Saturday, 4 August 2012

Australian Unions Have to be Held to Account.

Union Thievery by Craig Thompson. Up to the courts to throw this one in jail.

Thieving Unions.

I can honestly say that I have never ever donated or paid a single cent into the Union's coffers. Even when it was demanded as part of the job application and payroll deduction, I would demand that I pay equivelent amount to a charity as I was never going to support the criminals that are associated with unions. That has been the case for as long as I have worked.
Criminals are automatically attracted to the easy money that unions have because they are not held accountable for a single cent of it to nobody. They can throw it about however they like and that is exactly what they have been doing. Stealing of the poor, humble, in this case, hospital, hospitality workers and keeping for themselves but the bucket full. They should be jailed, every single union should be audited and any discrepancies accounted for or someone goes to the slammer. That is what happens to you and me, we break the draconian laws we pay, one way or the other.

Funny but not unexpected, the Prime Minister of Australia has been associated with Unions for years and now she will be tarnished with the same brush and should be held accountable as well for her nefarious activities.

Andrew Bolt

August 04 2012 (9:08am)

We need specific answers, Prime Minister. And can you also explain the circumstances of your leaving Slater & Gordon. The Australian reports:
INTERNAL documents from an exhaustive police probe into a union funds scandal in the 1990s show detectives suspected former Australian Workers’ Union boss Bruce Wilson and his then alleged bagman, Ralph Blewitt, were “crooks” and wanted them criminally prosecuted over a $400,000-plus alleged fraud
Most of the funds that allegedly went missing had been paid into an entity, the AWU Workplace Reform Association.
Julia Gillard, as a solicitor at the time for Slater & Gordon lawyers in Melbourne, which acted for Mr Wilson, Mr Blewitt and the AWU, did legal work related to the establishment of the association in Western Australia.
At the time, Mr Wilson and the Prime Minister were in a close relationship. Ms Gillard has repeatedly and strenuously denied that she had any knowledge of what the association was going to be used for, and has also denied receiving any benefit. She has declined to provide further comment about her role at the time ...
The police running-sheet states that “suspect withdrawals” were made to buy a Melbourne house at the centre of the alleged fraud, in Kerr Street, Fitzroy, in 1993. Mr Blewitt was the legal owner of the house, purchased with allegedly stolen money for the use of Mr Wilson in a transaction handled and part-financed by Slater & Gordon solicitors. The firm waived its conveyancing fees…
Ian Cambridge, then national head of the AWU (and now a Fair Work commissioner), stated in an affidavit in the Industrial Relations Court in 1996 that he was “unable to understand how Slater and Gordon, who were then acting for the Victoria Branch of the Union, could have permitted the use of funds which were obviously taken from the union, in the purchase of private property of this nature, without seeking and obtaining proper authority from the union”.
The story once so successfully suppressed is now going mainstream. The Financial Review:
The Australian Workers Union has admitted that possible corruption by some of its officials in the 1990s forced it to tighten its financial controls and try to retrieve union money.
Is Shorten normally so dismissive of scandals involving the rip-offs of union members? If so, is he fit to be Workplace Relations Minister?
Workplace Relations Minister and former AWU national secretary Bill Shorten described the case as ”ancient stuff”.
“I know at the time my predecessors certainly did take all the material to West Australian and Victorian police and what I understand is those authorities chose not to take the matter any further, not to prosecute,” Mr Shorten told 3AW.
The Australian begs to differ:

The AWU, under then president Bill Ludwig and then secretary Ian Cambridge, fought to recover the funds. Former attorney-general, Robert McClelland, who was the AWU’s lawyer at the time, recently said questions still needed answering and action had to be taken to prevent it happening again. Slater & Gordon must explain how it could allow such an entity to be established and then carry out conveyancing on a property purchased with funds from the union without authority from the union itself.

While we have an open view on this matter and accept the Prime Minister’s denial of any knowledge of, or involvement in, this scandal, questions continue to linger about Mr Wilson and Slater & Gordon. It demands a new investigation by legal authorities.
While I admire The Australian for pursuing this, I think it should be less dismissive of the blogosphere, without which this would have been yet one more story buried or ignored by the mainstream media:

THE former union official who has offered to throw new light on 17-year-old allegations of corruption in the Australian Workers Union should be given a hearing, if only to put to rest the rumours and conspiracy theories that mostly populate the internet, spread though the blogosphere and find their way into the twitterverse.
All too often these claims lack evidence, credibility and believability.
Some of those in the blogosphere who have kept asking the questions, presenting the evidence, have done so without the financial backing against legal action that mainstream journalists enjoy. They deserve a little more credit for their courage.
Labor says the scandal is old - but refuses to reveal the truth of it:

Lines from the Prime Minister’s “live issues brief” yesterday morning—a pollies’ guide to responding to hot media topics if asked by journalists:

THESE are ancient matters that have never gone anywhere, no matter how many times people have tried to reheat them. Because there’s nothing in them. It is worth remembering that the only reason they are being brought up today is because someone’s promising to reheat them in a deal to avoid criminal charges. The last time they were published the newspaper ended up apologising for making false assertions.
Ancient matters? Robert McClelland, Labor MP, former federal attorney-general and a former lawyer for the AWU quoted in The Weekend Australian, July 14:

LEGAL advice from a torrid union corruption scandal in the 1990s sheds new light on how the solicitor who would become attorney-general, Robert McClelland, and the woman who sacked him, Julia Gillard, were pitted against each other in a costly legal battle over her former boyfriend and on claims that he had misappropriated $400,000 of union money. Mr McClelland further raised the stakes in an interview when he said for the first time that a “third party” might have benefited from the alleged union wrongdoing in the 90s. “I think that any fair-minded person would have to regard the outcome from the 90s as being totally unsatisfactory because, despite protracted litigation, union funds that were misapplied were never returned to benefit members,” Mr McClelland said.
Nothing to see here; move along. Swan yesterday:

JOURNALIST: We’ve seen a former AWU member come out and say that he’s willing to make a statement about events that occurred quite some time ago. Are you concerned that such statements could be detrimental to the Labor Party?
Swan: Not at all. I don’t think there’s anything in this issue that’s been raised in the past; it’s gone nowhere. In fact, it’s been raised in some embarrassing ways by those who raised it in the past. I’m not interested in it and I don’t think it’s got any significant implications whatsoever.
If nothing improper occurred, then where’s the harm in detailing exactly what was done and why? End of story, then.
Reader Ian of Brisbane notes how determined The Age is to avoid smelling the stink:
Search “The Age” website for “Bruce Wilson”. The most recent reference was a 23 June column by Peter Hartcher. Nothing to see here.

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