The AWU Scandal - More on the Power of Attorney - updated 15 January, 2013
The AWU Scandal - letter to Wilson - everyone seemed to know Wilson was the purchaser

The AWU Scandal - Report union abuses to cops: PM

Real Julia 2012 should have spoken to young and naive Julia in September 1995.   Miss Gillard knew then about the AWU-WRA she'd set up, she spoke about it in her departure interview after the file on it was discovered in her office.   She knew her boyfriend Bruce Wilson was being investigated for fraud, but she failed to tell the union or authorities about the AWU-WRA.

The Australian's Brendan Nicholson has a great report from the Federal Parliament yesterday.

Yesterday, Fairfax newspapers reported they had documents confirming that the disgraced Mr Wilson took a leading role in purchasing the terrace in the name of a union crony, Ralph Blewitt.

During question time the Coalition resumed its attack on the Prime Minister indirectly by questioning her about another, unrelated, property purchase in which union funds were used.

Liberal deputy leader Julie Bishop asked Ms Gillard if Labor's Fair Work Act adequately covered the purchase by the Electrical Trades Union of a mansion in Oyster Bay, complete with five bedrooms and a butler's pantry, for one of its officials.

Ms Bishop referred to a Fairfax report on the purchase but Speaker Anna Burke ruled the question out of order, saying it had no relevance to Ms Gillard's role.

Then Ms Bishop rephrased her question: "I refer the Prime Minister to the Fair Work Act, which regulates organisations, including the Electrical Trades Union.

"Does the Prime Minister believe that the act sufficiently covers a circumstance where the union has purchased a million-dollar mansion in Oyster Bay, complete with five bedrooms and a butler's pantry, for one of its officials?" Ms Bishop asked.

Ms Gillard responded that the provisions in the Fair Work Act that regulated registered organisations were still as they were under the Howard government.

The Prime Minister went on to say that the misuse of union members' money was, of course, wrong. And so was the misuse of funds by employer organisations, Ms Gillard said.

"Anyone who has an allegation of misuse, whether it is in a trade union or in an employer organisation, should report that suspected misuse to the appropriate regulator and then it should be fully and appropriately investigated and dealt with," she said.

"I would take exactly the same attitude to this as I take to fraud and poor conduct in corporations and to dishonesty generally.

"Anybody who has an allegation of dishonest conduct should take it to the appropriate authority to be dealt with," Ms Gillard said.

An AWU spokesman said yesterday the allegations of fraud involving Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt related to a time between 1992 and 1995. When the allegations came to the attention of union leaders in 1995, legal action was launched against those involved and the union handed over all relevant material to police in Western Australia and Victoria.

"The people involved in the allegations were forced out of the union between 1993 and 1995," the spokesman said. Union leaders responded in a swift and appropriate manner to ensure those responsible for the fraud were held to account, the spokesman said.  

 

It would have been nice if Miss Gillard had reported the AWU-WRA to the union when she told her partners about it.   The union didn't find out until April the next year, by which time Wilson and Blewitt were long gone and the Kerr Street house was sold.

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