ONLY WILSON WAS EVER GOING TO JAIL
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.
It would have been difficult to ever charge Julia Gillard over the slush fund affair but media’s comments are a mix of relief and “we told you so”... and wildly inaccurate. “Julia Gillard has been cleared of any wrongdoing!” Not so! And not so fast, fellas.
For a start this is Jeremy Stoljar’s submission to Commissioner Heydon, who may have a different interpretation of Gillard’s involvement.
That may be unlikely, but “cleared of wrongdoing” and “this is the end of the matter” is an excited media overreach.
I have never thought for a moment that Gillard would be charged. My interest in the AWU slush fund affair was solely based on Gillard’s unsuitability as Australia’s first female Prime Minister. Once she was gone, so too was my interest.
There is no doubt Stoljar was somewhat over-awed by Gillard’s attendance at the Commission and had given her the kid glove treatment failing to even confront her on two of the most serious charges.
One was that she lied to the WA Commissioner for Corporate Affairs when she was asked by Wilson to reapply for the slush fund to be registered as an Association. (She has already admitted that she knew it was indeed a slush fund).
Under the Corporate Affairs Act, a re-application to the Commission can only be made by via a court appearance and those court records were neither subpoenaed nor even alluded to by Stoljar despite Wilson having volunteered that he recalled a court appearance, where Gillard was present, in his evidence.
There was no missing letter setting out the case for an Association. There was in fact a personal submission made to the court by Gillard.
Sloppy work by the RC? Or was Gillard never in their crosshairs?
Two, signing a Power of Attorney and having witnessed the recipient’s (Ralph Blewitt’s) signature while not in his presence. Illegal, yes, but more a Law Council disciplinary matter than a Public Prosecutor’s.
Another matter of assisting to shift an AWU funeral fund to a Northbridge account controlled by Wilson, moneys from which were duly spent on two holiday homes.
No attempt has been made by the Commission to track funds derived from the sale of those houses nor the sale of the Kerr Street, Fitzroy property, nor Gillard’s Abbottsford property, all sites of renovations which facilitated the money-laundering of the defrauded funds.
Stoljar has decided that Gillard was in receipt of at least part of the defrauded funds but refrained from submitting that Gillard did, or did not have, knowledge of those funds or their source.
A curious submission to say the least, given that Gillard was a partner in a law firm, and was likely to be aware of, if not the source of, those funds, yet no question was asked of her.
Gillard’s appearance at the Commission was a non event. It seemed Stoljar had already resigned himself to the belief that Gillard could not be charged because the only person who will be charged, Bruce Wilson, had already declared that Gillard knew nothink about anythink!
The only person who could tip a bucket on Gillard in criminal proceedings is Ralph Blewitt, who claims Gillard was cognisant of, and integral to, the fraud but Blewitt is unlikely to be facing court due to a qualified indemnity in return for his evidence.
What media has also forgotten is the little matter of the Victorian Major Fraud Squad’s 12 detectives who have been investigating the matter for 18 months but could not act until the Commission concluded its findings.
Stoljar has been content to claim Gillard acted questionably and unprofessionally in a number of ways and, had she acted more professionally, Wilson's and Blewitt’s fraudulent activities could not have occurred.
Not even Stoljar was prepared to say Gillard knew nothing about the source of the funds because any reasonable person would adjudge that she would have had to have known.
But it is not likely that Gillard will be charged, failing Wilson ratting on his ex girlfriend.
But media’s sighs of relief that it's over will be short-lived when the Major Fraud Squad takes a keen interest in Wilson’s cross examination under pressure in criminal proceedings and how his evidence relates to Gillard’s involvement.
It is unlikely that Wilson will plead guilty to avoid the prosecution exposing the fraud, as the HSU's Michael Williamson did, Wilson has the arrogance to believe he will be believed.
Media claims, "This is the end of the matter". Far from it, Gillard is not home free yet, but it's still unlikely she will ever be charged.
The real wrongdoing was her elevation to PM when her dubious background was known to all and the Press Gallery seniors' agreement to turn a blind eye.
Was our Prime Minister a crook? Yes, of course she was. Will she ever be charged? No, not likely.
Her damaged professional ability as a lawyer is emblematic of her professional ability in Office