Julia Gillard’s union mates facing criminal charges

WoodyWoodpecker Gillard

The Australian reports (pay walled) former prime minister Julia Gillard is facing further scrutiny of her role in helping to set up a fraudulent union slush fund as Victorian police prepare to charge a key player in the saga.

A senior Victoria Police detective has told self-confessed AWU bagman and fraudster Ralph ­Blewitt that he will very soon be criminally charged over his role in the union slush fund set up with Ms Gillard’s legal advice.

Mr Blewitt, who has admitted his involvement in fraud with his friend and former union boss Bruce Wilson, and their slush fund, the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Ass­ociation, yesterday said he understood others would be charged.

“Victoria Police are now recommending that I be charged over the frauds that were committed in Victoria, and the matter is going to the public prosecutor’s office,’’ Mr Blewitt, who is visiting Perth, told The Australian.

“I welcome the charges ­because I have co-operated with the police for over two years and I want to see others who were involved also made accountable.”

Mr Blewitt said he had no ­regrets about incriminating himself and alleging fraud against others such as Mr Wilson, the former client and boyfriend of Ms Gillard.

The royal commission’s head, former High Court judge Dyson Heydon, delivered findings in late December that Ms Gillard was duped by her corrupt boyfriend and client in helping him set up a fraudulent union slush fund that had one purpose, “swindling”, but she did not commit any crimes as it raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He found that her “casual and haphazard work” as a solicitor at Slater & Gordon in the early 1990s permitted the swindling to flourish and she became the unknowing beneficiary of thousands of dollars, the proceeds of crime, funnelled her way by Mr Wilson.

Mr Heydon, who recommended that Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt face prosecution for multiple fraud-related offences, criticised Ms Gillard’s determination to deny under oath that thousands of dollars — “wads of notes” — were handed to her by Mr Wilson during the renovation of her Melbourne home, as witnessed by a builder, Athol James.

Another witness, Wayne Hem, was also found to be truthful about $5000 being deposited in her bank account.

Ms Gillard has repeatedly ­denied any wrongdoing, and she has categorically rejected “any suggestion that anyone other than I paid Mr Athol James for the work he performed at (my property).”