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Hard to stay clean in so much mud-flinging

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Bishop leads charge against PM

The Deputy Opposition leader has led a second day of questioning of Julia Gillard over the AWU affair, but the attack has opened herself to criticism.

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WHEN you're throwing dirt, the risk is you can get very grubby yourself. And you can slip in the mud. These were Julie Bishop's experiences on Tuesday.

First, her admission that she had met Ralph Blewitt on Friday to determine whether he had any useful material for the opposition's attack gave obvious grist to the government. Never mind that Julia Gillard knew him for years, and Bishop consorted for 10 minutes. Always awkward if you are caught with an unsavoury character.

Julie Bishop has been dishing dirt.

Julie Bishop has been dishing dirt. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

More seriously, Bishop claimed on Tuesday morning that Gillard hadn't opened a file because she, boyfriend Bruce Wilson and Blewitt wanted to hide that an entity was being set up to siphon funds for ''their benefit''.

The implication was that Gillard was to be one of the beneficiaries - something Bishop had to walk quickly away from later. Bishop has been sailing close to the wind in accusing Gillard of being involved in breaches of the law, including creating ''the stolen vehicle that the bank robbers took to the bank''.

The opposition was re-throwing the mud on Tuesday rather than finding new stuff. Tony Abbott's attempt to be ''Mr Positive'' with his upbeat party room speech while Bishop was left with the nasty stuff was a bit too cute.

The government was able to talk all day about the opposition ''dirt file''. It had the visual proof in Monday's picture of Abbott's adviser Peta Credlin talking to Bishop, while holding a file marked Gillard/AWU. Timeline. Full Chronology. Transcripts.

The question now is, does the Coalition spend the last two days of the parliament year on an issue of apparently diminishing returns?

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227 comments

  • There's a lot of potential here for Julie Bishop to fall flat on her political face.

    But where's Tony? Keeping safely out of the war zone, of course. Julie Bishop is expendable and no-one seriously sees her as a potential Prime Minister. Tony hopes to be PM

    Commenter
    Cynical
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    November 28, 2012, 8:57AM
    • How about this for a scenario. We all know that Bishop dealt with companies in relation to asbestos claims when she was a solicitor. From what I have read it is not much & would not make any news. BUT, how about if someone started asking questions in parliament that were absolute false questions like "what did you know about Hardy's knowledge of asbestos in relation to cancer" or "Did you write the defence for asbestos companies against cancer victims" ....get my drift? Just throw mud even if you know it's wrong hoping it might stick.

      Commenter
      Bazza
      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 9:44AM
    • Julia Gillard's confused & unclear approach to her work as a solicitor has been replicated in her role as PM. The tragic aspect of this whole matter is that her dysfunctional and chaotic tenure as PM could have been avoided had those who knew about her travails as a solicitor spoken up before it was too late. Her incompetence was on the record. It's a terrible failure of journalistic standards in this country that such a woefully careless person of such poor judgment could have slipped under the radar & ascended to the Lodge. A potential Coalition leader would not have so easily escaped press scrutiny.

      Commenter
      jenny
      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 10:20AM
    • If Abbott was asking the questions you'd be saying it was because he's sexist.

      Commenter
      mark
      Location
      richmond
      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 10:22AM
    • So? I'm sure Bishop would answer those questions honestly and professionally, instead of stonewalling and then giving misleading answers.

      Go on - write to your Labor MP and suggest they ask Bishop about her professional conduct as lawyer. As far as we know, she never had anything murky like the AWU scandal hanging over her head.

      Commenter
      Rodrigo
      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 10:25AM
    • My simple question is this. Where did the money go when the house was sold? The solicitors who conducted the settlement must have handed over a bank cheque to somebody? Surely this must be on record. Who got the proceeds of the house sale?

      Commenter
      Brisbane Bear
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 10:45AM
    • They are all pathetic. We need to get rid of every singal one of these useless, pathetic wastes of air. I am refering to both sides of the political spectrum. Not the there is a left or a right anymore. They are all exactly the same.

      Commenter
      Dr Charlesworth
      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 11:03AM
    • Thanks for your assessment Jenny, but I'll disagree with you. Perhaps you can base your comments on actual experience of meeting, conversing, working with or for Ms Gillard, or being at Slater & Gordon and present when all this "incompetence" unfolded, then perhaps you will be in a position to make your absolute judgements. What a load of tosh about "such a woefully careless person of such poor judgement" slipping under the radar. Ms Gillard was very effective in Labor Opposition, she was a very capable Minister when Labor formed government as judged by the top echolons of the APS, including the PM's department. She handled an enormous workload given to her by Mr Rudd, including the roll back of work choices and introduction of fair work provisions, as well as education and employment issues. She has come through leadership challenges. She managed very difficult negotiations to form government, when Mr Abbott could not. She has managed a minority government when many predicted its collapse within the first 12 months. She has faced much greater press scrunity compared with Mr Abbott. She gives as good as she gets. She is not the first MP to show poor judgement from her past, make mistakes, changed her mind on issues, but from the invective that gets tossed about, you think she is. She was a better Minister and has found the transition to PM difficult, hampered I think, by poor advisers, but goodness me, I am so tired of the hyperbole, the personal invective, the lack of civil debate, the endless allegations and the posturing on very little or no factual knowledge, the use of absolute judegements and statements - and that's from voters on both sides.

      Commenter
      JM Blake
      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 11:16AM
    • @jenny, the only thing she could be accused of at this stage is not opening an official file as part of her work. On the evidence to hand, she hasn't done anything wrong or broken any laws. Solicitors set up companies and associations every day, they are not responsible for what the directors of that company or association subsequently do and to suggest that they are is obviously ridiculous. It may surprise you to learn that there's many in the Australian community that think that her successes outweigh her failures and support the carbon tax (obviously superior and cheaper than the coalition plan), the mining tax (watered down but still better than the coalition policy of no tax), paid parental leave, increased superannuation, pension increase, BER (three inquiries have shown that the 5-6% wastage was unavoidable given the urgency, and that this policy saved the construction industry in this country), etc, etc.

      Commenter
      Dags
      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 11:35AM
    • There is a fair bit of difference Bazza. Julie Bishop was working under the direct instructions of her employer. If any questions were to be asked they would be asked of them. Julia Gillard was working outside of her employers knowledge in setting up the slush fund and advising her "clients" about matters. That is why she didnt record it and charge for it.
      Julie Bishop is a trained lawyer Cynical. She is the ideal person to work through the information and question Julia. In his case far more suited to it than Tony.

      Commenter
      mark
      Location
      melb
      Date and time
      November 28, 2012, 11:37AM

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