News

Emotional Gillard insists she's done 'nothing wrong'

An emotional and at times angry Ms Gillard insisted she had done “nothing wrong” as she took questions from reporters for almost an hour.
An emotional and at times angry Ms Gillard insisted she had done “nothing wrong” as she took questions from reporters for almost an hour. Inga Williams

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has moved to defuse lingering speculation about her time at law firm Slater & Gordon by staging a second marathon press conference on the issue.

An emotional and at times angry Ms Gillard insisted she had done "nothing wrong" as she took questions from reporters for almost an hour about a range of issues, including what she knew about the Australian Workers' Union slush fund affair.

But that was not the end of the grilling, as the Coalition exhausted its question time allocation on the issue.

Opposition Deputy Leader Julie Bishop asked no fewer than 10 questions, including some asked during the press conference.

Ms Gillard batted each question away, referring to the answers she gave in her spirited press conference.

She somewhat cheekily ended question time by pointing out for the benefit of people listening on radio that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was in the chamber, a reference to him not asking a question.

Earlier, Ms Gillard opened the press conference - the second in three months on the issue - accusing the opposition of engineering a campaign of "sleaze and smear" to fill its policy "vacuum".

She said Mr Abbott's anti-carbon tax campaign had "run out of huff".

Under questioning Ms Gillard refuted claims she had set up the Workplace Reform Association for AWU officials Bruce Wilson, her then boyfriend, and Ralph Blewitt in the early 1990s.

Ms Gillard said she provided nothing more than legal advice for the incorporation of an association.

Later she said she had no knowledge of the workings of the association, including any bank accounts linked to it.

She said she was under the impression the association was being established to support the re-election of union officials, an assertion she made in August.

Because she had been dealing with two union officials she figured the association had the approval of the AWU.

Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt allegedly used the association to steal union funds.

The most lively part of the press conference came when Ms Gillard launched a stunning attack on Mr Blewitt, who returned to Australia from overseas last week to speak with Victorian police.

Blewitt told reporters last week Ms Gillard had questions to answer about the matter, but refused to elaborate.

"Let me remind you who Mr Blewitt is," Ms Gillard said.

"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.

"His word against mine: make your mind up."

Ms Gillard addressed the claim Mr Wilson had transferred $5000 into her bank account after winning it at a casino.

She answered the question, but not before describing it as smear because it was a matter "related with my personal life".

"Can you piece together ... the personal wrongdoing in that? I doubt you can," she said when asked about the alleged transaction.

Ms Gillard said she had tried to determine whether the money had been transferred, but Commonwealth Bank did not keep records back that far.

"To the best of my knowledge I do not remember $5000 being put in my bank account," she said.

On the claim union money was used to help pay for renovations on her Melbourne home, she said she was "confident" she had paid for the work herself.

She challenged reporters to come forward with evidence to the contrary.

On the issue of the Slater & Gordon loan issued to Mr Blewitt to buy a home in 1993 - which was partly bought using union funds - Ms Gillard said was not the acting solicitor on the transaction and had no recollection of citing a document relating to the mortgage.

She again challenged anyone with a specific allegation about this matter to raise it.

"Anybody got any contention about how Ralph Blewitt getting a Slater & Gordon mortgage goes to any conduct by me, or any assertions of wrongdoing? What is the big deal?" she said.

Ms Gillard was also asked if she had spoken with Mr Wilson prior to News Limited publishing a story on Sunday, in which he said Ms Gillard knew nothing of his activities.

She said "to her knowledge" no one from her office had been in contact with Mr Wilson.

Topics:  australian workers' union julia gillard slater and gordon



Concert death toll revised up to 22, tour suspended

There have been multiple confirmed deaths after 'explosions' heard at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

"We saw blood on people when we got outside."

Plenty of likes for 'Sliding Home'

'Sliding Home'

Here is this week's Facebook cover image as chosen by you.

Bikie killer sentenced for bashing child sex offender

Shane Michael Oulds, faced Rockhampton District Court charged with grievous bodily harm over an assault at the Capricornia Correctional Centre last year.

In a vigilante move, this murderer committed a 'violent attack'

Local Partners

Show legend returns to post after being run over by float

FOR absolute total dedication to the Ipswich Show look no further than 85-year-old Kalbar farmer Syd Haag.


Paddinton Bear is coming to Ipswich

IN TOWN: Annette Kitching plays the part of Paddington Bear in The Cute Little Bear From Peru at the Incinerator Theatre.

FAVOURITE children's character set to delight in new show

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

IPSWICH SHOW: What's on at the showgrounds today

Ipswich Show 2017. Sasha Bondzulic and Kirra Peel.

THE show fun continues today with plenty of rides, games and stunts

Concert death toll revised up to 22, tour suspended

TWENTY-TWO people have been killed and at least 59 people have been injured following a terror attack in Manchester

Casual Keanu says fame is ‘cool’

Keanu Reeves in a scene from the movie John Wick: Chapter 2.

NOBODY expected much of John Wick when it was released in 2014.

Ariana Grande breaks her silence after fatal blast

According to reports quoting witnesses, a mass emergency evacuation was prompted after explosions were heard at the end of US singer Ariana Grande's concert in the arena.

The entertainment industry is in shock after attack on concert

Pitch Perfect star suing Woman’s Day over ‘liar’ articles

Actor Rebel Wilson outside court on Friday.

REBEL Wilson's career destroyed by grubby campaign, court hears.

Seven Year Switch: The boner to end all boners

Johnny’s outraged over claims he has a cracked boner.

She gulps. Her face says it all.

Bay to star in Hollywood shark thriller ‘Cage Dive’

Cage Dive, written and directed by Gerald Rascionato, is now screening in the United States of America. It had scenes filmed in Hervey Bay.

And our visiting humpback whales also make appearance.

Celebrity sex tapes: Where does all that money go?

Basically, did Paris and Kim earn fortunes from their videos?

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Deputy Premier makes massive call on controversial sand mine

Aerial view of the proposed Forest Glen sand mine.

BREAKING: State Government makes huge call on Coast sand mine plans

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!