The Australian’s story suggesting the Prime Minister of Australia is an embezzler (from 17 years ago) is a disgrace at so many levels it’s hard to know where to start.
For a time in the late 1980s, early 1990s, the Australian Workers Union was run by a militant leftist sect, who were later purged by its now moderate and very highly regarded Victorian leadership.
It is understood that some of the sleazy leftists took liberties with union funds. They generally ran the Victorian branch into the ground. It was certainly not secret or hushed up, there was litigation and general carnage about it. The members booted out the crooks and reformers took over, leading to a new period of stability and growth under respected union leaders like Cesar Melham, Bob Smith and Bill Shorten.
The moderate AWU leadership – having purged the leftist crooks – loudly, publicly and pro-actively sought prosecution of the nasty leftist crooks by the authorities.
The Victoria Police appear to have investigated the matter and it went nowhere, for reasons that aren’t clear. In our system of justice that means we need to presume the lefty crooks (and their lovers) innocent.
And yet because the Prime Minister went out with Bruce Wilson at the time and was apparently did some legal work for the AWU, she was therefore – by the nasty implication in the Australian’s story – an embezzler of some unspecified kind.
We heard about it at the time, including from people who didn’t like Julia Gillard at the time.
No-one then, and no-one now with any knowledge of the sleazy leftists who controlled the AWU in Victoria briefly, thought she had anything to do with the activities of the rogue leftists. As a notoriously hyper-ambitious, rapidly-promoted lawyer at Slater & Gordon, who was actively looking around for preselection, it was considered reasonably unlikely she would have involved herself in what amounted to a brazen, clumsy and blatant fraud.
As originally reported by one-time high-flying now unemployed journo Glenn Milne at the time, the worst that could be reasonably said of the PM was she was dating the wrong bloke. Conflating that into a sleazy she-must-have-known yarn is pretty harsh even by the harsh standards of VEXNEWS.
It’s a guilt-by-association story and it doesn’t merit being on the front-page any more than if they had investigated much-gossiped-about rumours of former PM and traditional-values advocate John Howard’s piece on the side, variously a school-teacher or librarian in Canberra.
Its deep absurdity and unpleasantness is confirmed by the only “new” part of the old story which is that Ralph Blewett reckons he’ll tell the whole tall tale if he gets “immunity” from prosecution, something he almost certainly won’t get from law enforcement in Australia. We think the pensioner has been spending too much time watching American legal drama. What The Australian editor’s excuse could be we cannot say.
Let’s be clear and say what most wouldn’t: This old story is a joke, it won’t go anywhere, it might very help destabilise the PM’s leadership but we suspect it won’t even do that. It’s only the embittered ex-ministers who are still astonished their talents were over-looked by the PM who’ve been repeating it.
When folk like conspiracy theorist and Greensparty preference feeder Stephen Mayne and others who ought know better run out this yarn, while always insisting that everyone involves denies wrongdoing to create their false impression there’s responsible broadcasting/reporting going on, they are left looking very silly. It’s a shame one of the nation’s best newspapers, usually a credit to the company that subsidises it, has descended to this.
Shame on them.