Christopher Hayes MP - Former AWU Official - Cambridge Royal Commission
I received the copy of Ian Cambridge's letter to Laurie Brereton after a colleague perused the Federal Court archive in which the letter was filed.
At the time I don't think that my colleague took a copy of the originating Affidavit where the letter was exhibited.
Eagle-eye blog commenter Gary noted about 20 minutes ago that the stamp certifying the exhibited letter shows the letter was exhibited by Christopher Hayes in his affidavit sworn at Sydney on 13 March, 1996.
You may remember that Bob Kernohan wrote to Chris Hayes last year. Bob tells me has not received a reply.
Ian Cambridge yesterday called on anyone who has information to come forward and speak to police. This article may help. And I'll do my best to get a copy of the Chris Hayes affidavit and will post it when I have it.
Labor MP Chris Hayes drawn into AWU controversy
- BY:HEDLEY THOMAS AND PIA AKERMAN
- From:The Australian
- November 23, 2012 12:00AM
Labor MP and former union official Chris Hayes has been drawn into the AWU controversy. Source: News Limited
LABOR MP Chris Hayes has been drawn into the Australian Workers Union controversy by allegations made by disgraced AWU boss Bruce Wilson that as a union official in the 1990s he was involved in talks with a major Australian company that later put "donations" into a slush fund.
The Labor member for Fowler in western Sydney yesterday declined to comment on allegations, which are contained in the diary of Ian Cambridge, the Australian Workers Union joint national secretary who in the 90s was trying to root out corruption in the union.
But another union official who became a Labor senator, Michael Forshaw, rejected as "absolute rubbish" any suggestion contained in the diary that he was involved in the meetings with the oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum.
The diary of Mr Cambridge has been obtained by The Australian. Mr Cambridge, now a commissioner for Fair Work Australia, has confirmed that the diary is an accurate reflection of what he was told during a tumultuous period in which he and AWU president Bill Ludwig led a crackdown on fraud perpetrated by Julia Gillard's then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson. The Prime Minister has admitted setting up an association for Mr Wilson, which the then AWU state secretary and his bagman Ralph Blewitt later used to defraud hundreds of thousands of dollars by soliciting payments from companies.
Ms Gillard later described the AWU Workplace Reform Association as a "slush fund" for the re-election of union officials. She has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying she knew nothing of the operations of the fund.
The diary discloses that on August 15, 1995, Mr Cambridge met Mr Wilson in Melbourne to discuss Mr Wilson's attempts to "get (redundancy) money and be allowed to get out" of the union.
"During the course of the evening discussion emerged regarding some of the moneys in the funds in Victoria and at one point Wilson indicated that we were in the same restaurant which is Cerabonas in which discussions regarding the payments by Woodside in respect to one of these employer 'donations' was concluded and that involved discussions with himself, then secretary Michael Forshaw, assistant secretary Chris Hayes and two representatives from Woodside who he named, but I cannot remember their names," the diary says.
"Wilson then went on to make astounding revelations about the nature of the construction industry and some of the things that occurred such as the requirement to have a barbeque and beer put on at the return to work after any stoppage. He also then revealed that he and others such as Ralph Blewitt had been involved in the practice of damaging plant and equipment, such as setting fire to backhoes or other earthmoving equipment, or getting a battery-operated drill and drilling out tyres, essentially rendering the tyres useless."
Mr Hayes, who was the assistant national secretary of the AWU in the 90s before entering politics by winning Werriwa in 2005 after the resignation of Mark Latham, declined to answer a series of questions from The Australian. "Given you have not provided me with these alleged documents, I do not believe I am in a position to comment," he said.
However, Mr Forshaw, who was a high-ranking official of the AWU and then a Labor senator for NSW from 1994 until his retirement last year, strenuously denied the account attributed to Mr Wilson in the diary, including that he and Mr Hayes were present at such a meeting.
He told The Australian yesterday that any claim he had discussed underhanded payments with Mr Wilson and Woodside was "absolute rubbish".
"I never had anything to do with any meetings that Bruce Wilson had with Woodside to get money out of (them)," he said. "I certainly didn't know about the existence of these accounts."
Mr Forshaw said while he had dined with Mr Wilson when visiting Melbourne from head office in Sydney, and also dined frequently with Mr Hayes, he could not remember any specific meal which Woodside staff also attended.
Mr Forshaw said major companies would sometimes contribute funds for industry training bodies and other causes as a show of goodwill during negotiations.
A spokeswoman for Woodside said company staff "periodically met with Mr Wilson in the 80s and 90s in his role as an official for the AWU in Western Australia and Victoria as per normal business practice". "Woodside participated in the Victorian Fraud Squad investigation in 1996 regarding payments made to the AWU and no action was taken in relation to Woodside's conduct," she said.
Mr Wilson, who has been implicated in the fraud by Mr Blewitt, has repeatedly declined to comment.
The Victorian slush fund, the AWU Members Welfare No 1 Account, received significant payments from large companies including Woodside, and building giants Thiess and John Holland. Those companies later said they were led to believe their payments of more than $150,000 were for legitimate union purposes.
Bank documents show that Woodside, through the company's lawyers Phillips Fox, made two payments totalling $59,000 which went directly into Mr Wilson's Victorian fund in June 1995.
Mr Wilson controlled two slush funds, one in Victoria and the other in Perth which Ms Gillard helped set up.