PM prepares for Parliamentary ambush

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With the last sitting of Parliament for the year fast approaching, Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop has promised to keep the heat on the Prime Minister over her alleged participation in the fraudulent misuse of Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) funds 17 years ago.

Julia Gillard has been questioned time and again about her involvement in the purchase of a house using union funds by her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson. At the time of the purchase, Ms Gillard was a partner at the law firm Slater & Gordon, which facilitated the purchase. Union official Ralph Blewitt, on behalf of Mr Wilson, made the purchase of the house. Mr Blewit returned to Melbourne this week to give his side of the story to Victoria Police, but only on the understanding he will not be prosecuted for his part in the fraud. The Prime Minister’s former boyfriend broke his silence over the weekend to state that Ms Gillard had no part to play in fraud and nothing to answer for. This is believed to go against the statement given by Mr Blewitt.

The continued pressure on the Prime Minister to answer questions, which she says she has already answered, shows no sign of letting up with renewed calls from the Opposition for her to ‘come clean’. Ms Bishop intends to use Parliamentary question time to ask Ms Gillard why she did nothing to help recoup the missing funds, or advise the police of the matter. Ms Bishop said she will also ask questions about the “hundreds of thousands of dollars (which) went out of this slush fund and (haven’t) been recovered. They’ll go into other areas that I’ve been able to discover in the weeks since the last parliamentary sitting.” The questions about the Prime Minister’s recollection of what happened will be supported by documentation, according to the Deputy Leader.

Despite repeated denials of any wrongdoing, the Prime Minister appears powerless to stop the continued and repetitive questioning which seems to be going nowhere. Telling reporters in Melbourne on Friday that no one had put a “substantiated” claim of wrongdoing against her in 20 years. “What this all means is that this whole campaign of smear actually boils down to absolutely nothing,” Ms Gillard said.

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Opinion: Time to put up or shut up

Another news day and yet more headlines about the Prime Minister’s involvement in the misuse of AWU funds. Since taking the reins of the country two years ago, Julia Gillard has faced constant questioning about her relationship twenty years ago with ex-boyfriend Bruce Wilson, her involvement in the purchase of a house using union funds and the circumstances surrounding her departure from leading law firm Slater & Gordon.

During this time and despite the search for evidence to contradict Ms Gillard’s version of the story, no one has been able to prove beyond shadow of a doubt what she knew, or what was her involvement. Yet time and again the Opposition hijacks the media and Parliamentary question time to dredge up the same old story without adding anything new. Surely this can be seen for what it is; a blatant exercise in trying to deflect attention from a party which has no defined policies? It can’t fight a fair battle, so it will use every ill-gotten nugget of information, true or not, to attack the Prime Minister.

The return to Melbourne of self-confessed fraudster Ralph Blewitt, who is now compelled to get off his chest his involvement in the misappropriation of union funds, is timely for the Opposition. Ignoring the fact that Blewitt was only willing to tell Victoria Police his side of the story in return for the guarantee that it would not be used against him in court, the Opposition will allow Julie Bishop to harangue the Prime Minister during the last sitting of Parliament. Surely, when there are so many more pressing issues, such as running a country, seeking a solution to the asylum seeker crisis and ensuring justice for those subject to institutional abuse, this is not a productive use of the Parliamentary forum?

Harassed at his home by reporters, Bruce Wilson has broken his silence to declare that the Prime Minster knew nothing of the 1990s scandal, “they can go on a witch-hunt for as long as they like, and they will find nothing that will do her (Gillard) any harm. It’s just a waste of time. They will find nothing.” Yet this isn’t enough to get the Opposition to lay off the Prime Minister. Ralph Blewitt, a key player in this saga, has given his side of the story to Victoria Police, which will in turn investigate the matter, applying due legal process. Should any wrongdoing by the Prime Minister be uncovered during the process, she will then have questions to answer.

So, unless Julie Bishop has access to information the Victorian Police doesn’t, she should let it do its job and leave the super-sleuthing to Nancy Drew.

Should the PM face continued questions about something which happened 20 years ago? Is Parliament the correct forum for such questioning?

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Written by Debbie McTaggart


Total Comments: 109
  1. 0

    The opposition would not go on a witch hunt regarding a matter 20 years old if they didn’t have parliamentary privelege. If the shoe was on the other foot, it would be likewise. Once again, what’s the purpose. I can’t wait for this week to be over and we can have a break from these “children” running our country. Mention parliament, a politician, boats as opposed to the people on the boats, electricity, carbon tax, and I’m completely tuned out. It’s time to stick a dummy in the mouths of the lot of them.

  2. 0

    I agree with you Egypian,
    Its time that Parliament got on with the job they were Elected to do and run the country instead of all this chidish behaviour. Dotty

  3. 0

    The ONLY policy statement that the Coalition has made in this Parliament is that the P.M. should telephone the Prime Minister of Nauru and immediately re-open the Nauru detention centre!!!!
    The Government agreed to compromise in the hope that Tony Abbott might just be right, but, what has happened, boat arrivals have increased alarmingly!!
    So much for Coalition “policies”, so, what do they do, just continually rake up garbage to deflect the media from the real issues that are affecting this country. Asylum seekers (those by boat) are costing ALL Australians billions of dollars and surely an Opposition should be just as concerned to stop that horrible financial haemorrhaging. It is affecting ALL of us, vital services are being withdrawn to save costs to cover the cost of asylum seekers. The Government has tried everything, including compromise with the Coalition, surely it is now time for the Coalition to compromise with the Government in allowing sending boat asylum seekers to Malaysia for processing. Something MUST be done and NOW. But, no, the Coalition is just hell bent on defamation and populist media coverage that has been welcomed and supported by the likes of The Melbourne Herald Sun and The Australian. What an enormous opportunity for Tony Abbott to show some real positive leadership and to stop the grabage raking and sit down with the Governmant to resolve this much pressing problem. He will score many more points in doing that, but, he simply does not understand that and remains hell bent on trying to destroy Julia Gillard. He should play THAT card very carefully, as it could blow up right in his face if she is replaced by Kevin Rudd who would certainly beat him at an election.

  4. 0

    So ….. more opinion from the labor members of this site???

    • 0

      How boring Jennyya. You have exactly the same negative, nil substance, nothing positive to add attitude as the very coalition that you are obviously supporting. Must run in the genes?? Why not stretch you own brain and give us an actual contribution to the subject under discussion?

  5. 0

    The problem is that the Coalition have no policies of their own and trying to defame the Prime Minister is top of their agenda. It is time that the opposition bring in some policies to the table and not try to proof something that is not there. I think they need someone with Leadership qualities. The trouble is that it is working for them according to the latest polls and all they are interested in is getting into Government so that they can start cutting down on the pensions, welfare, education and health.

  6. 0

    Julia Bishop, wasn’t she once a shadow treasurer who did not know what the cash rate was when asked about interest rates ? She cannot be that good if she has been Deputy to three leaders and never elevated herself to the top job. Looking nicely groomed is not necessary that important, better to have some brains behind the dress.

    • 0

      I think Julie Bishop is a very intelligent women. I think she is misguided in her approach to this particular issue and the Opposition should back off, let the justice system run its course and get on with the real issues that are affecting our country.

  7. 0

    Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop has promised to keep the heat on the Prime Minister over her alleged participation in the fraudulent misuse of Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) funds 17 years ago…Well as a Voter I think it time that she earned her Parliamentary Wages and did some real work towards getting this Country on track if she thinks that the Government is failing in its job..The PM has already said that she was not involved with this incident the PM is doing a good job of running the Country and dealing with matters that deal with TODAYS problems and not allegations of something that happened that happened over 17 years ago get real Julie Bishop and do your job for the Country today…Bill

  8. 0

    Well said jennyya, “your lifechoices”, is beginning to look more like a labourparty spokesside.
    Isn’t it ironic that so many people forget or don’t want to remember what a disfunctionally
    government this is. They started with a surplus of 20 billion and so far have racked up hundreds of billions in the red and still counting. In the meantime they make promises to the disabled community where there is no money for. And so the list goes on….Julia Gillard is a disgrace to the office of Prime Minister.

  9. 0

    You are obviously a sounding board for Labor. Should not YLC be non-partisan?

  10. 0

    However bad the Opposition and the media paint the Government, look closely at the policies. Look what happened in Queensland. Liberal philosophy is to look after the wealthy in the hope of a trickle down effect to the minions below, not a fair and just system for all. If the Liberal Party had presided over the GFC we would have had mass unemployment nationally now instead of one of the better performing economies in the OECD. The US could kick start their economy if the had similar policies, instead they continue to give tax breaks to the rich. They have massive unemployment and people cannot afford to purchase the many things that keep a robust economy moving. Queensland seem to be favoring the US model throwing thousands out of work and ,insanely, talking down the economy making it an almost self fullfilling prophecy.

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