AWU Scandal

TURC CFMEU ACT hearing day 2, week 3 commences 10AM - click here to watch and comment

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10AM has been and gone.   10.05 and we're away.

3 statements from Fihi Kivalu were tendered and received into evidence.

The first witness is Sam Delorenzo.

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Here's a link to Mr De Lorenzo's LinkedIn page.

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Mr Stoljar's brief questions related to Mr De Lorenzo's work history and the adoption and tender of his statement.

At 10.08 Mr Agius commenced his cross-examination of Mr De Lorenzo.

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Mr Agius quizzed Mr De Lorenzo about "lockdown days" - a term I was unfamiliar with until today.   Here's the calendar for RDOs/Lockdown Days for the year in question, 2014.

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The MBA has more about lock-down days here:

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Mr De Lorenzo stated that he does not recognise CFMEU lockdown days.

Mr Agius is now presenting the familiar routine of photographs of Mr De Lorenzo's construction site with what the CFMEU contends are safety breaches.

Mr De Lorenzo agrees that an extension cord placed on a milk-crate represents a safety issue - however he states that he was unaware that anything like that occurred at his site.

He states that he wasn't present when the photos were taken - he agrees that the photos represent safety issues.

Mr De Lorenzo's evidence is very straightforward - yes, no answers.  He recalls one incident involving extension cords - he states they were only in the situation photographed briefly, he corrected it on the day.

The entirety of Mr Agius's cross-examination of Mr De Lorenzo thus far consists of showing photographs that are said to be of unsafe situations (mostly involving extension cords) on Mr De Lorenzo's construction sites.

Mr Lorenzo's statement apparently contains a claim that there were no safety issues brought to his attention on his construction sites.   You have to wonder what the point is of taking photographs of allegedly unsafe situations only to hold them for production to the construction company manager at the Royal Commission, rather than as the purportedly unsafe situations arose.

At about 10.30 Mr Agius completed his cross-examination.

Mr Morison is now examining his witness Mr De Lorenzo.

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Under questioning from Mr Morison, Mr De Lorenzo stated that CFMEU officials visited his site on one occasion and some safety issues (minor) were mentioned on the day.   There was no follow-up action from the CFMEU after the visit - prior to the entry onto the site Mr De Loreno was not informed of any safety issues either.

Mr De Lorenzo felt intimidated by the CFMEU officials on the day.   He was unsatisfied with the permits produced by the officials, they appeared to be photocopied pieces of paper folded in the officials wallets, Mr De Lorenzo could not read them.

At 10.39 Mr Morison completed his re-examination of Mr De Lorenzo.

Mr Stoljar asked, "What do you mean by the phrase in your statement 'Dean, this is a construction site, you'll find safety risks if you look hard enough'".

Mr De Lorenzo explained about safety and risk management.   He was the Chair of the Commercial Council of the Master Builders Association for 8 years, he has been in construction for 40 odd years and has considerable experience in construction.   He stated that at any moment passing hazards may be found, the process of safety management involves managing hazards and managing risks.  Construction involves moving things, lifting things and the like - house-keeping photographs may show things that need attention at a moment in time and Mr De Lorenzo states that on sites under his control his policy is that those types of issues are attended to.

The Stoljar/De Lorenzo chat about safety was quite useful to laymen and newcomers to the construction caper (like me), Mr De Lorenzo's commentary about safety is sensible, measured and very much safety first.  One thing emerges - safety is a pressing, immediate issue, not an issue upon which points should be scored particularly long after the event.

Mr Stoljar is now revisiting the Agius/CFMEU photographs and eliciting a narrative from Mr De Lorenzo in a constructive and real-world fashion.   This is markedly at odds with the Agius presentation of the photographs which was accusatory and point-scoring.

Mr Stoljar's approach to the evidence this morning will be helpful as he comes to write his submissions on the matter of safety, in particular legitimate safety issues versus the invocation of "safety" by the CFMEU as a means to potentially extract other outcomes.

Mr De Lorenzo is a very knowledgable and straightforward witness and not at all defensive, it's a pleasure to listen to his conversation with Mr Stoljar over the past 20 minutes or so.

Well might Mr Agius hang his head.

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Mr Stoljar, "Did anyone from the union send you these photos?"

De Lorenzo, "No."

Stoljar, "So you saw them for the first time here at the Commission?"

De Lorenzo, "Yes".

Stoljar, "Did you receive any rectification notices from WorkSafe or the union?"

De Lorenzo, "No, nothing."

Mr De Lorenzo explained that there could be an extension lead on the ground briefly - but the process of setting up would require it to be picked up properly.

At 10.59 Mr De Lorenzo was excused.

The next witness is Detective Sergeant Battye.

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Detective Sergeant Battye is with the Australian Federal Police in the ACT.  He has made a witness statement which he's adopted and it's been tendered into evidence.

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He was present at the "Beaconsfield" construction site in 2012 on the morning police were called.  He recalls seeing 3 union officials and being approached by a 4th who he now knows to be Mr Lomax.

He states that Lomax approached him "within his personal space", Lomax "flashed" a card in front of the detective's face, inches away from his nose.

The detective said "If you're using that card as the basis for being here, I need to see it properly as well as some identification".

Sergeant Battye states that he was there to investigate a trespass, he took Lomax's permit card and commenced to transcribe the details of it into his police notebook.   Lomax then snatched it back and hindered Sergeant Battye in his attempts to note the details on the card (my interpretation).

Sergeant Battye states that he felt that Lomax was intimidating him - he states that he instructed Lomax not to walk around the site intimidating people, he states that he told Lomax that he would be locked up if he continued to intimidate people at the site.

Sergeant Battye has denied using words apparently attributed to him in witness statements (presumably from Lomax and/or other CFMEU officials).

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Sergeant Battye states that he had a reasonable conversation with Mr O'Mara of the CFMEU.   He states that when he asked why the CFMEU was present on site he received circular, non-specific answers of a general nature.   He was not told at any point of specific safety concerns.

After speaking to both the construction site managers and the CFMEU (i.e. both sides of the dispute) Sergeant Battye states that he was not informed by any party of any specific safety issues.

At 11.09 Mr Stoljar completed his examination.

Mr Agius is cross-examining Sergeant Battye.

He starts by asking "What did you know of the law relating to union officials and their right of entry to work places?"

Battye, "Not much".

Sergeant Battye states that he has been a workplace union delegate himself, although he doesn't know much of the construction industry.

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Agius, "You had no evidence that any persons had been intimidated, did you?"

Battye, "Mr Lomax intimidated me".

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Sergeant Battye is a good professional witness - he is frank in his evidence that he and the other police onsite were confronted with an unusual and for them unprecedented situation.   Mr Agius has not shaken him in his cross-examination.

It's clear that the CFMEU considers the police to be hostile - Mr Agius is very much on the attack over the Sergeant's evidence.   If the CFMEU was present on the site for entirely legitimate reasons it's difficult to understand why the attack on the police.

Mr Agius to Sergeant Battye, "I suggest that if anybody was doing the intimidating it was you.   You were using your position as a police officer to intimidate those union officials."

Mr Agius wouldn't want to speed on the way home.

Sergeant Battye states that he considered arresting Mr Lomax for trespass and for common law breach of the peace.   Eventually Mr Lomax left.

Agius, "Did you ever consider that you were hindering Mr Lomax while he exercised his right of entry on that site?'

Sergeant Battye stated that WorkCover were attending and the presence of the union was not necessary given that the appropriate regulatory authority was present.

Mr Agius just kicked a very significant own-goal - he asked Sergeant Battye to "name one" of the breaches of the workplace safety act he thought Mr Lomax had committed.

Sergeant Battye said, "I'll name 5" he then proceeded to quote from the legislation with apparent authority.

At 11.41 Mr Agius completed his cross examination.   It's difficult to see what he achieved.

Sergeant Battye was excused from further attendance. 



Dennis Milin re-appears for cross-examination by Mr Agius.

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Mr Stoljar handed Mr Milin over to Mr Agius.

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The cross-examination consists of Mr Agius identifying propositions put by Mr Milin in his statement or evidence in chief, then putting to Mr Milin that the thing done or said never happened.

Occasionally Mr Agius imputes a motive on behalf of Mr Milin - "you did that because......".

Thus far Mr Milin hasn't altered his evidence.

At 12.19 Mr Agius completed his perfunctory cross-examination.

Mr Chin has a couple of questions.

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At 12.25 Mr Milin was excused from further attendance.



The ABC keeps some very dangerous, subversive company on Q&A - it's all very funny till someone gets a head off

The beheadings are real; the stonings are real; the buildings gay people are thrown from are real.   And very tall.

To paraphrase Churchill it's easy to work out who to back when the choice is between the fire and the fire brigade.

The sad thing about this article in The Australian today is that its author, Ted Lapkin is a former ministerial adviser in the Abbott government.   If there's one thing we need now it's the moral clarity and authority of ideas like those set out by Mr Lapkin.   We pussy-foot around the Islamist issue, starting too many sentences with weasel words like "let's just acknowledge the great contributions made by....." or "well we have to recognise that the Christians of the Crusades engaged in....."

There's no place for apologia directed at Hamas and their ilk.

Our nation should be very clear about this truth - as Ted puts it in the last paragraph of his article:

.......we’ve become so timidly PC that many of us are incapable of recognising the obvious fact that Westminster democracy is superior to Wahhabi theocracy.

Here are a few paragraphs from Ted's piece in The Australian today:

THE moment actress Miriam Margolyes opened her mouth to opine on anti-Semitism during the ABC’s Q&A this week, the moral rot at the heart of 21st-century leftist thought came on full display. Responding to an audience question on the issue of Jew-­hatred, the ever-so-progressive Margolyes indulged in a nauseating exhibition of “blame the victim” pathology. The reason “people don’t like Jews”, she didactically intoned, “is because of the actions of the state of Israel”.

Margolyes declared during a BBC interview in 2010 that she “totally understood” Palestinian anti-Jewish hostility because Is­rael “foments it”. Using Margolyes’s line of reasoning as a guide, the slaughter of Jews in Paris and Copenhagen should not be blamed on the jihadi fascists who actually pulled the triggers. The true culprits responsible for the shedding of Jewish blood in France and Denmark are instead those dastardly Zionists whose ­actions incite justifiable Islamic resentment.

This argument reflects a perverse form of patronising bigotry that infantilises Muslims by denying them the capacity for moral agency. By rationalising jihadi terrorism as a defensive reaction to the sins of the West, leftists un­avoidably portray Islamic radicals as wayward children who should not be held responsible for their actions.

 At the height of World War II, George Orwell assailed British pacifists for being “objectively pro-Fascist”. After all, Orwell reasoned, “if you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other”.

By this same token Margolyes is guilty of being objectively pro-Hamas. Through her uncritical pro-Palestinian activism she provides political aid and polemical comfort to one of the most noxious theofascist movements in the world today.

It’s not just that Hamas has dispatched suicide bombers to murder Jewish civilians in Israel’s cities. In the world according to Margolyes that’s just an unfortunate but understandable by-product of Zionist oppression.


My questions to Slater and Gordon Limited about its Trust Account Ledger

On Thursday, 8 May I wrote to

Hamish Heard
Senior Media Advisor 
485 La Trobe St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Here is the email.

May 8 (2 days ago)
Dear Hamish,

What is Slater and Gordon's understanding of the meaning of the term "DDep" used in its Trust Account Ledger in relation to its recorded receipt of $67,722.30 in its Trust Account on 22 March, 1993?

What does Slater and Gordon's bank statement show as the source of these funds?

What advice did Slater and Gordon receive to suggest that "Mr Ralph Blewitt" was the source of the $67,722.30?

What does Slater and Gordon now believe to be the real source of that money?  Has Slater and Gordon's Trust Account Ledger been updated to reflect that understanding?   Does Slater and Gordon continue to record that Ralph Blewitt is the genuine source of those funds?

Slater and Gordon will now be aware that the actual source of the funds processed through its Trust Account and converted into Real Property in that transaction was the AWU Workplace Reform Association, an entity incorporated pursuant to an Application to the WA Corporate Affairs Commissioner prepared by your then salaried partner Julia Eileen Gillard.  The recorded principal of the entity was Ralph Blewitt, but by all accounts the person who instructed your partner was her defacto partner Bruce Morton WILSON.   Given the conflict of interest your partner had in her obligations to your client the AWU and her apparent work in favouring her defacto Bruce Wilson, what steps has Slater and Gordon taken to report what appears to be a money laundering exercise involving its Trust Account?

You may be interested to read this article published on the internet by me this day.

I telephoned Hamish today and spoke about my email.  Hamish told me that it had been referred to more senior management in Slater and Gordon.   I told Hamish that the issues at the heart of my questions were very serious and would be brought to the attention of the Legal Services Board.

I was told Slater and Gordon Limited would get back to me.   It's now nearly 7.30PM Friday night and I have no answer. 

The devastating effect of writing out the $67,772.30 cheque from the AWU WRA cheque book

Every touch leaves its trace.

Cheques have account numbers, cheque numbers and drawer details (ie the precise name of the account owner) printed on them so that the details don't get lost or misreported in banking systems.

The person who wrote this:

Gillard association
could be expected to recognise this.

Awu workplace reform

The current managing director of Slater and Gordon tells us that Julia Gillard was the partner at Slater and Gordon who acted directly for Ralph Blewitt in the conveyance of 1/85 Kerr Street Fitzroy.

Here now is a paper prepared today by reader StephenJ

We have the statement of Grech that Gillard had the carriage of the Kerr St conveyance. The file contains references to interactions between her and Olive. It makes complete sense that this would be the case given such factors as her attendance at the auction, preparation of the Power of Attorney and relationship with Wilson.


Regulation 3.3.9 (5) of the current Legal Profession Regulations requires the name of the person from whom relevant money has been received to be recorded on a receipt. This information should also appear in the Cash receipts book and the ledger. The same requirement would have existed in 1993.


S& G would have received daily statements from the bank on their Trust Account in order that their ledger would accurately reflect the funds available. It is from such statements that their entries in their Trust records would have been made.


The information given to Ian Cambridge by the Commonwealth Bank includes a copy of the actual cheque it processed to negotiate the movement of $67,772.30 from the AWU WRA and deposited into the Slater and Gordon Trust Account.   That information is at odds with the source of funds recorded in the Slater and Gordon Trust Account ledger.

The entry of this information into the Ledger is a routine matter and given that the Trust Account was audited would have been correctly done in the great majority of cases. It is highly likely that it did not occur in this case due to the intervention of someone in the firm with some level of authority. The obvious candidate for this is Gillard. She was the person who had the carriage of the matter, she had knowledge of the parties and she had the authority of a partner.

If that is so, it demonstrates the following. 

1.She now knew irrefutably that the AWU WRA was not an election slush fund.

2.Assuming that the Association had been a legitimate body to this stage it was now acting contrary to its rules (her rules).

3.The statements she subsequently made in her termination interview about Blewitt's motivations for the investment and status as a sophisticated investor were bald faced lies. '

4.Above all it shows that at this stage she had a guilty mind as to the source of the funds.

Whilst S&G appear to have breached the regulations covering Trust Accounts, the overwhelming significance of the recording of the deposit is what it potentially shows about Gillard’s state of mind at this time and the implications that flow from that about her involvement as a Principal in the whole scam.