"We are making all these budget cuts, like cutting sole parent allowances and Newstart, and at the same time awarding ourselves $58 million. It's insane". Labor Federal MP aka Gillard-lemming
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Compare and Contrast.
Exhibit One is a news report carried in The Daily Telegraph, written by Simon Benson and quoting a reasonable and uncompromised man, the universally respected Senator John Faulkner.
Senator John Faulkner condemned new laws which give political parties an extra $58 million in taxpayer-subsidised campaign funds and go soft on disclosure rules. Mr Faulkner called the laws a "disgrace".
The PM was reported to have sat stony faced during caucus yesterday during Mr Faulkner's condemnation of the government's electoral bill to increase funding to political parties.
"The body language was very obvious. She was not happy," said one Labor MP, who claimed Treasurer Wayne Swan had sledged Mr Faulkner.
Mr Faulkner was reported to have said to the caucus meeting: "I'm not angry any more, I am just ashamed."
Another senior Labor MP said the decision to lift funding for political parties was a fatal mistake and would go down very badly with voters.
"Seriously, what is wrong with this show?" the MP said.
"If there was any merit in this proposal you would have done it two years ago.
"We are making all these budget cuts, like cutting sole parent allowances and Newstart, and at the same time awarding ourselves $58 million. It's insane."
Exhibit Two reports the same subject matter but in a style known as hogwash. It was apparently drafted by Pravda. The dissembling nature of this and like gillardisms issued by the Attorney General, and the contemporaneous decline in his standing prove the dangers of prolonged proximity to J Gillard.
THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
Minister for Emergency Management
Special Minister of State
Minister for the Public Service and Integrity
Legislation to reform disclosure and reporting obligations of political parties
Special Minister of State Mark Dreyfus QC today announced the introduction of legislation to reform the disclosure and reporting obligations of political parties, independents and third parties in the electoral process.
The Bill contains 24 measures that build on the December 2011 recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters relating to the funding of political parties and election campaigns, as well as the Fair Work Australia report of September 2012.
The Bill reduces the threshold for disclosure of donations from $12,100 to $5,000 and requires reporting where donations from an individual or organisation exceed $5000 in a six month period.
“These changes will significantly increase the transparency of donations made to political parties,” Mr Dreyfus said.
“Any single donation of $100,000 or more to a political party must also be reported to the Australian Electoral Commission within 28 days. The AEC will then disclose the details within 28 days of the return being lodged.
“Gifts of foreign property will be also prohibited and the disclosure threshold for anonymous gifts will be reduced to $1,000.”
The Bill introduces administrative funding for political parties with at least one candidate elected and elected independents and compliance funding for parliamentary parties.
Administrative funding will be based upon the number of first preference votes received by candidates endorsed by the party, while compliance funding is a flat figure which will be indexed over time.
Public funding of political parties is a long established principle and important aspect of our democracy.
“The new funding provisions are designed to assist political parties meet their obligations under the new disclosure and reporting regime,” said Mr Dreyfus.
“The new funding will also reduce the reliance of political parties on third party donors, making the system more transparent and increasing the independence of political parties.
“The significant changes made by the Bill will give greater confidence to Australian electors that they know where the money is coming from.”
The Bill will also provide for political parties to be treated like bodies corporate for the purposes of the funding and disclosure provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act and introduce an infringement notice scheme for offences like failing to lodge a return on time.
An impassioned plea from a highly credentialled and ethical para-legal executive of conspicuous distinction. This person loves the law. The Legal Services Board could learn a lot from our correspondent.
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Spin Baby, Spin is a person who in my experience takes a sober, reasoned view of circumstances. Spin is a person who tends to give the benefit of the doubt and to look for the innocent mistake rather than the grand conspiracy. Spin also loves the honourable practice of the law and the certainty, dependability and contentment that proper process delivers in our weighty moments of truth like wills, powers of attorney, conveyance of realty, mortgage, contracts and the like. It takes a fair bit to get Spin fired up.
Spin Baby, Spin is fired up today. Here is Spin's plea.
I believe Slater and Gordon has acted inappropriately as follows:
1. The firm acted for two individuals – Bruce Morton Wilson and Ralph Edwin Blewitt - who were also union officials in the Australian Workers Union (AWU). The firm was also acting for the AWU at the time. The firm assisted Wilson and Blewitt to incorporate an Association bearing the name of its client the Australian Workers Union: "The Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association Inc" (AWU-WRA). The firm failed to obtain an appropriate consent from the AWU as to a waiver of any conflict of interest when acting for Wilson and Blewitt in their personal capacity to incorporate the Association bearing the name of the AWU.
2. At the time of receiving these instructions to incorporate, the solicitor conducting the work on behalf of the firm was in a sexual relationship with Wilson. The solicitor failed to advise her partners of her intention to incorporate an association bearing the name of their client, the AWU, without appropriate authority. She also failed to open a file so her partners had no way of knowing she was doing this.
3. The firm failed to obtain a proper authority from the AWU to use its name in the incorporation. The firm knew or ought to have known that the AWU’s rules required a resolution of its peak decision making body for its name to be used to incorporate an association bearing its name. The firm failed to require that resolution to be provided for its files before proceeding to assist Wilson and Blewitt to incorporate the AWU-WRA. This failure allowed Wilson and Blewitt to use the name of the union to obtain funds for their personal use from a large construction company, Theiss, without the Union’s knowledge or approval. These funds were then later used to purchase a house in Blewitt’s name.
4. The firm received and receipted monies into its trust account from the AWU-WRA incorrectly. The AWU-WRA paid monies into the Trust Account of Slater and Gordon for the purchase of a house in Ralph Blewitt’s name. The firm failed to make enquiries as to why the Association bearing the Union’s name was financing the purchase of a private house. The failure of these enquiries assisted a fraud to occur on the union or other parties.
5. The firm failed to pick up the receipting error in their end of month reconciliation.
6. When the error was picked up by the firm they failed to advise the Board so that disciplinary action against any of its solicitors or other employees could occur, if appropriate.
7. The firm took instructions from Wilson in his capacity as proposed Attorney to prepare a Power of Attorney in the name of Blewitt as Donor. The solicitor with conduct of the matter failed to make enquiries of the Donor as to the circumstances under which the Power was given. In fact the Donor states that at no time did he ever speak with or see the solicitor about the preparation or witnessing of that document. He did not receive any correspondence in relation to it either. The solicitor acted solely on the instructions of the Attorney (the donee), who she was also in a sexual relationship with. She did not advise her partners of what she was doing and did not make any enquiries with the Donor as to whether the Power of Attorney was being made under duress. She did not open a file so again her partners had no way of knowing she was preparing a Power of Attorney solely on the instruction of the Attorney. This does not appear to be conduct becoming of a Solicitor of Victoria.
8. It appears the solicitor or firm did not make any notes or documents in relation to the creation of the Power of Attorney other than the instrument itself. The Donor as the official client has requested any documents evidencing his instructions be released to him, however none have been forthcoming. The firm has advised him that they hold no documents. The failure to record and keep any notes made at the time supports the Donor’s recollections and allegations.
9. The Donor alleges the Power of Attorney was fraudulently witnessed by one of the firm’s partners without the Donor being present. In fact the Donor alleges the Attorney required him to sign the document in the Attorney’s presence with the implied threat that he would lose his job otherwise. The firm does not appear to hold any file notes or other evidence that might refute this allegation, or if it does has not released it to the Donor as the firm’s client. Witnessing Powers of Attorney without being present is unbecoming conduct for a Solicitor of Victoria.
10. The fraudulent Power of Attorney was then used in a transaction to purchase a property in Mr Blewitt’s name, using monies from the AWU-WRA. The firm’s failure to correctly receipt monies into their trust account allowed the fraud to occur without any enquiries being made of the Union.
11. The firm also assisted in the conveyance transaction by providing a mortgage without appropriate authority from the Donor. The Power of Attorney was not sufficient authority to apply for and execute the mortgage, nor to encumber the land, however file notes indicate this is the only authority the firm relied on. This is unbecoming conduct of the firm.
12. The firm failed to report any of these circumstances to the Legal Services Board when it became aware of the possibility of fraud by Wilson and Blewitt and the possibility of unbecoming conduct of its Partner, Julia Gillard, who was also in a sexual relationship with Wilson. This failure has allowed Julia Gillard to depart the firm with her reputation as a solicitor of good standing in Victoria intact.
13. The firm has made public statements that give the impression Julia Gillard was never the subject of improper conduct and was an upstanding past employee of sufficient standing for the firm to name a boardroom in her honor. It is important these matters be dealt with, even though a timeframe of 17 years has elapsed because:
a. The solicitor involved is now the Prime Minister of Australia, and she has used her reputation as a lawyer without blemish to further her current career. Indeed she still relies on her unblemished record as a Solicitor in Victoria in her current career in politics;
b. If in fact Julia Gillard has been guilty of misconduct, Australians have a right to know that the Legal Services Board of Victoria does not uphold her reputation as a lawyer without blemish.
c. If in fact Julia Gillard has not been guilty of misconduct, the Legal Services Board owes her the decency to stand behind her and her reputation as a solicitor of Victoria, given these allegations.
d. It is important that the General Public know one way or another whether the Victorian Legal Services Board considers Julia Gillard worthy of her current unblemished record as a Solicitor who practiced in Victoria, especially given that a General Election for the Federal Government is to be held on September 14 and Ms Gillard is putting herself forward as a candidate for the Prime Minister of Australia.
e. If any other Partners at Slater and Gordon have been involved in any misconduct, or coverup, in relation to this matter then they too should lose their reputation as a lawyer without blemish.
f. Ms Gillard’s immediate boss, Mr Bernard Murphy, has been appointed as a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia on the basis of his exemplary conduct as a lawyer. The Public deserves to know whether the Legal Services Board is happy for his unblemished reputation to be upheld, so it can have peace of mind in his appointment.
g. There should be no time-limits based on reporting matters to the Legal Services Board involving circumstances of fraud and improper conduct of lawyers that may have assisted in fraud.
h. Complaints concerning lawyers who move into careers that rely on the reputation of their conduct as a Solicitor in Victoria should be heard if new information becomes public in relation to their conduct while lawyers and that conduct involves fraud.
i. The general public deserves to know the truth of the matter of whether Julia Gillard and her Partners conducted themselves to the standards held by the Legal Services Board in this matter.
To facilitate your enquiries, attached are the Slater and Gordon files released to Mr Blewitt after he requested all documents relating to him personally be released to him. The Federal Opposition has promised a Royal Commission will be held in relation to this matter after the General Election should it win office.
The Legal Services Board may be called upon to explain to the Royal Commission its reasons for action or non-action and the timeliness of same in relation to this matter. I submit this is a matter of public importance that should be dealt with on an urgent basis as one of the solicitors involved is seeking the highest office in the land on September 14. Her unblemished reputation as lawyer who practiced in Victoria is something that needs to be confirmed by the Board before the election.
Spin Baby, Spin
The Slater and Gordon Trust Account Ledger - its misreporting has been referred to in the Federal Parliament's proceedings - requirement not to mislead the House and Slater and Gordon's responsibilities
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Yesterday we heard that the Legal Services Commissioner (and CEO of Victoria's Legal Services Board) apprehended a potential conflict of interest in examining a reported Trust Account irregularity in the Slater and Gordon solicitor's Trust Account.
This extract from the Legal Services Board website is pretty clear:
- if an Australian legal practitioner believes on reasonable grounds that there is an irregularity in connection with the receipt, recording or disbursement of any trust money received by a law practice of which the practitioner is not a legal practitioner associate, the practitioner must as soon as practicable after forming the belief give written notice of it to the Board and a corresponding authority (if a corresponding authority is responsible for the regulation of the account concerned).
It's based on this current Victorian law
Mr McGarvie is a lawyer. He may not have read my letter setting out the background to the continued external reporting by Slater and Gordon, as recently as April this year, that Ralph Blewitt was the source of $67,722.30 paid into the Slater and Gordon Trust Account to complete the purchase of 1/85 Kerr Street Fitzroy on 22 March, 1993. But regardless of whether he has a personal conflict or not, his role as head of the statutory authority means the buck stops with him and his board in the regulation of the legal profession in Victoria. I was disappointed that his Board felt incapable of turning its mind to my complaint, so here are some more details the Board will receive today.
Ralph Blewitt says that he was not the source of the money recorded as coming directly from him in the Slater and Gordon Trust Account. He says that he wrote a cheque drawn on the account of the Australian Workers' Union - Workplace Reform Association and that he deposited that cheque directly into the Slater and Gordon Trust Account. He has advised Slater and Gordon of that fact in writing.
On 1 April this year Mr Blewitt wrote to Slater and Gordon, here is his email:
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.
(original completed with Mr Blewitt's details)
Slater and Gordon has ignored Mr Blewitt's clear advice to the firm that the source of the $67,722.30 was not Mr Blewitt himself, rather it was the AWU Workplace Reform Association. The firm continues to advise external parties that Mr Blewitt provided the money when he did not and in circumstances where Mr Blewitt clearly admits he did not and where he has provided the details that describe the true source of the money.
Beyond Mr Blewitt's written advice to Slater and Gordon, the true source of the $67K cheque (ie the AWU WRA Inc) has been the subject of court proceedings in the Australian Industrial Relations Court, matter 2082/96. The affidavit of (now Commissioner) Ian Cambridge sworn in September, 1996 exhibits material provided by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia which describes the AWU WRA's payment of the funds directly to Slater and Gordon.
None of that has caused Slater and Gordon to correct its continuing apparent mis-reporting. Here is its letter in reply to Mr Blewitt:
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.
General Manager - Commercial and Project Litigation
SLATER & GORDON LAWYERS
Here is the Trust Account Ledger
Mr Blewitt has advised Slater and Gordon, in writing, that he deposited the cheque - a copy of which is reproduced below - on 18 March, 1993 to the firm's Trust Account. It was deposited directly to the Slater and Gordon account. Slater and Gordon may not have known the true source of the funds in 1993, but by the institution of proceedings in matter 2082/96 in which the firm's conveyance and mortgage files were subpoenaed by the Court, Slater and Gordon should have known and should have corrected its record. If it maintains it did not know in 1996, it must know now and it has Blewitt's direct evidence, and the banking information exhibited to Commissioner Cambridge's affidavit to satisfy itself as to the true source of the funds.
But Slater and Gordon persists in the uncorrected report that Mr Blewitt provided the funds himself.
The apparent mis-reporting in the Slater and Gordon Trust Account has been quoted by the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth in a press conference on 26 November, 2012.
In terms of any evidence available to Slater & Gordon about the misuse of the Workplace Reform Association, well as I understand it, the only thing that's been waved around here is a cheque supposedly relating to the conveyancing file. Let's once again be very clear here about what's the truth as opposed to what is commonly reported. I was not the solicitor in charge of the conveyancing file, I was not the operator of the conveyancing file. In a file more than 400 pages long, there are 12 references to me. In a file more than 400 pages long, there is no reference to the AWU Workplace Relations Association, no reference. And what the file shows in terms of the deposit for the property is it was a direct deposit from Blewitt.
A few minutes later the Prime Minister adopted the contents of her press conference in the chamber of the House of Representatives, here is an extract of the Hansard from Question Time, 26 November, 2012.
Ms GILLARD (Lalor—Prime Minister) (14:13): I have just dealt with this precise question at a press conference which finished at around four or five minutes to two o'clock, so I refer the member for Curtin to the transcript where I dealt with this matter extensively.
Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Under the standing orders the Prime Minister is required to answer during question time questions on matters that are known about by the general public. If she is not equipped to do so or has some reason for avoiding answering questions in this parliament and thinks journalists are a substitute for members, she does not deserve to be Prime Minister of this country.
The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has the call and has the right to be heard in silence.
Ms GILLARD: I had one of those ultrasecret things called a press conference—one of those ultrasecret things! That is what you do, isn't it? You call a press conference in front of the full Canberra press gallery and conduct it for the best part of an hour if you do not want people to know what you have said! Gee, the member for Mackellar is onto something there! I refer the Deputy Leader of the Opposition—
Ms GILLARD: to this question, which was put to me during the press conference by Sid Maher of the Australian. I stand by the answer I gave to Mr Maher's question.
On 31 October, 2012, this exchange took place in our federal parliament.
One of the fundamental precepts of our parliamentary system of government is that members do not mislead the House. The Prime Minister is quoting here the Slater and Gordon Trust Account Ledger and it is wrong.
It is a simple matter for Slater and Gordon to correct the record. The Australian people deserve nothing less.
Please let me know what the Board proposes to do on our behalf.
One last thing before I call it a day - great comments from a journalist friend of mine
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
You may have read this story from the ABC about Milad bin Ahmad-Shah al-Ahmadzai who has been refused bail over a threat he is alleged to have made to kill one of our government's officials.
I wonder if you read it with the critical eye for journalism that my friend has in spades!
First his comment, then the Australian Government News Agency's report.
Am I becoming too intolerant or is this ABC story about this allegedly violent extremist not more than a little slanted in favour of him and his family? Why, in the last paragraph, does the ABC say it is his family's ordeal which will continue this week? Why is there any mention at all of the supposed ordeal suffered by his family because of his appalling alleged behaviour when clearly the ordeal suffered by the threatened public official is the issue? Why is it also mentioned that he's recently married and expecting a baby? Is it because the ABC is seeking to implicitly suggest in this story that it's somehow wrong to arrest an alleged extremist for threatening to slit the throat of a public official? Is the ABC somehow trying to suggest that his alleged behaviour is justified because he's been pushed into this violent threat because of the watch of intelligence agencies? That's what I took from it. Why is there any shred of sympathy for an allegedly violent extremist who has also allegedly committed ram raid robberies? Is this bloody country going nuts?!!!
Milad bin Ahmad-Shah al-Ahmadzai refused bail over alleged kill threat against Commonwealth official
By police reporter Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop
Updated 55 minutes ago
A Sydney man has been arrested after allegedly threatening to slit the throat of a Commonwealth public official.
Recently married and expecting a baby, 23-year-old Milad bin Ahmad-Shah Al-Ahmadzai has been under the watch of intelligence agencies since 2009.
Today, Burwood Local Court heard Al-Ahmadzai called the official this month.
He is alleged to have said: "I'm gonna crack your neck.
"Come near my family again, I'm gonna slit your throat, you pig."
Magistrate Margaret Quinn said threats were also made to national security.
"It looks like a strong case against the defendant," she said.
The arrest comes after a British soldier was hacked to death last week on a London street.
Now, Defence Force Chief General David Hurley has placed Australian soldiers on alert.
"There is the possibility of further copy-cat attacks. All Defence personnel should [avoid] known or likely trouble spots and take extra care in what you reveal about yourself and your planned activities in social media," he said.
Case raised in Question Time
The shockwaves have spread to Canberra, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard commenting on Al-Ahmadzai's arrest during Question Time.
"Agents of the Australian Federal Police and the NSW Police Force last night arrested a 23-year-old man in Sydney," she said.
"The man is charged with using a carriage service to make a threat and threatening to cause harm to a Commonwealth official.
"He has been refused bail. Speaker, I do not intend to comment on the specifics of this case as it is before the courts."
Just an hour earlier, all details of the case were made secret for national security reasons.
Late today the order was lifted but the Opposition is demanding answers over why Ms Gillard mentioned the case at all.
"Can you advise the House whether she has by her actions prejudiced the trial of the accused?" asked Manager for Opposition Business Christopher Pyne.
But Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says Ms Gillard did not breach the suppression order.
"The suppression order was not only not brought to our attention but the New South Wales Police, [the] website was showing the information that the Prime Minister used in her answer," he said.
Al-Ahmadzai's solicitor, Nicholas Hanna, says his client will apply for bail.
"We'll be going to the Supreme Court to apply for bail and the family asks for privacy," he said.
The family's ordeal is set to continue, with Al-Ahmadzai back in court on Friday to be sentenced over a separate offence - a ram raid in Sydney two years ago.
NSW Health's South West Area Network and its Trauma teams have a sense of humour!
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
As reader Chris who took the photo in the Liverpool Hospital foyer yesterday says,
It's good to know our hospital system is aware of the trauma that Wayne Swan’s six consecutive budget deficits are causing our economy.
Thanks to reader Ann for this report quoting the CEO of the Legal Services Board Michael McGarvie on the Gillard/Slater and Gordon matter.
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Reader Ann sent us the link to this story published by Crikey on 21 November, 2012. The author of the quoted paragraphs is Mark Latham who spoke with Mr McGarvie the current CEO of the Legal Services Board and the Legal Services Commissioner in Victoria:
In dealing with the various allegations against the Prime Minister in the Slater & Gordon matter, it is prudent to check the facts with the relevant legal and government authorities. Accordingly, I contacted the Legal Services Commissioner in Victoria, Michael McGarvie (the official who regulates lawyers and deals with ethical complaints against the legal profession) for comment on the obligations of lawyers in dealing with clients who may have broken the law.
While he would not reflect on the specifics of the Julia Gillard/Slater & Gordon matter, he was willing to answer the following hypothetical question: If a lawyer acts for a client and provides advice for the establishment of some kind of financial instrument but then years later believes that the client, in their use of the instrument, may have broken the law, such as in defrauding money, what are the lawyer’s obligations to report this matter to the police?
McGarvie answered: “The lawyer has a duty of confidentiality to the client, meaning that he or she is under no obligation to report the client to the police. The lawyer has a permanent obligation not to disclose material relating to a person for whom they have acted.”
Given the number of media outlets (not just Bolt) who have made allegations against Gillard on the question of reporting Wilson to the police, one might reasonably expect McGarvie to have received a high volume of inquiries from journalists seeking comment. He is, after all, the key authority in Victoria dealing with questions of lawyer/client obligations and ethics. McGarvie said I was the first person in the media to contact him on this particular issue.
Bolt is wrong in saying that Gillard was obliged under the law to report Wilson to the police. It was beyond his research capacity and duty of care to his readers to pick up the phone and ask for McGarvie’s opinion. That is, Bolt is not interested in hard evidence in spraying around allegations against the Prime Minister. He just invents claims for their political impact — smearing rather than reporting. He owes Gillard a retraction and apology.
More on the timeline in the establishment of the AWU-WRA - and its bank accounts.
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
We know from our previous posts that the Objects (rules) of the Association were drafted by Ms Gillard, that Ms Gillard wrote the words Australian Workers' Union - Workplace Reform Association and that Ms Gillard states that she had nothing to do with establishing or the operation of bank accounts associated with the AWU-WRA Inc.
The application was submitted to the WA Corporate Affairs Commissioner on 23 April, 1992 and the Association incorporated on 24 June, 1992.
This table from Dr John Lourens sets out the timing of the early invoices issued and cheques received by the AWU-WRA Inc.
This is the first deposit to the AWU-WRA cash management account, it's made on 5 May, 1992, the same day that the account is opened.
We know that account number 6005 1000 2590 was the AWU WRA Inc Cash Management Account
6005 1000 2582 was the AWU WRA Inc Cheque Account
We know that 2582 the cheque account was opened on 5 May, 1992, because it is referred to in the details of other accounts that Blewitt/Wilson opened later at the Commonwealth Bank. Ian Cambridge records in his affidavit that both the cash management and cheque accounts were opened in May, 1992, I think it's reasonable on the evidence to state that both were opened on 5 May.
Here is a part of the paperwork for the Construction Industry Fund account showing that 2582 was active since 5/5/92:
Here's similar paperwork for the WA Election Fund:
Detective Sergeant McAlpine of the WA Fraud Squad was keen to seize all the Commonwealth Bank's documents regarding the "suspect" accounts. Here is a redacted copy of the detective's running sheet which refers to his visit to the CBA on 19 November, 1996 (he misrecords Construction Industry Fund's number as 6318, it's 6381)
Note that McAlpine records that redacted and redacted (read Wilson and Blewitt) were known to the branch and that in order to open the AWU WRA Inc accounts, the "other documents required would only have been" the authorised operating details of who was the President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer and who was authorised to sign cheques.
The first Thiess purchase order to the AWU WRA Inc was issued on 9 April, the AWU-WRA application (including the rules) was dated 22 April, 1992 and lodged with the WA Corporate Affairs Commissioner on 23 April. McAlpine's running sheet suggests that the bank "required" something to satisfy itself ("other docs req'd would only have been the authorised operating a/c which detail Pres, V/P, Sec and Treasurer... and who..... were authorised to sign cheques") to open the accounts.
This is copied from the rules that Ms Gillard prepared:
And this rule written by Ms Gillard sets out the signing authority for cheques:
Obviously the opening of the account on 5 May, 1992 was a material fact of interest to Detective Sergeant McAlpine, given the AWU WRA Inc was not incorporated by the Commissioner until 24 June that year.
McAlpine's running sheet has several references to inquires at various addresses and search warrants he executed to secure documents. I think this entry on 19 December, 1996 is the most comprehensive:
In summary we can say with confidence that the AWU WRA Inc cash management and cheque accounts were opened on 5 May, 1992 and that the first deposit of $25, 272 was made on that date.
While we don't have copies of the paperwork to open the accounts, we can be sure that they were opened without a certificate of incorporation. Someone had a high degree of confidence that the entity would be incorporated and a strong incentive to overcome any objections to its incorporation, particularly as to the name of the entity which by now could not be changed.
Finally McAlpine took 2 statements from Commonwealth Bank staff or former staff, this is a redacted precis of the statement re the AWU WRA accounts.
For completeness, here is a printed AWU WRA Inc cheque which shows the way the name of the account 6005 1000 2582 was styled.
Here's how the name looks in Julia Gillard's handwriting:
And this is what it looks like in the Slater and Gordon Trust Account Ledger for the purchase of 1/85 Kerr Street, Fitzroy.
Back to square one with the Legal Services Board of Victoria
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
The CEO of the Legal Services Board of Victoria has declined to deal with my report to the Board about the Slater and Gordon Trust Account. He has declared a potential conflict of interest and has passed my note on to the Chairperson of the Board. Here's the email I received today:
Please find attached correspondence prepared by the Chairperson of the Legal Services Board, Ms Fiona Bennett, and signed by our General Counsel at Ms Bennett’s request while she is away from the office.
Mr McGarvie is not in a position to address this matter, due to a potential conflict of interest.
Executive Assistant to Michael McGarvie
Legal Services Commissioner & CEO Legal Services Board
Legal Services COMMISSIONER Legal Services BOARD
And here's the letter:
National Security simply is not a priority for the Gillard Government
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
On 20 April this year we posted this piece about the unconscionable decision by the Gillard Government to strip money from our security services.
Thank you to the many readers who pointed me towards yesterday's article in The Australian newspaper by Ben PACKHAM
NATIONAL security is being put at risk by annual budget cuts affecting Australia's spy agencies, a parliamentary committee has declared.
The chairman of the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, Labor's Anthony Byrne, today registered in strong terms his dismay at continued funding cuts to intelligence services under the guise of the government's “efficiency dividends”.
He said the latest report on the agencies' expenditure and administration revealed their ability to operate effectively was under threat.
“I believe this report establishes that that is now happening and that is completely unacceptable,” Mr Byrne said.
“The agencies are tasked to protect our national security and I find it frankly astonishing that these agencies would have been effectively sequestered from funding to perform their tasks, I think it's disgraceful and it should be addressed.”The report covers the administration and finances of Australia's six intelligence and security agencies in 2010-11 and is based partly on secret information.
Mr Byrne said the Office of National Assessments in particular had reported great difficulty in dealing with its cuts.
The committee's deputy chairman, former Liberal attorney-general Philip Ruddock, said Australia was exposing itself to significant risks as counter-terrorism and counter-espionage agencies had money stripped from them.