Wilson cops it inside and outside commission
Bruce Wilson denies he handed former girlfriend and Prime Minister Julia Gillard wads of cash to pay for renovations at her Melbourne house in the early 1990s. Nine News.PT2M2S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3a09o 620 349 June 12, 2014
The former Australian Workers Union official Bruce Wilson took to the stand at the royal commission into trade unions and denied a slush fund he established had issued sham invoices or that he gave wads of cash to his former girlfriend, Julia Gillard, for her home renovations.
Mr Wilson denied a range of allegations by several witnesses - including one now deceased - during his appearance on Thursday. He rejected claims he had told Ms Gillard, a former prime minister and at the time a solicitor with law firm Slater & Gordon, he would pay for her renovations in the early 1990s.
Builder Athol James on Wednesday claimed Ms Gillard had told him Mr Wilson would pay for work on her Abbotsford home in 1992.
Bruce Wilson has denied giving his former partner Julie Gillard wads of cash at the royal commission into trade union governance and corruption. Photo: Nick Moir
Mr James alleged on two occasions he saw Mr Wilson ''hand over a wad of notes'' to Ms Gillard, but Mr Wilson denied this.
He said Ms Gillard never paid him in cash, but by cheque. ''I never was paid in cash and I don't know what happened with the cash Bruce handed her,'' he said in a statement.
Wayne Hem, a former records keeper for the AWU, also told the commission that Mr Wilson gave him $5000 in cash and instructed him to deposit it into Ms Gillard's bank account. Mr Wilson said he had no recollection of giving the money to Mr Hem for Ms Gillard. He also denied allegations that he had issued sham invoices for services never rendered to the Thiess construction company.
He agreed he and union bagman Ralph Blewitt had established a slush fund called the Workplace Reform Association in 1992, which Ms Gillard helped to incorporate.
Mr Blewitt claimed the fund received tens of thousands of dollars in payments from Thiess for safety training that was never delivered.
According to Mr Wilson, safety training services were provided in 1993 and Thiess had been ''dragging its feet'' by not providing the necessary facilities for training in 1992.
''There was no capability of doing it,'' Mr Wilson said. ''That's not my fault. That's Thiess's fault.''
The workplace safety training was to be provided as part of a Thiess Dawesville Channel project in Western Australia.
Mr Wilson said Thiess general manager Nicholas Jukes was aware of the invoicing arrangement, including a decision to backdate payments to January 1992 for a three-month period during which no services were provided.
Mr Wilson claims a former Australian Workers Union colleague, Glen Ivory, was appointed to provide the safety training, for which he was paid $15,000 from the secret slush fund.
He disputed a sworn statement signed in 1997 by Mr Ivory, now deceased, that a training officer was never appointed to the Dawesville project. He said he had no knowledge of the slush fund.
''It was never discussed at executive level, nor was a training officer ever appointed,'' Mr Ivory's statement said.
Mr Wilson said: ''I'd like to know who prepared this statement for Ivory, because it wasn't him.''
Royal Commissioner Justice Dyson Heydon redacted large sections of a sworn statement by Mr Wilson including allegations he was offered money from Melbourne lawyer Harry Nowicki if he falsely implicated Ms Gillard in the AWU scandal. Justice Heydon ruled the evidence irrelevant.