Julia Gillard Testifies At Trade Union Royal Commission

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard has testified at the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.


Gillard was questioned by Jeremy Stoljar SC, Counsel assisting the Royal Commission. She then took questions from Bob Galbally, the barrister acting for Ralph Blewitt. [Read more…]

Paul Howes Quits AWU And Other Political Positions; Disavows Parliamentary Aspirations (For Now)

Paul Howes, the 32-year-old National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, has announced his resignation and indicated he will also relinquish his other political positions in the labour movement and the ALP.


Howes has been a paid official of the AWU since he was 17. After Bill Shorten left the union in 2007 to enter federal parliament, Howes assumed its leadership. He has been a significant political influence in the ALP, supporting the removal of former prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2010 but falling out with his Right faction colleagues by refusing to support the overthrow of Julia Gillard last year. [Read more…]

Wayne Swan’s Speech To The AWU National Conference

The Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has addressed the Australian Workers’ Union National Conference in Brisbane.

Swan’s speech follows Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s appearance last night.

Swan’s speech returned to his familiar theme of Labor values, warned of Tea Party tendencies in the Liberal Party, reiterated the government’s commitment to jobs, and emphasised the importance of the government’s re-election in September. [Read more…]

Julia Gillard’s Speech To The Australian Workers’ Union National Conference

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has addressed the National Conference of the Australian Workers’ Union in Brisbane.

The AWU is an important component of Gillard’s power base. The support of Bill Shorten, the former National Secretary of the AWU, and Paul Howes, the current National Secretary, was crucial to Gillard’s overthrow of Kevin Rudd. Treasurer Wayne Swan is supported by the AWU and its National President, Bill Ludwig. The AWU is an important component of the right-wing faction of the ALP. [Read more…]

Subtlety Lost: Craig Emerson On The Australian Media

The Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson, has written an opinion piece criticising coverage by the Australian media of recent political controversies.

EmersonEmerson focuses on the Gillard-AWU issue and the issues surrounding the sexual harassment case brought by James Ashby against Peter Slipper. He is especially critical of coverage by the News Limited papers, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph.

Emerson also directs his fire at Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne.

Of the media overall, Emerson says: “I am not asserting there is a general bias in the media. Some editors and a few journalists are blatantly biased. That has always been the case. But the real problem is the abandonment of professional standards to give effect to that bias. All subtlety is lost.”

Text of an opinion piece by the Minister for Trade, Craig Emerson.

Subtlety lost

At Sydney University in the early 1970s a course simply called “Government” was offered to economics, arts and law students. It was a time of social upheaval and the election of the Whitlam Government had ended 23 years of conservative rule. The Murdoch press had backed a change of government.

My tutor in Government, Lex Watson, a gay rights activist, had set us a task: to identify bias in the media. But as left-wing as Lex was, the six-week project wasn’t about left versus right, it was about the techniques used by the print media to slant a story to suit an editorial position. [Read more…]

George Brandis Press Conference On Gillard AWU Allegations

The year’s final parliamentary sitting week was dominated by claims that Prime Minister Julia Gillard had something to explain about the AWU and her time at Slater and Gordon in the 1990s.

As the Opposition came under criticism for unsubstantiated claims that Gillard had committed a criminal act, Senator George Brandis, the Opposition’s shadow Attorney-General, held a press conference to recapitulate the coalition’s case. [Read more…]

Gillard Fights Back Over AWU Allegations: Complains To Fairfax, Attacks Opposition

Julia Gillard’s office has reacted strongly to suggestions that the Prime Minister did something wrong in her work as a solicitor at Slater & Gordon in the 1990s.

As the final day of parliamentary sittings for the year unfolded, Gillard has complained to Fairfax newspapers over “the grievous misrepresentations in your reporting” of the AWU slush fund affair.

Her office has also issued a statement calling on the opposition to give up its “discredited smear campaign”.

Text of statement from Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s spokesperson, as published in Fairfax newspapers.

Statement from a spokesperson for the Prime Minister:

It’s time for the Liberals to give up their witch hunt and start talking about things that matter.

The whole country is sick to death of Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop pursuing a discredited smear campaign against the Prime Minister, when we could be talking about jobs, health, and education.

After months of speculation about a smoking gun, the Liberals have nothing.

So, the Prime Minister wrote to the WA Commissioner? So what? She did what lawyers do. Act on instruction. Provide legal advice.

So, the Prime Minister can’t remember writing one letter from 20 years ago. So what? Lawyers write thousands of letters in their careers. [Read more…]