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Gillard gets her day

Hedley Thomas in The Australian today

AWU ‘slush fund’ in spotlight as royal commission calls Julia Gillard


THE royal commission into union corruption is calling Julia Gillard and a serving Federal Court judge, her former boss at law firm Slater & Gordon, to give evidence about allegations of fraud in the AWU slush fund scandal.

The commission, headed by retired High Court judge Dyson Heydon QC, has advised lawyers for the former prime minister and judge Bernard Murphy that they will be questioned under oath.

Other witnesses asked to provide statements and give evidence include one of Ms Gillard’s best friends, Robyn McCleod, senior solicitor John Cain junior, Queensland millionaire coal­miner and marina owner Paul Darrouzet, former AWU Victoria boss Bob Smith, and former heads of building company Thiess.

The hearings will occur over three days from September 9 when the anti-graft probe returns to its investigation of a union slush fund, which was established with legal advice from Ms Gillard to her then boyfriend, allegedly corrupt Australian Workers Union boss Bruce Wilson.

Justice Murphy headed the industrial unit at Slater & Gordon until he and Ms Gillard left the firm in 1995 amid a breakdown in trust among the firm’s partners over the discovery of the fund and a public controversy over another matter. The fund, called the AWU Workplace Reform Association, received large sums of money from Thiess in the 1990s. Shortly before she left the firm as a salaried partner, Slater & Gordon’s then boss, Peter Gordon, conducted an internal probe into the fund amid concerns that Mr Wilson, whose union was a significant client of the firm, had used it in a large fraud.

Read more at The Australian

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