On 11th February, Michael Smith News.com published a statement from Bob Kernohan, former Victorian AWU President. His statement is in response to Tony Abbott's announcement that he intends to hold a Royal Commission into union corruption and Bill Shorten's reaction. It's quite shocking. I hope he's telling the truth and doesn't have a personal vendetta against the new leader of the Opposition. It reads:
I congratulate PM Abbott on the announcement of a Royal Commission into corruption in trade unions. I am perplexed however at Bill Shorten’s opposition to a Royal Commission and his claim that a police taskforce should investigate corruption in unions. Bill Shorten knows a lot of the detail about Julia Gillard and Bruce Wilson’s corrupt activities involving the AWU because he was there at the time it happened. So was I.
Bill Shorten’s had 18 years to go to the police if he was serious about helping police investigate corruption and he hasn’t lifted a finger. So Bill, I can only think that you oppose a Royal Commission because you’re afraid of what it will report.
I recruited Bill Shorten into the AWU in 1992. Bill was my campaign manager in AWU union elections for the leadership of the Victorian Branch. My opponent was Bruce Wilson whose de facto Julia Gillard was a partner at the AWU’s law firm Slater and Gordon. My bitter campaign against Wilson was focused on serious financial irregularities in the union books. In 1996 the then AWU General Secretary, Ian Cambridge called for a royal commission into the AWU. I supported Ian Cambridge at that time.
Bill Shorten knew at least as much as I knew about the frauds - we discussed it at the time, but since then I’ve seen no positive actions at all from Bill to bring offenders to justice, in fact Bill's done the opposite.
Bill Shorten urged me to participate in the cover up - "think of your career, Bob” he said. I know that Bill Shorten has not assisted either the Victoria Police or the WA Police to bring offenders to justice. He did nothing as State Secretary in Victoria, nor as AWU National secretary in 2001 thru 2007. He never called in the police to investigate. Bill Shorten chose to cover the fraud up; and to add insult to injury, he was a key player in installing Julia Gillard into the Lodge!
A Royal Commission where persons of interest are compelled to give sworn evidence is the only way that corruption in unions will ever be fully exposed and people made to be accountable for their criminal actions.
I can be reached on 0438901594 and I am happy to talk on the record.