10 September 2014

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard said before the Royal Commission that she could not remember who paid the deposit for the property in Fitzroy, Melbourne. It was alleged that this property was bought with slush fund set up by her former boyfriend Bruce Wilson, former official of Australian Workers’ Union (AWU). She maintained that her former boyfriend did not pay for the renovations to her home, in St Phillip Street in Abbotsford. She also defended her decision to do free legal work for him.

In 1992 Ms. Gillard set up an incorporated association, Australian Workers’ Union Workplace Reform Association, for Mr Wilson, which later turned into a $400,000-plus slush fund. She told the Commission that this was not significant at the time of the event, although it has become significant now. She said that she did not check with the Union whether it had any objection for using its name in an association.

Ms. Gillard said that it was not proper for the association to be a part of the union and that union moneys should not be used for union election campaigns.

The Commission also heard that Mr. Wilson instructed a union official to bank several thousand dollars into Ms. Gillard’s bank account.

Yesterday, a former Slater and Gordon colleague and now federal court judge, Justice Bernard Murphy, told the Commission that he had heard rumours that union funds were used to pay Ms. Gillard’s house. He said that he was told that these were lies started by Ms Gillard’s enemies in the Labour Party.

Ms. Gillard was the 27th Prime Minister of Australia. She was also the leader of Australian Labour Party from 2010 to 2013. She was the first woman to hols either post.

Prime Minister Tony Abbot established a Royal Commission to enquire into the alleged financial irregularities in trade unions. The unions involved are the Australian Workers Union, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Electrical Trades Union, Health Services Union and the Transport Workers Union. The Commission is overseen by a sole Royal Commissioner, The Honourable Dyson Heydon, AC QC, a former High Court judge.