Angus Taylor isn't the only politician in strife over using a forgery
Thursday, 31 October 2019
Energy Minister Angus Taylor's use of an apparent forgery to attack Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has been front page news.
It's consumed considerable time in the Federal Parliament.
And Labor has referred the matter and Taylor to police.
Mark Dreyfus QC says it's "A highly concerning matter".
And it is.
Forgery is a serious offence.
So what was the Taylor/Moore forgery used for?
To embarrass Clover Moore over travel expenses, or to suck Angus Taylor in and make him look like a goose.
Serious, but a long way from the top end of the scale.
Yet the matter has our media and parliament in a frenzy.
I have sworn evidence about another far more serious forgery involving a politician.
It's had zero mainstream media coverage.
It hasn't been mentioned in the Parliament.
And no politician has referred it to police.
It involves Julia Gillard and former WA Corporate Affairs chief Mr RP Neal.
On 30 December 2015 the final report of the Trade Union Royal Commission was tabled in the parliament.
That final report contains a lengthy chapter about the incorporation of the Gillard/Wilson AWU slush fund, the AWU Workplace Reform Association. That chapter includes - and relies on - a letter dated 15 May 1992 and purportedly written by the then WA Commissioner for Corporate Affairs Ray Neal.
That letter is addressed to the person who was responsible for the incorporation of the slush fund, then solicitor for the AWU Julia Gillard.
Ms Gillard adopted the apparent forgery in her sworn evidence to the Royal Commission.
The Royal Commission relied on Ms Gillard’s testimony about having received the forgery in 1992 - and having acted on its contents.
But Ms Gillard can't have received the letter from the Office of State Corporate Affairs in May 1992. It was never written by Mr Neal. Its only purpose was to obscure the true path to incorporation taken by the Gillard Wilson slush fund - and that was an appeal to The Minister responsible for Corporate Affairs who directed Mr Neal to incorporate the Workplace Reform Association.
Ms Gillard also gave evidence about another forgery - a note on plain paper to her client Ralph Blewitt. She swore that she gave this legal advice to Ralph.
If Blewitt had acted on that memo (not a letter on letterhead - the Slater and Gordon partner names on their letterhead had changed by 1995 when Gillard and Wilson were sprung) he'd have given the game away. The Office of State Corporate Affairs would have said, "What letter from Ray Neal" and I know Ray Neal would've alerted the police.
I have a sworn affidavit from Mr RP Neal, the man who’s signature is on the letter used in evidence by Ms Gillard and relied upon by the Trade Union Royal Commission.
Mr Neal states in his sworn affidavit - made subject to the penalties of perjury - quote:
In May 1992 I was responsible for incorporating associations under the Associations Incorporation Act, 1987.
Mr Neal’s sworn affidavit then identifies the letter addressed to Ms Gillard which was used by Ms Gillard in her evidence and which is part of the Trade Union Royal Commission’s final report.
His sworn affidavit continues, quote:
I did not write that letter.
I did not sign that letter.
I did not instruct or authorise any member of my then staff to write the letter.
The letter contains an unlawful offer to incorporate an association. My office could not have lawfully made that offer.
My office alway acted within the law and I only acted within my lawful powers.
I always signed my name “R.P. Neal” on official correspondence.
The use of a forgery to deceive a Royal Commission is a very serious matter.
I'd rate it much more highly than bagging Clover Moore over her travel expenses.
But thus far our media's preparedness to accept whatever Ms Gillard says as gospel has protected her from the consequences of her actions.
Not for much longer.
Every touch leaves its trace.