Roxon doesn't see a problem
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
The Daily Telegraph and other News Limited papers carried this story today
When Slater and Gordon discovered it had a conflict of interest in the AWU business in 1995, the AWU took its legal work to Maurice Blackburn. Nicola Roxon worked on the AWU files as a lawyer at that firm.
Nicola Roxon now chairs the House of Representatives Privileges Committee. I think her failure to bring my complaint against the Prime Minister to the Committee's last meeting raises questions about a potential conflict of interest.
The former Attorney General yesterday shrugged off the claims, saying the privileges committee would continue "in the usual manner" in handling the complaint - by former radio host Michael Smith.
Smith issued a complaint to Speaker Anna Burke, who then referred it to the privileges committee.
Smith questioned how Ms Roxon could take part in deliberations given she was involved in the AWU affair herself during her time as a lawyer in Melbourne in the late 1990s.
Ms Roxon was a solicitor for Maurice Blackburn and worked on the Australian Workers Union files after Ms Gillard stopped representing the union for Slater & Gordon.
Last month Smith complained to parliament about the PM under right of reply rules, saying she had misled the house by smearing him with false claims, including that he was sacked from 2UE when he had resigned.
Smith issued a complaint to Ms Burke, who referred it to the privileges committee.
The committee does not judge the truthfulness of the original comments but makes a decision on whether it is reasonable for the right of reply to be included in Hansard.
Smith yesterday said he had been told by people on the committee that its meeting last month lasted 12 minutes and did not hear his case.
"It does sound suss that she is involved ... and did not bring my complaint to the committee," Smith said.
"I think she has a conflict of interest."
Ms Roxon said she was prohibited from talking publicly about the committee's deliberations: "The work of the committee continues in the usual manner."
She did not specify whether Smith's case had been heard.
In his complaint, Smith said Ms Gillard had accused him of deliberately trying to defame her but he said he had presented her office with all documentary evidence about questions he wanted to ask.
Here's a link to my original complaint.
Here's some background information including the original Hansard.