The sums are awfully heroic on Ms Gillard's Abbotsford house - she appears to have been stretched financially
Bought (settlement), July 1991 - cost was $152,000 plus stamps, costs, mortgage insurance etc
Financed - $118,000 mortgage loan from CBA - $40,000 loan from employer Slater and Gordon - >100% geared. Despite working fulltime as a lawyer since 1988, Ms Gillard had demonstrated no savings and made no personal contribution to the purchase of her house.
According to Ms Gillard her renovations were financed by $20,000 bank loan (no evidence of mortgage security) and further borrowing from Slater and Gordon by pre-payment of salary.
Renovations included new kitchen, new bathroom, new laundry, new ceilings, plastering, new flooring, paving, outside fence, glasswork. Substantial renovations were commenced by Bruce Wilson on his own decision and in Ms Gillard's absence.
36 St Phillips St Abbotsford
Julia Gillard commenced earning a full-time wage when she began working for Slater & Gordon as a first year lawyer in 1988. In 1990 she was made a salaried partner with Slater & Gordon.
I have been appraised of the following documents:
- The Age Classified advertisement dated 2 March 1991
- Certificate of Title Vol. 2004 Fol. 400711
- Transfer of Land dated 17 April 1991
- Caveat dated 17 April 1991
- Mortgage dated 17 June 1991
- Certificate of Title Vol. 08287 Fol. 139
Based on the above documents 36 St. Phillips st. Abbotsford was advertised for auction on the 16 March 1991 as :
“Ideally loc close to Studley Park this DF period home o’looking private rear garden offers generous living space. Compr 2 dbl bedrooms ,formal lge OFP, dining /living area mod kit with meals area sep lndry, tiled bathroom. Feats OFP’s gas htg, aircond. Ceiling roses and ROW plus solar HW system. A comfortable home in a peaceful setting . Prior offers invited . Auction Sat 16 March 2pm"
On the 11 April 1991 Julia Gillard purchased 36 St. Phillips St. Abbotsford for the sum of $152,000.00 and became the registered owner on the 1 July 1991.
On the 17 June 1991 the CBA loaned Julia Gillard the sum of $ 118,000.00 secured by way of a mortgage. The bank charged the borrower an interest rate of 14.5% and monthly instalments were $1446.00
On the 11 May 1998 Julia Gillard transferred a half share in the property to Carol Anne Pyke and she discharged the mortgage with the CBA. Both Julia Gillard and Carol Anne Pyke as the tenants in common secured mortgages with the Westpac Banking Corporation.
On the 11 May 1998 Julia Gillard purchased a property at 9 Medford st. Altona and obtained a loan from the Westpac Banking Corporation secured by way of a mortgage on the property in Altona.
On the 26 March 2007 Julia Gillard transferred her interest in 36 St. Phillips St. Abbotsford to Carol Anne Pyke who became the sole proprietor of the property.
WHAT GILLARD TOLD HER MANAGING PARTNER PETER GORDON on 11 September, 1995
PG: Yeah, I see. Sorry. Julia, you own property in Victoria?
JG: Yes, I do.
PG: And whereabouts is that?
JG: 36 St Phillip Street, Abbotsford.
PG: And when did you acquire that?
JG: In May 1991 and it settled in July 1991.
PG: 1991, yeah. How did you fund that?
JG: I funded that; Slater & Gordon extended to me a loan of $40,000, which I used for the deposit, and the rest of it I borrowed through the same branch of the Commonwealth Bank as Slater & Gordon banks at the William Street branch.
PG: By way of mortgage.
JG: Yes, by way of mortgage.
PG: And you still have that mortgage?
JG: I still have that mortgage.
PG: And it's being paid off.
JG: And it's being paid off.
PG: Have any renovations taken place to that property?
JG: Yep. I've, I moved there in July 1991. When I first moved there I shared it with two other people. It's a two-bedroom place, I shared it with a couple. And when I first purchased it, interest rates were quite high and my salary was lower than it is now, and I didn't really do anything of substance to the property for 12, 18 months, something like that. I then started to get various bits of work done, go relatively slowly and as I could afford to get them done bit by bit. I remember commenting to Geoff at one point that I renovated so slowly other people would call it maintenance because not much was happening.
Then substantial renovations got done on the property last year, which included the kitchen being entirely redone and the bathroom and laundry being entirely redone and internal plastering and painting being done, and yes, so I got all that work done in September, October, Novemberish last year.
PG: OK. Did you contract all of those works to the one subcontractor or builder or did you manage them yourself?
JG: No, I, I, I suppose I should do it piece by piece. I originally got glasswork and paving work done; that was because the way in which the glasswork and the paving were done at that time was causing water to go into the foundations. I contracted with a glassworker/ woodworker person called Athol James, who I found in the local newspaper, and contracted with a paving place that I got from the local newspaper after getting, I got three quotes and then picked the lowest one of them, so that got done first.
I then, I then got the floors done and I got Athol back to do that, so the front of the house, the old part was the original baltic pine floorboards. The back part was chipboard and I wanted to get the floorboards matched with old baltic pine so I could get it all sanded down and polished. I'm sure this detail is really exciting you. And Athol came and did that, got old pine and matched it all up and you know all of that sort of stuff, which was a substantial job. And then I got some bloke in I think that he recommended to do the sanding, so that was what happened next.
Then what happened after that was I got the kitchen done, I purchased Ikea cupboards and stuff, purchased the actual appliances from a Radio Rentals place in Clifton Hill, and purchased a granite bench top from a local place near me called the Marble Centre, that's also in Abbotsford, and then I had installers who were recommended by Ikea put it all in. His name was Taugney the Swedish Builder, and he took a substantial amount of time to do all of that though I was the envy of Leonie, I recall at that stage, for having a Swedish builder.
That left me with the kitchen functional but the, the kitchen had like cork in it, all of that had basically been ripped to shreds when they had taken the old cupboards out and put the new cupboards in so it needed tiling, it needed tiling on the splashbacks, you know around the sink and around the stove, it needed plastering work, kitchen ceiling, that sort of thing, and I had had a long-held plan to fix the bathroom and laundry. Both were a sort of 70s renovation which amongst other things was red and yellow in colour and I therefore wanted to get it replaced.
I went away to, for a holiday, in late August early September last year and I had been talking for a long time about getting this bathroom and laundry work done.
And, Bruce whilst I was away decided that I should just get it done so he commenced with a group of friends demolishing the bathroom. (MPS emphasis)
By the time I came back the bathroom had been demolished so I had no option but to get the rest of the renovations done and a series of tradespeople who Jim Collins predominantly organised, Jim Collins being an organiser at the AWU, who he recommended through his local football club, a series of tradespeople came in and did the renovation which predominantly consisted of the bathroom, completing the kitchen, tiling on the kitchen floor, plastering work, replacement of ceilings and the like.
PG: To the extent that in respect of the bathroom it was required to purchase product tiles or grout or whatever, how was that paid?
JG: I went and picked tiles both for the bathroom and the kitchen from various tile shops and paid for them.
JG: When they were delivered.
PG: Yep. In terms of the tradesmen who did the work in those areas, who were they?
JG: I don't, I don't recall their names. I have some of their receipts at home. There was a tiler, an electrician, a plasterer who had with him a general roustabout person and a plumber and they all knew each other and had worked together before, but it wasn't like one of them was the builder who was organising everybody else. So they came in and did it and I paid each of them. I've had occasion over the course of the weekend to look through my personal records in relation to this matter and I do have a series of receipts from various of them about bits of the work that was done.
PG: Right, and I take it the inquiry over the weekend may have extended to this work as well, the Athol James work, the glasswork, the paving, the floors and the sanding.
JG: Yes, I've got, I recall, I recall particularly dealing with Athol because he came back more than once and sort of lived at my place for a substantial period of time whilst he did the floors, I don't specifically recall whether I've got a receipt from him, I think I do. I've certainly got his number and stuff in my address book from having used him.
PG: OK. Julia, it would be helpful to us if we could have copies of those.
PG: Do you have a problem with supplying them to us?
JG: No, no problem at all.
PG: Good. So that, is it fair to say as a general summary of that work that all of the work was paid for by you?
JG: I believe all of the work was paid for by me. I was getting receipts, I was paying it. I at that stage borrowed an additional $20,000 from the bank to pay for the renovations. I had occasion to ask Geoff if I could be pre-paid, which he did. I don't recall the amount. But that was recouped out of my pay for the first six months of this year. And, between that pre-payment and the borrowing of the $20,000 from the bank, I paid for that work.
JG: I should say that, when I say the 20,000 from the bank: that was the bathroom, the work that was organised subsequent to the demolition of the bathroom. Athol James, the tiler, sorry Athol James, the paver, Taugney the Swedish builder I had paid over time as work was done.
PG: OK. Julia, the file that you gave us last Monday, that you gave Paul last Monday, could you just describe to us the circumstances in which you came across it, I think it's exactly right in front of you, isn't it?
JG: Yes, that's right.
PG: How, what are the circumstances in which we only got that last week? Can you talk about that?
(GILLARD HAD BEEN INTERVIEWED BY NICK STYANT BROWNE ON 14 AUGUST, 1995 - Mark Baker's authoritative report in The Age of 10 October, 2012:
Gillard, then a salaried partner at Slater & Gordon, had been first challenged about her role in helping create the association and in assisting with the purchase of the Fitzroy unit at a meeting on 14 August, 1995, with Geoff Shaw and Nick Styant-Browne, an equity partner in charge of the firm's commercial department.
At that meeting Gillard confirmed she had not followed established procedures to open a formal file on the work done to incorporate the Workplace Reform Association. She had played down her role, claiming she had only given some advice about incorporation.
She also confirmed that she had drafted the power of attorney for Wilson without advising senior colleagues.
Gillard told Shaw and Styant-Browne that her unofficial file of paperwork relating to the Workplace Reform Association was no longer available as it had been passed on to someone outside the firm.
Immediately after that meeting, Gillard took leave and in her absence staff found the file in her office.
JG: When Geoff and Nick came down and saw me about the conveyancing file, I must admit my recollection about the incorporation file was that I hadn't opened a file on system and that I had had some papers and at some point I had given the papers to (name redacted). I don't recall whether I said that to you but I remember having, I remember saying to Geoff I don't think I opened it on system to which Geoff then said, well, that will be easy enough to check. In the surrounding chaos, I must admit I didn't do anything to check whether or not I opened it on the system. I subsequently but relatively quickly thereafter went on a period of leave and, whilst I was focused on the issues surrounding this, I wasn't particularly focused about the file.
I said when -- to Leesha -- when I went on leave was one of the things I was doing when I was packing up, did she remember this file at all? And she said she did and when I came back from leave she said that it was, that it had been in the cabinet, that she'd found it, did I want it?
PG: Why wasn't it opened on the system?
JG: I don't think there's any great scientific explanation for that, I didn't have an intention to charge on it, and from time to time I've done bits of work on files that I haven't opened up where I've just done relatively small jobs for unions that I wasn't intending to charge for. Ordinarily they would be kept on the union's file.
We have a file for each union where we put little bits of free work or telephone attendances of advice we give, or they're kept on my personal file JEG general. This, this was a more substantial job than that and really ought to have been opened on system, but I think, well, I don't have a specific recollection of thinking to myself should I open it on system or shouldn't I open it on system, but apparently I didn't.
PG: Response redacted.
PG: We're concluding the interview . . . going to ask you, Julia, it's been put to a partner of Slater & Gordon in the last week that there exists a receipt with respect to renovation work conducted at your home which is in some way connected with funds from the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association account.
JG: Yes. I have, I have heard a rumour to the effect that someone attended at the offices of the AWU since the time that Bruce has left presenting an account which when the union enquired into it was an account for work on my property and that they refused to pay it. I heard that rumour firstly from Bernard Murphy who said to me that he had heard it from Andrew Watson. I subsequently spoke to Andrew Watson about it and said that David Feeney, who is an official of the Transport Workers' Union, or an industrial officer of the Transport Workers' Union, had raised it with Andrew with the specific intent of Andrew raising it with me and David was happy for me to talk to him about it.
I have spoken to David Feeney. I spoke to him on Friday afternoon. What I believe to have happened is this. This year I had additional work done on my place to try and do something about the outside, the outside is still not painted the right colour, and needed, needed further work done on it. Bill the Greek recommended to me a friend of his called Con, the last name I believe to (be) Spiri, Spiridis or Spiritis or a word to that effect. Con organised for me, or Con came and did the following things.
There are, there were two of the original Victorian windows on either side of the house that were not functional and the wood was rotting. I wanted them replaced by new windows. Contrary to the directions I gave him about that he replaced them with aluminium sliding windows which I was particularly unhappy about. The veranda was slate and it was coming up and the posts which held up the veranda in part were rotting so I contracted with him to replace the posts and to tile the veranda. He did tile the verandah after a fashion, but the job is uncompleted. He did put in posts but he put in, ah, what's the word, decorative posts chiselled out with patterns, rather than plain posts. Given it's a Victorian weatherboard house I was pretty unhappy about that as well. And he mortared the fence and put pickets in it which was required to complete the fence.
When I came home and saw the posts and the windows which got done in, done in one day I raised it immediately with Bill the Greek in fairly vociferous tones and said this has just totally buggered up this job. This is just hideous, you know, you need to talk to Con about it. Bill had been the link to Con. Bill said he would speak to Con about it. Con came back subsequently and did the fence and I raised it with Con. Con said he would get, he knew he had made an error with the windows. He would get the windows replaced with wood windows. He didn't think the posts were his fault because that was the sort of posts that were described to him so there was an ongoing debate about whose fault it was that the posts were the wrong posts. He basically half finished, did most of the fence though bits of it are uncompleted and then he didn't return. I periodically raised with Bill what on earth is happening with Con and these windows and these posts and the tiling's uncompleted and the fence is uncompleted. Bill would say I'll fix it, I'll fix it but it never got fixed.
Life got a little bit more crazy than it had been and I ceased to sort of pay much regard to it or think about it but there was this uncompleted work at the property or to the extent it was completed large bits of it were done wrong. I don't know what transactions Con and Bill have had about the account for that work, but I believe what has happened is Con has gone to the AWU looking for Bill or looking for payment for the account.
Obviously, it accords with what David Feeney has told me that he was sent away by the AWU and without explanation an account from Con was put in my letter box last week, so that's the first account that I've had from him. It is an account dated June directed towards me, yeah, I think that's right, directed towards me, dated June and it's got a letter on it, some of which is not decipherable but talks about finishing off the tiles. The account is for $3780. I've paid $2000 of it already and I'm making arrangements to get the $1780 together to pay the rest of it. I have suggested to David Feeney that I think the way forward in relation to this is for me to simply meet with Bob Smith at FIME and say someone came here looking for payment of an account. That's nothing that I have caused, nothing to do with me, if it is this account then I've paid it, even though it hurt me to do so given the quality of the job. If there is anything else then I will pay it.
The information from David Feeney is that Bob Smith doesn't believe that I am at fault in relation to this. He has got no agenda about damaging me in relation to this or using it against me, that he will be quite happy to see the issue go away, and that he thinks that Bob will respond well to a direct discussion like that. I've left that matter on the basis that David Feeney will sound Bob out and, provided there isn't any unforeseen problem, I will meet with Bob as soon as possible for the purpose of clarifying that matter. Now I believe that that must be the source of the rumour about, that must be the factual construct behind what has become the rumour about, about the association or Bruce or the union or whoever paying for work on my house and I don't obviously given I've been fairly surprised by events to date in relation to this matter, I can't categorically rule out that something at my house didn't get paid for by the association or something at my house didn't get paid for by the union or whatever, I just, I don't feel confident saying I can categorically rule it out, but I can't see how it's happened because that really is the only bit of work that I would identify that I hadn't paid for. And it seems, just looking at the receipts and how much I borrowed and all the rest of it that I basically paid full value for everything else, so it doesn't seem to me looking at the house and working through it mentally that there is sort of thousands of dollars of free unexplained work lying around in the house.
It seems to me that I've paid, you know, relatively ordinary funds for work to get done and you know I don't see where there could be big money coming from any other source into the renovations. So I think that that's the site of the problem, it's this recent invoice with Con. I will know if there is anything else having spoken to Bob Smith.
PG: OK. Is there anything else that you think we need to know about?
JG: No, I think that's it, I can't think of anything else.
PG: OK. Thanks. The interview was continued because we needed to talk about . . .
JG: Sorry, I'm getting confused, the, Geoff when we were not on tape asked me a series of questions about things that I have had done to the house that I don't recall getting invoiced for. It occurred to me that one of those things is, and Geoff has actually seen this with his own eyes. Bill the Greek, whilst I was at work one day, built for me a low level brick fence. I didn't ask him to do that. The result was truly hideous and I think Geoff saw it when he dropped me off one night and everybody else who's passed my house has commented on it. In order to try and make it look less hideous, part of the work that Con was to do was to mortar it and put pickets on it that goes like that to try and stop it looking quite as Greek, dare one say.
I didn't, I've never, I didn't pay for the bricks, I didn't pay for the bricks. I've never had an account in relation to the fence. Now, I don't, I don't know what that means about where Bill got the bricks from, and I don't know whether that means anybody worked with him on the fence, that I haven't paid. He, you know, he pleased as punch sort of said he had built it for me. That he had built it for me. Whether that means he himself did it, given Bill's obvious difficulties with the truth I no longer know.
PG: What are Bill's obvious difficulties with the truth?
JG: He's just a big Greek bullshit artist.
PG: Julia, you told us you commenced a personal relationship with Bruce Wilson in late 1991. Can you tell us the current status of that personal relationship?
JG: Bruce is currently in Western Australia and we aren't in contact and I don't expect to be in contact with him again unless I needed to for some particular purpose related to the issues that we've discussed, and that means in, well, that obviously means that any relationship between us is at an end.
PG: OK, thanks.
GS: End of tape.
A lawyer's take on the matter
Slater & Gordon Investigations / Interview 11 September 1995
After Wilson resigned on the 17 August 1995 Slater & Gordon ceased to act for the AWU.
Julia Gillard before the 17 August 1995 knew about the incorporation of the AWU – Workplace Reform Association Inc. in 1992 but failed to disclose this fact to her client the AWU throughout this period.
None of the above conduct by Slater & Gordon between July / August 1995 formed any part of the “AWU/Wilson allegations “put to Julia Gillard on 11 September 1995 by two senior partners by the law firm.
What were the “AWU/Wilson allegations” put to her on the 11 September 1995? How did they come about ? We can only infer from the circumstances and events so far disclosed in the absence of a full and frank disclosure by Julia Gillard and the law firm.
Apparently a contractor after the 17 August 1995 (Wilson's "redundancy" departure from the AWU) arrived at the AWU Victorian Branch demanding payment for unpaid invoices from Bruce Wilson for work performed at the Abbotsford property owned by Julia Gillard.
Why did he believe that Bruce Wilson would pay these invoinces ? Apparently he was mistaken and misinformed according to Julia Gillard and had no rational basis for believing that Bruce Wilson had promised to pay for this work.
Bob Smith (Victorian Secretary after Wilson) presumably informed the contractor that the AWU had no obligation to pay these invoices for renovations by the girlfriend of Wilson’s.
Bob Smith had accused Wilson of misappropriating AWU funds on the 3 August 1995.
Presumably after speaking to the contractor he contacted a senior partner at Slater & Gordon who then commenced an internal review of the conduct of Julia Gillard. This appears to be the genesis of the “AWU/Wilson allegations”
In the course of their investigations the fact of the AWU- Workplace Reform Association Inc. came to light.
The discovery of the Association could not have arisen from a file review by Slater & Gordon as there was no file opened for the legal work performed by Julia Gillard in 1992.
The discovery of the Association must have come from either from a confession from Julia Gillard as according to her interview she was the only lawyer at Slater & Gordon who knew about the Association - or the discovery of the paper file concealed in a filing cabinet.
At the interview the “AWU/ Wilson allegation” was put to Julia Gillard that either AWU or Association funds were used by Wilson to pay for renovations to her Abbotsford property.
No one had ever seen the bank statements of the Association except Wilson and Blewitt at this point in time and no one had no knowledge of how it operated.
Presumably Slater & Gordon inferred that the Association did have some funds and inferred that these were union funds.
What would be wrong with private funds from an Association being used to pay for private renovations if these were authorised by way of resolution by the Association. Slater & Gordon had no knowledge of the source of these funds.
From the disclosed extracts of the interview on the 11 September 1995 the “AWU/Wilson allegation” was met by Julia Gillard by an assertion that she had paid for the renovations at her Abbotsford property. However her assertion was equivocal insofar as she could not be certain that no AWU or Association funds were used to pay for her renovations.
In support of her assertion she told the partners that she had receipts for payments made to pay for her renovations. At some stage she produced receipts to the law firm.
From the information so far disclosed it appears that no person from the law firm ever spoke to the contractor who had a mistaken belief that Bruce Wilson was going to pay for the renovations and asked him why he held this mistaken belief.
Further it appears that Julia Gillard produced no other documents in support of her assertion that she paid for these renovations . She apparently never produced any bank statements or the law firm did not request her to produce any bank statements in support of her assertion that she had paid for the renovations.
On the basis of her statements and the viewing of receipts produced by her to the law firm and without speaking to any other witnesses or sighting any other documents the partners came to the conclusion that they would give her the benefit of any doubts they had about this allegation and would allow her to tender her resignation which was accepted immediately and without discussion.
The law firm from the current material did not put any other allegations to Julia Gillard.
Questions that are unknown or could be answered by the law firm or by the former partner concerning their investigations of this allegation include :
- What were the total costs of the renovations to the Abbotsford property
- How did Slater & Gordon become aware of the AWU/ Wilson allegations
- What witnesses did they speak to or what statements did obtain when they investigated these allegations
- What documents did they sight in the course of their investigations
- What documents do they retain in arising from their investigations that relate to the allegations.
Presumably they took copies of the receipts and could now produce them.
The nature and extent of the investigations by the law firm are an issue and their refusal to answer questions must colour an assessment of the strength of the conclusions that they have drawn from the investigations.
Simply asking the former partner some questions and accepting her answers without any independent evidence as a conclusive response can hardly amount to a confident assertion that on the evidence the law firm could find no substance in the allegations.
Until the law firm makes a full and frank statement addressing bona fide questions about the investigations conducted by them about the Abbotsford renovations then their assertions concerning the conclusions they reached should be treated with considerable reservations.
Although the law firm knew about the existence of the AWU – Workplace Reform Association Inc. by September 1995 and knew that it had been concealed from the firm from 1992 they failed to advise the union - or police - about its existence.