News

AWU slush fund accusations continue against Julia Gillard

Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Prime Minister Julia Gillard Rob Williams

THE opposition has continued its question time attack on Prime Minister Julia Gillard over the Australian Workers' Union slush fund affair.

Like Monday, the opposition used every one of its questions - all asked by Deputy Leader Julie Bishop - to focus on Ms Gillard's time as a partner at law form Slater & Gordon.

Ms Gillard continues to deny any wrongdoing.Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was again silent during question time, a point continually made by Ms Gillard during many of her answers.

On two occasions Speaker Anna Burke rule Ms Bishop's questions out of order.

Ms Bishop came under scrutiny herself on Tuesday after it was revealed she had met with AWU bagman Ralph Blewitt in Melbourne last week.

She said they had met for no more than 10 minutes.

Mr Blewitt had not been able to provide Ms Bishop with any documents incriminating Ms Gillard.

Ms Bishop was also forced to clarify comments she made suggesting Ms Gillard had in the 1990s benefited from the union association run by her then boyfriend and Australian Workers' Union official Bruce Wilson and Ralph Blewitt.

She told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday morning Ms Gillard, Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt had established the AWU Workplace Reform Association without the knowledge of the union "to hide from the AWU the fact that an unauthorised entity was being set up to siphon funds through it for their benefit and not for the benefit of the AWU".

But at a press conference late on Tuesday Ms Bishop said she was referring to Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt, and not Ms Gillard.

"I didn't say it in question time yesterday, and I didn't say it today.

"'They' refers to Wilson and Blewitt, and I've said this on a number of occasions," she said.

Earlier on Tuesday Slater & Gordon issued a statement seeking to clarify why it had not notified either the police nor the AWU, its client at the time, about the association when it learnt of allegations of misconduct by Mr Wilson, its other client, in August 1995.

"Slater & Gordon has consistently maintained, and still maintains, that at all times it has acted in accordance with its legal and ethical obligations in relation to all aspects of the AWU matter," the statement read.

"Given the repeated publication of the question above Slater & Gordon has obtained independent legal advice from Arnold Bloch Leibler (ABL) and Mr Philip Crutchfield SC. The firm received this advice yesterday evening.

"Without waiving any of the former clients', or Slater & Gordon's privilege to maintain the confidentiality of the communications between it and the firm's independent legal advisers, that independent advice has confirmed that Slater & Gordon was (and is) not permitted to divulge confidential and privileged information of one client to another client or any other party."

Topics:  australian workers' union, julia gillard, question time


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sara Connor trying to protect killed cop, says lawyer

Australian woman Sara Connor being interrogated at Denpasar District Court in Bali, Indonesia.  (AAP Image/Putra Sinulingga)

Byron Bay woman says she is not guilty of killing Wayan Sudarsa

Byron Bay Brewery will reopen next month

ENTERTAINMENT: For years, the Byron Bay Brewery has been an important venue for local artists to showcase their creations.

It has been closed for six weeks of renovations

Yann Martel on novels: "Like building cathedrals in the mind”

Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, an international bestseller published in more than 50 territories.

The writer of Life of Pi introduces his new novel in Byron Bay

Latest deals and offers

Priscilla is coming to Brunswick Heads

LOCAL iconing drag queen Maude Boate will host two special screenings

Sara Connor trying to protect killed cop, says lawyer

Australian woman Sara Connor being interrogated at Denpasar District Court in Bali, Indonesia.  (AAP Image/Putra Sinulingga)

Byron Bay woman says she is not guilty of killing Wayan Sudarsa

Byron Bay Brewery will reopen next month

ENTERTAINMENT: For years, the Byron Bay Brewery has been an important venue for local artists to showcase their creations.

It has been closed for six weeks of renovations

Yann Martel on novels: "Like building cathedrals in the mind”

Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi, an international bestseller published in more than 50 territories.

The writer of Life of Pi introduces his new novel in Byron Bay

Our rail could roll again on Byron line

BACK IN THE DAY: The old motorail express leaving Byron. The picture comes from the book Time and Tide Again courtesey of W. Brian Alexander

Friends of the Byron Line will be founded today.

John Williamson winding up for another Gympie Muster

John Williamson is bringing some new songs and artists to this year's Muster.

John Williamson is back and ready to put on his best show ever

Kanye West gets 'free reign' at VMAs

Kanye West has been let off the leash for the VMAs

Robbie Williams sings at manager's funeral

Robbie Williams and Lamar sang at the funeral of their manager

Twice as much Troy will please country music lovers

CATCH HIM WHILE YOU CAN: Singer Troy Cassar-Daley plans to take some time off to spend with family next year.

TROY Cassar-Daley is releasing a new album and book.

Courtney Stodden gets Reborn Doll

Courtney Stodden is trying to get over her recent miscarriage

Kate McKinnon 'destitute' before SNL

Kate McKinnon says she can't do anything but act

FBI investigating Leslie Jones website hack

The FBI are investigating Leslie Jones' personal website hack

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m