The police say that documents created in the Industrial Unit at Slater and Gordon for its, ahem, "client" Bruce Wilson were created in the furtherance of fraud. There were two lawyers in that unit, the putative Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the man who would be made a Federal Court Judge by her government Bernard Murphy.
On 2 December Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen will turn his magisterial mind to a question of fact. It will boil down to something like this - was that half a million that winged its way into the AWU Workplace Reform Association slush fund from Thiess meant to end up in Bruce Wilson's control? Or was there a fraud???? Hmmmmmm. Police say there was a fraud and that the documents that helped Wilson get his hands on the money were created in the furtherance thereof.
So who of the two lawyers will be the most thrilled with what Chief Magistrates Lauritsen finds.
Julia, you bloody beauty! Or His Honour Bernard the Unblemished?
LAWYER Josh Bornstein's mobile phone flashed at 9.41am on Thursday with the exultant text message: "Julia, you bloody beauty."
From the unlikely location of South America, the Maurice Blackburn chairman Bernard Murphy was letting his colleague Bornstein, who was in a meeting, know their one-time workmate was now Prime Minister.
Both Murphy and Bornstein knew Gillard when her more mundane day job was working as an industrial lawyer at another Labor law firm, Slater & Gordon. Back then, the trio was part of a small team representing unions under fire during the Kennett years.
Gillard, who secured a coveted partnership aged just 29, was a formidable presence at the firm. Just as she took to politics, she enjoyed the aggressive world of industrial relations. She remained at Slater & Gordon until 1996 when she became chief of staff to then state opposition leader John Brumby.
Her pathway, while stellar, was not seamless. Another lawyer at Slater & Gordon, Paul Henderson, recalls she did not secure articles, the equivalent of a legal apprenticeship after graduation from the University of Melbourne, but instead did a Leo Cussen's study course often seen as the second-best option at the launch of a practical legal career.
Gillard impressed on the job, however. After two weeks of work experience at Slater & Gordon she was in. "That gives you pretty good understanding of the impression she made," says Henderson.
Henderson, now a principal lawyer in medical law at Slater & Gordon, says: "She's passionate, she's got compassion she's intellectually very capable," he says. "She's got a good sense of humour and has the capacity to communicate across a broad range of people."
Both Henderson and Bornstein, who rose to prominence in the 1998 waterfront dispute, still regard Gillard as a good friend despite seeing her less often these days.
Henderson says they'd go out or meet at her place for a drink. Conviviality was at the core of Gillard, a natural networker. "She was quite inclusive" with her friends ranging from support staff, to partners, to union organisers and officials.
Bornstein says: "She's intensely loyal, you may not speak to one another for a period of time . . . then you say to Julia, 'Do you mind if I seek your assistance on something?' and she will be there."
That's Ben Schneiders writing in The Age on 26 June 2010. You can find the whole "Julia, you bloody beauty" article here.