Is the Prime Minister a crook? Part VII
It appears that Nicola Roxon and Peter Van Sumbugger are the only two people left standing who are young and naive enough to believe this is a Liberal Party beat-up.
Sorry Nicola and Peter, we have never spoken to any Opposition Member and it's far from a beat-up. The continuous stream of information is coming from your side of the House and one other person the Prime Minister knew very well. There are some angry people on your Benches.
Well, you two, here's more to cause you some indigestion.
Slater & Gordon handle unfair dismissal claims in their thousands. Gillard herself handled a few, so she knew exactly what it meant when she was called in for a taped interview... it was a precursor to her dismissal.
It's a moot point as to whether she was given the opportunity to resign or not. All legal employees, short of an accusation of murder, are extended that courtesy because a "dismissal" could both injure the firm's reputation and terminally end the employee's career. Regardless, it appears to have done both anyway.
The fraudulent document that allowed the "slush fund" to be set up was first presented in Perth. It was taken to the Commissioner of Corporate Affairs who promptly refused to allow it on grounds that it appeared to be too much like a union.
Undeterred, Wilson asked Gillard to do it. Incredibly, Gillard agreed. It was pointless to persist in Perth because the Commissioner had already knocked it back so it was off to Victoria and the offices of Slater & Gordon.
Now, even the most young and naive person on the planet would have known this was highly unethical at best and illegal on a number of fronts at worst.
There were three other people present when this document was drawn up: Ralph Blewitt, Bruce Wilson and senior equity partner, Bernard Murphy. (Bernard Murphy was the anonymous name "The Australian" redacted in its Page one story.)
In the record of interview Gillard stated that she "acted alone". She lied. Was she protecting Bernard Murphy? If so, it didn't help. Murphy hurriedly departed the firm on an agreed settlement prior to Gillard.
[Gillard was later to appoint Bernard Murphy to the Federal Court bench. Why did she do that? Was she worried he would disclose critical information relating to the blatant fraud?]
When the document was completed by Gillard it was signed by Blewitt. Wilson then took it to the Commonwealth Bank to open the now infamous account: The AWU Workplace Reform Association Inc.
It appeared on the record as an AWU account, it wasn't, but it was ready to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars, attracting no tax, into Wilson's pocket. More importantly the AWU had no knowledge of it. Yet the AWU was a client of Gillard's in the form of Wilson. The law firm itself acted for the Vic AWU.
In a classic conflict of interest, Gillard was actually facilitating theft by her boyfriend from her own firm's client, the AWU! Gillard was also improperly acting for her criminal boyfriend who was also a representative of the AWU client!
Slater & Gordon is obliged to keep the Law Institute of Victoria updated as to who is operating on their Practising Certificate? The Law Institute claims privilege on this information. We have reason to believe Julia was removed from the Certificate in September and not in May the following year as they now advise?
When the fraudulent activity was eventually discovered Peter Gordon hit the roof, but his position was untenable because:
Slater & Gordon is hardly independent. Incredibly, if they sacked her, they would be exposed to a reimbursement claim from their own client (the AWU) for all monies stolen, plus costs. What a predicament Gillard had created. No wonder they were angry.
Because Gillard did not open a file on the case, to appraise others in the firm of her actions, her conduct may be subject to criminal charges and the Professional Indemnity policy would not have been exposed (you cannot insure against criminal activity).
Lawyers are now pitting their credibility against each other. In this fiery battle of recollections and taped records Nick Styant-Browne will emerge the winner.
That may sound a bit complicated. It is! And the more Slater & Gordon wriggles the more it will need the services of a good Left wing law firm.
Part VIII: Enter the Unions and Bill Shorten.