Julia Gillard is currently giving evidence at the Royal Commission into trade union corruption in Sydney.
The Commission is investigating an Australian Workers Union slush fund set up while Gillard was representing the union for Melbourne law firm Slater and Gordon.
Julia Gillard has told the Commission that she had “no knowledge” of any banking arrangements or accounts of the Workplace Reform Association.
“I don’t recall setting up an incorporated association for other unions,” she said.
“The position is as detailed in my statement, my principal statement, that prior to April 1992 I was asked by Mr Wilson about the holding of election monies for the support of him and his team in WA and I provided advice on the incorporation of the association.”
However, Gillard said “I was not involved in the practise of incorporating companies when I was a lawyer.”
Gillard said she “had a file, a manila folder with documents in it, which would have been labelled Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association or something like that,” which “would have been held… at Slater & Gordon where the industrial unit worked.”
Despite this, Gillard said she did not open a file in Slater and Gordon’s office system but said it was common at the time for lawyers to do free work for trade unions.
Council Assisting the Royal Commission Jeremy Stoljar asked Gillard about the drafting of a newspaper advertisement that allowed for an objection to the incorporation of an association.
“I see that there was an advertisement but I don’t recall drafting it,” Gillard said.
When asked by Stoljar if she had any discussion with Blewitt about the association issuing an invoice, Gillard firmly replied, “No”.
Gillard has always denied allegations she knew a slush fund of money was used to buy the house.
She said she entered into a personal relationship with Bruce Wilson, a former Australian Workers Union official, in 1991.
“Mr Wilson and I came to be in a relationship. As couples do in relationships from time to time, we’d discuss matters at work – if you had a particularly good day or a particularly bad day, but no, we did not discuss the association,” she said.
The former Australian PM told the Royal Commission that law firm Slater and Gordon provided $40,000 to assist with the purchase of her Abbotsford property.
The Australian reported Justice Bernard Murphy, a Federal Court judge, who previously worked with Gillard at Slater & Gordon raised concerns she had created a union slush fund that “might have been set up corruptly and might have involved corrupt moneys”.
At a Royal Commission hearing in May this year, former AWU official Raplph Blewitt described handing over $7,000 in cash during a visit to Ms Gillard’s Melbourne home in 1994.
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