Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Tue 21 Aug 2012



The Northern Territory news Tue 21 Aug 2012

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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14 NT NEWS. Tuesday, August 21, 2012. www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 2 1 -A U G -2 0 1 2 P A G E : 1 4 C O L O R : C M Y K Time for real answers to lingering questions Julia Gillard has been accused of being hard of hearing when it comes to questions about a union corruption scandal Gillard has never told us justwhat she did,why she did it andwhy she left her law firm EACH time Julia Gillard has been asked about a union corruption scandal that involved her then-boyfriend and client, she gives the same non-answer. The Australian got it last week: the Prime Minister was not involved in any wrongdoing and has dealt with these allegations previously. Same from her on Sunday on Sky: I am not dignifying all of this scurrilous campaigning by going through these things point by point . . . We are talking about matters 17 years ago, which have been dealt with on the public record for most of that time. Actually, they havent been dealt with and Gillards evasions are no longer good enough. This astonishing scandal, involving more than $400,000 misappropriated from the Australian Workers Union in the mid-90s, is finally in the open. Gillard has never told us just what she did, why she did it and why she left her law firm, Slater & Gordon, so abruptly in 1995, despite having been a partner and having no job to go to for the next six months. On Saturday, more questions were raised about what Gillard actually did for former AWU Victorian secretary Bruce Wilson. A former equity partner of Slater & Gordon, Nick Styant-Browne, revealed the firm formally interviewed Gillard in 1995 about help she had given Wilson to create the AWU Workers Reform Association, an entity she conceded was referred to as a slush fund. That association in fact had nothing to do with the AWU or workplace reform. Wilson used it instead to si phon funds from employers, then used it to make cash withdrawals and to buy a house in Fitzroy. Styant-Browne claimed Gillard in her recorded interview confirmed that she did not open a file at the firm to establish this association. She also allegedly said she couldnt categorically rule out benefiting from union funds in the renovation of her house, but thought shed paid for it all herself, later producing receipts. Styant-Browne said the partnership accepted her resignation. Asked about all this, Gillard gave The Australian and Sky the above non-answers. But that will no longer do. Already more people are finally speaking up. Theres former attorneygeneral Robert McClelland, who did legal work for the AWU, and told Parliament the scandal taught him we need laws to make union officials repay misappropriated money. Theres former AWU Victorian president Bob Kernohan, who alleges more than $1 million is still missing. In Western Australia, former AWU state secretary Tim Daly this weekend said he was still very frustrated by the outcome of failed police investigations. This month, former AWU official Ralph Blewitt said hed been party to Wilsons scam and would tell all about sham transactions if given immunity by police. And Slater & Gordon this month asked the AWU to let it reveal their clients files to defend their role. The questions Id like Gillard to answer include some shes already been asked: WHY did she help to set up an AWU Workplace Reform Association without the unions authorisation? DID she or Slater & Gordon bill the AWU for work on that association? WHAT did she think that association would be used for? Did she tell Slater & Gordon it was a slush fund, and when did she first know? DID she notify police of possible criminal activity? WHY did she not open a file at Slater & Gordon about her work on the association? SHOULD she have excused herself from this work given her personal relationship with Bruce Wilson? CAN she rule out funds from the AWU or the AWU Workplace Reform Association being used to pay for her own renovations? DID she or anyone at Slater & Gordon ask the AWU why funds from the AWU Workplace Reform Association were being used to buy a Fitzroy house in the name of Ralph Blewitt that was then used as the home of Bruce Wilson? Did she or Slater & Gordon seek AWU approval before helping in this transaction? Why not? IN October 1995, Gillard said she had no intention of leaving Slater & Gordon. Days later she was gone. Why did she go, and was she asked to leave? Time for proper answers. Government-anointed are not the only experts WE should always listen to the experts, just as governments insist. And then we should check for ourselves. Only a couple of years ago, the experts at Melbourne Water insisted on behalf of the Brumby government that there was no point in building a cheap dam on the Mitchell River. It wouldnt fill because of global warming. But now, Melbournes dams have reached 75.1 per cent capacity, their highest level in 15 years. And the Mitchell has flooded three times since. Other experts, not employed by the government, rightly predicted the rain would again fall, but the polite media The Age and ABC refused to heed them. The same expert trick is now played with boat people policy. Just months ago, the Gillard Government urged us to listen to the experts who told us reopening Nauru wouldnt stop the boats, just as Labor preferred to believe. Well, expert singular, actually Immigration Department secretary Andrew Metcalfe, who said what the Government wanted to hear. But the boats kept coming, and the desperate Government finally realised it had to bring back policies that had worked before. So it got a new expert panel, headed by former de fence chief Angus Houston, to announce that reopening Nauru would work, after all. And when Opposition Leader Tony Abbott baulked at some of the panels wilder suggestions such as doubling our refugee intake he was again instructed to listen to the experts. No, not to Metcalfe, this time, but the new experts who contradicted him. Tony Abbott is flying in the face of the expert recom mendations, huffed the Prime Minister. See how the expert game is played? Another example. This Governments Chief Climate Commissioner is Tim Flannery, the mammalogist who suggested Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane could be out of water by now because even the rain that falls isnt actually going to fill our dams and rivers systems. But the worlds greatest cli mate scientist is arguably Professor Richard Lindzen, who last year told me since 1995, there hasnt been much warming, certainly not that can be distinguished from noise, and the carbon tax will have no impact on climate. So again, when the Government tells us to listen to the experts on global warming, who do you think it means? The ones it pays, like Flannery, or the ones it doesnt?

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