Cash claim simply a smear, says PM
Adamant ... Julia Gillard. Photo: Andrew Meares
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has launched a scathing attack on the opposition and The Australian newspaper over an allegation that as a lawyer she received $5000 cash from her former boyfriend and Australian Workers Union official Bruce Wilson.
She described Wednesday's newspaper article, which said former union employee Wayne Hem had put the cash into her bank account at the request of Mr Wilson in July 1995, as part of an ongoing ''smear campaign''.
She has consistently denied any wrongdoing or personal benefit from her involvement in setting up a union fund for free and off the books when she was a lawyer for Slater & Gordon in the 1990s.
Ms Gillard said there was not one single ''substantiated allegation'' in The Australian's article.
She said in the past three days she had announced a royal commission into child abuse, met the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to discuss national security in the region and was now in Queensland looking at a major infrastructure project ahead of a community cabinet.
''During these three days, what's the opposition being doing? Every day they have been out further pursuing these smears,'' Ms Gillard said. ''Every day they have been engaged in smears.''
The editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, defended the story, saying the newspaper had obtained diary notes from a former national secretary of the AWU, Ian Cambridge, who had investigated the union ''slush-fund scandal'' in the mid-1990s. "The PM has not dealt with these facts," Mr Mitchell said.