Here's a timeline to help in understanding Ralph's points.
On 3 March 1992 Slater and Gordon (Ms Gillard was the responsible partner) wrote to the AWU WA Branch with legal advice about the miners Fatality and Death Benefit Fund. Gillard's letter made the outrageous, false assertion that, "It was and is the intention of the Mining Division Committee that the union should act as trustee of the moneys collected".
On Tuesday 17 March 1992 Bruce Wilson was quoted in the Kalgoorlie Miner in a story about the Fatality and Death Benefit fund.
The article concludes with Wilson announcing a meeting of fund members for 18 April 1992 “to endorse changes to the fund, including the setting up of a trust”.
That meeting never happened.
Wilson's statement is an acknowledgement that he was aware of the requirement for fund members to approve the changes he and Gillard planned, including
- to move the fund from the Goldfields to Perth,
- to execute a new Trust Deed,
- to remove the AWU mining committee as managers and trustees of the fund; and most significantly
- to hand effective control of the fund to Wilson (as state secretary of the AWU)
On 19 April 1992, the day after the front page story, the Kalgoorlie Miner published a follow up. It quoted the immediate-past AWU mining division secretary Vic Nicolletto directly contradicting the advice in Gillard's letter about the mining division's intentions for the fund. Nicolletto told the newspaper "The AWU Fatal Accident and Death Fund should be controlled from the Goldfields, not Perth".
Nicolletto said, "Until Wilson's appointment, the AWU hierarchy had nothing to do with the running of the fund. It's been run from the Goldfields all its life (since 1946). But now, Mr Wilson, for whatever reason, wants it transferred to Perth".
Gillard and Wilson ignored the protests and forged ahead regardless.
On 30 March 1992 the AWU WA Executive minutes recorded this:
On 15 April 1992 Gillard's new Trust Deed was executed by Wilson and two of his supporters. Gillard's Trust Deed repeats the now obviously false assertion that the mining division always intended to hand control of the fatality fund to the WA Branch Secretary in Perth.
The 18th of April came and went with no meeting of the members of the fund - it would have been redundant in any case as Gillard/Wilson's new trust deed had already been executed. In light of the false assertion about the mining division's intentions for the fund, it's difficult to see how the transfer of the fund's assets into Wilson's control was anything other than fraudulent.
On 23 April 1992 both the AWU Workplace Reform Association slush fund and Gillard's new Fatality Fund Trust were stamped by the relevant WA Corporate authorities.
Wilson now had control of the fatality fund - and he used it to buy holiday flats at inflated prices from his mate the Ford dealer, and to pay for Gillard's time and expenses in dealing with the refusal to incorporate the Workplace Reform Association.
As Ralph Blewitt said, taking that money from the mouths of potential orphans and widows was despicable.
More from Ralph and others soon.