Gillard says she's seeking the spotlight as Chair of Beyond Blue. She might get more than she'd bargained for.
Last night Julia Gillard told the ABC she’s looking forward to courting the spotlight as Chair of Beyond Blue. Didn't take her long to follow through. Straight into an attack on the mental health of a male political opponent, Donald Trump.
“If President Trump continues with some of the tweeting etcetera that we've seen (claims that he’s mentally ill) will be in the dialogue.”
She blames the media of course for a "shift" in Western politics.
”It seems to me it's harder now to sustain the focused attention you need for deep reform conversations”, she said.
"The media caravan wants to very quickly move on and I saw that when I was prime minister. You would literally announce a multi-billion-dollar, huge new policy in a blue room press conference mid-morning, and by mid-day journalists from the press gallery would be ringing my press secretary saying, 'have you got a story for us?’”
What an insight into the Press Gallery! More on them in a moment.
'I had moments of anxiety'
"As I looked at very negative media headlines — dreadful things on social media — I did consciously think, I've got some choices to make now about how much I let of this into my head.
Gillard didn't give Ralph Blewitt that choice in November 2012.
In 1993 Ralph Blewitt was Bruce Wilson/Bill Ludwig's puppet in charge of the WA branch. And Gillard was their lawyer.
Since 1993 a file has been gathering dust in the archives of the WA Industrial Relations Court.
The file's remained confidential until recently.
The court records show Julia Gillard as the solicitor for Ralph Blewitt.
Ralph was copping abuse from AWU employees. The file shows that Gillard drafted a legal letter sacking one of the main offenders, Mick Baker.
Gillard defended Ralph's reputation.
Gillard also owed Ralph several duties as his lawyer.
One was to act in his interests and not to misuse information she'd acquired while acting for him.
Another duty related to confidentiality.
But 21 years later Gillard presented those statements to the national media as if they were true.
She didn't tell us how she knew what had been said about Ralph. Forgot to say she'd acted against the people who'd lied about Ralph.
And her false statements about Mr Blewitt were beamed live right across Australia - to destroy Ralph's credibility and reputation.
She used information she'd acquire as his lawyer against him.
She breached the duty of confidentiality she owed to him.
She didn't explain her sources when she spoke to her friendly media crew - and they didn't ask her either.
Gillard worried about her own mental health over negative headlines and social media comments.
But her former client Ralph Blewitt didn't get that luxury.
Julia Gillard unleashes fiery attack on union 'bagman' Ralph Blewitt, calling him an imbecile and a 'sexist pig'
My word against that of a 'liar, sexist pig, imbecile', make your mind up: PM
Both the ABC’s 730 and Lateline programs led with the story, summarised by Emma Alberici:
The Prime Minister has asked people to judge her word against that of her accusor, Ralph Blewitt, who she said had been labelled an idiot, a stooge, a sexist pig and a liar.
“Today in a press conference and in Question Time Julia Gillard tackled every allegation put to her in an attempt to extinguish the issue, but Ralph Blewitt is fanning the flames, talking to the police and the media”.
Gillard said “According to people who know him, Ralph Blewitt is a……..”
Yet not one journalist asked “Who are they?”
It took a very conservative young Muslim woman watching from 7,000 kilometres away in Malaysia to do that.
Rubieedeeyati Binti Ali married Ralph Blewitt in 2010. Ruby comes from a traditional Malaysian Muslim family. At the time Ruby’s uncle was a Minister in the Malaysian national government. They’re pillars of the community. And poor behaviour is not tolerated.
Ralph is part of that family and has been for 7 unblemished years.
The day after Gillard’s spray, The Australian reported on Ruby’s response.
Speaking from their home in Malaysia, Ruby Blewitt said her heart was "burning" with anger at the prime minister's comments branding her husband an idiot and a sexist pig.
"The thing that she tells people about my husband yesterday is bullshit, that is not right at all," Mrs Blewitt said in a recorded phone interview with former Fairfax broadcaster Michael Smith.
"She has to prove the things that she said about my husband.
"I challenge her to prove it."
"As the prime minister, she is not supposed to immerse herself to talk like this in front of people.
"She has to answer the questions.”
Well said Ruby.
Gillard has to prove the things she said about Ruby's husband. Gillard has to answer the questions.
It's a shame no one in the media thought so at the time.
Now that we know Gillard's source recorded in the court files, some much more serious questions arise for the new chair of Beyond Blue.
If the claims about Ralph were wrong back in 1993 when you defended Ralph's reputation - how did they become right in 2012 after Ralph started talking to the police about you?
When did you change sides?
Ralph still has a few months to file his defamation proceedings against Gillard over that day.
But I'd love to hear from lawyers about the other sanctions available against former legal practitioners (for Ms Gillard is indeed that, a former legal practitioner whose name was removed from the roll in August 1996 after the Slater and Gordon disclosures to its Indemnity Insurers over the AWU Scandal).
And as a final note, Ms Gillard acknowledged the Courier Mail's Canberra correspondent Dennis Atkin at the media conference. The 9,7,10, 2 and SBS cameras were there recording for Queensland television news reports as well.
The publication of her malicious statements in Queensland that day are quite embarrassing.
Not for Ralph. He's already copped his whack.
For Gillard, the former legal practitioner who defended Ralph against then untrue allegations he was a stooge, a sexist pig etc - but knowing the allegations to be false, maliciously used them to damage her former client 21 years later.
365 Criminal defamation
(1) Any person who, without lawful excuse, publishes matter defamatory of another living person (the relevant person):
(a) knowing the matter to be false or without having regard to whether the matter is true or false; and
(b) intending to cause serious harm to the relevant person or any other person or without having regard to whether serious harm to the relevant person or any other person is caused;
commits a misdemeanour.
Maximum penalty 3 years imprisonment.
8 Aussies commit suicide every day. As @beyondblue Chair I am determined to see this change - JG— Julia Gillard (@JuliaGillard) July 3, 2017
I'll give you the tip on a good start. Resign.