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The AWU Scandal - Fairfax Reports Question Time

Gillard again refuses to answer explicit slush fund  questions

Date October 31,  2012
Done: Julia Gillard says she has dealt with the matter already.

Done: Julia Gillard says she has dealt with the matter already. Photo:  Andrew Meares

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has refused for a second day to answer explicit  questions about her role in helping set up a union slush fund her former  boyfriend used to steal hundreds of thousands of  dollars.

Ms Gillard again responded angrily to a question from Deputy Opposition  Leader Julie Bishop about her work as a lawyer in 1992 establishing the  Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association.

Ms Bishop had asked in question time why Ms Gillard - then a partner at law  firm Slater & Gordon - had drafted terms for the incorporation of the  association that claimed it was for training and workplace safety when she knew  and had since publicly admitted it was a slush fund.

''I have asked why the PM made a false statement in this document, which I do  wish to table, and she should answer that,'' she said.

Ms Gillard responded by quoting a report in Tuesday's  Age in which  some Liberal backbenchers advocated a change in opposition tactics to focus more  on policy and less on muck-raking.

''I've dealt with these matters extensively on the public record and no  amount of muck and filth from her, to the dismay of her Liberal colleagues, will  change that simple fact,'' she said.

In rejecting leave for the incorporation document to be tabled, Labor Leader  of the House, Anthony Albanese, said: ''No, the Deputy Leader can file it in  their mud bucket.''

The Age revealed two weeks ago that the association was   incorporated only after Ms Gillard wrote to the West Australian Corporate  Affairs Commission vouching for its bona fides. Under WA law, such an  association was not permitted to deliver financial benefits to its members or  officials.

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Ms Gillard has already made two important admissions about her misbehaviour in this matter.  

Firstly, that the "slush fund" was not what it purported to be - and that she knew at the time that it was not what it was purported to be.   In other words, she created paperwork that was false, the instrument (or paperwork) that she created was a false instrument.

Secondly, that that the purpose of the deception was for the personal gain of her boyfriend.  That is, it was to raise money for his election.   As Fair Work Australia deposed to the Federal Court in the Craig Thomson prosecution, election to a paid job is a "personal benefit" and any money spent in that exercise is money spent to gain a "personal benefit".   Dress it up all you like about what you'll do once you get that job - but getting the job, getting paid, that's a personal benefit. 

Gillard has made the admissions:-

She set out to deceive anyone who read that slush fund/workplace reform documents

She did it to obtain a financial benefit for her boyfriend.

The opposition has now given her the opportunity to explain to the House.

The PM has refused to explain.

She should have the allegations against her spelled out.

She should be given the opportunity to make a statement to the House.

The floor of the house should then take a vote about its confidence in her.