A few things on the plate today - won't be posting too much until around 4 this afternoon
Congratulations Channel 7's new Director of News in Sydney - Jason Morrison

The TURC's logic on Julia Gillard's cock and bull story doesn't pass muster

What Julia said about the instructions to form the AWU WRA Inc.

11 September, 1995 - GILLARD - Exit Interview, Slater and Gordon

I was asked by Bruce to, I was ask by Bruce to  form, I was asked by Bruce about the holding of election fund monies.

The usual mechanism is that (they) require officials who run on their ticket to enter payroll deduction schemes where money goes from their pay into a bank account.   They also have different fundraisers, dinners and raffles.   Bruce wanted to have such an account.   So I advised Bruce that we had done that in the past, we had incorporated associations.

10 September 2014 - GILLARD - Statement to Royal Commission

Prior to April, 1992 I was asked by Wilson about the holding of election fund monies.   I was aware that Slater and Gordon had incorporated associations for the holding of election fund monies.

I had no knowledge of and gave no advice regarding the association's sources of funding.

10 September 2014 - GILLARD - Oral evidence to the Royal Commission

in 1992, I received instructions from Mr Wilson about providing legal advice on the incorporation of an association.

Mr Wilson raised with me wanting to have a fund in Western Australia that would support him and his team and their re-election in Western Australia (never mind that he moved to Victoria and left his WA job just weeks later Ms Gillard).

I was asked by Mr Wilson about the holding of election moneys for the support of him and his team in Western Australia 

It's not detailed in the statement, but it was about him and the team of officials he would run with

12 June 2014 - WILSON - Statement to Royal Commission 

(referring to January 1992 dinner in Sydney with Ludwig, Jukes and Albrecht) - someone suggested a separate legal entity which could run the training and to which the funding could be provided 

it was my strong position that there was no way I would be raising these funds and allowing the national office to make any claim on them

there was support from Albrecht and Ludwig for the separate legal entity, they gave it their "blessing"

I got advice from Stephen Booth and Julia Gillard about setting up the separate legal entity.   I decided it should be an incorporated association.

At some stage in March 1992 I recall that Julia Gillard was in Perth and we had a discussion about the application for incorporation of the WRA.

In March 1992 Blewitt and I attended a meeting with Jukes and Joe Trio.   I informed them the legal entity was to be called the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association.   I said that Blewitt was to be the secretary and correspondence should go to him.   I said they would be dealing with us in our WRA capacities.

I can recall sitting with Gillard in my office and she told me which sections of the legislation were relevant for the incorporation of the association.   I drafted the objects myself.   Gillard made a few notations on the Application form (the name and Section 4 (1) (e) of the Act.

Blewitt lodged the Application on 23 April 2014

12 June 2014 - WILSON - Oral evidence to the Royal Commission

Q you in due course set up the separate legal entity to which you made reference in (i.e. the entity discussed at dinner with Albrecht, Ludwig and Jukes)?

A Yes.

Q That entity became, to use shorthand, the Workplace Reform Association?

A Yes.

Q you say:I may have asked someone like my accountants, or Stephen BOOTH or Julia GILLARD. Well, you did ask Ms Gillard at least; correct?

A I believe I did.

Q And did she say to you it's better to have an incorporated association, a legal entity, into which people can participate?

A I don't know if she would have said those words. In the discussion we would have canvassed a number of issues, I think. 

.....what I understood in March 1992 is that we had an agreement, the association and Thiess contractors.

(Wilson reiterated the evidence in his statement about Gillard being present at his Perth office in March, 1992, about him drafting the Objects and Gillard putting it all together in the form required by the Act.   He states that "either Gillard or I" would have advised Ralph to write the "changes to work to achieve safe workplaces' purpose.   He is shown and recognises Gillard's handwriting in various spots on the application form, stating that she wrote it out in his Perth office.

A Did you have any discussion with Ms Gillard about how the association was going to be raising funds?

A  Not at all. 

Q Did she ask?



Gillard admits that she had never set up an incorporated association for union officials election monies before the AWU WRA inc.   She certainly didn't do it after.

The only person who might have bailed her out on that claim was the senior partner in the industrial unit at Slater and Gordon at the time, now the Honourable Judge Bernard Murphy.   

On 24 September 2014 Judge Murphy told the TURC:

Q. Could you go to paragraph 3.1. You are now dealing with the Workplace Reform Association. You say: I had no involvement whatsoever in the legal work in relation to the creation of the ... Association. Did you have informal discussions with Ms Gillard about it?
A. No.

Q. Did you have any awareness that she had set up an incorporated association?
A. No.

Q. Did it come as a surprise to you in 1995 when you learnt about it?
A. Yes, it did.

And later in the day:

Q. So an election fund is made up of a group of unionists who contribute to that fund from payroll deductions and the money is used for the purposes of elections?
A. Yes.

Q. It wouldn't be possible to register one of an election fund per se as an incorporated association, would that be the position?
A. I never tried. I don't know.

Q. You're not aware of any election fund being registered as an incorporated association?
A. I never did.

Finally, His Honour was asked to read the Objects of the Association as drafted by Ms Gillard, allegedly to describe an election fund.

Q. But a reader of these objects would not be able to conclude that there was an election fund built into this association?
A. It wasn't clear to me reading them.

Former AWU WA Branch accountant Russell Frearson was responsible for the Wilson team payroll deduction election fund - set up in May, 1991 when Wilson became branch secretary - operating for one year when the AWU WRA inc was established

Russell Frearson was the financial accountant for the WA Branch of the AWU during Bruce Wilson's time at the helm.   I found him and interviewed him in Perth earlier this year.

He was responsible for the payroll system and for the administration of the payroll deduction election fund.

He was not contacted by the Royal Commission and did not give evidence to it.   That's a pity, because he might have saved the Commission some embarrassment.

Frearson tells us:

  • There was a payroll deduction election fund for the Wilson team from May 1991
  • There was only one fund and everyone (except Peter Trebilco) contributed to it
  • The system did not generate any disputes or complaints
  • The payroll system generated accurate and comprehensive financial management accounts as was required for audit purposes
  • When the Wilson team fractured every person who had contributed to the fund had their contributions repaid in full 
  • There were no complaints from any person about the accuracy of the records that supported the refunds
  • He was never contacted by anyone to set up a payroll deduction facility into an incorporated association
  • He never heard Bruce Wilson say that he wanted to set up an incorporated association as a payroll deduction election fund

The Royal Commission believed Ms Gillard's evidence because it didn't hear from the people who could tell it the truth - people like Russell Frearson.   And why didn't it hear from him?   Because the Commission didn't ask.

I found and spoke to the AWU WA joint branch secretaries who came after Wilson and Blewitt.   They corroborated Frearson on the payroll deduction scheme - they are meticulous about refunding each contributors money when the scheme was successfully broken up after Wilson's departure.   And the Commission didn't talk to them either.   Nor to Ray Neale the former corporate affairs commissioner who Gillard decieved, nor to Ray Mineif the corporate affairs employee who handled the review of the AWU WRA Inc incorporation application.   I did - and I can tell you there's no $80M funding for this operation.

Angry much?   You bet.  There's a lot more of this history to come on this website - the idea that Gillard made the representations she made to the WA Corporate Affairs department in the interests of a payroll deduction election fund is ludicrous, I'll bring you those details soon.

The finding that Gillard just acted on instructions, was deceived and is entirely innocent is utter bullshit.   Australia is a better place than to have such a miscarriage of justice in its history books.

The Royal Commission of Enquiry into Trade Union Governance and Corruption has just over two months to correct the record.