Brad Norington writes in The Australian today with a report that will warm the hearts of the 22 and a bit million Australians who weren't in on the Gillard/WilsonTM system of self-renovating and auto-financing home improvements.
".........and Bruce, whilst I was away, decided that I should just get it done" - details here.
Julia Gillard builders to testify
NEW evidence from one of a group of tradesmen who renovated Julia Gillard’s Melbourne home could be pivotal in determining whether thousands of dollars in payments for the work came from a secret union slush fund.
Athol James will this week give sworn evidence at the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption about allegations that “substantial” work he performed at Ms Gillard’s house in Abbotsford in the 1990s was paid for by her then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, who was an Australian Workers Union official at the time.
Mr James is believed to have given royal commission investigators detailed copies of quotations, invoices, bank accounts and notes related to glasswork, paving, flooring and sanding he did for Ms Gillard.
The former prime minister insists she paid for the renovations herself and that the money did not come from Mr Wilson or the slush fund he is accused of using to siphon off hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Sydney broadcaster and former police officer Michael Smith, who has closely followed the AWU slush fund saga and was dismissed from his Fairfax radio job in 2011 over an unaired related interview, told The Australian yesterday that he was in possession of a sworn statement from Mr James in which the now-retired tradesman claimed the payment for the work came from Mr Wilson.
The source of payments for Ms Gillard’s home renovations is central to investigations of the royal commission, which heard last month from confessed AWU bagman Ralph Blewitt that he corruptly paid another tradesman $7000 for work at Ms Gillard’s home on the orders of Mr Wilson.
Mr Blewitt claimed in sworn evidence that Ms Gillard was at home when he handed over the cash. While admitting that she did not see the transaction, Mr Blewitt said Ms Gillard told him to “just go through” to Mr Wilson in the house’s back kitchen verandah area when he arrived with money he was carrying from a union slush fund purportedly set up to improve workplace safety.
As always there's more to the story at The Australian.
It has been fascinating to look at the dates of the invoices and quotes exhibited in the 16 pages of Athol James's witness statement. One of the invoices is dated February, 1996 - 6 months after Ms Gillard's departure interview and her last day working at Slater and Gordon.
What else happened in February 1996? The Kerr Street property was sold. Someone was in the money.