It is perhaps not surprising that the Royal Commission into union corruption is to begin the day before the budget is brought down. In a fortuitous coincidence, Ralph Blewitt happens to be in town, so they are going to begin with the AWU “slush fund”. That should have Larry Pickering and Michael Smith and their band of rabid followers all agog again…or should I say still. Agog enough to not notice they are getting screwed by the Budget? We shall see.
In November 2012 Ralph Blewitt turned up in Australia “courtesy of a man writing a book on the AWU in the late 1980s and early ’90s.”
He told 7.30 that he had provided Victoria Police with a dossier of files “which show documents that certainly connect Julia Gillard to having a hand in the establishment of the AWU Workplace Reform Association in WA, and other matters”. Mr Blewitt declined to outline those “other matters”. The documents relating to the period 1990 – 95 appear to have been provided to him to “refresh” his memory by ‘researcher’ Harry Nowicki.
Victoria Police detectives who have been running an 18-month investigation with Mr Blewitt’s co-operation, intend to charge him with fraud-related offences, to which he will plead guilty. He is expected to give evidence against others. It is understood that in return for his co-operation and guilty plea, police will make courtroom submissions that Mr Blewitt should not be sentenced to jail.
Mr Blewitt’s travel expenses for his current visit to Australia are being met by a private citizen who has wanted to see the slush fund issues properly investigated by police and the Royal Commission. This philanthropic champion of justice is no doubt hoping that Julia Gillard may be called though goodness knows what else they could ask her. She has answered every question put to her.
The Royal Commission will then move on to the HSU. It will be interesting to see their focus. No doubt Craig Thomson will be dragged through more proceedings for an amount which, to date, seems relatively trivial. One wonders if whistle blower Kathy Jackson has made a Blewitt type deal too.
The Health Services Union has launched a legal action against its own national secretary Kathy Jackson demanding she repay almost $250,000 paid into a slush fund.
Ms Jackson in return had launched a counter-claim seeking almost hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay. The HSU is now seeking to recover money paid to the National Health Development Account (NHDA) which was controlled by Ms Jackson.
In a statement to the ABC, Ms Jackson said all the allegations against her were “false and malicious” and accused “dark forces” of being behind them. Independent Australia has done a whole series of articles called Jacksonville with source documents that provide a rather damning picture
Investigating high profile union cases should defer attention from the high profile political money laundering and slush funds that are coming to light every day, they hope.
Which way to look?