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The Australian today - Gillard slush fund saga is back

From Brad Norington, Associate Editor of The Australian today.

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An Australian Workers Union slush fund saga that hounded Julia Gillard throughout her political career might not be over, with former Sydney radio broadcaster Michael Smith taking the unusual course of launching a private criminal prosecution against her.

Smith has lodged a document in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court accusing the former Labor prime minister of the ­alleged offence of “intentionally” giving “false or misleading ­evidence” to the royal commission into union governance and corruption in 2014. The alleged offence harks back to Ms Gillard’s appearance as a royal commission witness, when she answered questions under oath about her role helping former boyfriend and union ­official Bruce Wilson set up a “slush fund” called the AWU Workplace Association in the 1990s.

Royal commissioner Dyson Heydon found in his interim ­report that Ms Gillard committed no wrongdoing legally, and did not recommend her for prosecution. Mr Heydon did, however, ­agree some money from $400,000 accumulated in the slush fund was used by Mr Wilson for renovations on Ms Gillard’s house.

Smith lost his radio host job at 2UE in 2011 after a dispute with the station’s then owner, Fairfax Media, over his pursuit of Ms Gillard and the slush fund. He has continued to publish related ­material on his website, MichaelSmithNews. A Victoria Police officer and experienced prosecutor before his radio days, Smith has included affidavits from two former senior officials of the West Australian government ­Office of Corporate Affairs.