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April 2013

A detailed timeline, 765 entries with links to important documents in The AWU Scandal UPDATED VERSION FRESH OFF THE PRESSES

Reader Newbposter has done the entire community a great service once again with this tremendously detailed Excel spreadsheet that serves as timeline, index, reference point and narrative in The AWU Scandal.

There are 765 entries appearing in chronological order - each with links to documents, often multiple documents.

If you type in Control F you'll bring up a search box - type in the text of what you're looking for (say, "Power of Attorney") and you'll be guided through each entry that refers to that topic.

Newbposter has done a truly breathtaking job.   I know that several authorities and media organisations swear by this spreadsheet.   Newbposter, on behalf of all of us, Thank You!!!!!

Download it and save it on your computer - you'll be amazed how often it comes in handy.

Download Detailed Timeline and references updated (29 April 2013)

The parable of Pharaoh John and Vizier Peter

I wrote this in March, 2009 when every man and their deceased overseas non-resident mate was flashing the $900 Kev Cheques like confetti.   Given the parables of John being trotted out lately I thought it could do with another airing.


The Wise Men from the Orient

Once upon a time there was a Pharaoh – let’s call him Pharaoh John.   Pharaoh John was helped by a Vizier called Peter.   Peter was a hard man who was feared but respected by his people.

Each year the people worked hard – they ploughed the fields, sowed the seeds, harvested the crop, sifted the wheat from the chaff and stored the wheat in silos.   In the good years, they produced more than they consumed – and the surplus was stored away.   The wise Pharaoh knew that in some years, the rains didn’t come and the fields didn’t produce enough to meet their needs.

Under the Pharaoh’s leadership the grain silos were always in surplus – and so they had enough to eat during the lean years.

When the wise Pharaoh passed on, he was succeeded by a prodigal Pharaoh.   Let’s call him Kevin.   Kevin wanted the people to like him.   He said it was time to party.   Don’t worry about work, it’s boring.  

Kevin said “There’s so much grain in the silos that we can afford to give everyone a bonus hand-out for free.   Have a party on me!”

The people loved him.   They stopped working – and why wouldn’t they when they got grain for free?   Kev was the most popular Pharaoh the nation had known since Pharaoh Bob!   (Pharaoh Bob was a hard act to follow after he said that any Scribe who sacked a worker for pulling a sickie after the nation’s sailing win was a bum!)

It had taken Pharoah John and his Vizier Pete 10 years to replenish the nation’s grain silos after Bob’s reign.   Pharoah Kev emptied them out in 8 months!   The people rejoiced with wine, women and song.   And they bought up big – particularly with imports from the mysterious nation of the Orient.  

The Wise Men of the East who were exporting their goods to Kev’s people thought that Pharaoh Kev was just great, he made them very happy indeed.

One day Kev’s Vizier Wayne went to the silo for the next hand-out.   He was shocked to see the grain-store was empty!   So Wayne called the Wise Men from the mysterious oriental nation in for a secret meeting.   It was so secret the nation’s Scribes weren’t allowed to talk about it.   Pharaoh Kev and Wayne begged the Wise Men from the East to lend them grain.   The Wise Men agreed but they demanded very generous terms in return.

Kev and Wayne couldn’t believe their luck!   Sure enough, the Wise Men from the East delivered on their promise – they filled the silos with grain.   As fast as they could deliver the grain (via a tender every Wednesday and Friday) Kev and Wayne handed it out to the people and the party went on and on and on!   The people couldn’t believe their luck!   Kevin smiled and spoke in mysterious tongues – the people couldn’t understand where the grain was coming from but Kev said it was the right thing to do and he would know!

One day the Wise Men from the East came calling again.  

This time no one was smiling.  

They held a big meeting and everyone was invited.   The Wise Men brought out the parchment that Kev and Wayne had signed.    There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.   The Wise Men brought their own Viziers, Scribes and Pharisees.   Soon everyone was speaking in the mysterious tongue of the East.   And the people were forced to get used to working again – this time for the Men from the East.   And try though they might, this time there was no Moses to lead them from slavery.

Kev and Wayne sailed off with Bob into the sunset to a lovely future on the speaking circuit.   They told tales of the good old days when money was free and the economy was stimulated to within an inch of its life!  

And the Wise Men from the East smiled knowingly.


Our budget position is the fault and responsibility of Julia Gillard - some "legacy"

It's infuriating to watch people who are insulated by huge salaries and unimaginable pensions for life stuff up the economy and sap confidence.   Most of us have to work in jobs that are financed by money that has to be earned - not collected.   It'd be nice to have a bit of competence back at the helm and some encouragement for investment.

The AFR's economics editors Alan Mitchell puts the responsibility for our budgetary dramas - and the blame for the consequences - squarely at Julia Gillard's feet.   And the same old character traits that led to her dreadful decisions in the past have come back to the fore again now - writ large.   If it's bad for the bosses then it must be good for union leaders, and no one loves to please a union leader like our "willing captive", Julia Gillard.

Gillard, not Treasury, led government into deficit

Alan Mitchell, Economics Editor with the Australian Financial Review

Julia Gillard would like us to blame the world economy, the Australian dollar and the Treasury’s revenue forecasts for her government’s fiscal problems.

But the truth is that those problems are fundamentally of her own making.

It was her government’s decisions that left the budget still in deficit at the peak of the biggest commodity price and mining investment boom in our history.

It was her government’s fiscal planning that, at best, would have produced a run of small budget surpluses out to 2015-6. It was her choice to commit to spend almost every cent the government could lay its hands on, and to brush aside warnings of the need for serious reform of major government programs such as Medicare.

And that is why the government’s fiscal strategy has failed.

That failure is not just that the budget won’t be in surplus in 2012-13, as she promised. It is that the government’s fiscal strategy could not promise a return of the budget to reasonable surpluses in the foreseeable future. It will take some unpopular election-year spending or tax changes just to create a halfway respectable set of budget forward estimates to take to the election. According to Gillard, these changes may have to include measures previously ruled out: more broken promises, in other words.  

Gillard’s longed-for post-budget boost in the polls seems further out of reach than ever. Moreover, Peter Costello’s taunt, that the budget would never be in surplus under Labor, has been demonstrated in a way that he could not have imagined.

Under Gillard, life has imitated Liberal hyperbole.

Mitchell ponders the minority government and other potential causes for Gillard's bizarre decisions - but comes back to her longstanding wish to please union bosses.

 .....a less charitable interpretation of events is that she was a willing captive of the union bosses that put her into the prime ministership.

The needed reform of government spending did not occur because she was unwilling to cross the public sector unions. Well, her government will pay a heavy price.

And still the spending announcements keep coming, along with the unrestricted flow of illegal and uncontrolled boat arrivals bearing well-informed welfare seekers.

And what is Gillard's response?   When in doubt tax, tax, tax. She seems to have bound herself to creating her "legacy" of achievement in office regardless of the costs - well she should be in doubt, she'll leave a thumping legacy all right - we'll be remembering it and paying for it for years.  Here's Philip Coorey in the AFR reporting on Gillard's speech yesterday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard raised the prospect of a Medicare-style levy to fund her proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme as she warned that business, families and institutions will be hit at the May 14 budget to help pay for the scheme and the government’s school funding reforms.

In a speech which sparked widespread speculation and alarm, Ms Gillard said the worse-than-expected tax revenue situation meant areas of policy previously quarantined from the budget axe were now under consideration and she faced “decisions both urgent and grave”.

“I have expressly determined we need to have every reasonable option on the table to meet the needs of the times, even options previously taken off the table.”

Ms Gillard alluded to spending cuts and a tax rise – potentially an increased Medicare levy rather than a separate impost – when she said that because of “far more significant reductions in tax money than was expected, we are going through the process now of making decisions to spend less in some areas than we had hoped [and] to raise more in revenue in some areas than we had planned’’.

The Australian Financial Review understands the government expects to deliver a budget deficit this financial year of between $16 billion and $17 billion. After Ms Gillard spoke, speculation raged about other areas of previously untouched policy.

 And the AFR dedicates its editorial to the plainly obvious.   Gillard and Swan are spending way too much and it has to stop.

Now, Ms Gillard wants to allow deficits to continue for another four years or more because of a “temporary loss of income’’ and because she is determined to push ahead with Labor’s big-ticket spending promises on schooling and disability services.

Rather than not enough revenue, however, the problem is too much spending. Ms Gillard herself notes in passing that the weakness in budget revenue is in part “a return to normality – returning to long-term averages”. That is, the deficit is ­structural, not cyclical. It will not reverse by itself. It will need proactive extra cutting to eliminate the deficit.

Having belatedly acknowledged its budget black hole, the government should cut back the momentum of unsustainable spending. This requires either a one-off budget consolidation worth 1 per cent of GDP or holding spending below economic growth for some years. At the least, it requires a fair dinkum review of the role and scope of government spending.

Mr Swan damns any serious proposal to fill his own budget hole as akin to Europe’s “mindless austerity”. In fact, serious attempts to get the budget to black are needed precisely to avoid such a situation. Acting now, when the resource boom’s investment phase is yet to end, would reduce the risk that Australia repeats the mistakes of Europe’s over-generous welfare states before 2007. Most European economies have no choice but to cut savagely: financial markets will not lend them any more money unless they do. Australia weathered the global financial crisis because Mr Swan ­inherited a Chinese-fuelled budget buffer. As the end of our resource development boom appears, we risk facing our next shock with a bare budget cupboard.


Mark Latham dedicates another AFR column to Andrew Robb and demonising depression

I can't think of a more important recent decision on the Conservative side of politics than to stop Malcolm Turnbull from siding with Kevin Rudd over the 2010 plans for an Emissions Trading Scheme.

I recall the details very well.   It was democracy in action - talkback callers, emailers to electorate offices and Liberal/National Party members at Party meetings were pretty much united in opposition to Malcolm Turnbull over climate change.   They did not agree with Turnbull's philosophy on anthropogenic global warming (much like Rudd's 2010 public position), and they definitely did not want any part in Mr Turnbull's ETS deal with Mr Rudd.

Today, Mark Latham has used Andrew Robb's stunning party room speech (which drew a standing ovation from his colleagues and turned the Party room away from an ETS deal with Labor) as the backdrop for his churlish and just plain weird commentary about Andrew's past depression.   Here's part of Latham's column in today's AFR

The note was written by Andrew Robb, Turnbull’s climate change spokesman, who had taken leave from parliamentary duties in September 2009 to deal with a mental illness. Robb returned to work just in time to contribute to the party room debate on the ETS. He had been expected to support his leader’s proposed compromise with Labor, thus allowing the legislation to pass the Senate. Instead, he embarked on a series of deceitful ploys to bring down Turnbull.

Robb’s first lie was to conceal from his leader his opposition to the ETS compromise. When asked by Turnbull lieutenant Senator Michael Ronaldson if he was going to speak in the debate, he said he didn’t know. In fact, Robb saw himself as the key player in scuttling Turnbull’s policy. As he wrote in his 2011 book Black Dog Daze, “I knew that if I didn’t say anything, there was no one else [in the opposition] equipped to challenge the proposal.”

Robb suffers from delusions of grandeur. His book was a lightly veiled application for party leadership. Two years ago he publicly declared he should be the shadow treasurer, replacing Joe Hockey. During the ETS controversy, Robb thought he needed to speak early in the party room debate, otherwise momentum would build in favour of Turnbull’s position.

Robb achieved his goal through deviousness. In order to be elevated on the speakers’ list, he misled his leader about the impact of his depression medication. In a note to Turnbull, who was chairing the meeting, he claimed, “the side-effects of the medication I am on now make me very tired, I’d be really grateful if you could get me to my feet soon”. This was a wicked tactic. As Robb recorded in his book, under the heading An Act of Treachery, “I didn’t feel that good about doing this . . . I was tired, that wasn’t a lie, although I had my share of adrenaline pumping and could have easily sat there for another couple of hours.”

The ruse worked. “Malcolm called me up and I went for it”, Robb wrote. He received a “standing ovation” and “poked holes all over their proposal”. A week later Turnbull lost the Liberal leadership to Tony Abbott in a coup organised by Robb and the party’s other climate change sceptics.

While politicians sometimes lie about policy proposals, I have never known an MP to be disingenuous about something as important as mental illness and the impact of their medication. Robb has set a new low in Australian public life. He will say and do anything for personal and political advantage, symptomatic of someone unsuited to community service.

Really Mark?  That's the best you've got for today's serve on Andrew Robb?   

No, there's more.   Andrew Robb hands his leader a note asking if he can speak first in a meeting because he's tired, just returning to work after sick leave.   Latham's managed to spin a whole column out of that - which includes this incredible claim:

The Liberals are asking voters to trust someone in the management of the Commonwealth’s $400 billion budget who could not be trusted to tell the truth about his mental illness medication. (Mark ignores Andrew's tell-all book and his comprehensive speeches about dealing with depression - MPS).

Despite his many lectures on the need for honesty in politics, Abbott was unperturbed by Robb’s lies. He promoted him to the position of finance spokesman and then chairman of the Coalition’s election policy committee. This is the burning irony of the current campaign: the party running on the question of trust has had its policies drafted by the shiftiest figure in modern Australian politics.

The shiftiest figure in modern Australian politics?   I think Mark Latham got that call right just over 12 months ago on Sky News's Australian Agenda when he assessed Julia Gillard's character.

Mark Latham's lament on 'liar' PM Julia Gillard


LABOR can't go to an election with Julia Gillard as leader and needs to install a "non-liar" into the post, former leader Mark Latham said yesterday.

Raising talk of leadership change only weeks after Ms Gillard beat a challenge from Kevin Rudd, Mr Latham believes there is no way the party would stick with Ms Gillard.

"Well, the only option for the Labor Party is to bring in a non-liar as prime minister," he told Sky TV's Australian Agenda. "And inevitably, as certain as night follows day, they will change leaders before the next election.

"They can't possibly go to the next poll with Gillard. I mean, there's no way of unscrambling the egg, having broken an important election promise like this."

Mr Latham said that aside from structural problems within the ALP, which led to the Queensland election loss, the party needed to heed lessons about the broken carbon tax promise: "There is absolutely no margin for lying."

Read all about it at the Daily Telegraph - I'd be obliged if someone could find the video!   

Grace Collier - scoop of the decade - collect your award from the AFR's moral arbiter, Mr Latham

A question of credibility

Mark Latham - 14 Feb 2013 Australian Financial Review

It is now 15 days since Grace Collier wrote in these pages that Julia Gillard is under investigation by the Victorian police in the Slater & Gordon/AWU matter. If she is right, Collier has the scoop of the decade, reporting news which other media outlets have missed.

Ben Fordham, 2GB last week - reported in The Australian last weekend.

So, let me make this perfectly clear. The Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, is under investigation by police. This is fact. I hadn't planned to add to what I said yesterday out of respect for the detectives on the case. But if the Prime Minister's office wants to deny she's being investigated, as has been reported last night and today, then I will once again correct that record. Now it needs to be pointed out that the Prime Minister and her office mightn't know she's being investigated. But I know it. And others do too. The detectives are investigating three individuals and one of them is Julia Gillard. Prime Minister, you may not know this, but you are currently being investigated by the Fraud and Extortion Squad of the Victoria Police Force.

Slater and Gordon and the Trust Account Receipt for the money from the AWU Workplace Reform Association

We posted quite a bit about the Trust Account Receipt for this money just before Anzac Day.

The AWU Workplace Reform Association cheque for $67,722.30 was deposited at a WA branch of the CBA on 18 March, 1993.   The cheque wasn't made out to the CBA for conversion into a bank cheque, it's a cheque from the account of the AWU-WRA to the Trust Account of Slater and Gordon.

By April, 1996 it was clear that the cheque and the statements of account that showed the cheque being deposited into Slater and Gordon's Trust Account were important pieces of evidence in the Industrial Relations Court of Australia and its investigations into The AWU Scandal.   Ian Cambridge  expressed incredulity at Slater and Gordon permitting the use of funds from the AWU-WRA in the purchase of real estate by an individual.  So what Slater and Gordon's bank told the firm, and what the firm recorded in its Trust Account to describe the deposit in its bank account are important matters.   

The Slater and Gordon conveyance and mortgage files were subpoenaed by the Industrial Relations Court (and on the basis that Ian Cambridge's affidavit exhibited all relevant material returned with the subpoena) it can be inferred that no copies of the Trust Account Receipts were sent by Slater and Gordon with the conveyance file to the court.

Ralph's cheque

Here is Slater and Gordon's letter in response to Ralph Blewitt's recent written request for a copy of the Trust Account Receipt:


Dear Mr Blewitt.
I write in response to the request for Trust Account receipts associated with your conveyancing file for your purchase of a property in 1993. I am assuming for this purpose that you are no longer represented by Galbally Rolfe and I can communicate directly with you in this regard. For the avoidance of doubt, and as we have previously advised you should continue to seek independent legal advice concerning these matters.
Your request was to our Managing Director Mr Andrew Grech. Mr Grech is on leave and has asked me to respond on his behalf.
Under the rules and laws applying to Trust Account receipts they must be kept for 7 years. Nevertheless we requested our Matter Accounts group search for receipts from 1993 related to this matter. Unfortunately it appears the firm largely no longer holds trust account receipts for the early 1990's given the expiration of time. We do enclose a copy of our Trust Account ledgers which we have previously provided to your lawyers. You will note that the ledger reflects that the transactions you have inquired about involved a Direct Deposit in your name. You are aware you deposited those funds at a Commonwealth Bank Branch in Western Australia. As previously advised to your lawyers there is no reference in your conveyance or mortgage file concerning where you sourced those funds. The other transaction you inquire about concerned a personal cheque in the name of R E & J A Blewitt.
You will note that these ledgers are in fact copies of the actual ledger that was printed off for the file on 13 July 1994 prior to any controversy concerning this conveyance. I am informed that this was likely to be for the purposes of archiving the file.
Yours faithfully
James Higgins


You will note that Mr Higgins doesn't state that the firm has no copies of the relevant Trust Account Receipts, rather that "it appears the firm largely no longer holds trust account receipts for the early 1990's".  It appears - the firm - largely - no longer holds.....

Maybe the firm might like to have a closer and better look.   

Spin Baby, Spin goes on to make these observations

An interesting response from James Higgins of Slater and Gordon.  I’d like to ask Mr Higgins where they filed their original Receipt Requisition and duplicate trust account receipt, and where the original trust account receipt was kept as it wasn’t sent to the client.  In my experience the duplicate and original trust account receipt should be on the conveyancing file.  A search in the Matter Accounts Group would of course fail to turn up the receipt.  DOH!  Do these guys think we’re idiots or something?  Have they looked on the conveyance file?  Perhaps Slater and Gordon operates in a different manner than all the firms I’ve worked at and doesn’t file Cheque and Receipt requisitions and the corresponding cheque remittance advice and duplicate receipts on the relevant files?  Somehow I doubt it.  My bulldust detector is going beep, beep, beep. 

It doesn’t surprise me that their Matter Accounts Group search results showed nothing.  They’d need to access archive file boxes of their accounts department to access the correct records.  He doesn’t say Slater and Gordon have searched for those file boxes and they have been destroyed.  He doesn’t say they’ve looked on the conveyance file as well.  He just implies they’ve looked in their “system” (that’d be the current one) and there’s nothing to be found, which is exactly what I’d expect if that’s the only place they looked.    

Would they be willing to access their old Accounts Boxes from the relevant period to see what their Trust Account Bank Statements from that time show the entry from their bank to be?  It’s that entry that should be on the trust account receipt, not what was written by the conveyancing clerk who “takes a stab in the dark on who the recipient might be” for a direct deposit.  If I were the Police I’d be subpoenaing that bank statement from Slater and Gordon from that archived accounts department box.  I know it’ll be there if they haven’t destroyed the relevant box and that destruction or otherwise can be confirmed by the company that’s been hired by Slater and Gordon to hold their archived files (someone like Recall or Brambles).  Every touch leaves its trace and every story can be background checked if it doesn’t sound right.  If Slater and Gordon want to pretend that their bank records no longer exist in their archive boxes, what would there be to stop the Police going down to the archive company and accessing the relevant boxes to get it?  Nothing.  This is a fraud case and the Police are quite capable of going and getting that statement if they think it relevant.  I reckon I could find it myself within ½ a day with the right access to the archival storage system. 

Personally I think that response from Higgins is a complete fob-off and I’d be going back to them asking them to clarify exactly where they searched, and where they expect the original and duplicate copy of their receipts would have ended up prior to their “destruction”.  Perhaps they don’t file them on their files like the firms I’ve worked for.  If they don’t want to answer in a timely manner, maybe Mr Styant-Browne would be willing to comment on normal practice at Slater and Gordon at that time on where the trust account receipts issued by the Accounts Department would have been filed if they weren’t sent to the client/depositor?  Every touch leaves its trace and I bet Mr Styant-Browne or indeed anyone who worked at Slater and Gordon at that time can confirm in a statutory declaration exactly where receipts issued by the Accounts Department in relation to client matters were filed at Slater and Gordon.  I bet the answer will be:  on the relevant file.  

If the current partners want to play games in relation to a simple request for a trust account receipt that should have been filed on the conveyance file and is easily accessed because they’ve already handed most of the client-portion of the file over to Blewitt – we know they’ve got that file, then I’m willing to play games too and give some good leads for a story.  Any journalist worth their salt out there prepared to start approaching partners who were at Slater and Gordon at the time for comment on where the Blewitt receipt should be?  Personally I hope Ralph is not prepared to lie down on this and writes back to Slater and Gordon seeking clarification of exactly where they have searched – and where they haven’t searched…


This blog post sets out the Trust Account and other practice rules that were relevant at the time.

And this from a learned fellow who's written in the past couple of days.

Mr Higgins of Slater and Gordon writes:

We do enclose a copy of our Trust Account ledgers which we have previously provided to your lawyers. You will note that the ledger reflects that the transactions you have inquired about involved a Direct Deposit in your name. You are aware you deposited those funds at a Commonwealth Bank Branch in Western Australia. 

As previously advised to your lawyers there is no reference in your conveyance or mortgage file concerning where you sourced those funds. 

Learned fellow goes on to observe:

The Ledger is incorrect. 

Trust Account receipts (and subsequently Trust Ledgers) must show the drawer of cheques received. 

It is misleading to say the S & G trust ledger reflects a “direct deposit” in Blewitt’s name and he deposited those funds. 

Blewitt deposited an AWU-WRA cheque with the Commonwealth Bank in Perth to be transferred by telegraphic transfer by the bank to the credit of Slater & Gordon’s trust account for the benefit of Ralph Blewitt. 

The bank was required and would have shown in their statement of the Slater & Gordon Trust account a receipt of a cheque from AWU-WRA to be credited to the Trust Account of Slater & Gordon for the benefit of Ralph Blewitt. 

Slater & Gordon incorrectly recorded in their Trust Account ledger that the cheque was drawn by Ralph Blewitt. It was not. 

Trust ledgers are required to accurately reflect the issued Trust Account receipt for funds received. 

Assuming the Trust ledger reflected the issued Trust Account Receipt then the receipt is also incorrect if it did not show the funds were received from the AWU-WRA, being the drawer of the cheque.. 

Trust Account receipts and subsequently, Trust Account Ledgers are required to detail the drawer of the cheque, as well as the details of the beneficiary and the matter/file it relates to. 

The correct wording of the receipt and then the Trust Account ledger should have been something along the lines – 

“Received on the  ___day ____of 1993 the sum of $67,000 from the AWU-WRA on account of Ralph Blewitt re the purchase of 1/85 Kerr Street, Fitzroy, (File number _____)”

In relation to Slater and Gordon's statement: 'As previously advised to your lawyers there is no reference in your conveyance or mortgage file concerning where you sourced those funds", Learned Fellow says:

Sophistry! What is in or not in the client files is not entirely relevant.

However, the Slater & Gordon Trust Account copy Receipt Book , their CBA Trust Account Statements and the Client Trust Ledger are relevant.

The CBA Trust Account for Slater & Gordon issued statements should have and I expect would have shown the drawer of the cheque deposited to the account was the AWU-WRA for the benefit of Ralph Blewitt. 

The Trust Account Receipt and Trust Account ledger issued by Slater & Gordon should have reflected this. If not ,then Salter & Gordon breached their legal obligations. 


It seems to me from the foregoing that just what the CBA put on Slater and Gordon's Trust Account Statement next to the deposit on 18 March, 1993, will be a very important entry indeed.   Check your bank statements, where a cheque is deposited, does your bank write out the name of the drawer, account number or other details?

Barry the chartist shows Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard are talking nonsense about revenues crashing

Barry tax receipts 29 ap

A follow up on the Budget.  The graphs again have a 13 monthly trailing moving average to smooth the sharp variations. 

I have changed the basis of this analysis to exclude the GST and some other distorting features.

I have now just taken recurring receipts such as PAYG, Company taxes and taxes on Superannuation on the revenue side.

I have excluded GST and  non tax revenues which ( and can be very volatile and high) are generally less than 6% of total receipts. 

On the expendture side I have exluded GST and other states grants in expenditure totals but have given the history for each of Education, Health and Social Security. 

 The key revenue feature is the continuing weakness in corporate taxes paid.  I suppose if you bash big business enough and destroy many small and medium businesses it is not surprising.

I don’t think Wayne Swan has yet realised that if businesses can’t be profitable then they can’t pay much tax.  Can’t employ people either.  Good Labor Values!! 

PAYG shows we are continuing to be slugged (up A$40bn in just two years!) and superannuation is just not profitable enough for anyone.

Barry tax spend 29 apr
The expenditures in the three main segments takes up about 68-70% of all outlays.They just keep rising.

A common assertion about Howard causing a middle class welfare surge is not supported by these data.

Note from 2006-mid 2008 Social Security rose from about A$87bnpa to about A$95bn-  about A$8bn over two years.

The subsequent rise from A$95bn to almost A$130bn (over A$30bn) in two years is all Swan and Rudd!!

Rises in Health and Education do not seem to have been part of that Middle Class Welfare and the changes are modest relative to everything else.

Barry tax spend and receipts 29 apr

And this graph just shows how the `Structural’ problem where Total Outlays ( excluding GST  States Grants) just keep rising and tax revenues just can’t keep up.

Brilliant performances by Swan and Wong! 

Revenue write downs indeed!  

Neither knows what it means but if you do your best to reduce company earnings through red, green and black tape and set up a more restrictive work practices regime then by golly gosh you will reduce your taxes revenues!! 

These monthly moving averages have been showing for a very long time that tax receipts never had a chance of keeping up with expenditures. 

Who in Treasury is repsonsible for all this? 

Who in the Treasurer’s or Finance Minister’s Offices hadn’t pointed this out?


The Power of Attorney, the document that Julia Gillard says she witnessed properly

I know that many in the media are now being asked by editors to research and to understand The AWU Scandal as the nation slowly comes to terms with its Prime Minister being a suspect in a Major Fraud Squad investigation by Victoria Police.

The Prime Minister is a primary suspect in potential offences associated with this document, which purports to record the good and valid donation of Ralph Blewitt's power of attorney to Bruce Wilson for the purchase of real estate in Victoria.

This Power of Attorney document was used in the purchase, conveyance and arrangement of a mortgage loan to finance what was ostensibly Ralph Blewitt's purchase of  1/85 Kerr Street Fitzroy in early 1993.   Blewitt, the donor of the Power of Attorney, says that the document was signed by him after the 13 February purchase, well after the 4th February, 1993 date on which it purports to be created - and that Gillard was not present when he Blewitt signed the document during the week of 15-19 February 1993, in Perth.

On 10 October, 2012, The Age and SMH published this report by Mark Baker, Editor at Large which tells us:

Gillard, then a salaried partner at Slater & Gordon, had been first challenged about her role in .....assisting with the purchase of the Fitzroy unit at a meeting on 14 August, 1995, with Geoff Shaw (the firm's general manager) and Nick Styant-Browne, an equity partner in charge of the firm's commercial department.

(one paragraph omitted for brevity)

She (also) confirmed that she had drafted the power of attorney for Wilson without advising senior colleagues.

Here is the front and back of the document as found in the Slater and Gordon conveyance file.

Power of attorney without certificate re copy

Power of attorney backing sheet

Below are some new comments from Spin Baby, Spin.   Spin Baby is a para-legal professional with an excellent working knowledge of conveyance, mortgage, trust account and other like transactions encountered in a legal practice.

Long term readers of the blog will be familiar with our posts on the topic of the Power of Attorney - which I've posted here to help others get some background on the issues.

Now here's some more commentary from Spin Baby, Spin.

Lawyers have very specific obligations to the Donor (the person granting the power) when preparing a Power of Attorney. 


It is important to understand that when a lawyer receives instructions to prepare a Power of Attorney, the Donor (in this case Blewitt) is always the client, and the lawyer’s obligations are to the donor, NOT the Attorney (in this case Gillard’s boyfriend Wilson). 


The lawyer has an obligation to explain the nature and effect of the power of attorney to the donor personally (or in writing) – without the Attorney in attendance (or interfering with the mail if it’s done in writing).  The lawyer has to be satisfied that the donor understands the nature and effect of the document.  They normally make enquiries of the Donor about what the Power of Attorney is intended to accomplish and at that point they (at least the ones I worked for) discussed what other options there are other than a Power of Attorney (eg in this case discussing completing the transaction via inter-state correspondence).


It is important to note that Lawyers generally attend on the Donor in person or if that’s not possible write a letter enclosing the document and explaining the effect of the instrument before it is signed.  At this point they also confirm the instructions received – in effect parroting them back to the client.  I cannot make the point strongly enough that they deal directly with the Donor in all aspects of the creation of the document.  Lawyers do not like to have the Attorney involved at this stage, because they have an obligation to ensure the Power is created without any duress from the Attorney and to have the attorney involved blurs the lines and allows allegations of improper conduct to occur if something goes wrong.  It’s just easier to cut the Attorney out of these dealings altogether at this point.


When personally attending on the Donor, (usually in the lawyer’s office) the lawyer would record the visit via a Diary Note where they note the nature of their advice – it’s at this point the document is signed in their presence and the diary note would confirm that.  If they don’t prepare a Diary Note they open themselves up to the allegation that they failed to properly explain the effect of the document to the Donor and they can be sued for damages if it is improperly used by the Attorney.


Gillard has confirmed in one of her marathon interviews that in her legal office every phone call and personal meeting with a client was diarised.  In my personal observations of lawyers, this is particularly so when advice is given verbally.  It is quite often confirmed in writing (parroted back) but in the case of a Power of Attorney it would be normal for this NOT to occur – so for Gillard not to confirm in writing is perfectly normal conduct.  I have typed up many diary notes of these conversations between clients and their lawyers.  Gillard’s right on this point – so there should be a diary note of when she attended on Blewitt to provide advice on the Power of Attorney and that diary note would confirm she witnessed the document being signed.  The question for Gillard is why she didn’t create a diary note when the Power of Attorney was witnessed – that would be the time she provided verbal legal advice to Blewitt in relation to its effects?  What is her explanation for why she failed to document her advice via a diary note at that point in time?  If there was a diary note, it would disprove Blewitt’s allegation she wasn’t present at the time of signing.


What I find particularly difficult to come to terms with is:


  1. Gillard’s belief that it was OK to receive instructions from her boyfriend as the proposed Attorney instead of asking another lawyer in her firm to handle the matter for her. 
  2. She failed to open a file “Ralph Blewitt Power of Attorney to Bruce Wilson”. 
  3. She took instructions from Bruce Wilson (someone she was in a personal relationship with) instead of dealing directly with the Donor. 
  4. She failed to tell the other partners at her firm she was personally preparing a power of attorney with her boyfriend as Attorney on her boyfriend’s instructions rather than getting instructions directly from the Donor. 
  5. She failed to confirm in writing or via diary note confirmation from Blewitt  that the instructions she got from Bruce were correct.
  6. She failed to discuss directly with Blewitt the purpose of the Power of Attorney – was it just for the conveyance or a mortgage as well, and if a mortgage how Blewitt was to approve the terms of the mortgage and what parameters Wilson was to work within.  She failed to document these discussions if they did in fact take place.  Her failure in this respect also opened Wilson up to the possibility of being sued by Blewitt for taking out a mortgage in his name on terms unsatisfactory to Blewitt.
  7. She failed to liaise directly with Blewitt on the effects of the Power of Attorney and that they were in accordance with his needs and wishes. 
  8. She failed to make a file note of her interview with Blewitt when she purportedly witnessed the Power of Attorney. 
  9. She didn’t ensure she had on file written instructions or confirmation of instructions from Blewitt to prepare the Power of Attorney. 



The point I make here is that if Gillard had made proper notes in relation to the creation of the Power of Attorney – even if it was just filed on her JEG General File, it would be incredibly easy for her to prove to the Police that Blewitt’s allegation and Michael Smith’s complaint has no basis.  There should be diarised evidence of her receiving instructions, providing advice and the personal attendance she made on Blewitt when she witnessed the document (which is normally when the verbal advice would be given and diarised in a diary note).  Does Gillard have any recollection of documenting any of the instructions she received and meetings she had in relation to the creation of the Power of Attorney?  If there is no recollection, does she expect that in the normal course of her practicing as a lawyer she would have documented these things?  Why are these documents not in existence?  I haven’t seen an explanation from Gillard on these points and that’s a shame because she could have shut this whole thing down if she had properly diarised the creation of the Power of Attorney according to her version of events.  Why aren’t journalists doing their jobs properly and questioning her on these points?  I don’t expect her to remember the witnessing, but she should be able to confirm she would in the normal course of things have prepared a diary note evidencing her attendance on Blewitt when she witnessed this document.


The fact that a lawyer failed to create the normal sort of documents one would expect to see when a Power of Attorney like this is created opens up the possibility of fraud on the lawyer’s part.  That of course is the whole basis of Michael Smith’s complaint that the Police are currently investigating.  I’d just like an explanation of why the documents weren’t created when in the normal course of things they would be (and mainly to protect said lawyer’s back as she was doing it on the instructions of the Attorney instead of the Donor).


Police need only subpoena Slater and Gordon for the documents relating to the creation of the Power of Attorney.  Julia Gillard herself should be demanding Slater and Gordon release these documents as Blewitt has already waived privilege.  She should be moving to clear her name publically.  It wouldn’t be difficult for her to say she’s asked Slater and Gordon to release to her the file notes she made at the time so she can clear her name of fraud. 

Every touch leaves its trace.  Where are the documents Slater and Gordon?  You have it within your power to prove via documentary evidence that the fraud allegation against Australia’s Prime Minister is without basis.