Gillard addresses AWU allegations
Prime Minister Julia Gillard again addresses her role in setting up an alleged union slush fund 17 years ago.PT0M0S 620 349
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called a press conference for Monday afternoon, where she is expected to address questions over her conduct as a lawyer in the 1990s, in a bid to head off a Coalition attack in question time.
Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop has been preparing for weeks to grill Ms Gillard about her links to the AWU scandal and on Monday morning, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said that Ms Gillard needed to tell "her side of the story".
''All we've had from the Prime Minister so far are increasingly shrill stonewallings, increasingly shrill denials," he told reporters in Canberra.
It is understood Ms Gillard will try and take questions to exhaust the issue at the 1pm press conference, so she can later tell Parliament she has already answered questions on the matter.
On Sunday, Ms Bishop vowed to put a "range" of new questions to Ms Gillard during question time today about the Prime Minister's involvement in the AWU affair, saying they would be supported by "documents".
She said she would ask Ms Gillard about her work as a lawyer at Slater & Gordon in the 1990s and whether she was "honest" with her firm's clients and the AWU in terms of her knowledge of a union slush fund.
The fund was allegedly used by Ms Gillard's then boyfriend Bruce Wilson and another union official, Ralph Blewitt, to defraud union members and pay for part of a home loan.
Ms Gillard has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the matter and said that her conduct as a lawyer on the matter was ethical.
In a lengthy press conference in August, Ms Gillard said she provided assistance in setting up the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association, but did not know what its true nature was and did not knowingly benefit from it.
Ms Gillard said she first learned of the AWU fraud in 1995 and then ended her relationship with Mr Wilson.
On Friday Ms Gillard told reporters in Melbourne that no one had put a "substantiated" claim of wrongdoing against her in 20 years.
"What this all means is that this whole campaign of smear actually boils down to absolutely nothing," she said.
Before the Prime Minister's press conference on Monday, Ms Gillard addressed a White Ribbon Day event at Parliament House where she said every sector of the Australian community must act to reduce violence against women and girls.
''Everyone must take ownership and responsibility, in every home, in every workplace, every school, every campus, every church, and on every street,'' she said.
Mr Abbott also spoke at the event and said that violence was never acceptable.
''As a husband, as a brother as a father, I enthusiastically participate in this campaign,'' he said.
''I have a duty to do everything I humanly can to build a safe world for the people I love.''