I write to Paul Sheehan about incurious acceptance of Julia Gillard's "I was duped by unionists" defence
Thank you for speaking so plainly on The Drum on Friday and for today's column in the Fairfax press.
I was surprised to read your thoughts about Julia Gillard's place in history following the union royal commission. If she was an unwitting ingenue I'd agree with your observation that "simply by being associated with this judicial inquiry, Ms Gillard will suffer collateral damage to the gravitas of her legacy as the first woman prime minister of Australia".
But a simple association with the Royal Commission won't damage Ms Gillard. Her legacy will be destroyed because of incorporated association(s) she made to order for corrupt union mates. That is, her role in the furtherance of various crimes.
On 9 December 2013 Victoria's Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen handed down this 12 page Ruling.
arising from a search warrant issued to Victoria Police on 15 May 2013 (while Ms Gillard was Prime Minister, in fact on the very day she cried in the Parliament). The search warrant named Julia Gillard and authorised police to enter Slater and Gordon and seize her personnel files, the record of interview on her separation from Slater and Gordon and a raft of documents pertaining to her "legal work" for her boyfriend Bruce Wilson, the former AWU chief.
Chief Magistrate Lauritsen's Ruling was made against Gillard's former romantic partner Bruce Wilson. While it was a damaging finding for Wilson, it was devastating for the two lawyers who worked at Slater and Gordon's industrial unit with Wilson as their "client". The Chief Magistrate found that in every instance, each document prepared and each communication between Wilson and Julia Gillard/ Bernard Murphy was made "for the furtherance of the commission of a fraud or an offence".
The Chief Magistrate's ruling has been appealed to the Supreme Court - but in total his ruling applies to 366 documents, a huge amount of "furtherance" of Wilson/Gillard crimes. The Chief Magistrate's written ruling includes sworn evidence from Victoria Police who are considering charging Wilson, Blewitt and others with offences including conspiracy to cheat and defraud as well as other fraud and forgery (creating and using false document) charges.
McHugh J in his paper “Jeopardy of lawyers and accountants in acting on commercial transactions” delivered to the Perth Summer School 1988, published in Australian Bar Review, vol 5 No 1 March 1989 page 1 refers to conspiracy to defraud and aiding and abetting a breach of the law as the two areas of the criminal law which potentially apply to professional advice.
His Honour dealt with the concept of encouragement by practitioners of clients’ unlawful activities in this way:
“In the present context of the relationship between a commercial solicitor or accountant and his client, I think ...that it is unreal to suggest that the professional adviser is not “in any real sense encouraging the client to act or proceed in a particular manner”. ...The lawyer, and in an appropriate case the accountant, has a vested interest in the matter proceeding ...much professional advice in commercial situations extends beyond the field of their legal advice. ... An inference of encouragement would usually be open even when the client simply asks whether a particular course of commercial conduct is lawful. It would be open to a jury to conclude that the client was relying on the lawyer’s advice and was encouraged to carry out the prohibited conduct by reason of it” and further “when the lawyer goes beyond advice and draws documents for the purpose of enabling a client to achieve an objective, it is, I think, almost impossible to contend that the adviser does not aid the commission of any offence which results.””
I agree with McHugh's characterisation as it applies to my study of Ms Gillard's role. It is almost impossible to contend that Ms Gillard did not aid the commission of Wilson's offences.
I've written a little about Ms Gillard's role in writing the 9 pages of Objects of the Association that she says was set up to raise money for Bruce's electoral ambitions. The former chief of Western Australia's anti-corruption commission Terry O'Connor QC examined her role (on the papers) and in the absence of anything exculpatory in Ms Gillard's public statements or the record of interview at Slater and Gordon, Mr O'Connor QC advised Ms Gillard faced, "a prima facie case that she could have been charged along with Blewitt as she drafted the rules of the association for Blewitt knowing that the rules did not disclose the purpose for which the association was being incorporated".
My website is very fortunate in that quite eminent people render opinions from time to time. One such correspondent is Stephen J whose judicial renderings always make for fascinating and compelling reading. Stephen J wrote about Ms Gillard's role and the way a case might be presented in the offences of aiding and abetting a principal offender here and here.
In January last year Victoria Police attended for some days on the former Slater and Gordon paralegal officer Olive Brosnahan - after that it was clear a major investigation was under way. Soon after Victoria Police detectives executed a search warrant on the Federal Court seeking its files in the matter.
By February 2013 multiple witnesses were reported to be speaking to police, including former Victorian AWU state secretary and Labor Parliamentarian Bob Smith speaking in this February 2013 article in the News Limited press:
Mr Smith said he told police that "Kon Spyridis approached me, came to my office, and requested payment for work he had done on Ms Gillard's home at Abbotsford.
"I explained to him that it was nothing to do with us (the AWU) and that he would be better served by speaking to Gillard or Bruce Wilson," he said.
That same month former AWU national secretary and current Fair Work Commissioner and judicial officer in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission Ian Cambridge announced publicly that he would hand over all the material he had on The AWU Scandal to police and he encouraged others, particularly the current President of the AWU Bill Ludwig to do the same.
I have spent dozens of days in the company of police investigating the Wilson AWU matter. I have a good grasp of what went on and what various eye witnesses have told me. So I'm a bit different from you, particularly when you say, "I have never questioned her claim that she was duped by unionists who used her legal services to engage in fraud. I do not question that claim now".
I have questioned Ms Gillard's claims - here. Someone was kind enough to send me the audio of the radio show I did at 2UE when I asked those questions of the PM, you can hear it here. I was employed by your employer Fairfax at the time. Fairfax didn't like what I had done, it said I had asked unauthorised questions of the Prime Minister. Unauthorised. When the media censors itself and doesn't ask questions of a PM I think we are in trouble. That's why I am not with Fairfax any longer.
After Ralph Blewitt told me that Gillard did not witness him signing a Power of Attorney used in the purchase of the Kerr Street property, I wrote again to Ms Gillard to get her version of events. When she didn't respond to me, I reported Julia Eileen GILLARD (DOB 29 September 1961) of The Lodge, Canberra to Victoria Police on 17 October, 2012. I also reported Trust Account irregularities regarding the Kerr Street property transaction to the Legal Services Board of Victoria which advised me that it is now conducting its enquiries into the matter on the back of the Victoria Police criminal investigation - link here.
I'd love to know why you're happy not to question Ms Gillard's claim that she was duped by unionists. I say there is compelling evidence to support the assertion that Ms Gillard was not duped at all, rather that she was a knowing accomplice who had her home renovations paid for by corruptly received monies.