Our Prime Minister is in trouble. The Labor Party are trying to deflect the AWU slush fund debacle, but it won't go away. The PM's relationship with AWU boss Bruce Wilson 20 years ago has come back to haunt her.
While working as a lawyer for Slater & Gordon, she helped Wilson set up a fund that was supposed to be used for the re-election of AWU officials on a workplace safety platform but instead, Wilson siphoned money out of it and among other things, bought a house in Fitzroy in the name of his sidekick, Ralph Blewitt. The PM provided legal advice to help get the association registered in Western Australia.
Last Friday, Ralph Blewitt, a man of dubious character, self-confessed fraudster and former AWU State Secretary, delivered a 10 page document to the Victorian fraud squad regarding the PM's involvement in setting up the $400,000 fund.
A black cloud is now hanging over the PM regarding her involvement in that transaction - did she know that the purpose of establishing the fund was to rip off thousands of dollars from union members for the personal use of her lover?
Yesterday the PM attacked Blewitt whose past history is colourful to say the least. He has admitted to fraud but sought immunity from prosecution before going to police.
The PM listed his sins, which are many, even his sister was quoted as saying he's a crook and "rotten to the core." The PM asked us to choose who to believe - Blewitt, a user of prostitutes and involved in land fraud - or herself. It's clearly a no-brainer, Blewitt has zero credibility.
Blewitt hit back. "She's claiming this is all a smear on her, well she's a hypocrite. Here she is smearing me and trying to distract from the main game. This story is not about my past or my reputation" he said. In the good old days Blewitt recalls when he, Wilson and the PM shared meals together as close friends.
Bruce Wilson, who now works in the kitchen of a restaurant on the Central Coast, said on the weekend that the PM knew "absolutely, categorically nothing" about the alleged fraud.
Meanwhile, Opposition Deputy Leader Julie Bishop, herself a lawyer with many years experience, has accused the PM of creating the "stolen vehicle that the bank robbers took to the bank." Nevertheless, Bishop spent 10 minutes with Blewitt on Friday, hoping to acquire documentation to back her claim that Julia Gillard broke the law. She didn't get it.
Although the PM did not deny she had written a letter to West Australian corporate authorities in 1992, vouching for the bona fides of the slush fund, she told Parliament the alleged letter had never been produced.
Parliament will rise on Thursday and the Opposition will run with this vigorously until then, hoping it will fly. Even if it doesn't, it leaves the electorate wondering about something that can't be denied - that Julia Gillard was closely aligned to the corrupt AWU union and it's definitely not a good look.