Julia Gillard's ex-boyfriend Bruce Wilson attacks photographer
Former union official Bruce Wilson, the ex-partner of former prime minister Julia Gillard, has attacked a photographer outside a royal commission hearing in Sydney.Nine NewsPT0M42S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-385op 620 349 May 12, 2014
Former Australian Workers Union official Ralph Blewitt has told the royal commission into unions he used $7000 from a union “slush fund” to pay for renovations to former prime minister Julia Gillard’s Melbourne house.
Mr Blewitt, who has admitted to acting fraudulently, alleged he attended Ms Gillard’s home in Abbotsford, a suburb of Melbourne, in 1994 and handed over $7000 to a builder.
He told the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption on Monday Ms Gillard ushered him into her house and told him his union colleague, Bruce Wilson, her boyfriend at the time, was inside.
“My recollection is Julia Gillard was in one of the rooms adjacent to the front door,” he said.
Mr Blewitt said he met with Mr Wilson in the kitchen area with three people dressed in workers' overalls. He said he was asked to pay $7000, which he counted out in cash.
“She [Ms Gillard] wasn’t present at the time that I handed the money over …,” he said.
Mr Blewitt also met Ms Gillard at a dinner he attended at the Windsor Hotel in Melbourne, where he felt uncomfortable. “I’m more the corner milk bar type,” Mr Blewitt said.
Earlier in the hearing, Mr Blewitt revealed the Australian Workers Union’s WA branch invoiced engineering company Thiess on a monthly basis for services it had no intention of providing and channelled the money into a secret “slush fund” for electioneering.
He and Mr Wilson established the Workplace Reform Association, which invoiced Thiess for services never rendered. Mr Wilson's brother-in-law Joe Trio was a Thiess executive at the time.
Mr Blewitt told the hearing the “slush fund” was incorporated in 1992 with the help of legal advice from Ms Gillard when she worked at the Slater and Gordon law firm in Melbourne.
Thiess, which had won a contract to complete the Dawesville Channel Project - a man-made channel south of Perth - was invoiced monthly for workplace reform and safety services at the work site. It appears it was obvious to Thiess it was not receiving services in return for the payments.
Mr Blewitt admitted to filtering payments from Thiess to the Workplace Reform Association, a related entity of the AWU. Mr Blewitt alleged he had always acted on directions from Mr Wilson who wanted to keep himself at “arms-length” from the association.
Mr Blewitt alleged Mr Wilson used money from the slush fund, established for union electioneering, to pay for a $23,000 deposit on a house in Melbourne.
He told the hearing the house in Fitzroy was purchased on Saturday, February 13, 1993, at an auction attended by Ms Gillard and Mr Wilson.
Mr Blewitt said the property was purchased in his own name. He said Victorian Police recently pointed out he had paid two mortgage payments, which he cannot recall.
Mr Blewitt has previously accused Ms Gillard and Mr Wilson of benefiting from funds from the association, an allegation both have strongly denied. When prime minister, Ms Gillard said: “I believe I paid for all of my renovations”, adding there has been no evidence to prove otherwise in 20 years.