Slater and Gordon has been speedy in their response to the questions I posed this morning. As Slater and Gordon points out, at some time the firm discussed with Ms Ligeti the nature of her relationship with Ms Gillard and Ms Ligeti from that point had no part in the firm's deliberations about its statement in support of Ms Gillard.
Most importantly, Slater and Gordon re-states the company's position that Ms Gillard left her work at the firm in September, 1995 "in order to campaign for the Senate". I have some follow-up questions which I've emailed to Slater and Gordon to clear up the inconsistencies in the firm's public statement compared with other publicly available information about Ms Gillard's departure.
Dear Mr Smith
We refer to the questions you put in your post today making the link between a statement of Mr Grech and the personal relationship of one of Slater & Gordon's employees.
Please find below our responses to those questions.
“What discussions took place between the ASX listed company Slater and Gordon, its Government relations advisor Julie Ligeti and her former flatmate and now Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday, 19 August 2012?”
Julie Ligeti, because of her relationship, agreed with the company she should have nothing to do with the matter. She had no role in the statement referred to, was not consulted and was not even aware it was to be made.
Did Slater and Gordon have a notifiable conflict of interest which it should have disclosed upon the issuance of its public statement of 20 August, 2012?
Did Julia Gillard have an obligation to declare her relationship with her "old friend" Julie Ligeti when Slater and Gordon issued its statement, particularly given Gillard's public position that "what Slater and Gordon says is a matter for Slater and Gordon."
Whilst this question is not a matter for us as Ms Ligeti has had absolutely nothing to do with the company’s handling of the Wilson Gillard matters, it is impossible to imagine what it is she is supposed to declare.
And finally, is the Slater and Gordon statement that Julia Gillard "took a leave of absence in order to campaign for the Senate" in 1995 a true statement?
This email was sent from me to Slater and Gordon this afternoon.
Thank you for your speedy response.
May I try to clear up Slater and Gordon's official position on the substantive reason for Ms Gillard leaving the firm?
In late 1995, had Ms Gillard's "relationship with the equity partnership group become fractured, and trust and confidence evaporated" making it untenable that she continue in her employment?
Was the firm "concerned as to whether (Ms Gillard) had acted consistently with (her) obligations of utmost good faith with regard to her partners" and was her resignation accepted in those circumstances?
Did the partnership "consider terminating Ms Gillard" and in those circumstances did "Ms Gillard elect to resign" and did the partnership "accept her resignation without discussion"?
Was it "clear that the relationships had broken down irretrievably" between Ms Gillard and the remaining partners in the partnership?
Slater and Gordon's public statement of 20 August, 2012 gives the impression that the substantive underlying reason for Ms Gillard's absence from the firm from September 1995 was "in order (for her) to campaign for the Senate". Is that the major contributing reason for Julia Gillard's absence from the firm from September, 1995?
Finally, is Slater and Gordon aware of any reason, order or agreement of any nature that would restrict Ms Gillard from practicing as a lawyer at any time in Victoria?