The Royal Commission says Julia Gillard and Bruce Wilson first met in April 1991 (para 11, page 87, Chapter 3 of the Interim Report Volume 1). The story of the AWU Workplace Reform Association is really Julia and Bruce's story, and we owe it to them to at least get the starting point right.
So is the Commission correct or not? I'd love to get a bit on "not" because the Commission took the uncorroborated word of Ms Gillard in its report, seldom a strategy for truth.
Here's their source, from Gillard interview with Peter Gordon and Geoff Shaw 11 September, 1995.
In April 1991 there was no TCFUA (Textiles, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia). It has a history to rival Abraham begat Isaac; Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas - but Judas's client wasn't formed until 1992.
On 1 July 1992 the Amalgamated Footwear & Textile Workers' Union of Australia and the Clothing & Allied Trades Union of Australia merged to form the TCFUA. Ms Gillard doesn't seem to have represented either of those unions or their predecessors in WA in April 1991.
The TCFUA does not have a branch in Western Australia - source. Nor apparently has it ever had a Western Australia Branch.
All proceedings in Western Australia's Industrial Relations Commission are reported in detail in the WA Industrial Gazette. All of its Full Bench Hearings are here. Results for a search using the terms "Gillard" and "Textile" listed in date order in the Commission are here. Other than Mr Gillard the train driver and the Bag and Sack men, there's nothing to support Ms Gillards invention.
The Defenders of Julia (DoJ, alias dodgy) will cobble a story to support her story. It will be like the "thinking behind" an Association formed for workplace health and safety which really meant formed to fund Bruce because he always promotes health and safety. Or the one that says bank robbery reduces dole queues for bank robbers, or fatal road accidents reduce overcrowding in hospitals, but we digress.
On this Gillard claim, DoJ will need Turnbullian powers of innovation because there's not much to work with, in fact the only matter we could find that comes close to her cover story is this:
I don't think Julia actually spent much time at all attending to WA's clothing, textile and bootmakers. Western Australia didn't clothe the world from its dark satanic mills, nor were outsiders feet shod by Perth's leathermen. Various treatises on the history of WA's textile, clothing and footwear industries tell us the industries were never very big in WA, they dwindled in the 1980s tariff years and were largely caput in 1991.
But let not truth stymie the narrative! For the TURC tells us that this is what happened, according to the lady who can't have seen it for herself.
In April 1991 Julia Gillard, Melbourne industrial relations lawyer, not credentialed to appear in Western Australia's courts was called to appear in a Full Bench Hearing of the WA Industrial Relations Commission.
For 3 days the Full Bench was dazzled by the advocacy of a lawyer-of-mystery (unknown to the Roll of Practitioners in the West) who'd been jetted in from 2,727 kilometres away to sort out a problem the West couldn't fix itself.
And what was that problem? A union that didn't exist had a branch that generally caused difficulties and Julia had helped sort some of them in the past.
So there you have it.
The ABC's Fact Testing Unit declined to comment. Some viewers might say this show was rigged, Julia shouldn't have gone through to the next level etc etc etc - but they'd be the right wing misogynist nut jobs, you know the drill, the central character was young, naive and on the make. Plus she had so many details to cover up that of course some of her stories would be more foundationally-factual TM than others.
Some might say Game, Set and Match on Julia's laughable story. But they'd be mixing their metaphors and boring us with cliche. I think I might call this chapter of the book Bag, Sack and Crack-up.