The AWU Scandal - WA Associations Incorporation Act - The sham "Australian Workers' Union Workplace Reform Association"
UPDATED 30 November, 2012
This Association is at the heart of the AWU Fraud. I thought you might like to look at the 3rd post I put on this blog, in August, 2012.
I've been asked a few questions about this Association and Miss Gillard's role in it - I first posted this on day one of this site and I know that quite a few people won't have seen it, so I thought I'd put it back up on the top of the blog for a while.
I'm told that Melbourne lawyers who are now acting for Ralph Blewitt have advised Slater and Gordon and its previous partner Nick Styant Brown that Mr Blewitt has waived any privilege that may have bound Slater and Gordon to maintain confidentiality over the association's files or Ms Gillard's answers in the recorded interview upon her departure from Slater and Gordon. You will note that large slabs of that interview remain redacted over "client privilege". I'm told that Mr Blewitt is keen for all of that to become public.
The now notorious Association “Australian Workers’ Union – Workplace Reform Association” was incorporated under Western Australian law.
The Western Australian parliament envisaged that it would be useful for groups of people to come together, to associate and to inform the government of their association so that they could incorporate, or become a single body corporate. Amongst other things that would let them open bank accounts.
The parliament in the West saw that as a community good for sports, arts, cultural groups and the like.
There are less burdensome reporting requirements on associations than there are for companies, trusts or other forms of corporate entities (or bodies).
What we know for sure is that Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt wanted an Association incorporated under the legislation that I’ve attached to this blog.
The law is Western Australian law. It’s not industrial relations law, it’s a local state law designed for small community groups.
Here is the law.
You will note several significant points.
1 – An association must have 5 members to incorporate under this law. Bruce and Ralph only had
themselves. There were no other members.
2 An association cannot incorporate under this law if it proposes to trade for pecuniary profit. Bruce and Ralph started issuing invoices as soon as their Association paperwork went in, in fact before it was even incorporated.
3 An association cannot incorporate under this law if it is a trade union.
4 An association cannot incorporate under this law if its name is misleading as to its purpose.
Note J Gillard’s statement that it was a re-election slush fund. Compare and contrast with the name.
5 An association cannot incorporate under this law if it sounds like another corporate body.
That is at the heart of this association. As you’ll see when I get to the invoices Bruce and Ralph sent out, the scam wouldn’t have worked if it didn’t sound like it was part of the AWU.
So Bruce Wilson’s choice of lawyer is significant. He started going out with Julia Gillard in
late 1991 (source, J Gillard departure interview with Slater and Gordon).
Rather than go to a suburban solicitor in Perth who would be conversant with the local law, Bruce flew with Ralph to Melbourne to meet with Ms Gillard. Ms Gillard acknowledges having “given legal advice” in the establishment of this association (source, transcript of interview 23 August, 2012).
Here is what the PM said last week:
“I will be far more precise than that. I was a solicitor at Slater & Gordon. I assisted with the provision of advice regarding the setting up of an association, the workplace reform association that you refer to. My understanding is that the purpose of the association was to support the re-election of a team of union officials and their pursuit of the policies that they would stand for re-election on. It was my understanding that the association would engage in fundraising activities, including, for example, there being regular payroll deductions from union officials who would be putting their money together to support their re-election campaign and that they may well have other fundraising activities like hosting dinners where it would be transparent to people that the money was going to support their re-election campaign. My role in relation to this was I provided advice as a solicitor. I am not the signatory to the documents that incorporated this association. I was not an office bearer of the association. I had no involvement in the working of the association. I provided advice in relation to its establishment and that was it.”
It was pretty crap advice. But then Bruce got it for free so it probably reinforces the maxim that you get what you pay for.
The truth is that Julia Gillard’s role went beyond advice. There are 9 pages of rules entitled Objects of the Association” that were appended to the application.
Importantly, the name “Australian Workers’ Union – Workplace Reform Association” is in Julia Gillard’s handwriting on the 2 forms that form part of the application. Thus we can link Ms Gillard to specific advice about the name of the association – that it included the words “Australian Workers’ Union”. That she did that without any explanatory note, minute or other permission from the owner of that name, the AWU is beyond explanation.
After this blog I will explain how Ms Gillard’s boyfriend used the sham association to pass itself off as being a subsidiary entity of the AWU and how he used that passing-off to rip-off money.
This is a copy of the Application that contains Ms Gillard's writing on the line that has the name of the Association.