighbour two doors down who asked her for some freebie legal work of which she promptly forgot about – but she lived with and shared the bed of the guy who was co-running the AWU-WRA. Surely something must have rung a bell over all those months it was going on?

  83. alf

    No, the real issue is the transparent attempt to use a Royal Commission to settle political scores. But you can’t admit that so need to pretend that somehow the then PM ‘hounded’ journalists out of their jobs. Total garbage. I wonder too when you’ll start running a series of threads on ICAC in NSW, or are the Libs too close to the IPA to allow this?

  84. johanna

    A Lurker, you keep missing the point. She claims that she had no idea what they were doing. So, what was to “report”. Rumours?

    Wishing, and hoping, and wanting, and praying, is no substitute for evidence.

  85. A Lurker

    Joanna, rumours would be sufficient for me to start my own investigations into the entity that I helped create.

    Anyway, it’s all academic – if the proof no longer exists (and I suspect it was shredded/burnt) long ago, then she is home and hosed. I just feel that if she were innocent, then her actions at the time would have been far, far different.

  86. old bloke

    A Lurker, what questions (within the ToRs of the Royal Commission) did not get asked?

    I’d be interested to know why no questions were asked about the missing $1 Million from the Kalgoorlie Widows and Orphans Fund.

  87. johanna

    oldbloke, because it had nothing to do with the ToRs of the Royal Commission.

  88. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I’d be interested to know why no questions were asked about the missing $1 Million from the Kalgoorlie Widows and Orphans Fund.

    I was put straight on that by another poster on this site (Val Majkus) – the money was used to buy two holiday units in Kalbarri. Apparently, when not rented out as holiday accommodation, Union officials had the use of those units. (Rumor was that Bruce Wilson scored a new car out of the deal). The units were sold, and the money returned to the fund.

  89. Vicki

    if the ALP got in after November elections any pending court charges would be dropped instantly.

    That’s spoilt my day!

    I confess that I hadn’t considered that. Here’s hoping that i) the ALP falls over (unlikely) and/or ii) that the Vic. Fraud Squad refuses to roll over (no idea if that is possible).

  90. Ivan Denisovich

    A Lurker, you keep missing the point. She claims that she had no idea what they were doing. So, what was to “report”. Rumours?

    How does that square with what you wrote at #1445664, namely:

    Ivan, of course the question still stands.

  91. blogstrop

    I wonder too when you’ll start running a series of threads on ICAC in NSW
    The ABC has given that blanket coverage, alf. We’ll leave coshing the libs for taking money from businessmen to you and them, while Labor enjoy their funding from unions, who in turn get it by means of …

  92. Leigh Lowe

    Back to the original point on the value of Royal Commissions.
    It isn’t to put TLS in the stocks in the village square (no matter how much she truly deserves that).
    It is to stop unions defrauding their members for personal gain/gratification or to enhance or shore up a union/political career.
    They need to be subjected to, well, the same constraints as business along with elements of anti-racketeering laws.
    This includes:-
    – Annual audits with extremely strict “members benefit” tests applied to all expenditure;
    – Total freedom to opt out of union membership with severe penalties (jail) for interference with that right;
    – Competition in wage bargaining. That is, any group of employees can elect to be represented by anyone (their local solicitor even) and unions will be penalised if the interfere in this decision.
    – Donations to political parties to be banned unless approved by 75% of members in a secret ballot. Any such donations, if approved, (along with things like funding for GetUp!) cannot be collected via payroll deduction. They must be paid for by a separate levy which the member must separately sign for as a direct debit payment.
    Maybe the resources of the Charity Regulator could be re-deployed to policing union fraud.

  93. stackja

    Bolta: The strange rush to excuse Julia Gillard

    Grace Collier on the excusing of Julia Gillard by journalists this week:
    People who say Gillard did nothing wrong rely on the premise that she did not know what the association was used for [as Gillard insists] and therefore cannot be blamed.

    That may be true, but it entirely misses the point. The allegation is simply that it was wrong of Gillard to help set the association up in the first place. This allegation relies on significant documentation for its basis. Now Gillard’s statement has added to that evidence.

    In my opinion, this allegation presents a risk for Gillard, both in terms of an adverse finding and possible charges.

  94. tomix

    – Competition in wage bargaining. That is, any group of employees can elect to be represented by anyone (their local solicitor even) and unions will be penalised if the interfere in this decision.

    Or their local bikie gang. Not a bad idea, but wasn’t that supposed to happen with AWAs many years ago? Trouble was, employers refused to deal with any bargaining agent other than the union.
    Even if there was little or no union representation in the particular workplace.

    Funny, that.

  95. alf

    The ABC has given that blanket coverage, alf. We’ll leave coshing the libs for taking money from businessmen to you and them, while Labor enjoy their funding from unions, who in turn get it by means of …

    By means of subscriptions paid by members, is the phrase you’re seeking.

  96. srr

    A Lurker, you keep missing the point. She claims that she had no idea what they were doing. So, what was to “report”. Rumours?

    Had it occurred to you that Investigative Journalists, Investigate Rumours, then Report what their Investigations Uncover?

    Of course it had, but hey, a lot of people have a lot invested in the corrupt remaining in power.

    Wishing, and hoping, and wanting, and praying, is no substitute for evidence.

    Yep, and as Evidence gathered by Investigative Journalists, can and has taken down corrupt Leaders and Governments – when the Public MSM runs the Reports of the Evidence gathered by Investigative Journalists – Gillard had No Option but to Yell Threats down the phone at Editors, Get Investigative Journalists Sacked and made persona non grata i.e. “Who is Michael Smith!”, “Nutjobs on the internet”, and put Her Team of Thousands of Social Media Propagandists to work, trolling the internet to try to keep Her, ‘plausible deniability’ Fantasy, tick, tick, ticking….

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