GILLARD: The story she tried to kill
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
A cold shiver went up Gillard's spine when she saw a recent cartoon depicting her as being pregnant to AWU fraudster, Bruce Wilson.
Not that a pregnancy, or even a termination at seven weeks, is significant. Her real concern was: If that is known, what the hell else is known?
It is no secret that union thuggery and Mafia style extortion has been rampant for decades, but it does matter that our Prime Minister is involved. It matters even more if our major newspapers bury the story under Gillard threats and in the process trash the reputations of diligent investigative journalists like Glenn Milne and Michael Smith. Our major media has done exactly that.
News Ltd CEO, John Hartigan, resigned in disgust. Milne and Smith were sacked. Andrew Bolt was told to drop it. Radio commentators were warned to stay away. Blogs were spiked, stories pulled.
Sacked radio host Michael Smith, in frustration, called a Press conference with affidavit author, Bob Kernohan, to expose the Wilson affair. TV stations and journalists from media attended. There was no mention of the intended expose in the media the following day. The story was spiked.
Bruce Wilson, Gillard's boyfriend of over four years, has been in hiding for good reason, there are summonses awaiting renewal on his location.
Why hasn't the Fairfax and Murdoch media located him? This is a hot story. They can't find him, they say, but we can: He is working as a cook at one of the local Clubs in Newcastle, north of Sydney. He uses a different name and has changed his appearance.
The truth is they don't want to find him.
Recently appointed News Ltd, CEO, Kim Williams proclaimed at the SA Press Club last week that the public's right to know is sacrosanct.
It appears the public's right to know is sacrosanct until it conflicts with media's own interests, although there are recent signs Kim Williams is moving in the right direction. 'The Australian' is now revisiting this sordid tale.
The problem Williams will have to deal with is the phone-hacking that his, and Fairfax's, staff have been engaging in. We have spoken to victims.
An exposure of this was the threat that Gillard used against the then News Ltd CEO, John Hartigan, to kill the Wilson story.
A reliable source said Gillard was 'incandescent' with rage when she stormed into News Ltd Offices, after initially resorting to sobbing.
Considering the background of the devastating UK Leveson Inquiry, Gillard's threat was not an idle one. She boldly stated publicly that news organisations have 'serious questions to answer'. News organisations are not the only ones that need to answer serious questions. So too does the Prime Minister.
Rudd supporter in the recent ALP spill, Attorney General Robert McClelland, was sacked by Gillard and has since moved provocatively in Parliament to reopen the still festering Gillard/Wilson sore.
In 1996 McClelland was the solicitor at Sydney law firm, Turner Freeman and acting for AWU Union officers, Bill Ludwig and Ian Cambridge. He helped them prepare an investigative affidavit at the time that was filed with the Industrial Relations Court in an effort to trace and recover the misappropriated union funds.
Bruce Wilson is now an angry man, angry at Gillard for claiming she was "young and naive" in an attempt to distance herself from the explosive revelations.
Gillard's former partner in this Bonny & Clyde type crime spree, now has to hide under a rock cooking meals for pensioners while she cavorts the World stage throwing money around that she doesn't have. He has reason to be angry.
Wilson was disposable, as were Rudd, McClelland and Wilkie, in her attempt to hold power. Wilson says Gillard is equally culpable but he can't expose her without further incriminating himself.
Gillard's employer at the time of the fraud, Left wing law firm Slater & Gordon, apparently didn't think she was 'young and naive' when they offered her a partnership.
Gillard says she resigned from Slater & Gordon (after the claims of fraud surfaced). Peter Gordon claims he promptly sacked her when he discovered the fraud.
Gillard set up accounts to which extorted funds were diverted. Gillard was allegedly a part beneficiary of these funds. It is indeed curious that Slater & Gordon assisted in the dispersal of those funds.
The accounts operated by Wilson and fellow fraudster, Ralph Blewitt, have been described by an AWU executive as 'unauthorised', 'invalid', 'irregular' and used for 'possibly illegal purposes'. There were 13 accounts in all and none was to the favour of the AWU. They simply had misleading AWU-like denominations.
In March 1993, Slater and Gordon was involved with the purchase of a property at 85 Kerr Street, Fitzroy. Monies paid by Thiess Contractors to Wilson accounts were used to pay for the property. Wilson's signature is on the cheque.
There is no suggestion Thiess Contractors were knowingly aware they were paying monies into a fraudulent account. The house was subsequently sold in February 1996. The proceeds of the sale are alleged to have gone to both Wilson and Ralph Blewitt.
Then National Secretary of the AWU, Ian Cambridge, swore in an affidavit, "I am unable to understand how Slater & Gordon, who were then acting for the Victoria Branch of the Union, could have permitted the use of funds which were obviously taken from the union, in the purchase of private property of this nature, without seeking and obtaining proper authority from the union".
Slater & Gordon refuses to release documents (allegedly showing their complicity) claiming privilege. Peter Gordon has since resigned from Slater & Gordon.
Wilson was both client and lover to Gillard when up to $50,000 was regularly withdrawn in cash from fraudulently arranged accounts.
Odd amounts were dispersed to massage parlours, credit cards and $17,500 was paid to a fashion house, "Town Mode", with a further amount paid to Blue Gum Fashions. It beggars belief that Gillard was not aware of the source of those funds.
Large amounts were shifted in between and out of accounts to the benefit of Wilson, allegedly Gillard and others.
McClelland was livid at the clear fraud. In 1996 he encouraged AWU officers at the time, Ian Cambridge and Bill Ludwig, to submit affidavits to the NSW Industrial Relations Court. The affidavits were comprehensive, thorough and damning. (We have links to them here).
Labor-appointed judges to the Federal Court have, as late as May 2nd this year, refused to release copies of these affidavits claiming privacy. A fatuous reason considering the material had already been in the public domain and is certainly in the public interest.
Gillard as PM appointed affidavit author, Ian Cambridge, to the union controlled Fair Work Australia. Interestingly, he has not pursued the Wilson/Gillard matter since.
But the old warhorses Pasquerelli and Kernohan, who originally brought the Wilson affair to notice are now vilified and banished, languishing near Bendigo on (in their terms) the bones of their arses.
The Industrial Court at the time ordered Wilson merely repay excessive redundancy pay he had awarded himself. Wilson went to ground with Police refusing to take the fraud case further in the Federal Court due to ineffective laws governing Unions.
McClelland is now asking for legislation to tighten the law as it applies to union accountability.
His proposals have met with a luke-warm union response. Paul Howes, current head of the AWU, has made no comment on the funds that were purloined from his union and has made no visible effort to restore them.
Howes' inaction is likely due to the fear of opening another Pandora's box of tricks associated with the AWU.
Next Saturday's bitter by-election battle in Melbourne is pivotal to Gillard's survival. If Labor loses to the Greens, there will almost certainly be a move against her.
We must wonder now if Craig Thomson has full confidence in Julia Gillard.