76. My motivation for starting this site.

My interest in this complex story started when I began following Michael Smith’s blog right from the beginning. The thing that kept me hooked as the documents were presented was why would someone bash Bob K nearly to death to stop him talking? Why would a prime minister of Australia attempt to shut down all reporting on this story if there was nothing in it? Why would Michael Smith walk away from his job as a radio announcer to investigate Bob K’s story?


The bloggers who followed Michael through this journey became convinced that crimes had been committed. These people include lawyers, accountants, real estate professionals, ex police, bank officials, archivists, health professionals…the list goes on. They all want to know the truth.

But the mainstream media with the exception of a few such as Hedley Thomas and Mark Baker have hardly touched the story. The reason why is another question I ask myself.

In January 2013, I decided to start this page to try and make the complexities a bit easier to understand for people who have not really been informed. It is not a full description of what is known. And I thank Michael Smith for allowing me to share his documents with you. 

This is now a major fraud squad investigation, and the next few months will be fascinating. If I was you, I’d stay tuned to Michael Smith News.

For my part, I am an ordinary woman and mother who didn’t even have a facebook page until January 2013. But I got cranky, because I really want to know who bashed up our friend Bob Kernohan.

I don’t like violent sociopaths, you see.

75. Bruce Wilson Royal Commission appearance 12/06/2014

Brad Norrington, journalist at the Australian, filed this report following Wilson’s appearance:

JULIA Gillard’s former boyfriend has admitted to extracting many thousands of dollars from the Thiess construction company when he was a senior union official for training services that were never provided.

Bruce Wilson told the royal commission into union corruption today that he arranged invoices to be sent to Thiess for almost a year in the early 1990s in exchange for no services.

The company responded by sending regular cheques to a union “slush fund” called the AWU Workplace Reform Assocation that he had set up with legal advice from the future Labor prime minister.

Counsel assisting the royal commission, Jeremy Stoljar SC, has alleged that Mr Wilson committed a fraud as a senior official of the Australian Workers’ Union and should face criminal charges over the slush fund – along with his former union sidekick Ralph Blewitt.

Ms Gillard, who was a salaried partner of the legal firm Slater & Gordon at the time, has denied any wrong doing in relation to her legal advice to assist in setting up what she later agreed was a union “slush fund”.

She has also denied being a beneficiary of Mr Wilson’s fund, saying she paid for renovations on her house in Melbourne in 1993 and money for this work did not come from Mr Wilson and the slush fund as it has been alleged.

Mr Stoljar today accused Mr Wilson of setting up the AWU Workplace Reform Association “deliberately and knowingly” as a “device” to obtain funds from Thiess for a secret fund he concealed from others in the union.

While Mr Wilson conceded that Thiess paid money to the fund for almost a year in return for no services and that “in part” he did conceal its existence from others at the AWU, he denied invoices sent to the company were false.

Mr Wilson claimed the company sent regular cheques to a Perth post box from January 1992 until late that year as agreed in return for no services because it did not have training facilities ready.

Challenged by Mr Stoljar that no training was ever provided to Thiess, Mr Wilson disagreed, claiming that an AWU official Glen Ivory, who died in 2004, was employed by the association as a training officer at the Thiess Dawesville Channel project near Perth from January 1993 until at least late that year when training facilities were available. The pay rate was allegedly $36 an hour, including expenses.

Mr Stoljar produced a sworn statement by Mr Ivory to police in 1997 in which the late former AWU official said he and the union’s executive were never made aware of the Workplace Reform Association, and he never worked for it as a training officer. Mr Ivory also said he had not known money was paid to the fund by Melbourne Water, as well as Thiess.

Mr Wilson claimed Mr Ivory’s statement was a lie. He also claimed today that other key witnesses had lied to the commission, including his former self-confessed union bagman Ralph Blewitt, who helped Mr Wilson set up the slush fund and now claims that both men misappropriated funds.

Mr Wilson claimed today that a Melbourne builder, Athol James, lied earlier this week when he said in the commission under oath that Ms Gillard had told him in 1993 that Mr Wilson was paying for her home renovations in Melbourne suburb Abbotsford.

Other lies, according to Mr Wilson, were contained in parts of a statement from Ian Cambridge, a member of the Fair Work Commission and former AWU official who tried to get a full investigation into the slush fund affair in the mid-1990s.

Mr Wilson admitted he was the “driving force” behind the fund but tried to pin the blame for irregularities on Mr Blewitt. He claimed he operated the fund within its broad rules, separate to the AWU, to promote and encourage work reform for union members in the construction industry, which he drafted with legal assistance from Ms Gillard.

He claimed he asked Mr Blewitt to withdraw $15,000 from the fund in September 1993 to cover training services that he alleged Mr Ivory had provided to Thiess – but he later found out that Mr Blewitt had withdrawn $50,000.

Mr Wilson said he had an angry confrontation with Mr Blewitt about the matter in 1994 and even “threw him against a wall” – but he did not go to police. He confirmed that – despite this confrontation – he also signed at least six blank cheques for Mr Blewitt to use when Mr Wilson was away from Perth, and opened another bank account with Mr Blewitt in February 1995.

Mr Wilson confirmed that money from the slush fund was used to partly fund the purchase of a house in Melbourne suburb Fitzroy in 1993, and that he had a power of attorney document arranged by Ms Gillard so he could bid for the property at an auction on Mr Blewitt’s behalf.

Mr Wilson said funding for the Fitzroy house came from the slush fund, but the house was bought in Mr Blewitt’s name “in part” to keep activities of the AWU Workplace Relations Association concealed from others in the AWU.

At this time in 1993 Mr Wilson moved to Melbourne to become acting secretary of the AWU’s Victorian branch, and he lived in the Fitzroy house while Ms Gillard was his girlfriend.

He confirmed to the commission that during this time he was providing financially for his wife and young children who remained in Perth. His only other source of cash was the fund he set up.

Mr Wilson claimed the Fitzroy house was used as an office, with $8000 in cash handed to him by Mr Blewitt from the fund to buy a computer, printer, fax machine, whiteboard and answering machine.

The former AWU leader, who split with Ms Gillard in 1995 around the time that her role in providing legal advice was investigated by Slater & Gordon, is now a cook on the NSW north coast.

Mr Wilson denied a claim by Mr Blewitt last month that he handed $50,000 from the fund to Mr Wilson at one point and that Mr Wilson said was these funds were to go to AWU Queensland secretary and national president Bill Ludwig.

According to Mr Wilson, Mr Ludwig did suggest in late 1993 that he might provide $10,000 to help the Labor Party with federal election funding, but Mr Ludwig dropped the issue and no money was paid.

He admitted sending $8000 to union shop stewards in Port Headland, and keeping no records of this payment, but he denied a claim by Mr Blewitt that he arranged a $5000 payment to then Transport Workers Union official Jim McGiveron.

Mr Stoljar accused Mr Wilson today of setting up the Workplace Reform Association with no members, contrary to the rules drafted with legal assistance from Ms Gillard requiring at least five.

Mr Wilson disagreed, saying Mr Ivory and another dead former AWU official, Jim Collins, were signed up as members after the fund was incorporated. Other members, he claimed, were AWU officials from Melbourne Mark Barnes and Bill “the Greek” Telikostoglou, who now lives in Athens. Mr Wilson said he automatically counted himself and Mr Blewitt as members because they were the fund’s secretary and treasurer respectively.

Questioned about difficulty in setting up the fund, Mr Wilson said Ms Gillard travelled from Melbourne to Perth at one point in May 1992 when the Corporate Affairs Commissioner of Western Australia questioned aspects about the association’s application for incorporation.

Mr Wilson said he believed the difficulty related to whether or not the association “could be construed as a trade union”.

Earlier today, royal commissioner Dyson Heydon dismissed as a “sideshow” the allegations by Mr Wilson – as aired this week by ABC Melbourne radio broadcaster Jon Faine – that a lawyer who has closely followed the scandal, Harry Nowicki, might have offered payment to Mr Wilson to fabricate evidence and discredit Ms Gillard.

Mr Nowicki dismissed the allegation this week, saying any discussion of an financial offer to Mr Wilson related only to the possibility that public relations entrepreneur Max Markson could arrange a fee for telling his personal story to a TV program such as 60 Minutes. No arrangement was made.

Mr Heydon, a former High Court judge, dismissed an attempt by Mr Wilson’s legal counsel, Dr Kristine Hanscombe, to challenge earlier evidence from Mr Blewitt on the basis that Mr Nowicki had helped draft three statements he made to Victoria Police about the slush fund scandal.

74. Royal Commission into Union Governance and Corruption as reported by The Australian Jun10 2014

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/awus-bruce-wilson-accused-of-conspiracy-over-slush-fund-linked-to-julia-gillard/story-fn59niix-1226949497238

FORMER union official Bruce Wilson — the ex-boyfriend of Julia Gillard — should face criminal charges for conspiring to create sham invoices to justify secret payments running to hundreds of thousands of dollars, a royal commission has been told.

Counsel assisting Jeremy Stoljar SC told the royal commission into union corruption that evidence had established that Mr Wilson conspired with his then Australian Workers’ Union sidekick, confessed bagman Ralph Blewitt, to create a slush fund called the Workplace Reform Association in 1992 for the purpose of issuing false invoices to the Thiess construction company in Perth.

The association was meant to provide safety services to Thiess — but Mr Stoljar said it did not engage in any genuine work.

Mr Stoljar said it would be submitted in hearings that the so-called slush fund was Mr Wilson’s idea, and he directed Mr Blewitt to send invoices to Thiess “knowing at the time that they were false”.

WILSON: Cash claim ‘delusional’

Ms Gillard, the former Labor prime minister, was then Mr Wilson’s partner and a salaried partner of legal firm Slater & Gordon.

Ms Gillard had a role in helping Mr Wilson set up the Workplace Reform Association by providing legal advice, although she insists she did nothing wrong.

In a 1995 formal interview Slater & Gordon’s head partner, Peter Gordon, Ms Gillard admitted that she thought the association was a union “slush fund” for election purposes but said she had no knowledge of its actual operations and did not play any role in the fund after providing legal advice to help set it up.

Ms Gillard did not tell fellow legal partners about her role in providing legal advice, or create a file note, when the AWU was also Slater & Gordon’s client at the time. She left Slater & Gordon after her formal interview with Mr Gordon on the matter.

Mr Stoljar told the royal commission today that it would be submitted that Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt committed further offences under the Criminal Code by deliberately procuring benefits for themselves.

It was confirmed, Mr Stoljar said, that money from the slush fund was used to partly fund the purchase of property in the Melbourne suburb Fitzroy in Mr Blewitt’s name. The house was lived in by Mr Wilson when he moved from Perth to Melbourne to head the AWU’s Victorian branch in 1993.

Ms Gillard had no personal financial interest in this property, but she attended the auction with Mr Wilson and was involved in the drafting of a power of attorney document giving him the power to bid for it. She also arranged the conveyancing work.

On a second point, about which the commission heard there remained “factual controversy”, Mr Stoljar said evidence would be heard that money from the slush fund was also used to pay for renovations on another Melbourne house in Abbotsford owned by Ms Gillard.

As prime minister in 2012, Ms Gillard insisted that she paid for the renovations herself. In her 1995 interview with Mr Gordon, she said she believed she paid for the renovations but could not categorically rule out that money from the fund could have been used.

Mr Blewitt gave evidence last month to the commission, claiming he handed over at least $7000 from the slush fund to a tradesman at Ms Gillard’s home on the orders of Mr Wilson.

Mr Blewitt also claimed that Ms Gillard was in the Abbotsford house at the time, but said she did not see the transaction take place after she had said to “just go through” to Mr Wilson and the tradesman in the kitchen veranda area.

Mr Wilson has disputed Mr Blewitt’s account, and stood by Ms Gillard’s position that she paid for her own renovations.

In evidence at the commission today, Ian Cambridge, former AWU official and now a member of the Fair Work Commission, detailed how he questioned the operations of Mr Wilson’s slush fund when he discovered it in 1995, and also tried to block redundancy payments to Mr Wilson and others.

At the time, Mr Cambridge had recently become the AWU’s national secretary and said he found its accounts in a “mess” following its merger with another union, the FIMEE.

The AWU Workplace Reform Association was an entity opened in 1992 with two bank accounts. At one point the fund had $156,849 in one account and $383,332.60 in a cheque account. Regular cash cheque withdrawals were made by Mr Blewitt and documents show that most cheques were jointly signed by Mr Mr Blewitt and Mr Wilson.

Mr Cambridge said that the FIMEE’s then Victorian secretary, Bob Smith, had “a lot of tensions” with Mr Wilson and thought he should face criminal charges.

He said Mr Smith believed Mr Wilson faced “going into the slammer”, but was organising redundancy payments within a fortnight.

Mr Cambridge also said today that he tried to freeze AWU accounts previously controlled by Mr Wilson but failed in an attempt to stop redundancy payments after he and Queensland AWU chief Bill Ludwig lacked the numbers on the AWU’s national executive.

He said he believed the redundancy payments came from money that the AWU had originally intended for a union bereavement fund.

73.Ralph Blewitt’s appearance at the Royal commission.

Ralph Blewitt appeared before the RC in May 2014 and gave sworn testimony over 2 days. On the second day he was questioned by counsel for Bruce Wilson.

http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au/Hearings/Documents/turc-transcript-public-hearing-12may2014.pdf

http://www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au/Hearings/Documents/TURCPublichearing-Daytwotranscripts-13May2014.pdf

72. Another adjournment.

Back in Court in Victoria on 03 February 2014, Bruce Wilson’s lawyers successfully sought yet another adjournment until June 2014, to appeal the legal privilege issue.

In the meantime however, a Royal Commission into Unions had been announced, and The Hon Mr John Dyson Heydon AC QC appointed to lead it. With a broad scope, and the ability to overcome the issue of legal privilege, many looked forward to it’s start date in April.

http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2014/02/the-honourable-mr-john-dyson-heydon-ac-qc.html

71. Michael Smith broadcasts Bob Kernohan (radio2gb)

On Tuesday the 7th of January 2014, Michael Smith, now again back on the airwaves, this time with 2 GB radio was finally able to do what a corrupt former prime minister had desperately tried to prevent for years. He broadcast his interview with Bob Kernohan. This time there were no threats from on high, and countless thousands of people, many longtime supporters and many only listening for the first time heard what should have been broadcast years before. The effect of years of research showed in the detailed understanding of the fraud demonstrated by Michael and Bob, making for outstanding radio and investigative journalism. You can find the link for the podcast here, and following that a link to the transcript of the interview (thanks newbposter!).

http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2014/01/the-awu-scandal-my-interview-with-former-awu-president-bob-kernohan-today-on-2gb.html

http://michaelsmithnews.typepad.com/files/bob-kernohan-interview-2gb-7-january-2014.pdf

70. The Court rules on the documents

Following the election, which the Labor Government lost, Wilson’s lawyers went to the Melbourne Magistrates Court on several occasions often ill prepared and seeking delays. Finally the Chief Magistrate handed down his finding, after reading the seized documents and affidavits provided by the Victorian Fraud Squad.

 ”VICTORIA’S most senior magistrate has found reasonable grounds to conclude that Julia Gillard’s former boyfriend was involved in a fraud, negating his right to claim privilege over documents held at her old law firm.”

He ruled that the Fraud Squad could have access to the documents, as there was strong evidence they were created in the furtherance of a fraud. A fraud involving the former solicitor Julia Gillard.

http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2013/12/chief-magistrate-lauritsens-written-judgement-in-the-slater-and-gordon-search-warrant-matter.html

However, Wilson’s lawyers immediately sought an appeal in the Supreme Court, due to be heard on the 2nd of February 2014.

69. Slater and Gordon go to the Supreme Court

Julia Gillard disappeared immediately from the political radar following her defeat, and Kevin Rudd began his ultimately unsuccessful bid for re-election. Many in the ALP welcomed the silence of Ms Gillard as dignified, but some commented that the upcoming court cases would not be a good look for the Party and the AWU. Slater and Gordon fought the Fraud Squad for retention of 8 documents ruled to be privileged, a move which delayed the hearings somewhat. However, on the Monday 02/09/2013 The Victorian Fraud Squad were back in the Melbourne Magistrates Court seeking the remaining documents, embarrassing timing considering the Federal Election date of 09/09/2013. Bruce Wilson’s new barrister sort and obtained a delay of the hearings until October 15.

There was little reporting of this event to the electorate by the main stream media.

http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2013/09/last-delay-clears-away-today-in-the-awu-scandal-search-warrant-hearings.html

68. Julia Gillard resigns as PM

Parliament and government were chaotic, internal polling abysmal, and the last weeks marked by infighting and a desire by many in the ALP to bring back Kevin Rudd to “save the furniture” from certain defeat. Suddenly, on the second last night of Parliament, Thursday 27th June 2013 following a hastily convened ballot, Bill Shorten switched camps, and Gillard was ousted as PM.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-27/gillard-resigns/4784338

67. Slater and Gordon Search Warrant

The Victorian Fraud Squad by mid May were well advanced in their enquiries. However, certain evidence relating to movements of AWU WRA slush fund monies through the Slater and Gordon Trust Fund account, the whereabouts of Julia Gillard on the day the Blewitt POA was purported to have been made, and the subsequent disposal of the Fitzroy property was still being sort. The Fraud Squad were keeping things close to their chest, but Hedley Thomas reported in June 2013 that the offices had been raided and evidence seized. The mainstream media hardly touched the story, even though the Prime Minister had indicated an election would be held in September. Michael Smith reported to his blog:

http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2013/06/the-search-warrant-on-slater-and-gordon.html