A few thoughts from StephenJ on the Wilson appeal in the legal professional privilege ruling
A transcript of my 2GB interview with Bob Kernohan, Tuesday 7 January 2014

Bruce Wilson - director of the Building and Construction Industry Training Fund - and we solve a Gillard mystery

Here's an extract from the WA Parliamentary Hansard record for Tuesday, 24 November, 1992.

Note commentary about the composition of the BCITF Board where Bruce Wilson was a director.



Building and Construction Industry Training Fund - Industries' Concerns; Revenue and

1511. Mr KIERATH to the Minister representing the Minister for Training:
(1) (a) Who are the members of the building and construction industry fund
(b) what organisations do they represent?
(2) Is there a high level of dissatisfaction in the mining, petroleum and farming
industries with the Building and Construction Industry Training Fund which
consider the levy as an unreasonable tax on development?
(3) (a) How much has the BCITF raised since inception;
(b) what revenue is projected for the 1992-93 financial year?
(4) (a) How much has been expended on training programs by the BCITF to
(b) what additional expenditure on training programs is planned, or has
been committed by the BCJTF;
(c) what surplus/deficit is expected by the end of the 1992-93 financial
(5) Has all trining expenditure been approved by all members of the BCITF
(6) Can the Mtinister give an assurance that no funds raised by the BCIT have
been expended on refurbishing premises owned, or leased, by the unions
(7) Is a review of the BCITF legislation, with a view to excluding mining,
petroleum and farming from the am bit of the levy, being undertaken?
(8) (a) Who is to conduct the review;
(b) what are its terms of reference?
Dr GALLOP replied:
The Minister for Training has provided the following reply-
(1) Mr James Snooks, Chair
Mr Harvey McLeod, Director, Master Builders Association
Mr Kevin Reynolds, Secretary, Builders Labourers Federation
Mr John Dastlik, Chief Executive, Housing Industry Association (WA
Mr Tony Heelan, Manager, Industrial Relations, Chamnber of
Commerce and Industry
Mr Trevor Dobson, Manager, Industrial Relations, Australian
Federation of Construction Contractors
Mr Neil Flynn, Acting Secretary, Construction, Mining and Energy
Workers Union
Mr Bruce Wilson, Branch Secretary, Australian Workers Union
Mr Jock Ferguson, Assistant State Secretary, Amalgamated Metal
Workers Union
Mr Steven Tweedie, Director Policy, WA Municipal Association,.
Mr Bernie. Ryan, Department of Employment, Vocational Education
and Training Ms Ann-Marie Heine, Manager, Training and Development Services,
(2) The mining, petroleum and farming industries have indicated their
concerns about the levy.
(3) (a)
(4) (a)
To 31 October 1992, the BCITF has collected $6 917 494.
$8.2 million.
$1 718 631.
$5 378 000.
Approximately $900 000.
(7) The member is referred to the answer to (8)(b) of this question.
(8) (a) Mr John Carrigg of the Western Australia Industrial Relations.
(b) (i) To determine the current and historical level of
investment by the petroleum, mining, and agricultural industries into the training of employees undertaking the
building and construction work as defined in the
Building and Construction Training Fund Act 1990,
detailing Government subsidies and other assistance
(ii) To determine to what extent the petroleum, mining and
agricultural industries employ, or utilise through
contractual arrangements, labour trained by other
sections of the building and construction industry as
defined by the Act.
(iii) To determine whether the building and construction
work undertaken by the petroleum, mining and
agricultural industries should be subject to the BCITF


Here is the Thiess funding submission to the BCITF for the Dawesville project.   It's scrappy, poorly put together and fairly perfunctory - as if it's a box-ticking exercise prior to the BCITF handing over the money.

Note that it was dated 6 October, 1992.

Note also that the proposed workplace reform activity within that submission will commence after approval of the project by the BCITF - the relevant page is reproduced here.

Thiess bcitf submission_004

Here is a link to the AWU/Thiess MOU - dated 11 June, 1992

Now a couple of reminders.   Bruce Wilson recieved $300,000 from Thiess, broken down into 54 hours per week at $38 per hour for a workplace reform advisor on site at Dawesville.   The bloke started 4 months before he had a job and kept working underwater for 8 months after the channel was flooded.   That was so that the equal payments of $100K per year matched the WA Government's announced contract period of January, 1992 to Dec, 1994.   It was a sham.

Here are a few memory refreshing dates.

May, 1991 - Bruce Wilson appointed AWU WA State secretary.

September/October, 1991 - Carmen Lawrence's Labor Government preparing to issue tenders for the Dawesville Channel project - competitive process envisaged.

6 November, 12 November and 13 November, 1991 Bruce Wilson is named in WA Parliament as prolonging and frustrating efforts to settle the Kambalda Nickel Smelter dispute.   The Government was under significant pressure.  Wilson is reported (by a confidential source) to be lobbying for the cabinet to hand the Dawesville project to Thiess.

25 November, 1991 (the Hansard of 4 December contains reference to the Cabinet date of 25/11) the Carmen Lawrence Cabinet secretly decides to scrap the Dawesville tender and to hand the contract to Wannunup Developments and Thiess without any competitive process.   Wilson's brother in law Joe Trio is very happy.

28 November, 1991, WA's Parliament is told of the decision to hand the contract to Thiess/Wannunup.  The terms are fixed - $56.7M for the earthworks (Thiess payments) and a contract term from January, 1992 to December, 1994 (ie 36 months).

6 January, 1992 - contracts signed with Thiess/Wannunup and earthworks commence.  This link to an extract from Keith Bradbury's book on the Peel-Harvey system has a very good timeline.

January to March, 1992.  Bruce Wilson apparently encounters some difficulty in registering an incorporated association, he turns to Slater and Gordon in Melbourne.

6 March, 1991 - this advertisement appeared in the West Australian newspaper classifieds.


And at this point I have always encountered a bit of a mystery.   The ad is quite clear,

The Association is formed for the purpose of promoting and encouraging workplace reform for workers performing construction and maintenance work.

But by 22 April, 1991 when the formal application to the WA Corporate Affairs Commissioner was lodged, the purpose had changed.   Here is the 22 April, 1991 version:

The Association is formed for the purpose of development of changes to work to achieve safe workplaces.

So what happened in the interim?   On 16 March, 1991 Thiess issued a letter to Wilson setting out the terms (on paper only, it was all a sham) of the agreement with the AWU WRA.  Until Chief Magistrate Lauritsen's ruling was issued we did not know what was in the letter.   Here is the extract in the Chief Magistrate's ruling.

Thiess letter

Safety is included in the Thiess letter.   Workplace reform, site safety and training.

Here are the first 3 rules for the AWU WRA drafted in April, 1992 by Julia Gillard.

Gillard rules

I know of no other source document or logical reason for changing the primary purpose for which the association was ostensibly established - other than the Thiess letter dated 16 March, 1992.  That letter accompanied the Thiess purchase order for the first payment to Wilson under his false invoice scam.

That letter from Thiess was an important source document in ensuring that the objects of the AWU WRA Inc met the Thiess expectation of the association.   It would be difficult to accept that the letter was not present during the drafting of the objects.  

The change in purpose between the West Australian ad on 5 March, 1992 and the final purpose submitted in the objects on 22 April, 1992 is significant.   The AWU WRA objects include all the Thiess requirements set out in its letter of 16 March, suggesting that the Thiess letter was present during the drafting.   Ms Gillard drafted the rules during April, 1992.   No mention of funds for the election of union officials either.

Ms Gillard's cover story is that she acted on instructions to establish an incorporated association to hold funds raised for her boyfriend's reelection.   Nothing in her work looks remotely like that.   her work parallels what Thiess set out as being palatable to its accounts department.

The contents of the Thiess letter will be very significant in any brief of evidence against the dodgy former lawyer with bad judgement in men and morality.

Every touch leaves its trace.