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October 2015

Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear was today made a Commander of the British Empire

A loved man, recognised for doing lovely things by our beloved system.



A product of lovelier, gentler times - just like the late Mick Young.   Vale Mick.   We miss you and your ilk.

Comical-Ollie (Dave Oliver) responds to worker desertions from ACTU Army - "great Satan graph-producers will drown in our torrents of slush"

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Meanwhile the parliamentary wing promises the mother of all protected actions unleashing the forces of slush against the work of Satan the ABS graph-producer.


ABS releases annual workforce statistics - union membership in freefall, lowest % on record



Here is the ABS research released today.

Union membership chart

Overall union membership is down from 17% to 15.1% in the past year.

39% of public sector workers were members of a trade union in their main job, compared to only 10% of private sector workers.

Even with all the subsidies, special legislation and their own political party - whatever the ACTU and the other union bosses are doing, it's not working.  

The people have stopped buying what the ACTU is selling.

It's a bit like the USSR and its famed automobile for the people, the Lada.  Just like the poor old people's car from the USSR, workers have decided there are better ways of getting around in the industrial environment than having your interests carried by the ACTU.

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The ACTU car-yard of broken dreams.

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A $100K+ donation from the AWU WA Branch to Carmen Lawrence's 1993 election campaign needs attention from the TURC

The importance of this huge political donation in 1993 terms to the AWU WRA Inc story will become clearer over the next few days.   The TURC's report about the AWU Workplace Reform Association Inc currently ignores this transaction.   The TURC didn't investigate the Lawrence Government's decision to stop a public tender and hand a $60M contract directly to Thiess, which resulted in the formation of the AWU WRA Inc - so I suppose it's not surprising that it didn't look at the massive political donation Bruce Wilson made from AWU members money back to Lawrence.

The TURC's report on the Workplace Reform Association can't be complete if it doesn't investigate Lawrence's role and any extraordinary payments or benefits she may have received around that time.

Then WA Premier Carmen Lawrence believed that Bruce Wilson could make good on a threat to dislodge her if she didn't do his bidding.

 Union leader ‘said he would destroy premier’

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Read the story in full here.

In May 1991 Wilson became AWU WA state secretary.   His presence was felt immediately with unprecedented bitter strike action against Western Mining Corporation affecting the whole WA economy and involving the Premier herself in negotiations to end the strife.

Last year Hedley Thomas and I spent some time in Western Australia researching a series of stories including this one:

The $60M contract handed to Thiess and used to finance a slush fund

“As state secretary of the largest trade union in Australia, Wilson had a lot of influence over the executive of the ALP and the Trades & Labor Council,” Ralph Blewitt tells Inquirer.

“It is a very powerful position to be in. It gives you the opportunity to determine the outcome of preselections (of Labor members seeking to run for parliament). Wilson used his power to his advantage. He did a deal.

“He lobbied the Labor government to give the contract to Thiess. He had a double-edged sword - he would say to Thiess, ‘I will get you the contract, but I want the (slush fund)’, and he would say to the Labor Party, ‘We will support you in preselections and in the upcoming state election, but you have to award this contract to Thiess.’

“The Dawesville Channel was the major government project on the radar at the time. Wilson dreamed up the scam to get money from it.

“Because of the AWU’s size we could determine who got the seat of Kalgoorlie that was held by the deputy premier, Ian Taylor. When you’re in that position you carry a fair bit of clout - and Wilson told me he was lobbying Ian Taylor for Thiess to get the job.

“By inference and by actions and by the happenings I saw at the time, I became aware of it. I went to some of the meetings. He told me he was lobbying the state government for Thiess to get the project. I know he was lobbying Ian Taylor.

“If they did not support us, they would not have been preselected - it’s as simple as that. That’s the line Wilson ran: ‘If you want to get preselected, this is what I want.’ That’s just the way the system worked with the ALP and the trade unions. It’s not an ‘if’ or ‘maybe’ situation, it’s just how it worked.”

Julian Grill, a minister in the WA Labor government of Burke and Peter Dowding, tells Inquirer that he regards it now as “extraordinary” that Thiess got the contract from Lawrence’s government with no public tender.

“I’m not aware of any other job of that size not going to tender - it is quite extraordinary and it requires some explanation,” says Grill, who resigned to be a backbencher when Lawrence became premier.

“As a minister, I handled hundreds of contracts for infrastructure and I never saw or knew of that sort of expenditure without a public tender,” he says. “I’m genuinely shocked to hear it. What is the explanation?”

Grill also had a lot to do with Wilson at the time, having run his successful campaign to become AWU secretary.

“We decided to back him and we got other people to help. But we were very disappointed and disillusioned with what ultimately transpired. What happened with the slush fund was absolutely disgraceful,” Grill says.


On 25 November 1991 Carmen Lawrence's cabinet pulled a public tender process that was underway and resolved to hand  the  $57M contract to Thiess.   Bruce Wilson, Bill Ludwig, Martin Albrecht (Thiess MD) and Nick Jukes (Thiess WA GM) met just over one month later in Sydney - here's Bruce Wilson's evidence to the TURC about that meeting

Q. You are describing a dinner with Mr Albrecht, Mr Ludwig and Mr Jukes from Thiess in Sydney in late 1991 or early 1992. You say that there was discussion about a separate legal entity?  You remember that sitting here today, do you?

A. I can remember talking about how the separate entity would be established, yes.

A few weeks later Thiess agreed in writing to pay Wilson's AWU WRA Inc $300,000 from its almost $60M contract with Carmen Lawrence's government.

During 1992 the WA Inc Royal Commission was due to be finalised and its findings released late that year.   Premier Carmen Lawrence knew the election due early in 1993 would be difficult to win.

Then out of the blue came this!

Bruce Wilson's AWU makes an extraordinary donation of $100K+ directly to Carmen Lawrence's campaign

First a sense of the scale of the $100,000 donation.   Here's a link to a scholarly paper by Matthew Keogh on Australian political campaign funding - it includes the data from the AEC and other sources for political parties in 1993.

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WA's Labor Party brought in $970K and spent $1M in 1993.

Bruce Wilson's AWU made the extraordinary contribution of $109,000 directly to Lawrence's campaign.   To put that in prospective, it was more than 10% of the ALP's total receipts for that year.

And the money didn't come from Wilson's slush fund, this was AWU members money, in fact it was money borrowed by the AWU's members at Wilson's direction and handed at a time when the AWU WA branch was in dire financial trouble.

Here's a link to Dr John Lourens FCPA's scholarly paper on the AWU WA Branch's finances during the period.

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The Drive for Dignity donation was funded by AWU general operating money and at a time when the accounts were in deficit.   So how was the decision to spend $100,000+ made?

The Royal Commission published the minutes of Wilson's AWU WA Branch meetings here.  The following extract deals with "Drive for Dignity".



Wilson started speaking about Victoria's political environment that morning.   It wasn't immediately clear what relevance that topic had for the AWU's WA Branch.


This topic was titled  "Industrial Relations Report - Victoria" which sounds innocuous.   But hidden in the detail is the "Drive for Dignity" approval - the nett effect was an apparent $100,000+ payment from AWU coffers in direct support of Carmen Lawrence's election campaign.

Drive for dignity


In 1993 the WA branch was in financial strife even before the Drive for Dignity; it couldn't make a $308,000 payment to head office and overall it posted a $780K deficit.   Someone must have really wanted to spend $100K on the Drive for Dignity, particularly when the business case set out in the minutes above was so short on detail.

This extract from Dr Lourens's financial analysis gives you some sense of the branch's income statements for 1993 and surrounding years.

1993 deficit

By October 1993 some members of the union were sufficiently concerned to print flyers criticising the branch's management.  This extract is from defamation proceedings Slater and Gordon brought against the authors of one flyer who'd taken Wilson's successor Ralph Blewitt to task:

October 1993

Junket trip

So even at the time the spending was viewed with concern.   Fast forward to 12 May 2014 and Ralph Blewitt gave the following evidence to the Royal Commission.

MR STOLJAR: Q. Mr Blewitt, you were describing at the
 13 outset of this examination a role that you said Mr Wilson
 14 played in Thiess obtaining the tender to carry out work at
 15 the Dawesville Channel project. Do you remember giving
 16 that evidence a couple of hours ago now?
 17 A. Yes.
 19 Q. You said he had had various meetings with a Mr Taylor,
 20 I think the name was, and some others. Was that something
 21 Mr Wilson did from time to time - have negotiations of that
 22 kind - to your knowledge?
 23 A. Sorry, negotiate?
 25 Q. With the --
 26 A. He was a branch secretary of the union. He negotiated
 27 with all sorts of people.
 29 Q. Did he involve himself in political affairs at all?
 30 A. Oh, yes.
 32 Q. Can you tell me a bit about that?
 33 A. The Western Australian branch - I'm very sketchy on
 34 the memory of this, but we were a major supporter of, from
 35 memory, Carmen Lawrence's campaign in Western Australia.
 36 We ran a "drive for dignity" campaign to support that
 37 election campaign, and I think our office, WA, donated
 38 $100,000 to the ALP for that campaign.

So brought up at the TURC's first hearing into the AWU WRA Inc in May last year.

A $100K extraordinary political donation from the AWU WA coffers at a time when the branch was essentially insolvent - handed to the political campaign of the Premier who handed a $60M contract Thiess which handed a $300K bonus to Bruce Wilson.

But you won't read about it in the TURC's report. 

Oh there's another link too.

Earlier this year I spent more time in Western Australia and found Peter Trebilco who took over as AWU State Secretary in WA after the Wilson/Blewitt reign.

Trebilco remembered the Drive for Dignity - in particular the involvement of Julia Gillard.

 More soon!



Trade Union Royal Commission must address serious errors in its Interim Report

Reader Hillbilly points out serious, fundamental errors in the TURC's findings about the AWU, Wilson et al.

From Stoljar SC Chapter 3-2 Submission. AWU discovers secret accounts – August 1995 

 In Para 257, Stoljar gives details of the FIMEE - AWU amalgamation, revealing Wilson did not become secretary of the National Construction Branch until after 17 February 1995.

The AWU-MWA account had nothing to do with that move.   Wilson became signatory to that account in  in 1992-93.   It was particularly useful in fraud because of the words Australian Workers Union in the account title.

Stlojar's confusion is revealed in this paragraph.

 Para 258. Upon taking over as Secretary of the National Construction Branch, Mr Wilson seems to have established a number of accounts with the CBA. One of these was the AWU Members’ Welfare Account, being account number 300810009828 (Account). 


H/B  As a result, in Para 255 of his Chapter 3-2 Report under Discovery of secret Accounts, Commissioner Heydon displays a complete lack of understanding of the origin and significance of the Melbourne based unincorporated Australian Workers Union Members' Welfare Association (No.1) Account.

Ian Cambridge had earlier given evidence that it had been set up around 1989-90 by Robert L Smith (Bob Smith No.1) as an unincorporated association re-election fund, into which his team made regular contributions by way of Payroll deductions. 

Its operation made a nonsense of Ms.Gillard's claim of the need for incorporation of the bogus entity she set up as what she claimed to be a re-election 'slush' fund, the AWU-Workplace Reform Association Inc. 

Mr.Stoljar and Conmmissioner Heydon subsequently failed to mention or investigate any of the large payments out of that fund coinciding with Gillard's home renovations - the two $8,750 cheques dated 12 and 21 October 1994 to Town Mode Fashions, (owned by two Greek brothers trading as Kew Renovators,) and the 27 April 1995 cash cheque withdrawal for $15,000 used to fund a $10,000 bank cheque payable to Kon Spyridis.  Coincidentally, the $5,000 cash left, is the same amount Wayne Hem testified he deposited on behalf of Wilson into Gillard's bank account some time in 1995, but $5,000 withdrawals abounded from both slush funds. 

The withdrawals were all under the signatures of Bruce Wilson and James Collins, the same two Ms.Gillard said organised and were involved in the substantial renovations to her home. 

Interesting to note that the second $8,750 cheque to Town Mode Fashions not only "blew' the entire contributions of contributing officials, but sent the interest-bearing cheque account into $3,400 odd overdraft. This was rectified the next week by a transfer of $3,425 from another 'secret' account controlled by Wilson. 

In Para 356 Commissioner Heydon made an erroneous statement which was not only unfair to Ralph Blewitt but very damaging to his credibility, considering many of Heydon's subsequent findings were substantially influenced by his challengeable assumptions on the difference between the credibility of Gillard and Blewitt: 

"Contrary to the submission of senior counsel for Julia Gillard under consideration, there is 'reason to believe' that any cash given by Bruce Wilson to Julia Gillard would have come from a particular source - Ralph Blewitt. The only source of cash available to Ralph Blewitt was the Australian Workers Union - Workplace Reform Association Inc. or the Welfare Association accounts." 

The fact is, Ralph Blewitt had nothing at all to do with either of the two Melbourne based Australian Workers Union Members' Welfare Association (N0.1) Accounts, and no access to either as a signatory.  

He is owed an apology on this aspect and it is deeply concerning to the Australian public that with the legal and investigative resources available to the Commissioner, that the substantial errors and omissions in relation to this account were not picked up before the Report was published.

On the matter of money available to Bruce Wilson, as Wayne Hem testified in his affidavit, Wilson was able to generate substantial amounts of cash at will, by first threatening to, or actually imposing work bans or other disruptive actions on virtually any building or construction site with a substantial AWU workforce. When cash or cheques were hander over, the dispute would "disappear. 

It was 'go-away money" as Robert Smith testified Wilson called it at one AWU Finance Committee meeting. e.g., WOODSIDE payments through Phillips Fox, of $19,500 per quarter to Wilson.


Small chunks of TURC #2 - Slush fund money paid for Gillard's renovations - but did she know about it?

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Ms Gillard gave false evidence to the TIURC about the source of funds to pay for her renovations.

We now know that Bruce Wilson provided the cash that paid Athol James the builder's invoices

But can Ms Gillard argue that she didn't know that the source of Wilson's funds was the very slush fund she'd help him set up?

Here's the Commissioner's damning finding.

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It's hard to believe that Gillard retains a position in polite society, let alone board directorships and the Chairman's role at the Global Partnership for Education.

We know she gave false evidence about Bruce Wilson providing the money for her renovations.   Here we see the Commissioner's finding following the establishment of the fact of Wilson providing the cash.   Is it possible that she didn't know the cash came from the Association?

In a word, no.   She knew.  The Royal Commission has made that finding - and you might want to let your friends know about it too.

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UPDATED - ABC bans word "Aborigine" - Martin Luther King mentioned Negro 16 times but I think he got away with it

UPDATE - Sticks and Stones may break my kuffar bones but words will never harm me (except where the word appears on The Schedule available online at


Apparently Senator Eric Abetz said the word "Negro" last week.

Not 'nigger'.  Negro.   Apparently that word now causes offence and Eric missed the update.  Great opportunity though for the ABC.   Aunty made sure as many people as possible got to know about how offended they were because of the Senator's insensitivity.

The ABC's The Drum website ran a story with this headline as well as plastering it on Twitter etc etc etc.

By saying 'Negro', Eric Abetz has revealed the complications of taboos


Updated Sat at 4:44pm


An article about the changing nature of taboo words followed.  It was harmless and inoffensive but missed no opportunity to stick it to Eric for his old-fogey-and-out-of-touch-ed-ness.

But what followed a day or so later beggars belief.

The Drum, an adult news and commentary website runs a story about taboo words.  Unsurprisingly, readers encountered taboo words therein - rather like going to a cheese shop and facing up to cheese.

Well it was a situation at the ABC!   Word police were brought in, Stat!

The story has now been edited and features this enlightening new tail-end paragraph.

*Editor's note (October 24, 2015): The wording of this paragraph has been changed to more accurately reflect the author's intended meaning. The use of the words "wog" and "boong" were not intended to refer to any groups but to illustrate her assertion that these terms are taboo. In addition, the term "Aborigine" does not comply with ABC guidelines. The Drum regrets these errors.

Aborigine does not comply with ABC guidelines?   The story wasn't even about Aborigines.  But the holier than thou custodians of The Outrage never let a chance go by to display their latest discovery.

So now we know.  At the ABC, calling an Aborigine an Aborigine can cause  offence and thus the term "does not comply with ABC guidelines".   

I'm sure it's mortified.

UPDATE - this bloke and his loony tunes ideas would never get a guernsey at the ABC.   Instantly discredited, censored and banned by more ambitious and lofty moralisers than he ever was.  He said "Negro" 16 times.  Poor man calling himself a Negro - he's crying out for some serious patronising and TLC from his betters at the ABC.

I present the following video in the spirit of highlighting the damage done when people use words like Negro.   Don't be distracted by Dr King's ideas or the message he is trying to get across - to do that would be missing the point.

Just like Eric Abetz, focus on the word Negro, it's much easier and safer than talking about ideas.


PS - thanks to reader Roger Stirling for the tip!

Small chunks of TURC #1 - Heydon's ruling on Julia Gillard's sworn evidence, truthful or not?

For the rest of this year I'll publish snack-sized articles on the TURC.

I'll try to make them quick and easy to read.  They're designed for you to send on to your friends.

The TURC's made some important findings. You can help to get those messages out there!  

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Who's telling the truth?

The builder who did the renovations on Gillard's property?

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Or the union lawyer who'd done a lot of legal work for Bruce Wilson for no pay?

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Commissioner, who's telling the truth?

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She lied.   She chose to lie.   She had reason to lie.   But this time she was up against an unshakable witness of truth.  More on the ramifications of that soon.

PS - Check the timing of Gillard getting the renovations started.

22 March, 1993 - settlement on Wilson's Kerr Street Fitzroy property purchase

24 March, 1993 - Julia gets her cut organised

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Fiduciary responsibility in the original AWU slush fund

The full story of the AWU WRA Inc fraud has not yet been told.   If the TURC won't find the truth and publish it, we will do our best to get as close to it as we can.

This article gives a little background to events of the late 1980s/90s involving Ms Gillard and her conduct in acting for factional friends in trade unions.

Lawyers acting for trade unions are fiduciaries to the union.

Here's how the Health Services Union describes the fiduciary responsibility in its final submission to the TURC: 

loyalty is the distinguishing core obligation of a fiduciary. Loyalty in this context means the duty to act in the interests of the Union.

In 1989/90 Slater and Gordon commenced acting for the Australian Workers Union, Victoria Branch.    The firm’s Industrial Unit had two lawyers, Bernard Murphy, and Julia Gillard - each of them became fiduciaries for the AWU from that point.

Slater and Gordon also acted for the Health Services Union at the time. 

On 10 September 2014 former Secretary of the HSU Rob Elliott appeared at the TURC    You may recall he was the first witness that morning with Ms Gillard appearing later that day. 

Much was made in the press of Mr Elliott repudiating some of his written statement once he was in the witness box.   He'd written of Ms Gillard's offer to set up a workplace health and safety entity that was in reality a slush fund - Para 56 in the statement below.

In rereading his evidence now Mr Elliott in fact adopted the bulk of the statement as true and correct.  He was questioned in detail about its contents commencing with this extract:

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For the avoidance of doubt, here's the transcript in which he adopts the essence of what he'd put into the written statement.

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There seems to be no controversy in relation to Mr Elliott's evidence to that point - Robert's memory dramas commenced here:


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 Mr Elliott goes on:

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Mr Elliott's wife, Kay Darveniza is a Labor MP in the Victorian Parliament - he told the TURC that after discussion with his wife in the two weeks leading up to his appearance, he'd come to realise that his memory of Ms Gillard's health and safety slush fund was faulty.   Right.

Mr Elliott dealt with the aftermath of the Gillard "separate entity" discussions in his witness statement:

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The timeline here is late 1989-90.

Even without the bit about the workplace health and safety sham, Mr Elliott's observations about Ms Gillard's conduct describe a standard of fiduciary responsibility well short of the mark.   In return for providing legal and other support for union officials, Mr Elliott states Ms Gillard would receive a payoff when those officials used the positions they acquired to support Ms Gillard's political career.   That conduct is at the heart of  Labor/union corruption.   

The fiduciary responsibility is clear and simple - act for the union and its collective members and not for individual officials.    I think it's important that Ms Gillard's course of conduct from 1990-1995 is looked at as a whole - and Elliot's observations in that regard are important.

Max Ogden's 1990 Workplace Reform Association

Julia Gillard and union official Max Ogden knew each other well, they were foundation members of the Socialist Forum Inc joining in 1984.    They had jointly served on many of its committees and public officer positions.

Holding Redlich lawyers helped Mr Ogden put together a broad set of objects for his February 1990 application to incorporate the Workplace Reform Association.   Ogden's WRA Inc was the corporate body for a series of genuine workplace initiatives - its crowning glory was an international conference held in early 1991 with attendees from the Prime Minister down.   This was just months before Ms Gillard hooked up with Bruce Wilson and provide advice on setting up a Workplace Reform Association for him.

When asked in her departure interview whether she had help drafting the AWU WRA rules/objects, Ms Gillard said, "No I obtained, I had just in my own personal precedent file a set of rules for Socialist Forum which is an incorporated association in which I'm personally involved."

Look at the words, "I obtained".

"No....I obtained..... I had just in my own personal precedent file a set"

You don't later obtain something you created.  But if you were aware in 1990 of a Workplace Reform Association that allowed a union official to receive and spend money independent of his union, that might have seemed a useful base to draft one up for your boyfriend, for free.   

The similarity in name, and the style of the rules between Max Ogden's 1990 Workplace Reform Association and Bruce Wilson's association of 1992 give rise to a reasonable belief that Ms Gillard's role in the creation of the Bruce Wilson entity went beyond simply acting on his instructions.

Wilson bears this view out - in his evidence to the TURC he talks about a meeting with Thiess executives and Bill Ludwig in Sydney to discuss setting up a legal entity.   He is quite specific and firm in that the entity was established in order to receive monies from Thiess.   That's what he wanted it to do, that's what it did.

Some further discussion ensued around the table about funding for training projects that would be available on the Dawesville Channel project. I raised that the funding for such training should be kept totally separate from the funds of the AWU. There was some discussion about how that might be done, and someone suggested creating a separate legal entity that could run the training and to which the funding could be provided. If that could be done, we discussed that there could be no confusion that the funds for the training would be completely separate from AWU funds.

It was my strong position that there was no way that I would be raising these funds and allowing the national office to make any claim on them. The separate legal entity would be the vehicle that would propel the concept of the NCB, and funds received by the entity could be used to support the NCB concept through supporting candidates in the election and paying for various associated expenses.

 A general concept of a separate legal entity was further discussed, and there was support for this idea. I recall that when the meeting finished LUDWIG said words to the effect ''That sounds alright to me, I'm happy with that. I'll leave the rest to you blokes to sort it out."  I considered that LUDWIG and ALBRECHT had given their 'blessing' to the arrangement. I believed that this constituted the basis of an agreement between the THIESS representatives and myself.

It was agreed that whatever arrangement was finalised in terms of funding to the entity, it would be effective from the nominated start date of the DCP to the nominated completion date of the project. Then there was general chit-chat and LUDWIG and I left together as we were staying at the same hotel.

He went on to say:

I did some research to inform myself about how to go about setting up a legal entity to receive the monies from the DCP (the Dawesville Channel Project). I may have asked someone like my accountants, or Stephen BOOTH or Julia GILLARD. I got as much information as I could about how to go about it from various sources. After informing myself I believed that the entity should be an incorporated association. 

Ms Gillard had the ideal model on which to base Bruce's vehicle - right down to the name.

Our research on Max Ogden's Workplace Reform Association is here:

And the grand conference and book that was published about it are all here:

One more backgrounder and then new stuff coming soon.