Ralph Blewitt's court appearance in Perth today

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 1.35.09 pmRalph appeared today before Chief Magistrate Stephen Heath in Perth where he was formally charged with 31 counts of causing detriment to Thiess Contracting (sic) Pty Ltd.

His legal counsel Ms Tusic told the court there was a significant amount of documentation for the defence team to sort through - and that given the police charges the defence team would require a relatively lengthy adjournment to prepare Mr Blewitt's defence.

The Chief Magistrate adjourned the matter until 6 July 2017 with Ralph released on his own undertaking free of any bail conditions restricting his travel.  Police did not oppose his return to Malaysia.


The police statement of alleged facts re BLEWITT in the Perth Magistrates' Court is stunningly incomplete

Today, Ralph Blewitt will face a Magistrate in Perth to answer 31 charges alleging that he caused a detriment to Thiess Contracting Pty Ltd by causing them to make monetary payments for services which had not been provided.

To prove their case, the police must prove Thiess was deceived and that Ralph caused the deception.

The police case is that Ralph did that all by himself.

The case before the court today is summarised in what police call a Statement of Material Facts.

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Note the police offence report number

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That is the offence report made by Tim Daly and Peter Trebilco, former AWU joint secretaries in 1996.

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Police now allege Thiess suffered a detriment.  They allege it was caused by Ralph Blewitt.  Police say Ralph Blewitt intended to defraud Thiess.  Police say Ralph Blewitt CAUSED THE DETRIMENT to Thiess BY DECEIT or FRAUDULENT MEANS.

Really.

The police Statement of Material Facts to the honourable court is stunningly incomplete.

I would have though this was a material fact - taken from a letter to the complainants on the WA Police file 09099610007489 dated 22 April 1997 signed Sam Tough Legal Officer, WA Police Fraud Squad.

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Nor has the WA Police informed the honourable court of this in its stunningly incomplete purported Statement of Material Facts - from a letter dated 18 February 1997 to the complainants.

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Nor will the Magistrate know of this 6 February 1997 file note from Samantha Tough, Legal Officer, WA Police Fraud Squad.

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Nor will the court hear in the police misstatement of insufficient facts that WA Police considered charging Thiess executives with conspiring with Blewitt and Wilson.

Nor will the court hear from police that Blewitt wrote to police offering to cooperate with police in telling all he knows about just that conspiracy.

Nor will the court hear about this dinner in Sydney involving Thiess executives (without Blewitt) along with Wilson.

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Police have also declined to inform the court of the statement of Wilson in which no less a member of the AWU Executive than its notoriously powerful and influential President approved of the payment of a secret commission by Thiess to a secret account controlled by his confidante and running mate Wilson (with whom Wilson ran on a joint ticket to be National General Secretary of the AWU during a time period when he was employed by the AWU - but which time period is incredibly omitted from the police incomplete and misleading misstatement of purported facts).

Nor have police informed the court of the statement of Thiess's national HR and IR manager Paul Darrouzet at the material time that he entered into an agreement with the AWU Workplace Reform Association namely:

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Police have omitted to inform the honourable court that Thiess, allegedly deceived by Mr Blewitt on Counts 1 and 2 of the information alleged against him paid the invoices from the Association from Thiess Vendor Code C98112 - a vendor code created for the separate legal entity "Australian Workers' Union - Workplace Reform Association Inc"

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Nor that contemporaneously with the Notice of Refusal issued by the Office of State Corporate Affairs in WA in respect of the Application to Incorporate the AWU Workplace Reform Association Inc, the cheque issued by Thiess in respect of the 3rd count alleged against Blewitt was not charged to the vendor code C98112 for the association, but to the AWU standard vendor code 93732 - with an internal Thiess officer overriding the printed address code to divert the cheque to the secret AWU WRA Inc post office box.

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It is open to the court to infer that Thiess was acting in concert with Wilson, Ludwig and ors - but police have declined to furnish evidence in their hands of that conspiracy to the court.

Nor will the court hear that the payments made by Thiess - allegedly cause solely by Blewitt's deceit - continued for months after the project site was flooded - consistent with the statement of Bruce Wilson that the payments were precalculated as a percentage of the overall value of the contract and thus a secret commission.

On Saturday, 23 April 1994 Premier Richard Court declared the Dawesville Channel open and the project to build it complete.

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Here is the Leighton Holdings Limited Annual Report for 1993/94 - ie the 12 months to 30 June 1994.  The report notes the successful completion of the Dawesville Channel project during that time - in this report to shareholders it's clear, the project is over, done and dusted

.Annual report 94

The Thiess/AWU/BCITF joint project which was instrumental in the eventual fraudulent incorporation of the AWU Workplace Reform Association was similarly completed - but still the payments continued.

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It will be very difficult for either Thiess or Wilson to explain how a workplace reform representative was present on site at an underwater location, delivering workplace reform consultancy services to a project that had finished in April of 1994.


Yet the AWU WRA Inc continued to issue invoices for 8 months after completion of the Dawesville Channel - and Thiess paid the invoices which you can see here. Dawesville invoice october 1994

 

 

Between 22 April 1992 and 30 October 1994 Thiess made payments totalling $308,953 in response to 31 invoices for the "provision of a workplace reform representative" who went back in time 4 months at the start and worked underwater 6 months after everyone else went home.

The court will read that Thiess and Thiess alone negotiated for the $60M contract for Dawesville. 

Police have declined to inform the court that the Carmen Lawrence Government overturned a tender process and gifted the contract to Thiess, at a time when Bruce Wilson was threatening Lawrence's job if she failed to do his bidding.

http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2016/12/60m-trade-union-royal-commission-used-false-evidence-to-excuse-thiess-bosses-.html


Nor will the court hear of former AWU National Secretary Ian Cambridge's request of Thiess that it explain why the proceeds of a cheque for $20,160 were returned to it

28 February 1995 - AWU WRA Inc issues this invoice to Thiess

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11 April 1995 - Thiess issues this cheque with advice slip to AWU WRA Inc

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21 April 1995 - Wilson closes the AWU Workplace Reform Association bank accounts, both its cash management and cheque accounts.   The $20,160 cheque from Thiess was not banked into either of the AWU WRA Inc accounts.   Apparently no matter what else was discovered, the first priority was to get rid of the AWU WRA Inc.

13 June 1995 - Wayne Hem (on Wilson's instructions) banks the $20,160 Thiess AWU WRA Inc payment into the AWU Members Welfare Association Account.   The cheque is met on presentation and the funds form part of the AWU Members Welfare Association balance.

30 June 1995 - AWU WRA Inc issues a further invoice for $20,160 to Thiess, with notation to make cheque payable to the AWU National Construction Branch (a genuine branch of the AWU, i.e. a part of the legitimate AWU entity) but to be sent to the secret Wilson/Blewitt post office box in Perth.   The National Construction Branch's head office is in Melbourne.   Again, Thiess processes it.

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1 August 1995 - Thiess issues a cheque for $20,160 payable to AWU National Construction Branch.

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If Thiess was the honest victim of Wilson's frauds as the TURC suggests, what would you expect Thiess to do?   I'd expect a prompt response = "an amount of $20,160 was paid to the AWU WRA Inc in April and the same amount again on 1 August to the AWU National Construction Branch. Our records show the second cheque for $20,160 to the NCB hasn't been presented as yet.   We don't recognise any payments to the AWU in our systems for $9,405."

That's if Thiess was not part of the scam.   

Thiess did not respond to Ian's letter for one year.

Thiess didn't tell Ian Cambridge about the AWU WRA Inc until late August 1996.   During that time Thiess honoured its cheque for $20,160 that Wilson eventually banked 5 months after it was issued and 4 months after he'd left the AWU.

Still not a peep from Thiess even when that happened.  Nor did they speak up when the police started asking questions, likewise as the media storm was building.  

So when Thiess eventually explained  the returned payments formally to the AWU, here's what it said.

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Thiess declined to disclose the vendor code for the AWU WRA Inc.

It cut the edges off the ledger print out to hide it.

https://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au/Hearings/Documents/Evidence10June/JukesMFI1-Tab1-Pages1-33.pdf

 

Thesis's failure to respond to Ian Cambridge s inexplicable if Thiess had truly been ripped off in the AWU WRA Inc scandal.   The company's failure to brief the AWU - even when its AWU WRA Inc payment was returned to it as being "suspect" - beggars belief.

The scenario that makes sense is the one constantly put by Bruce Wilson, each of Thiess, Bill Ludwig and Wilson's advisors knew all about what he was up to in the AWU Workplace Reform Association.

Police have omitted to inform the honourable court of the coverup by Thiess and abject absence of cooperation by any and all Thiess executives when the intitial complainants in matter 09099610007489 sought the assistance of Thiess in bringing offenders to justice.

Tim Daly, former AWU WA secretary, "Thiess got what we paid for, we got industrial peace and it cost 400 grand"

This is former AWU WA state secretary Tim Daly, one of the prime movers in investigating The AWU Scandal.
 
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Tim talks about his telephone conversation with Nick Jukes of Thiess.   
 

This is an extract from Nick Jukes's statement to Victoria Police.

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This is a lengthier interview - the grab above came from this longer recording. 

Here's a little of what he'd say:

Read through Nick Jukes's skin-saving statement with Tim and me:

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 And finally here's Tim Daly talking about Martin Albrecht, then Managing Director of Thiess who made the call not to assist police or authorities in their prosecution of Wilson et al.

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GILLARD takes over from Jeff Kennett as chairman of Beyond Blue

A wonderful warrior?


Turnbull wants unionists & bosses in secret payments in jail - the perfect test case is now before court

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Secret commission payments are currently unlawful and were unlawful at the time of Gillard's AWU Workplace Reform Association.

We do not need a new law to prosecute Gillard et al.

To protect Gillard, police have allowed Thiess to pretend it knew nothing about the secret payments made by Thiess to Bill Ludwig, Bruce Wilson, Ralph Blewitt and Julia Gillard (the Heydon Royal Commission found that money to pay for her renovations came in cash from Bruce Wilson who had no other legitimate source than the unlawful slush fund she set up) - incredibly police have accepted Thiess's story that it was deceived by false invoices.

We don't need new laws Mr Turnbull.

We need competent investigations and prosecutions.

And the will to allow justice to take its course, no matter where and to whom that path leads.

PM pitches new union fight with Shorten

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Malcolm Turnbull has opened up a fresh front on the industrial relations battleground, proposing news laws to jail union officials and employers who make illegitimate secret payments.

As Labor leader Bill Shorten stood up in parliament to introduce a private bill to protect the take-home pay of workers, the prime minister strode into a press conference alongside his Employment Minister Michaelia Cash.

The pair unveiled plans to penalise employers and union officials found to have made secret payments other than for clearly legitimate purposes.

It would also require full disclosure of legitimate payments.

"Trade unions have a solemn, legal, moral, fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their members," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"We have seen through the Heydon royal commission and subsequently unions have let their members down and big unions have traded their rights away in return for payments."

For payments with the intent to corrupt, penalties include up to 10 years in prison and $900,000 for individuals.

Sentences of up to two years and $90,000 would apply for other illegitimate payments.

Senator Cash said there was no consistency across Australia's bribery laws and the offence was often difficult to prove.

"Employees should be aware and should have full knowledge of any payments that are made between their employer and a union," she said.

"When you look at the level of penalty, it should send a very, very clear message to any employer or any union who wants to indulge in secretive payments.

"It is wrong and compromises the integrity and lawfulness of the workplace."

The pair described their announcement as a test for Mr Shorten.

But the opposition leader was already pre-empting the attack as he addressed parliament about his bill aiming to stop future cuts to penalty rates following the Fair Work Commission's decision to align Sunday rates in the hospitality and retail sectors.

"What I say to the prime minister is use whatever distraction that you think is necessary. Use every possible dishonest distraction you have in your book. Put up whatever story you want," he said.

"But on this issue, when it comes to defending working families in this country, the living standards of working families, we will not be deterred or put off."

Mr Turnbull will introduce the payments legislation on Wednesday.

 

CRIMINALISING SECRET PAYMENTS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND UNIONS

20 March 2017

Prime Minister 

Minister for Employment 

This week the Turnbull Government will introduce vital legislation banning secret payments between unions and employers.

The new laws will criminalise payments or other benefits passed between employers and unions that could have a corrupting influence.

Any union leader who is willing to accept benefits from an employer is placing themselves in a highly compromising position.

The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption found that such payments corrupt union officials and should be banned.

Penalties will apply equally to employers and unions. The person offering or making the benefit will be subject to the same penalties as the person soliciting or receiving it.

Those who make, receive, solicit or offer payments or benefits intended to corrupt a union official will face a maximum 10 years in prison, up to a $900,000 fine for an individual or $4.5 million fine for a company.

Penalties for payments or benefits other than specified legitimate payments (such as genuine membership fees) will be 2 years in prison, up to a $90,000 for an individual or $450,000 for a company.

The Bill will also require that any legitimate financial benefits obtained by an employer or union during enterprise agreement negotiations be disclosed to employees.

If money changes hands between an employer and a union, both parties have an obligation to honestly disclose these payments to their employees and members.

These vital changes will deliver on three key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

The Turnbull Government is acting to ensure that employers and unions act in the best interests of their employees and members.

Bill Shorten and the Labor Party should now support this reform, to clean up the unfair, secretive, and often corrupt payments that have tainted Australian workplaces for decades.

ENDS

PRESS CONFERENCE WITH THE MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, SENATOR THE HON. MICHAELIA CASH CANBERRA

20 March 2017

Prime Minister 

Minister for Employment 

Subjects:

Corrupting Benefits Bill; 18C; GST distribution; Perth Freight Link 

E&OE 

PRIME MINISTER:

All of our industrial legislation, that the Minister has negotiated through the Senate is designed to ensure that unions do their job, represent their members honestly and openly.

Now, during the Heydon Royal Commission, Australians were horrified to see the extent of secret payments made by employers - big business, very often - to trade unions, and in particular, the Australian Workers Union.

And very often, in circumstances where, in an industrial agreement, the union had agreed to trade away workers' entitlements, including penalty rates - the Cleanevent agreement, the Chiquita Mushrooms agreement and others.

Australians were horrified because they said, how can this be lawful? How could it possibly happen that this would not be a breach of the law?

Now, we are dealing with that right now. We are taking up the recommendations of the Heydon Royal Commission, to make it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a union to accept or a union official to accept or an employer to make a payment that has a corrupting motive, a corrupting intent in the sense of encouraging a union or a union official to act improperly.

We are also making it an offence, punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment, for any payment to be made by an employer to a union or a union official, other than for clearly legitimate purposes - such as the remittance of union dues or something of that kind.

Finally, again implementing the recommendation of the Heydon Royal Commission - we are going to ensure that the law compels unions and employers, at the time an enterprise agreement is put to members of a union for their approval, that any payments to the union is fully disclosed, any legitimate payment is fully disclosed. Secrets payments are utterly unacceptable.

Trade unions have a solemn, legal, moral, fiduciary duty to act in the interests of their members.

And we have seen again and again, through the Heydon Royal Commission and subsequently the way unions have let their members down, how big labour, big unions have ignored the interests of their members and traded their rights away in return for payments from employers.

Now, the law applies to all Australians and it applies to unions.

We have seen Sally McManus from the ACTU say that the law should not apply to unions unless they agree with it.

Well, that’s not the rule of law. That’s the rule of unions.

Bill Shorten has said he wants to run the country like a union leader.  That’s not the approach of a Prime Minister. That is not the approach of the leader of a nation whose foundation is freedom, democracy and the rule of law. That is the approach of a union boss, like Sally McManus, that thinks their unions are above the law.

Well, they’re not and in one piece of legislation after another, we are restoring the rule of law to the Australian industrial sector, to the construction sector, to unions, to employer organisations and employers - we are restoring and defending the rule of law.

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT: 

Thank you, Prime Minister.

This is all about transparency in the workplace.

Employees should be aware and should have full knowledge of any payments that are made between their employer and a union.

This is a government that is committed to ensuring our workplaces in Australia are transparent and they are at all times treated in a fair manner.

This is a real test for Bill Shorten because Bill Shorten says he believes in the worker and yet, time and time again, by his actions, he confirms for the Australian people, he is only interested in big unions being able to do deals with big businesses.

In terms of this legislation, as we know, the Royal Commission, in fact, successive royal commissions dating back to 1982 have stated that secret payments between employers and unions, should be banned.

We should have transparency in our workplaces.

Of course, we know potentially one of the worst offenders when it comes to secret payments being made, is Bill Shorten himself when he was with the Australian Workers Union.

He was more than happy to have money paid by Cleanevent to his union in exchange for trading away the penalty rates of the lowest-paid workers in this country. But also, in exchange for receiving a list of workers that he could conveniently add to the AWU membership to bolster his power within the union movement.

Well, enough is enough.

Successive royal commissions, including the Heydon Royal Commission have said this is not acceptable practice within the workplace.

So the Prime Minister and I are here to announce today that we will introducing into the Parliament laws to ban corrupting benefits.

This should actually be a piece of relatively uncontroversial legislation. And the test for Bill Shorten and Labor is, they like to talk big on supporting the workers. Well, if that’s what you are all about, then quite frankly, this legislation should be able to go through the Parliament in an uncontroversial manner.

What the legislation seeks to do, is to ban secret payments from employers to unions.

Certain legitimate payments will continue to be allowed, such as payments for genuine services that are provided by a union or genuine payment of membership fees.

Criminal penalties will apply to both the employer and the union. The party that makes the offer of the payment will be penalised in the same way as the party that solicits or receives the payment.

As Commissioner Heydon basically acknowledged - it takes two to tango in these situations.

In terms of the penalties, they reflect the seriousness of the offence.

In terms of criminal penalties for payments with the intent to corrupt, they will be up to 10 years in prison and $900,000 for an individual, or $4.5 million for a company.

Penalties for other illegitimate payments, will be two years in prison or $90,000 for an individual or $450,000 for a companies.

As the Prime Minister has also stated though, transparency is key. So when legitimate payments are being made in the course of negotiating an enterprise agreement, the legislation will require the disclosure of these legitimate payments, to the employees so that when they are considering whether or not to vote the agreement up, they will be doing so in full knowledge of all of the payments or benefits that have been given to either the union or the employer.

If money changes hands between an employer and a union, both parties have an obligation to honestly declare what has occurred and why.

As I have said, this is basically all about transparency. If you do believe in integrity within workplaces, if you do believe for standing up for Australian workers, then we should be standing side-by-side here today with all parties supporting this vital piece of legislation, which will ensure that employers and unions that exchange money, are no longer allowed or in the event they are a legitimate payment, this is disclosed to the employees.

JOURNALIST:

Who will determine what is a genuine service and when will the legislation be introduced?

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT:

That will be for the trier of fact to ultimately determine whether or not it is a genuine service. For example, if a payment is being made into a safety training fund, you would need to show that you actually have an actual program of, basically, safety training. You would need to show that that has been undertaken. But you would also need to show that it has been charged out at market rate.

In terms of the legislation, the Prime Minister will introduce the legislation into the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

JOURNALIST:

Isn’t a payment that has a corrupting intent already illegal under existing laws? Isn't what you are announcing just an IR dog whistle?

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT:

No not at all, Andrew. One of the issues that the Royal Commissions, in particular the Heydon Royal Commission made note of, was that across Australia there are differing laws in relation to bribery. There is no consistency and it is often very difficult to prove.

So in particular, in relation to the industrial relation relations regime, Commissioner Heydon recommended that a Commonwealth offence be introduced and a very clear offence which outlawed basically all payments full stop, unless they are legitimate.

And that is exactly what we have done, so you have consistency across the board in the industrial regime.

JOURNALIST:

[Inaudible] is quite different from already being illegal?

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT:

But, basically, across the board different jurisdictions have different penalties. They are often not utilised and as I have said, a lot of it is actually in relation to the corruption of a Commonwealth official.

This is specifically now, in relation to the industrial context and that is what was lacking and Heydon identified that.

PRIME MINISTER:

This was recommended by the Royal Commission, presided over by one of the most distinguished judicial figures in contemporary legal history. So this was a very thoughtfully considered recommendation which we have adopted.

JOURNALIST:

Had these laws been in place in the past, some reasonably serious CEOs would have found themselves at risk of going to the slammer as well as unionists. Have you got the support of the construction companies, businesses for this?

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT:

Yes, we have. When Heydon was first announced, companies came out and said they supported the recommendations.

One of the things we’ve got to be very clear here - this applies equally to employers as it does to unions.

When you look at the level of penalty, it should send a very, very clear message to any employer or any union, who wants to indulge in secretive payments. It is wrong and compromises the integrity and lawfulness of the workplace.

JOURNALIST:

If the laws are so important, why has it taken 14 months since the handing down of the final report from the Royal Commission to unveil them? Secondly, in your personal view, should “offend and insult” be removed from Section 18C and replaced by “harass”?

PRIME MINISTER: 

Well thank you. In terms of the timing of this, this is a very important priority. As you know, we’ve dealt with some very substantial pieces of industrial legislation already since the 45th Parliament convened, particularly relating to the Building and Construction Commission, Registered Organisations Bill, obviously, the legislation that affected the Country Fire Authority.

But both the ABCC and Registered Organisations have the same intent of restoring the rule of law, accountability. Registered Organisations in particular required union officials and indeed officers of employer organisations to have the same level of accountability as company directors do to their shareholders.

Again, this is the same principle. But this is a very real, significant gap in the law that Justice Heydon identified in the Royal Commission. It should be utterly unthinkable, unacceptable, that employers would be making payments to unions and in particular, secret payments and in circumstances where - as the Commission found in case after case - the context or the result was that employees' rights were traded away.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister on Section 18C?

PRIME MINISTER: 

All of those matters are being considered. As you know, there was a Parliamentary Committee that considered it and the Government is considering its response to that.

JOURNALIST:

If Australians were horrified by the findings of Commissioner Heydon, why did you make scant or almost no mention of them during the election campaign?

PRIME MINISTER: 

Well that’s not correct. That is absolutely not correct. The whole election campaign, the election was triggered by those two pieces of industrial legislation which were fundamental to the recommendations of the Heydon Royal Commission.

JOURNALIST:

If payments are disclosed transparently, why go the extra step and ban them? How can you say that corporate payments to unions corrupt industrial bargaining outcomes, but corporate donations to political parties don’t corrupt public policy outcomes?

PRIME MINISTER: 

Well, you’re not seriously suggesting to me that a corrupting benefit should be allowed, as long as it’s disclosed? Is that what you are putting to us?

JOURNALIST:

Why aren’t political donations a corrupting benefit to politicians? Why do you assume they don't impact public policy outcomes?

PRIME MINISTER: 

I wouldn't have thought there would be anybody here actually defending employers paying bribes to unions, but there it is. It is a broad church.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, what chance do you believe you’ll have of getting this through Parliament? Are you expecting the Labor Party to come on board with this?

PRIME MINISTER:  

Well they should. Look, the Labor Party is not going to take advice from me on industrial matters, I know.

When union membership is declining, we know that. Having said that, the power of a relatively small number of very cashed-up militant unions - CFMEU most prominently - is getting greater and greater within the union movement. You can see the culture of the CFMEU, the lawless culture of the CFMEU, is overtaking the Labor movement.

Bill Shorten is not a Labor leader in the mold of Paul Keating and Bob Hawke. He is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CFMEU.

You see Sally McManus there, defending the lawlessness of the CFMEU. The head of the ACTU saying unions don't have to obey the law. If they don't like the law, they can disobey it. That is exactly what the CFMEU says.

So that’s the type of Australia that Bill Shorten wants us to be. He wants an Australia where there are two classes of Australians; those who obey the law – that’s most of us - and those who don't have to, unless it suits them, and that’s the CFMEU and the AWU and some of these unions.

Now if the union movement is fair dinkum about restoring its credibility and its integrity and recovering its membership, then it would have backed this in. Just like as it would have backed in the ABCC and the Registered Organisations Bill. But the reality is, we know that Bill Shorten - as I said - he is completely controlled by some militant unions who have utter contempt for the law of the land.

What we are doing is ensuring that the law of the land does apply to them, that the law is strengthened. We are doing so in order to protect the very members of those unions who have so little regard for the laws of our nation.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, on the GST distribution, a poll in The Western Australian on Saturday showed five federal Liberals would lose their seat and a big reason for that is the anger over the GST injustice that WA gets over the distribution. 92 per cent of West Australians say that it’s important that you act on that before the next election.

Can you give a commitment that you will take on board those concerns, rather than waiting for several years? Four years, which Treasury’s estimated before WA’s share recovers to 70 cents. Will you act sooner on that?

PRIME MINISTER:  

Well, we explained during the last year - and I have been very consistent about this - that we understand the sense of grievance that West Australians feel. Michaelia of course, is a West Australian Senator.

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT:

West Australian Senator.

PRIME MINISTER:  

We understand that very well. I am the first Prime Minister to take action on this.

What I said was, in consultation with Colin Barnett and my colleagues, I said, we will have an opportunity in several years’ time - and the estimate at that point was 2019-20 - when the Western Australian GST share, under the formula, rises back up to 70 per cent. That was the West Australian Treasury’s estimation, not mine. I said, that is an opportunity then, to set a floor so that nobody loses. But then, West Australians will feel, as indeed will citizens in other states, that no state's share is going to sink down to the levels of 30 per cent and so forth, where Western Australia that found it.

This is what I did. I made that commitment to seek to achieve that. I wrote to all the Premiers and Chief Ministers, I raised it at COAG. I was attacked, unrelentingly, by the Labor Party, including by Mr Shorten.

So, really, the question now is we will seek to achieve that. That is our goal, we think it is fair and it is achievable with goodwill.

But the fiercest opponents of what I proposed, were Bill Shorten - federal Labor leader - and the Labor Premiers, including South Australia, Victoria and Queensland. So the challenge for the new Labor Premier of Western Australia, is how is he going to get his own party onside? That’s the real question. Because Labor is absolutely rock solid at the federal level, so far anyway, in defending the existing arrangements on the GST distribution.

I believe there is an opportunity to set a floor. But to do so at a time when nobody is actually going to lose. That’s the point. I have been completely consistent about that.

I know there has been some reporting in Western Australia that I had made a commitment that was different to that, but if you look at my statement in August, to the West Australian division of the Liberal Party State Council, and subsequent statements, they have been completely consistent, including the correspondence I had with the Premiers.

I saw somewhere it said I hadn't raised the matter with the Premiers, I did. I raised with them both in writing and in a meeting. Now, we might just have one more?

JOURNALIST:

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, are you expecting the Government's position on that issue to be resolved this week? Why won't you say what your own personal view is?

PRIME MINISTER:  

Well I am the Prime Minister. So the Government has a view on matters of this kind, the Government will have a response. It will be the collective response of the Government. Perhaps one more?

JOURNALIST:

On penalty rates, do you plan to respond on penalty rates to the Fair Work decision this week, will you be recommending take-home pay orders?

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT:

Yes, we will be making a submission in relation to chapter 11 and the transitional provisions. In terms of what we’ll be recommending, I won't be disclosing it here obviously. That it is something the Government is considering.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Turnbull are you going to carry through your threat during Western Australia election to fund only the Coalition's planned roads project and not fund the new Labor government's rail project?

PRIME MINISTER:  

Michelle, the Freight Link project -  which is what you are referring to - is a high-priority project of Infrastructure Australia and we have committed to fund that.

The new Western Australia Labor Government does not want to proceed with it and so therefore doesn't want our money for that project. They would like to secure Federal Government support for alternative infrastructure projects. The position is that we will look at them and Infrastructure Australia will look at them. We’ll examine them in good faith and in the normal way.

Again, it would be quite absurd to do anything else. You can't just say you have got a project that is fully developed, fully costed, fully analysed, prioritised by Infrastructure Australia and then when the Government comes in and says despite all that, we don't want to do it, here, commit the same amount of money to another project, that is at this stage basically a press release.

There is no business case. There is no plan for it. They have got a way to go. We are all in favour of investing in infrastructure and we do so to the tune of tens of billions of dollars around the nation. I am an enthusiast for urban rail, I think we’ll need more urban rail in all of our big cities. I welcome governments that want to get on with that.

But as to manner and the extent of Federal Government funding, that is going to be on the basis, after due consideration, of what is proposed. This idea that the State Government can put out a press release and then say give us the money, on the basis of the press release.

Australians would not think well of my government if we were as careless as that in dealing with their taxpayers' dollars.

Thanks very much.

[ENDS]


Turnbull "corrupt deals in construction industry threaten economy" - here's the perfect proof

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We've had quite a few comments on Ralph Blewitt's arrest and the 31 fraud charges he'll answer in court next Wednesday -"Perhaps its softly softly to get the ball rolling", "Maybe that's just Ralph's share of it????" and the like. 

If only that were so.

The charges against Ralph are much more than just getting the ball rolling, or taking it softly softly at the start - they're fundamental to the way the crimes in the AWU Scandal are dealt with.  And these charges against Ralph have broader implications for union corruption in general.

The charges excuse Thiess from involvement in any wrong-doing and position the company and its employees as victims, unwitting, unknowing and innocent.  Further they isolate wrong doing to a single individual and protect the union's national leadership and legal advisors.

We've just had a a $60M Royal Commission, a protracted and bitter campaign to bring back the construction industry watch dog, a double dissolution election and the creation of an ongoing multi-agency/multi-police force trade union task force.

On 9 April 2016 Prime Minister Turnbull said, "Union corruption threatens the nation's future prosperity. The threat from union power in the construction industry is flowing across the whole economy."  

He was speaking of improper inflation of construction costs and sweetheart agreements through which monies are siphoned from construction contracts to unions or union officials.

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 4.17.32 amThere is ample evidence that is precisely what Thiess and Ludwig's AWU agreed when Thiess was awarded the Dawesville Channel $60M construction contract and the Melbourne Water maintenance outsourcing.

Paul Darrouzet was the HR/Industrial Relations manager for Thiess during the time of the Dawesville Channel and Melbourne Water contracts.

In February 1993 the Kennett Government called for tenders from contractors to outsource Melbourne Water's maintenance work.  One key requirement of tenderers was a demonstrated ability to engage in workplace reform and enterprise bargaining.

Thiess won the contract and was so proud of its "special arrangement" with the AWU that it produced a glossy full page write up about it in the company's 1992/93 Annual Report.

Here's a readable extract:

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HR/IR manager Darrouzet's  sworn evidence on the matter is that in August 1993 (after the contract had been awarded) Bruce Wilson asked Thiess to pay a consulting fee because the union would have to do a lot of extra work with the Enterprise Bargain (which had already been negotiated).

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Darrouzet agreed to pay 100 hours per month for two years, the life of the contract at the same hourly rate as the AWU WRA was charging at Dawesville.

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Darrouzet also told the TURC that from early 1993 he believed he was dealing with Wilson in his capacity as secretary of the National Construction Branch of the AWU.  

But the NCB wasn't formed until March 1995.  From June 1992 until March 1995 Wilson was the state secretary of the Victorian Branch.  

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Perhaps Mr Darrouzet thought it would make his protestations that he was paying money to a private PO Box in Perth for the supposed consultancy services in Melbourne sound a bit more plausible.

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Darrouzet might not "remember" the AWU WRA being mentioned.

Leigh Ainsworth the Melbourne based GM of the Thiess division responsible for Melbourne Water has a memory that's perhaps more helpful.  Or honest.

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Darrouzet approved 7 invoices - all on the identical AWU WRA INC letterhead, all with the WA Post Office Box - here's the first one, signed by the Secretary.  Not Bruce Wilson, but Ralph Blewitt.  But Darrouzet paid up anyway.

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Here are the other 6 invoices for the Melbourne Water project.

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There are a few points worth noting.

These invoices for consulting services were sent to Brisbane for approval by the national HR/IR manager Darrouzet.  He knew no consulting as described on the invoice was performed.

Ralph Blewitt has been charged with committing a crime each time he sent out an invoice from the AWU WRA Inc to Thiess for Dawesville.

A criminal action has two elements - actus reus (the guilty action) and mens rea (the guilty state of mind).

Ralph's actions and state of mind for each of the 31 alleged false invoice frauds against Thiess for Dawesville are identical to his actions and state of mind in the 7 invoices for Melbourne Water. He did what he did in the same place, on the same AWU WRA Inc proforma invoices and sent them off to the same payer (Thiess Contractors) in the same place (Brisbane head office).

But Ralph hasn't been charged with the Melbourne Water invoices.  Identical behaviour and state of mind with Blewitt's acts committed in WA.

Why?  What's different?

Here's one thing - when Wilson was rumbled and made his admissions to Gillard, her best friend Robyn McLeod fortuitously moved from the AWU where she'd been working for Wilson to a brand new job working for Thiess.  Have another look at invoice number 7 for Melbourne Water.

On 16 July 1995 McLeod signed off on the AWU WRA Inc invoice no 7 - here are her initials on the invoice and a sample of her initials taken from her statement to the TURC.

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But Ms McLeod told the TURC she'd never heard of the AWU WRA Inc.  She didn't tell the TURC she left the AWU to work for Thiess where she approved Bruce's invoice either.

Thiess charged each of the 7 Melbourne Water invoices to a Thiess internal vendor code (93732)  for the AWU Workplace Reform Association Inc.  Not the AWU itself, but one especially created for the Workplace Reform Association Incorporated, a separate legal entity on Thiess systems with a different mailing address.

But when Bruce asked for the cheque in payment of invoice No 7 to be made out to the AWU National Construction Branch - Thiess complied:

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But despite Bruce (then rumbled) asking for the cheque to go to the National Construction Branch (which Paul Darrouzet now says he thought he was always dealing with all along), Thiess didn't code the payment to the NCB branch of the AWU where all other AWU payments were coded.  It coded it to the AWU WRA Inc.  In WA.  For consultancy services in Melbourne. And sent the cheque to the secret Northbridge Post Office Box.

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Which brings me to another difficulty for Thiess.

28 February 1995 - AWU WRA Inc issues this invoice to Thiess

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11 April 1995 - Thiess issues this cheque with advice slip to AWU WRA Inc

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21 April 1995 - Wilson closes the AWU Workplace Reform Association bank accounts, both its cash management and cheque accounts.   The $20,160 cheque from Thiess was not banked into either of the AWU WRA Inc accounts.   Apparently no matter what else was discovered, the first priority was to get rid of the AWU WRA Inc.

13 June 1995 - Wayne Hem (on Wilson's instructions) banks the $20,160 Thiess AWU WRA Inc payment into the AWU Members Welfare Association Account.   The cheque is met on presentation and the funds form part of the AWU Members Welfare Association balance.

In July Bob Smith had the AWU Members Welfare Association account frozen.

Who knows what went on behind the scenes over the next several weeks as Wilson and his lawyers hammered out a deal with Bob Smith.    This letter from Bob Smith's lawyers to the CBA suggests to me that there'd been some discussion between Thiess and Wilson - how else to explain the "Thiess get everything left over" calculation.

On 17 August 1995 Maurice Blackburn's John Cain wrote to the CBA.

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And sure enough, on 17 August 1995, bank cheques were drawn for Thiess:

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The discrete invoiced amount for $20,160 paid back to Thiess was unmistakably the return of money it had paid to the AWU WRA Inc in a cheque with that name as payee.  The money was coded internally by Thiess to the vendor code for the separate legal entity vendor no 

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The cheque number 452352 is noted on the Thiess general ledger entry.

So if Darrouzet et al genuinely thought they were dealing with the real AWU, how do they explain this?

On 15 September 1995 Ian Cambridge had well and truly discovered the Wilson/Smith/Maurice Blackburn/Slater and Gordon scheme to return the money to the companies without the approval of the AWU.  Here's his letter to Thiess.

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(Ian was out on one figure, the $9405.56 represents the leftover in the AWU Members Welfare Assn that went to Thiess, the eventual bank cheque also included the amount left over in the Election Fund, bringing the total of the bank cheque to $13,934,32.   But the old mates at Thiess could be relied on to say nothing.)

If Thiess was the honest victim of Wilson's frauds as the TURC suggests, what would you expect Thiess to do?   I'd expect a prompt response = "an amount of $20,160 was paid to the AWU WRA Inc in April and the same amount again on 1 August to the AWU National Construction Branch. Our records show the second cheque for $20,160 to the NCB hasn't been presented as yet.   We don't recognise any payments to the AWU in our systems for $9,405."

That's if Thiess was not part of the scam.   

Thiess did not respond to Ian's letter for one year.

But media interest was becoming intense.   Initially Thiess refused to answer questions about the matter in the press - but its executives were talking within the industry, this was the big IR issue of the time.  

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Paul Darrouzet was the HR executive responsible for the Melbourne Water deal with Wilson.  He tried to pass off the returned payment as being for the "only extraordinary payment" Thiess made to the AWU during that time, $25K for an asbestos and road study referred to in this September 1995 story - however read the last two paragraphs closely and you'll see that Darrouzet's story was hastily revised.

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If this was all legitimate - why didn't Thiess respond immediately?

It took one year for Thiess to reply.

Even then Nick Jukes lied through his teeth.

Thiess didn't tell Ian Cambridge about the AWU WRA Inc until late August 1996.   During that time Thiess honoured its cheque for $20,160 that Wilson eventually banked 5 months after it was issued and 4 months after he'd left the AWU.

Still not a peep from Thiess even when that happened.  Nor did they speak up when the police started asking questions, likewise as the media storm was building.  

So when Thiess eventually explained  the returned payments formally to the AWU, here's what it said.

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But Thiess had more drama on its plate than dealing with its partner in crime Bill Ludwig.

Tim Daly from the AWU WA branch was well and truly on the case and he was supported by the forensic Russell Frearson the branch accountant.

If this letter from Thiess didn't ring alarm bells with police and the Royal Commission they should have been charged with theft by deception for keeping their pay.

 

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"To the best of our knowledge"?  This is Thiess answering a one year old query about its own internal systems.

The reference to Group 0980 and the Dawesville project is at best designed to mislead.  

The TURC never twigged that the return of money to Thiess was directly linked to the AWU Workplace Reform Association.   Why would Thiess not simply answer questions about what it had paid out honestly and in a timely fashion?   The only explanation is that Thiess,-  like Wilson, Ludwig and Gillard - had something to hide.

Thesis's failure to respond to Ian Cambridge s inexplicable if Thiess had truly been ripped off in the AWU WRA Inc scandal.   The company's failure to brief the AWU - even when its AWU WRA Inc payment was returned to it as being "suspect" - beggars belief.

The scenario that makes sense is the one constantly put by Bruce Wilson, each of Thiess, Bill Ludwig and Wilson's advisors knew all about what he was up to in the AWU Workplace Reform Association.

 

Back to Ralph Blewitt and the white wash.

He's copped 31 counts of causing detriment to Thiess Contractors by fraud.

The way he's been charged, the prosecution will have to prove Thiess suffered a financial loss - and that it was caused by deceit or fraudulent means.   The police say Ralph deceived Thiess into believing training was being done.

In October 2012 I first started talking to Ralph.  He has been consistent since then in saying it was Thiess (ie Jukes and Trio) who specified that Thiess required a separate legal entity with the AWU's name in it to issue invoices for Thiess to hand over the agreed slush fund money from Dawesville.  Thiess wanted to make secret commission payments.  Wilson, Gillard and Ludwig wanted to facilitate Thiess paying the money in a form acceptable to Thiess and separate from the AWU's general accounts.

Ralph's actions and the invoices didn't deceive Thiess.

The way police have charged Ralph, they have to prove that Thiess only paid out "by fraud".

“By” is a word importing causation.

What Blewitt did was dishonest and involved a falsehood but that had no influence on causing Theiss to make the payments.

Put another way the dishonesty was not engaged in with the intention of deceiving(or defrauding) Theiss.

It was engaged in to deceive third parties and Theiss was a willing partner in this.

I can see this matter being run against Blewitt and lost, and that fact used as an excuse to leave Wilson et al alone completely?

Theiss, Jukes, Trio, Albrecht, Ludwig and Gillard have a lot at stake here. 

If Blewitt wins by showing Theiss’ involvement a lot of money and reputations are going down the shitter.

Wilson will be essential in showing this so he should get his day in court no matter what.

The Prosecution will try to get a conviction based on what Ralph has already said.

That will avoid them calling anyone.

It will have to be Ralph that pulls them in and then tries to show they are “hostile” so they can be cross examined.

It’s a parody of justice without the humour. Farcical is too mild a description.

Every touch leaves its trace.

More soon.

 


No charges laid by police regarding the AWU Workplace Reform Association. Wonder why?

WA Police have not charged Ralph over anything to do with setting up the AWU WRA.

They say he's been charged over the entire $400K Thiess "misappropriation".

But the AWU WRA doesn't feature in clearing the crime up.

Ralph's  been charged with tricking Thiess into paying money 31 separate times.

The 31 separate occasions aren't linked.  Each charge relates to a single invoice Ralph (and only Ralph apparently) had a hand in raising.

There is no co-offender.  

Ralph's alleged 31 offences are each a separate and complete crime involving 31 separate deceptions on Thiess.

You'd reckon Thiess might've been a wake-up to Ralph's criminal master-mindedness.  But no - Ralph and Ralph alone tricked Thiess into believing training was going on.  

Police allege Thiess was deceived into paying for training for several months before any staff were available to be trained.  Ralph put one over on them when there was no staff at the site, no activity, no training facilities and only the invoices to suggest anything was going on.  Thiess gave the money to the slush fund - but according to police, only because Blewitt deceived Thiess by false invoices (or maybe they'll produce evidence of hypnosis).

And the master magician tricked Thiess into believing that training was taking place for 8 months after the channel was flooded.  Several metres beneath sea level.  After the project was shut down, the books were closed and the fat lady had belted out her last tune.

Nick Jukes and Joe Trio could win big in two ways out of the police protecting them from charges.  First up they walk from their complicity in the secret commission payments.  Second they could sue police for defamation for suggesting they were so brain dead as to be genuinely deceived by sham invoices.  

In its media statement yesterday, WA Police said: 

"Major fraud squad detectives have charged a 71-year-old man with 31 counts of fraud.

“The charges relate to the misappropriation of more than $400,000,” a statement said.

“It will be alleged the offences occurred between April 1992 and December 1994. The man, who currently resides in Malaysia, has been granted bail.”

That clears up the AWU scandal in their opinion.  $400,000 was misappropriated.  How?  Well on 31 separate occassions Thiess was deceived, defrauded - and those offences are now cleared up with one offender charged.

Each of the 31 charges alleges that Ralph Blewitt, by causing a false invoice to be raised, deceived Thiess into suffering a detriment financially.

Police allege Ralph misappropriated the $400,000 - not through the creation of the AWU WRA Inc - but by the false invoices and only the false invoices raised and paid each month.

There will be many, many posts from me about this miscarriage of justice.

The creation of the AWU WRA Inc is apparently not relevant to the fantasy-land deception on Thiess police will waste a court's times with.

The AWU WRA wasn't an element in the frauds.  Just the invoices.   And, police allege, it was Ralph who asked the secretary to type up the invoices.

Bruce Wilson has sworn two lengthy statements for the Royal Commission.

http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au/Transcripts/Documents/Evidence12June2014/statement-of-bruce-wilson-dated-4june2014.pdf

http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au/Transcripts/Documents/Evidence12June2014/statement-of-bruce-wilson-dated-6june2014.pdf

In his first statement Wilson talks about his reasons for incorporating the AWU Workplace Reform Association.

Commencing at paragraph 109 he talks about a meeting with Thiess executives and Bill Ludwig in Sydney to discuss setting up a legal entity.   He is quite specific and firm in that the entity was established in order to receive monies from Thiess.

Some further discussion ensued around the table about funding for training projects that would be available on the Dawesville Channel project. I raised that the funding for such training should be kept totally separate from the funds of the AWU. There was some discussion about how that might be done, and someone suggested creating a separate legal entity that could run the training and to which the funding could be provided. If that could be done, we discussed that there could be no confusion that the funds for the training would be completely separate from AWU funds.

It was my strong position that there was no way that I would be raising these funds and allowing the national office to make any claim on them. The separate legal entity would be the vehicle that would propel the concept of the NCB, and funds received by the entity could be used to support the NCB concept through supporting candidates in the election and paying for various associated expenses.

 A general concept of a separate legal entity was further discussed, and there was support for this idea. I recall that when the meeting finished LUDWIG said words to the effect ''That sounds alright to me, I'm happy with that. I'll leave the rest to you blokes to sort it out."  I considered that LUDWIG and ALBRECHT had given their 'blessing' to the arrangement. I believed that this constituted the basis of an agreement between the THIESS representatives and myself.

It was agreed that whatever arrangement was finalised in terms of funding to the entity, it would be effective from the nominated start date of the DCP to the nominated completion date of the project. Then there was general chit-chat and LUDWIG and I left together as we were staying at the same hotel.

He talks about an entity whose purpose was to receive funds from Thiess.   That statement is not benign from his lawyer's perspective.   It clearly contemplates some planning about the processes Thiess required to pay out money.  The entity that Wilson wants to create must be able to "receive the funds" - that is it will have to raise invoices in its own right and negotiate the money through a bank account.   Bruce Wilson Consulting wouldn't cut it for Thiess's auditors - likewise a hand-written invoice in a book from a newsagent with a bank account associated with it.   For Thiess managers to pay out $300,000 and stay on the right side of their auditors, Thiess would require invoices raised by some legal entity (if not the AWU itself).   In Wilson's own words, that was the reason for the creation of the AWU WRA Incorporated.   In that context, the necessity for the AWU's name in the title becomes a little clearer.

In order for Wilson to achieve his stated aim one presumes that he gave those instructions to his lawyer.   It is very difficult to reconcile Wilson's evidence - and the documents associated with the AWU WRA Inc - with the version of events that Ms Gillard now gives.

Recall that in the paragraphs above Wilson said,  "It was my strong position" that the funds he proposed to receive from Thiess had to be in a legally protected separate entity from the AWU.   In view of that "strong position" what is the likelihood that he gave instructions to his lawyer that the entity was simply a re-election account that could be called anything and structured in any way?   Every action in the incorporation is consistent with the truth and with Wilson's evidence - that the AWU WRA Inc was created so as to invoice and receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from Thiess in a way that would satisfy Thiess's internal processes.

Wilson's next paragraph, flowing directly from the evidence above is going to be difficult to reconcile with Ms Gillard's explanation for her innocent, unknowing involvement in incorporating the entity.   Wilson says:

I did some research to inform myself about how to go about setting up a legal entity to receive the monies from the DCP (the Dawesville Channel Project). I may have asked someone like my accountants, or Stephen BOOTH or Julia GILLARD. I got as much information as I could about how to go about it from various sources. After informing myself I believed that the entity should be an incorporated association.

Wilson is explicit.   His evidence is sworn and it makes sense.  In his own words his reason for setting up the legal entity was "to receive the monies from the Dawesville Channel Project".    He goes on to say that he sought advice as to how he could achieve that end - he nominates Ms Gillard as someone he may have spoken to about it.   In any case, we know that Gillard did the work in establishing the AWU WRA Inc.  

Wilson doesn't say he sought advice about setting up a slush fund for an election.   He says he asked Gillard or Stephen Booth for advice about how to set up a legal entity to receive money from Thiess.   Nothing about planning for problems where members of the "team" who leave some time in the future might argue about who owned what money.  

If Gillard acted innocently, the precision with which her actions align with Wilson's stated aim beggars belief.   The only explanation that makes sense is the truth.


Triggs to give annual Bob Brown Foundation speech - why no Dyson Heydon treatment?

The President of the Human Rights Commission should be demonstrably non-partisan.

It was a crime against humanity when Royal Commissioner Dyson Heydon accepted an invitation to speak at a Liberal Party linked dinner.

Why is it different for Triggs?  She's sitting in judgement on others.

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7th Hobart Oration - Prof Gillian Triggs

Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 07:00 PM

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Don't miss this unique opportunity to hear from Australia's human rights champion, Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Human Rights Commission.

Professor Triggs has one Hobart appearance only, delivering the 7th Hobart Oration.  The title of her address is

Fighting for our rights – a ‘fair go Australia’

"...a brave, inspiring and resilient champion of human rights. Gillian Triggs has defied the cruel political tide of modern Australian politics." Bob Brown 

Tickets $50 / $25 

WHEN
March 30, 2017 at 7pm - 9pm
WHERE
Hobart Town Hall
50 Macquarie St
Hobart, Tasmania 7000
Australia
Google map and directions

How many tickets would you like?


Mrs Ruby Blewitt could do with a hand next Wednesday - apply here

Ralph and ruby

May I please ask a favour?

For 5 years now Ralph's wife Ruby Blewitt has watched and listened to a man she's known as a whistleblower.

She's watched him try to do the right thing by volunteering to tell all that he knows about the AWU Scandal.

She's seen him attacked by a sitting prime minister who used the office of PM in an official media conference to stick it to Ralph.

She's seen unconscionable defamatory reports published by a double-standard media (Mark Riley in particular) happy to stick it to Ralph by reporting unconfirmed hearsay about him but incurious and defensive of his co conspirator Gillard.

Ruby's proud of her man and what he is now.

Ruby was there at the family home in Malaysia while Ralph appeared before the Royal Commission - and when he came to Australia almost 5 years ago to make statements for Victoria Police.

Now she's in Australia, scarcely able to believe what's happening, let alone understand why.

She is in a state of shock to see that her husband - and only her husband - has been arrested, charged and bailed to appear in an Australian court next week to answer 31 charges that state it was he who was responsible for the AWU WRA crimes.  The charges against him tell a tale in which it was Ralph and only Ralph who deceived Thiess into paying $400,000.

Ruby is used to supporting Ralph.  Now it's Ruby who needs a hand.

Late last night Ralph sent me this message

Mate l have a special request..Ruby is seriously stressed about the court appearance next Wednesday. She will not allow me to go on my own she wants to be beside me. But she is scared about the attention she will get as my wife and the media harassing her.

Do you think someone on your blog would be willing to meet us at the court and take care of Ruby. She said she needs someone to hold her hand while l am there. Please if you can help her thanks Michael. 

I just need to know she'll be OK.

I exchanged a few more messages with Ralph - he closed with this:

I'm OK and was handling it without emotion until Ruby told me about her fear at the court next week.
That's upset me more than anything.

Ralph I can only imagine how foreign this must be for Ruby.  A foreign legal system, unexpected and unpredictable events like your arrest - and a very different legal battle to fight from the one Ruby thought she'd be watching.

I'd be very pleased to hear from anyone in Perth who'd care to lend a hand of support to Ruby, particularly next Wednesday morning at the Magistrates' Court.

And just for the record, prior to flying to Perth at his own expense to "meet" with police, Ralph Blewitt sent a detailed email to detectives setting out his position on what he described as a conspiracy with Wilson/Gillard/Ludwig/Jukes and Trio over the secret commissions Thiess paid to the slush fund.

Ralph's position on the conspiracy is not at all unreasonable - in fact it is the very position WA Police held after its initial and failed investigation into the AWU Scandal:

 

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Ralph advised he would resist any charges that singled him out - and that his offer to return of his own volition and at his own expense was to explain who did what in the conspiracy of which he was a part.

He also asked these specific questions in an email:

I have recently become insulin dependent in the management of chronic Diabetes Type 2.

My wife and carer Ruby and I are adjusting to managing daily insulin injections and I have to be a little more prudent in managing my movements with a lot more pre-planning.

May I ask a few questions about my attendance at your offices “to deal with the matter”?

Will I be under arrest?

Will I be under caution?

Do police anticipate charging me with any offence(s)?

If so what offences?

If so will I be bailed, remanded or summonsed to appear in court?

Will I be permitted to leave Australia and return to my home in Malaysia after the meeting with you “to deal with the matter”? (my wife and carer Ruby does not yet have a long term visa to remain in Australia).

It strikes me as bloody lousy that the reply Ralph received was this:

Mr Ralph BLEWITT,

Thank you for your email. As we have arranged for you to attend our office to discuss the matter we will not be entering into discussions about the below points in fairness to yourself and the investigation. The questions you ask will be discussed with you at that time, I do not intend discussing these via email.

If there is anything we can do to assist in managing your diabetes while you are with us, please let us know.

Regards

xxxx

XXXXX | Detective Sergeant XXXX | Major Fraud Squad | Serious and Organised Crime Division | Western Australia Police | 233 Adelaide Terrace Perth, Western Australia 6000 | Ph [08] 9220 0700 | 

After 5 years of investigation, charging Ralph with 31 false invoicing offences to clear up the AWU Scandal is like charging a Mafia Godfather's book keeper with false accounting.  It might make someone smile - but it doesn't get to the heart of the offences.

Ralph has tried to do the right thing and Ruby has been there supporting him all the way.  We can't make authorities do the right thing by Ralph - but we sure can do the right thing by Ruby!