Cartoon: By Bill Leak
Ralph Blewitt, who was Julia Gillard’s boyfriend’s sidekick in the establishment of an illegal slush fund has arrived back in Australia and been interviewed by police in relation to the matter. At issue is the formation of the dodgy, AWU Workplace Reform Association, through which her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Gillard’s part in it. Both Cabinet minister Bill Shorten and the former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty have described the association as “inappropriate.”
Her response was far from edifying. She called a press conference, answered questions in the normal manner she uses, “this has been dealt with before” then went on to Question Time in parliament and insisted that she had answered all questions in the press conference.
For a person who claims an abhorrence of smearing opponents, she did a particularly good job of just that on Blewitt, claiming:
… “Mr Blewitt is a man who has publicly said he was involved in fraud. “Mr Blewitt is a man who has sought immunity from prosecution. Mr Blewitt is a man who has fled Indonesia to avoid a police interview in relation to land fraud, although he denies wrongdoing in the case.
“Mr Blewitt says he owes money on another Asian land deal. Mr Blewitt admits to using the services of prostitutes in Asia. Mr Blewitt has published lewd and degrading comments and accompanying photographs on his Facebook page.
“Mr Blewitt, according to people who know him, has been described as a complete imbecile, an idiot, a stooge, a sexist pig, a liar and his sister has said he's a crook, and rotten to the core.”
Upping the ante, she stated, “His word against mine; make your mind up.”
OK, lets look at Blewitt. The fraud he has admitted to is the one in which Gillard may be implicated, and the immunity refers to the statements he is making to police. There is a question mark on an Asian land deal. He ‘owes money’ on another, - not a crime.
He has used prostitutes and published lewd and degrading comments and photos on his FB page, - Who knew the PM was such a prude? Other than that, there seem to be a number of persons prepared to make derogatory remarks about him. He has never claimed to be an angel; his claims are that Gillard and Wilson aren’t either.
Gillard on the other hand was involved in setting up an association which was claimed to be for workers safety, but which by her own admission, was a ‘slush fund’. This was done for a guy she was in a relationship with, in the name of a union that was a major client of the law firm she worked for, which appears to be a clear conflict of interest.
While she states that she left the relationship after ‘discovering’ the scam, she did not report it despite her knowledge that a major fraud had been committed against one of her firm’s clients.
So, who are you going to trust? Probably neither, but Blewitt seems to be making some effort to make amends while Gillard is using every semantic device to avoid coming clean.
It would probably be inadvisable in the event of having to choose one or the other, to select the one who claimed, “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.”