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April 2013

Slater and Gordon and its Trust Account obligations

Ralph Blewitt was a sophisticated property investor with the independent means to buy an apartment, sight unseen, on the other side of Australia from where he lived.   He was introduced to Slater and Gordon by its Industrial Unit partner Julia Gillard.   Andrew Grech, the current managing director of Slater and Gordon (he was an employed lawyer in the firm at the time of the AWU Scandal) recently wrote that Julia Gillard acted directly for Ralph Blewitt in his purchase. of 1/85 Kerr Street.

Only Ralph wasn't really buying,  Bruce the boyfriend was.   Gillard's reputation with the firm was at stake, having introduced this business.   She'd be keen to make sure that Ralph's  money hit the firm's Trust Account exactly as planned - otherwise her partners might say she had bad judgement about people.   She'd do her homework and make sure the money was there, surely.

On Monday, 11 March this year I posted this article substantially written by Spin Baby, Spin.   Spin is a legal industry professional with distinctive competence in conveyance, mortgage and the management of money into and out of Trust Accounts in property and other commercial transactions.

The next day I recorded an interview with Ralph Blewitt and posted a letter from a lawyer with copies of the law that regulated lawyers' trust accounts in the 1990s.

Clearly, Slater and Gordon should have written out a receipt for $67K that hit its trust account as the proceeds of the AWU WRA cheque.   I'm told that the bank transmits the drawer of the cheque in its TT and that the drawer of the cheque and the Slater and Gordon client account to whose benefit that money was applied should have been noted on the receipt.   Spin Baby thought it significant that no receipt has surfaced, then or now, so did I - so Ralph undertook to write to Slater and Gordon and get a copy.

Spin Baby, Spin dropped this note a day or so ago

Spin Baby, Spin said:                           

                                Is Ralph able to let us know what the response from S&G is to date?  There will be a hand-written Trust Account Receipt Requisition on their file.  That is an internal document not discoverable by Ralph.  That hand-written document would have to be delivered to the Accounts Department for them to make the entry. They then issue an official trust account receipt, together with a duplicate file copy.  Those documents are then all filed on the file.  The file that Ralph received did not include those internal documents, which is normal when handing over a file to the client, however the official receipt should have been handed over, by law.  If Slater and Gordon are unwilling to issue a receipt, I would think that Ralph Blewitt could then lodge a complaint with the Law Society.  He needs that receipt as part of the evidence he can provide to back up his claims that he was just the bag man in the fraud.  Slater and Gordon's reluctance to issue the receipt suggests that they may be more involved in the fraud than originally suggested by them.  Claims of "I did nothing wrong" don't hold water if the firm is unwilling to issue a trust account receipt... What exactly is the firm hiding?\
ENDS - see what I mean about the distinctive competence?



Ralph wrote to Slater and Gordon's MD on 1 April this year.

From: ralph_blewitt
Subject: FW: Request for Trust Account Receipts
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2013 17:06:10 +0800

Dear Mr Grech,
Slater and Gordon acted for me in the purchase of 1/85 Kerr Street Fitzroy in February, 1993.
I recently asked you for a copy of the firm's file on the conveyance and the mortgage you gave me.
I've thoroughly perused what you sent in the conveyance and mortgage files and I see that you haven't included any copies of the Trust Account receipts for the money that I and entities associated with me paid you.
I did not receive any receipts at the time I paid you either.
I have been told that a law firm in Victoria has to make out a receipt when the firm receives money on trust.
Would you please send me copies of the Slater and Gordon Trust Account receipts for:
On 18 March the Australian Workers' Union Workplace Reform Association paid Slater and Gordon $67,722.30 as funds to settle my purchase.   Would you you please send me the Trust Account receipt for the Association's money?   I was the public office holder for the Association.
On 29 April, 1993 my wife and I sent you a cheque for $2,000 as requested to meet a shortfall in your Trust Account - would you please send me a receipt for that too please.

Thank you, look forward to receiving the receipts.
After a bit of follow up, Ralph received this note from Slater and Gordon.
To: ralph_blewitt
Subject: Your recent request.
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2013 02:52:43 +0000

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


I thought this sentence largely stood out.

Unfortunately it appears the firm largely no longer holds trust account receipts for the early 1990's given the expiration of time.  

So Slater and G0rdon says that in 1994 it printed off copies of the Trust Account Ledger so it could include those copies in the file, which it then archived.   At that time it was obliged to retain its Trust Account Receipts for the next 6 years , one year having expired..   It was obliged to create and issue a receipt for any money deposited in its Trust Account, showing who paid the money in and to which client account the monies were allocated.   So if Slater and Gordon met its obligations in issuing Trust Account Receipts, presumably copies were filed with the conveyance file, that would be logical.   Then, given the expiration of time, some one must have gone in and largely taken the trust account receipts out of the file - cause they're largely not there.   But the Ledger is!    More analysis on the General Ledger in a moment.  

Now back t0 Mr Higgins of Slater and Gordon and his letter to Mr Blewitt.  Here are Mr Higgins own words about the $67,000 cheque drawn on the AWU-WRA and deposited to Slater and Gordon's Trust Account. 

"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."

 I'll bet there's no reference to it!   The file has been exhaustively screened to make sure there's no reference to it - I'm not suggesting subterfuge, rather that it has been scoured to find references to the drawer of the cheque.  It would be a killer blow if Slater and Gordon had received from the Commonwealth Bank on its 1993 standard telegraphic transfer form the details of the drawer of the cheque that was negotiated into the Trust Account.  

Higgins says "there is no reference in the conveyance or mortgage file concerning where you sourced those funds."   There is also no copy in the conveyance file of the Trust Account.   A receipt that if completed with all the information available would have noted the drawer, or owner of the cheque account from whence the funds came, and the Slater and Gordon account, Ralph Blewitt (no middle name) to whose benefit the money went.

Just for completeness, here is the Slater and Gordon conveyance file as sent to Ralph Blewitt last year by Slater and Gordon

And here is the Trust Account Ledger, printed off for inclusion in the conveyance file, but either not accompanied by the Receipts, or the Receipts were removed from the file after 7 years.   It is interesting to see that where money did come from Ralph, it's recorded as RE & JA Blewitt, that is the drawer of the cheque.  When the $67K hit the Trust Account for Bruce's house, it's recorded as coming from Mr Ralph Blewitt.

Finally, there's one more major matter involving this file.   The AWU under the leadership of Ian Cambridge subpoenaed from Slater and Gordon all its files and documents on the conveyance and mortgage for Kerr Street.   As I note in the post below, what Ian Cambridge received and Exhibited to his Affidavit was a tiny fraction of the actual documents that were in the file.   The late Geoff Shaw and  Julia Gillard's mentor and former Socialist Forum Comrade Jon Rothfield are recorded on the front covers of the conveyance and mortgage files as being responsible for determining what documents were in and what were out in answer to the Federal Court's subpoena.   Lots was out.   And that includes the Trust Account Receipt for $67,000 which actually came from the Gillard created slush fund.



Ralph Edwin Blewitt, Rifleman, 2RAR Vietnam 67-68. He's back there for the Anzac Day service in Long Tan - I've just recorded this interview with him.


7rar dustoff

Ralph's been out and about today walking through the rubber plantation at Long Tan - the area of operations he patrolled as an Australian Army rifleman in his country's service in 67/68.

Tomorrow morning Ralph will be at the dawn service at the Long Tan memorial in the rubber plantation where 18 Australian men were killed in action.   Lest we forget.


Our media hunts in packs, sniffs the breeze and generally follows the same prey (or more appropriately bait)

To thine own self be true.   It's all you can ask of yourself in matters of principle and truth.   Be careful about fashionable opinions and things that can be summed up on Twitter.

I published this piece (below) on 26 November last year after police confirmed to me how seriously they were taking my complaint about Gillard's apparently criminal behaviour.

Grace Collier "got it" and pursued and reported the investigation into Gillard accurately.   Grace has  copped heaps by way of sniggers and snide "Brucer" nutjob remarks for doing that.  Good on Grace for her grace, guts and singular regard for the truth in the face of a media pack in Australia that always knows better.  Hedley Thomas, Steve Lewis, Mark Baker and some other notable independent thinkers have formed their own views on the facts as well, uninfluenced by the safe adoption of the party line.

But as for the bulk of the institutions we used to rely on for investigative analysis and critical reasoning  - well they let us down badly and as a direct result of that failure, we've had to endure Gillard for much longer than is healthy.

So here's this blog's published story of 26 November, 2012.

Note to editors/journalists - Julia Gillard is currently facing very serious allegations and Victoria Police are investigating those allegations

Michael Smith News, published 26 November 2012

The government's approach to The AWU Scandal is for each Labor member to parrot a line.

"No allegation of wrongdoing has been made against the Prime Minister".

Here are just a few examples of the mantra trotted out over the weekend.

Tony Burke, the environment minister, "there is no actual allegation for Ms Gillard to take on."

Defending Ms Gillard, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said none of the matters raised added up to any substantive allegations.

"There is still no allegation of impropriety or illegal conduct by the Prime Minister.'' Nicola Roxon.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr said that ''as we in the Labor party see it, this is a conspiracy theory fastened on by the opposition''.

"This is a smear campaign which is not based on any facts", Wayne Swan.

The Prime Minister herself said that after years of examination of the AWU matter there was “not
one substantiated allegation of wrongdoing” against her.

Well that is just plain wrong.

On 11 October, 2012 I interviewed Ralph Edwin Blewitt for the first time.   He stated that the Power of Attorney that purports to have been witnessed by Julia Gillard simply wasn't witnessed by her.   He said that the document was backdated, was brought to Perth by Bruce Wilson and Julia Gillard was not present when he signed it.

I thought about that overnight 11 October.   I sought expert legal advice from a Queen's Counsel who practices in criminal law.

I reviewed Section 83A of the Crimes Act Victoria. - Creation of False Documents, penalty 10 years gaol.

In particular I noted this provision of Section 83A:

(6) For the purpose of this section, a document is false if it purports-

   (g)  to have been made or altered on a date on which, or at a place at
        which, or otherwise in circumstances in which, it was not in fact made
        or altered;

On 12 October, 2012 I wrote to the Prime Minister to get her side of the story.

I waited 5 days for an answer.   I received no answer.  That left a substantial allegation of a serious indictable offence against Julia Eileen GILLARD unanswered, the evidence unchallenged by her.

As a result of her silence, on 17 October, 2012, I reported the Prime Minister's conduct in the matter of the Power of Attorney to the Chief Commissioner of Police, Victoria Police Force.

Here is a link to my original letter of 17 October.   There's a note on the top of it that I added about 4 weeks later after I received some information from police that I thought would remain confidential.

On 12 November, 2012 a Detective Sergeant with the Fraud Squad contacted me to tell me that he was in charge of the initial investigation.   He and I had several conversations that day and I furnished further and better particulars to him as well as some further documentary evidence.

The detective then asked me if I could contact Ralph Edwin Blewitt and if so could I invite him to attend on Victoria Police to make a statement.   It's now widely known that Mr Blewitt did in fact return to Australia as a result of the detective's request.

I wrote this letter to Blewitt's lawyers that day - it's not been published and as the confidentiality provisions have now lapsed here it is for the record.


Dear Mr Galbally,
I write in the belief that you act for Ralph Edwin BLEWITT.
On Thursday, 11 October, 2012 I interviewed Mr Blewitt about certain aspects of the purchase of 1/85 Kerr Street Fitzroy including the purported Specific Power of Attorney witnessed by Julia Gillard.   I published the audio of that interview to the internet at
On Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, I wrote to the Chief Commissioner of Police in Victoria and reported what appeared to me to be a prima facie case of the creation of a false instrument.
I promptly received a letter from Chief Commissioner Lay's staff advising that the matter had been reported and was receiving the attention of the crime department.
I was telephoned today by Detective Sergeant XXXXXXX (tel XXXX, MOBILE XXXXXX).   Detective Sergeant XXXXX told me that the police are in the early stages of assessing the possible offences disclosed by the conduct of various players in The AWU Scandal.
Victoria Police are keen to speak with Mr BLEWITT or you in the first instance as his advisor.   I have mentioned to Ralph that I've been contacted by Victoria Police.  


As a result of the request made by Victoria Police, Ralph Blewitt attended at various lawyers offices in Melbourne last week for the purpose of producing detailed, admissible and relevant statements to police regarding certain events in The AWU Scandal.  

On Friday, 23 November, Mr Blewitt attended with his lawyer at the Victoria Police Fraud Squad offices in Melbourne.   He voluntarily made written statements to police without the benefit of immunity from prosecution himself.   He is in jeopardy of being charged with serious offences.   Ralph's statements to police contain a provision that those statements in and of themselves cannot be used against him, but that does not stop police using other evidence or statements from other people to charge Blewitt.

From Friday, 23 November to today Monday 26 I have remained in contact with the Detective Sergeant who is responsible for assessing the case against the known offender in the matter I reported on 12 October.  

So it is a manifestly false statement on the part of Ms Gillard and her government to say that "no allegation of wrongdoing has been made against the Prime Minister".

I have made such an allegation, the report to police has been accepted and it is being investigated.

Perhaps someone who works in the media and gets paid for it might wake up some time soon to the phenomenon of news being generated other than through a Canberra Press Gallery Media Release.

Then next time Julia Gillard hits the pack with the "there's no allegation" bulltish they might remind her of the serious charges she may face.


It's great to hear Ben Fordham speak the unvarnished truth on this issue today.  Just imagine if the country's investigative organs had not gone to water when Julia Gillard threatened them  almost 2 years ago.   I know I would have been there on 2UE day in, day out asking questions and presenting my findings.   Exactly as I'm doing with your help now on this blog.  

One day, this story will become an overnight success with people in nice suits and fashionable opinions!  But you'll know the truth and you and I might have a wee drink or two on the strength of it.  After all, in vino veritas.

NB -Just for the record,  I've republished the 26 November piece once before.  That was on 23 January this year. Here's the link

A bit of explanation about the way Ben Fordham's statements have been reported

I recorded this editorial about 11 this morning - and then decided not to publish it. I didn't think it added much.

At the time )this morning) I thought that the misreporting and spin were secondary to the important new developments reported today.   Hedley Thomas and Pia Akerman report Waye Hem's statement to police about money going into Gillard's bank account  - and Steve Lewis and Carly Crawford's piece about the police forensic accounting investigation into the distribution of the proceeds from the sale of Kerr Street Fitzroy and some commentary about renovations to Gillard's house.

Having now seen the news devel0p and in light of Ben's very clear further editorial today, here's what I said at 11 this morning by way of explanation about how the stories were mixed and spun.

Anzac Day - a bit on what it means for my family

I first published this article exactly one year ago today.   Means more to me each year.  

Lest we forget.

Here's my granddad Percy Leo Smith and his brothers Leslie John and Gerald Peter Smith.   The boys somehow managed to get leave in the Christmas of 1917 an they met up in London - grandad and Les from the 3rd Division on the Western Front in France, and Gerald from HMAS Warrego based at Brindisi in Italy.   They had a singular mission - to get a photo all together for my great grandma Catherine Smith, then widowed, who was waiting in Sherwood Street Richmond for her boys to come home.   Les and Grandpa had already been wounded, Les seriously, you'll see his wound stripe and the scar from the Gun Shot Wound to Face Penetrating Eye that's recorded on his war service record.   A few weeks later he was shot and killed in action in the German's Michael Offensive on 30 March 1918.


When my great grandma received a note from the War Memorial some years later for Les's notations on the Roll of Honour, here's what she wrote about her boy.

Grandma re les_002
My dad Geoff was one of 11 surviving children of Percy Leo and Myrene Smith.   Dad's brother Jack was in the tail end of the New Guinea campaign in WW2 and Leo was in the RAR as an infantryman who saw active service in Korea.   My dad was a nasho, an artilleryman at Holsworthy.

Dad's brother Les married Nancy Ryan of Bibbenluke, near Bombala.   When I was a kid we'd holiday at her family's place at Bibbenluke and I was fascinated by her dad George Claude RYAN MM who'd never drove a car and had draught horses all his life to help people caught on the ford that floods a bit at Bibbenluke.  Claude had a distate for machines after seeing machine guns up close for too long.   He won the Military Medal for cleaning up some Germans in an entrenched machine gun nest, they killed a lot of Claude's mates you see.

Claude signed up in Bibbenluke with Olive Allen's boy Les.   Olive Allen was still around at Bibbenluke when I was very little.   Les didn't come home from the war.   Last night I recorded this poem as I drove home.   I always get a bit wistful near Anzac Day, it means a lot to me to remember them.


Lots of progress today - every touch leaves its trace

I'll put up a synopsis of the new developments mentioned in the two newspaper reports from News Limited today, along with a summary of some of other developments and enquiries that are still outstanding.

In the interim there are some really insightful blog comments  coming in today and I thought I'd post a few here in this thread you can see them on the front page.

Seeker of Truth re Wayne Hem - I've always wondered why Bruce Wilson would have Julia Gillard's bank account details.

I've always wondered why Wilson would have Julia Gillard's bank account details.  Bank account details are very personal information.  They are usually not shared among people, even those in close relationships unless there is a special circumstance.  It wasn't as if while Hem was in the room, Wilson phoned Gillard to get the account details. Wilson already knew these details.  He them written down.  Why would Wilson need to have these details?   This is the newspaper report in November 2012 "......National AWU head Ian Cambridge, now a Fair Work Australia Commissioner, recorded in his 1994-1996 diary allegations by union employee Wayne Hem that Mr Wilson, after a night at a casino, had given him a wad of cash totalling $5000 along with Ms Gillard's bank account details and told him to deposit it." "Mr Hem provided further detail on the allegation in his statutory declaration to The Australian, saying he had been asked to attend Mr Wilson's office. "I went down and he handed me about five grand," Mr Hem said in the report. "Then Bruce handed me a piece of paper with the account number and a name on it, and it was Julia's name. "He said 'Go put this in Julia's account'. I said 'OK'. "He (Wilson) made a comment about not saying anything. I just went down to the bank, put it in, came back, gave him the receipt. If anyone needs me to put money into their bank account on a one off occasion, it's not like I keep those bank account details in my top drawer in case I might need to use them again. Another point that raises suspicion, is Hem was asked not to tell anyone about it.  Why???


Spin Baby, Spin said:        The conveyance file on the sale of Kerr Street                   

                                Thought this was interesting and worth a separate post. While the official file may be destroyed, Police should still be able to access the financial information from the trust account of the real estate agent - ultimately who got the cheques: Police have also sought the conveyancing file from the sale of the property from real estate agents. A senior figure from real estate agency Collins Simms told News Ltd that police had been in contact with the firm seeking a copy. The agency told them they did not have it because they did not keep records from so long ago. Also of interest is that the Police should be able to access a copy of the conveyance file from the Purchaser who bought the property from Wilson/Blewitt.  That will have yet more damning evidence of who exactly that law firm dealt with and who ultimately received cheques at settlement.  I doubt very much the Purchaser's solicitor will have destroyed their file.   Every touch leaves a trace.


In the commercial world, shareholders pay a bonus for good performance. In Gillard/Swan land, the bonus is paid for

"Dear everyone, we are going so badly it's not funny.  We've got buckley's of hitting that surplus target, the border control campaign is non-existent and we are all going to get sacked us at the next election.  So I'm pleased to announce an increase in your bonus payments to compensate you for any negative feelings you might have in hearing about your performance."

The bonus payments apply to ministerial staffers, the John McTernans and the like.

This story is from today's Daily Telegraph

Incentive for Labor staffers not to quit


SENIOR federal Labor staffers have been given a golden handshake worth up to $6000 each to stop them from jumping ship before the election.

In an admission the government is convinced it will most likely lose the election, about 400 ministerial staffers have been granted an extra two-week taxpayer-funded payout should Labor lose.

The doubling of the termination provisions for staff who lose their jobs following a federal election, will be worth between $3000 and $6000 each for staffers, depending on their seniority and salary.

A memo was sent to all staff yesterday from the office of Special Minister of State Mark Dreyfus notifying them of the surprise salary bonus.

Some staffers said they believed the golden handshake was approved to keep senior staff from quitting and finding other employment before the September 14 election.

Others said it was simply the government rewarding Labor staffers for their loyalty.

There's more to the story at The Daily Telegraph here.

It's pretty basic for most people - good behaviour, good results, good performance - should be rewarded.

Bad behaviour, bad results, bad performance should bring negative consequences - like say the sack.

Julia Gillard alleges she did nothing wrong. The Prime Minister's claims have been strenuously denied by The Australian people.

Hedley Thomas has more news on the range of enquiries Victoria Police are making including this report about Wayne Hem, the man who put $5,000 into Gillard's account.

Again Ben's statements of fact are diminished and Gillard's statements are presented as repudiations of the substance of Fordham's statements - when those responses from Gillard are nothing of the sort.   Unless she knows what phone calls and emails police are making and sending, she shouldn't be presented as someone with a factual basis for "denying a claim" made by Fordham.  It's analogous to Eddie Obeid sending in a statement to the paper and as a result the paper splashing a headline "Obeid not the subject of ICAC enquiry"   The ICAC has claimed that it has conducted investigations into the affairs of Eddie Obeid.  Those allegations made by the unreliable ICAC were vehemently denied by Mr Obeid who says no such enquiry is underway at all. So the ICAC can claim all it likes, Eddie says he did nothing wrong.

What is it with Gillard and her ability to enroll otherwise balanced and skeptical editors as participants in her spin-wars?

Gillard denies new AWU request

  • by:Hedley Thomas, Pia Akerman
  • From:The Australian
  • April 24, 201312:00AM

A FORMER union employee who has told of depositing $5000 into Julia Gillard's bank account at the direction of her allegedly corrupt union boss boyfriend has been asked by Victoria Police to make a formal statement as part of an ongoing fraud investigation.

The request came as the Prime Minister denied allegations made by radio broadcaster 2GB's Ben Fordham that she was under direct investigation.

Ms Gillard has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in relation to the money.

Fordham said Victoria Police had verified to him that she was being investigated and asked him to make a statement about responses Ms Gillard gave in a March 7 radio interview about her conduct in an alleged fraud involving several hundred thousand dollars in the early 1990s.

The Australian is aware that detectives have questioned more than 12 witnesses since late last year who had direct knowledge of the Australian Workers Union slush fund scandal, the role of Ms Gillard at law firm Slater & Gordon and admissions by former AWU official Ralph Blewitt that he helped perpetrate a major fraud at the union.

Ms Gillard says she provided legal advice to help set up the AWU Workplace Reform Association, which her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson later used to carry out the alleged fraud. She later described the association as a "slush fund" for the re-election of union officials, but said she had no knowledge of its operations.

Wayne Hem, a former AWU employee, said yesterday that Fraud Squad detectives wanted him to say as little as possible to the media about his upcoming statement: "I've been asked not to say what my role is going to be."

There's plenty more to Hedley and Pia's story at The Australian's website.

More reports from Steve Lewis in the News Limited tabloids today on the police AWU investigation

PM denies AWU investigation claims

Steve Lewis and Carly Crawford
  • From:         News Limited Network

VICTORIAN police are escalating their investigation into the union scandal involving Julia Gillard's former boyfriend, engaging forensic accountants to track hundreds of thousands of dollars in allegedly suspect payments.

As detectives continue to interview key witnesses in the Australian Workers Union slush fund scandal, Ms Gillard yesterday denied claims from a Sydney radio host that she was being investigated by police over the affair.

Sydney broadcaster Ben Fordham yesterday alleged the Prime Minister was being "investigated" as part of the wider police probe.

The 2GB host claimed he'd been contacted by Victorian police following a robust March 7 interview with the Prime Minister and asked "to make a formal statement".

"The police are interested in comments made by Julia Gillard in the interview with me," Mr Fordham told his listeners.

Mr Fordham told listeners he knew "for a fact that the Prime Minister is being investigated" by the Victorian police.

But a spokesman for Ms Gillard said the PM has "never been contacted by police and never been asked to provide a statement".

"The Prime Minister has never been contacted by police, she has never been questioned and never been asked to make a statement."

"There is no change to previous statements."

Ms Gillard has repeatedly and vehemently denied all wrongdoing in relation to the slush fund.

Ben Fordham claimed he was contacted by police?   He claims?  That's a terrible way to report the truthful statements of a man who was intent on correcting the record.

And the elevation of Gillard's spokesman's statements in response to the "claims" and "allegations" made by Fordham places Gillard's statements in a  context they don't deserve.   The paragraph that commences Gillard's response to Fordham's claims - in other words what comes after Fordham's statements is the word "But".  Then the Gillard response is presented as if it was a direct rebuttal of Fordham's claims.  It's nothing of the sort.

The offenders are the last to be interviewed in a major fraud enquiry.  There is ample evidence of police progress in taking other statements and conducting inquiries.  Ms Gillard simply wouldn't know what the police are doing, the same as you, or me, so it's a pretty weak and inexpert quote to present as rebuttal to Fordham's "claims".

The media companies might like to say that they are not prejudging Gillard and that is a good aim.   But that's not what they're doing.   They are giving her the benefit of any doubt - and applying that doubt, that questionable status against people like Ben Fordham who deserve better.

Steve Lewis and Carly Crawford have done quite a bit of work in this report.   It's worth a read for at News Limited websites here.