Very well connected reporter Pia Akerman in The Australian today writing on The AWU Scandal.
I've known for some time that the Victorian Government has punted the bulk of The AWU Scandal investigation and prosecution to the WA Police.
Once Daniel Andrews got the reins the interests of justice has lost out dearly in this matter.
The move to handball the bulk of the activity to WA came after Victoria Police advised Ralph he'd face "imminent" charges in April last year. It was also after Victoria Police had formally handed the prosecution brief to the public prosecutor.
A change of that magnitude so late in the piece speaks volumes about the Andrews CFMEU Government and the lengths they're prepared to go to in delivering favours for Labor mates.
I drew some comfort however from the distaste the Andrews CFMEU Government had for the matter being prosecuted and tried in Victoria. If Victoria Police had recommended charges against only Blewitt and Wilson, there'd have been no need for the Andrews Government to intervene. If the Victoria Police investigation was true to the evidence Gillard and Thiess executives would also be charged and that, I'm sure is a big part of the delay and forum shopping.
With a coconspirator singing like a bird, Gillard and Wilson will no doubt be seeking separate trials from Ralph's. A failure to prosecute Gillard in the first instance doesn't get her out of the woods as long as Wilson and Blewitt are tried together. Wilson's run a bit of a protection racket for Gillard and Gillard's interests are now a proxy for Wilson's. If Wilson and Blewitt are in the dock together on a joint trial it's not just Wilson's conversations with Blewitt that will be in evidence, Gillard's will too.
There are two moves afoot here. Firstly to separate out the constituent elements of what is clearly a conspiracy involving Wilson, Gillard, Murphy, Blewitt, Jukes and Trio so that only a small smattering of underlying fraud and theft charges are brought before the court.
That is obscenely unjust and any push to advance that cause sounds very close to a perversion of justice to me
The second move is to load Ralph up with a hamburger with the lot. That means making him look as guilty as sin. Given that it was Victoria Police who passed on the extradition warning to Ralph I see moves afoot to paint Ralph unfairly as the guiltiest of guilty bastards, including the full court press extradition under joint police guard in Malaysia, in shackles tailor made for the TV news.
And all because one of the offenders is Julia Eileen GILLARD.
Ralph Blewitt faces extradition over AWU ‘slush fund’ fraud
Detectives investigating the Australian Workers Union slush fund fraud have warned a key suspect that he could be extradited to face charges, prompting Ralph Blewitt to reaffirm he will return to Australia if requested by police.
Mr Blewitt — who admits to his role in the AWU affair that embroiled Julia Gillard during her time as prime minister — travelled from his home in Malaysia to meet members of Victoria Police’s fraud squad this month.
He has told The Australian that during that meeting, lead investigator Detective Sergeant Ross Mitchell told him he might be extradited shortly to face criminal charges relating to the AWU Reform Association fund established by Ms Gillard’s former boyfriend, then union boss Bruce Wilson.
Mr Blewitt wrote to Mr Mitchell this week reiterating his willingness to co-operate with police, more than three years after the investigation began, and seeking confirmation he would not be extradited. “At every stage of the police investigation, I have volunteered to come forward on my own initiative and at my own expense,” he wrote.
“You just say when and where and I will return to Australia at my own expense and in plenty of time to assist police further.”
Mr Blewitt said he was concerned an extradition process would impede his ability to live in Malaysia with his wife.
Ms Gillard, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, provided legal advice to help Mr Wilson establish an association she later described to her Slater & Gordon bosses as a “slush fund”.
Details of the meeting between Mr Blewitt and Mr Mitchell indicate the AWU investigation remains alive, although Victoria Police has ceded control to its West Australian counterpart.
It is nearly two years since royal commissioner Dyson Heydon recommended Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt face prosecution for fraud-related offences connected to the slush fund.
When asked to comment on the investigation’s progress and whether Mr Blewitt would face extradition, a Victoria Police spokeswoman referred The Australian to West Australian authorities. “Victoria Police has provided Western Australia police with all relevant material in regards to this investigation,” she said.
“It is being reviewed by them and all inquiries regarding the investigation should be directed to Western Australia police.”
WA police did not comment by deadline last night.