Tony Abbott’s Royal Commission into Trade Unions was supposed to be about two things, the vindication of Kathy Jackson and the persecution of Julia Gillard.

However just like Tony Abbott’s first budget, these two objectives have both turned into monumental public failures.

We have already seen Kathy Jackson land face first as she falls off the pedestal that she built for herself. Jackson spent the year prior to the Commission smelling like roses and now that the media have caught up with what Jackson has called the “blogosphere” she is smelling more like what those roses are fertilised with. Jackson is still yet to face questions on the evidence she sought to have suppressed which is expected to be bigger than what has already been made public.

Today it was time for Julia Gillard to face the tough questions.

Media crowd the street outside the commission

Media crowd the street outside the Commisison

The day started off with the witnesses Rob Elliott and his wife Kay Darveniza, some of you may recognise their names from some of my previous articles which I have linked.

Counsel Assisting Jeremy Stoljar SC ignored their involvement in the HSU and their relationship with Kathy Jackson and instead decided to focus on their dealings approximately a quarter of a century ago with Julia Gillard.

Stoljar was clearly seeking to try to show a pattern of behaviour from Gillard in relation to the setting up of associations for questionable purposes, however these efforts failed.

It turns out that Gillard had participated in what were seemingly boring routine conversations regarding industrial affairs with two union officials, Elliott and Darveniza.

On social media much was made out of the witnesses appearing vague. However the finer details of a conversation or meeting on what would have been routine affairs for union officials such as fundraising and industrial matters would tend to become vaguer as the years roll on I would imagine, particularly when one’s memory may be impacted by Multiple Sclerosis as Darveniza’s statement confirms.

Rob Elliott on the stand

Rob Elliott on the stand

Soon enough it was time for the main event and Julia Gillard took the stand.

Gillard testified about her current work status, her background with Slater and Gordon and how she came to meet her former partner Bruce Wilson.

Wilson had asked Gillard’s legal advice on the setting up of an incorporated association for him and his team as he was seeking to become Secretary of the AWU in WA. Giving advice in this regards was a common practice for Slater and Gordon. Gillard testified that the law firms major source of work was plaintiff personal injury work. It was common for work to be done with no charge for unions so that the firm may pick up personal injury work from the unions members.

From there on in the questioning up until lunch was all about goings on of the association, the invoices they sent, the members it had, and the bank account details and transactions.

As Gillard was forced to point out on numerous occasions she gave legal advice on the setting up of the association, she had nothing more to do with it and no idea how on the inner workings of the association.

This sounds to me not only feasible, it sounds highly likely. For those on social media who chose to make more out of this than defies logic I would use this analogy. Just because the green grocer advises you what vegetables are in season does not mean 20 years later he can explain to a court what you cooked with them.

The other aim of Counsel Assisting in my opinion was to extract the “I don’t recall” answer from Gillard as many times as possible to make her testimony seem less reliable.

This was done by asking ridiculously minute details of conversations that may or may not have taken place two decades ago, or mundane details of what sections of an act were used to form part of legal advice, and where the witnessing of documents took place and who was in attendance at the time. Questions that given the passage of time involved would be almost impossible to give exact answers on. Gillard eventually gave this response that resulted in cheers and laughs in the media room.

“My evidence is that I was a busy solicitor across the years in which I practised as a lawyer. I would have witnessed thousands of documents. I do not have specific recall of, you know, each and every document I witnessed and the circumstances, you know, which room, which desk, what I was wearing, I don’t have that kind of recall, but I witnessed documents appropriately.”

This led to this question from Stoljar which resulted in an answer from Gillard causing a roar of laughter from those in the media room

Stoljar: What about your practice in respect of dating a particular document? Did you have any practice in that regard?

Gillard: You put the right date on a document

However it was the blunt tone of Gillards response that put Stoljar in his place and highlighted the disrespect and desperation in the line of questioning.

Gillard also stated that the work done on this matter would have taken between three and five hours and that in her time at Slater and Gordon she had done far more substantial work than that for no charge whilst working at Slater and Gordon.

There was heavy questioning on the subject of an advertisement that appeared in the printed media regarding the association and its incorporation. The placement of this advertisement is a legal requirement in the setting up an incorporated association.

Stoljar seemed to be determined to have Gillard admit that she wrote and placed the advertisement, despite Gillard stating under oath that she did not have anything to do with the ad. Stoljar fired many questions at her regarding this yet had absolutely no evidence on which to base his line of questioning on. The best he could use to lend credibility to this theory was to say the ad was written in what seemed like legal terms. This line of repetitive questioning and the desperate attempts to trip Gillard up on the matter eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, ended with an interjection from Commissioner Heydon.

Heydon pointed out the likelihood that it was a standard advert that was placed by someone with the details of the association’s name changed to suit.

This simple logic had been lost on those in the right-wing commentary business leading the witch-hunt until now.

Julia Gillard - Taking on her detractors, and winning gracefully

Julia Gillard – Taking on her detractors, and winning gracefully

After lunch Gillard was asked questions on several matters that involved the payment of accounts and billing regarding work done for the association.

Many of those who have sought to trash Gillards reputation must have been shocked upon finding out that a law firm the size of Slater and Gordon might have a separate accounts department. In fact the solicitors that worked there did not have to perform every task relating to their clients.

Allegations that Slater and Gordon may have a separate mail room were not explored, and talk of the solicitors taking turns to act as the receptionist are rumoured to be highly exaggerated.

When it came to the renovations that it has been alleged were paid for by Wilson using funds from the association there was nothing to back up these allegations.

Gillard testified that she had the work done and paid for with cheques and had receipts for the work.

At one stage Gillard mentioned that she had invoices and Stoljar leapt at the chance to bring Gillard crashing down. Stoljar started with rapid fire questions around these invoices stating that Gillard had not mentioned having invoices in her statements, seemingly accusing her of withholding evidence. Stoljar was going for the jugular and clearly had the taste of blood until once again the facts got in the way.

Commissioner Heydon interrupted Stoljar to point out where Gillard had in fact stated to having invoices in her statement.

In the end Gillard finished the day having faced all of the allegations against her and shooting them all down in flames.

There will always be those out there that believe Elvis Presley is still alive and that Bigfoot exists, just as I’m sure there will be those out there that believe Julia Gillard is guilty of something.

However just as the public would not like to see vast amounts of taxpayer funds spent hunting mythical creatures and dead celebrities, the vast majority of the public are dismayed to see so much money wasted on a baseless attack from a bunch of sexist commentators and politicians on our first female Prime Minister.

It is about time this travesty ended.

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30 thoughts on “Trash – Attempts to trash Julia Gillards reputation fail in every aspect

  1. I’m no particular fan of Gillard’s (or Rudd, I always liked the look of Smith TBH) but I was struck firstly but the extraordinarily different treatment provided to her as opposed to Jackson in fonrt of the Commission. Stoljar was antagonistic and at time patronising to Gillard, clearly seeking to trap her on some 20 year old trivia about a Western Australian approved form. Whereas Jackson’s extraordinary explanations for the movement of sums many times higher than that said to be involved with Gillard were treated as serious, plausible responses. Some people who were ‘waiting 18 years’ must have gone away feeling even more embittered. And Galbally’s last question was pathetic.

  2. Stoljar SC, in the end, was tripping over so many of his own logs, I do believe he was a log roller prior to coming to law. Julia was all over it. OMG and look at what we have now.

  3. What a disgrace! In the absence of any evidence of her guilt, they try to get her to do the impossible – prove a negative. This, and the Thomson and Slipper cases, not to mention Abbott’s slush fund – look what Australia has become.

  4. the straight bat of truth to a sustained undisciplined amateur attack. Well Done. what a witch hunt. Jacksons self delusions pandered to and this lil puffy terrier goes after Gillard. I build such a wish for relentless revenge on these tory pricks.

  5. So their you have it ,NO smoking gun,oh how this must infuriate the shock jocks ,and MSM,
    I hope they like humble pie,
    this along with the pink batts inquiry has been nothing more than a witch hunt,and really shows abbott to be full of hate and revenge ,so much so that it’s taken over his life,he is not fit to govern

  6. I watched a large part of Julia’s Interrogation and that is exactly how it appeared. I was once again reminded what a strong and intelligent woman she is. I was very impressed with her calm precise answers she supplied to the questions fired at her, often the same question presented differently. Badgering, annoying, questions. She never got riled, not once. I admire this woman

  7. Can we find a different metaphor for this travesty of a RC’? Misogynistic LNP attacks on Gillard reverberate in words like ‘witch hunt’ and MSM delights in the use of it. I’m sure some clever wordsmith can suggest something more appropriate for our use.

  8. If they are a bunch of sexist commentators and politicians, does that make anyone that criticizes a male Prime Minister the same thing?

    And what does that say about Bill Shorten who knifed the first ever female Prime Minister in the back and had her booted from office? And if he is considered sexist for hanging her out to dry, doesn’t that make him sexist as well for doing the same to Kevin Rudd?

  9. My say .. Post above. as eloquently put by Craig in his last sentence in his address to parliament.. As I recall off the top of my head . ‘ in my view not are you unfit to be prime minister you are unfit to be an MP” case rested

  10. I was digusted by what I witnessed. Would we have seen a male former prime minister treated with such disrespect? Can you envisage Howard being treated that way?

    I thought she did an extraordinary job and showed great maturity and gracefulness under what must have been at times very trying circumstances. I thought she was surrounded by very poor advisors whilst in office but she shows her true colours now. Hat off to you, Julia.

  11. I haven’t read the mainstream media comments on what happened yesterday, but I only have hope they report it with honesty of what it was!! I know that is hoping high!!! Maybe too high… Congrats to Julia for being the person she is!!

  12. I don’t believe Bill or Kevin ever did it for any other reason than a political one, certainly nothing to do with her being a woman.
    Tony Abbott however has repeatedly referred to women in a demeaning manner as have many right-wing commentators.
    If someone criticises Bill for doing something it does not make them sexist, if they criticise him because he is a man or by saying a woman could do a job better then it is sexist.
    Your logic makes no sense. In your desperate attempt to criticise Bill you want to label him sexist for knifing Gillard and then point out he did the same to Kevin?
    Last I checked, Kevin is a man. If Bill treated a man and woman the same, as you suggest he did, I don’t see how it makes him sexist.
    Tony Abbott can say whatever he likes to the “housewives around the country as they do the ironing” and it does not make someone sexist for criticising him for it.

  13. One thing’s for certain, history will treat Gillard far kinder than that of our current PM. Abbott is a vindictive and hateful pathological liar, who deserves to be treated harshly by history.

  14. Did one notice during the day, that big man moving bout in the back of the court during the day. I appears he was Blewitt’s barrister. Was the aim to unsettle Gillard. If that was his aim, he failed badly.

  15. Cant wait to see the temporary current slime minister facing trial and/ or Royal Commission! Yep, let me be very clear, Cant wait to see the temporary current slime minister facing trial and/ or Royal Commission! er, um!

  16. She was and is the best. Lets hope Abbott and cohorts will go through the very same over over their slush funds and rorts. I am pretty sure they will end up being shown up for what they are, a total bunch of crooks. I never doubted Julia for one minute. She is excellent I love her strength, courage, intelligence and her ability to remain calm under pressure. A big Congratulations from me Julia. Abbott must be hating this and anything that upsets him puts a huge smile on my face.

  17. We need a Federal ICAC and the whole LNP put through the ringer. Let’s see how many of them come out unscathed. Despicable lot. Cowards of the first order. Their parents should if not already die of shame.

  18. Full of admiration for Julia Gillard not only for the manner in which she conducted herself yesterday before the Royal Commission but also for the manner in which she has conducted herslf over the past 4 years or so under extremely trying circumstances.
    Having to face down that sneering schoolboy opposite her on an almost daily basis would have been a real trial – I think I would have thrown something at him.
    But just as important is Jon Faine’s comment this am re a story in the Australian saying there are still questions to be asked (doesn’t Murdoch ever give up?). Jon agrees that there are questions needing to be asked and the major one is Bruce Wilson’s testimony that was ‘redacted’ by the commission in which he claims that he was offered $200,000 to trash Julia. He refused. The question? – who or what organisation attempted this bribe. I await with bated breath for someone in the MSM to ask the question and investigate Bruce’s claim.
    PS I believe the bribe was fact.

  19. I watched all of the inquest yesterday and found Julia Gillard most impressive. When I think that if Mr Abbott was put in a similar position how long would it have taken for him to make a fool of himself after only a short time not 4 hours. They say what goes round comes round.

  20. Vanessa you have summed up Bill Shorten precisely. No amount of attempting to gild the lily on his supporters part change the fact he is an opportunist who twice put his own personal ambition ahead of the party, therefore the entire membership, the country
    He then, despite the overwhelming majority of members votes, with the help of the right faction in and ‘out’ of caucus convinced enough of his fellow MP’s to vote for him over the populist candidate and far superior Anthony Albanese.

    I retain my loyalty to Labor not through any sense of confidence in or liking of Shorten. I have a duty to myself, the country to help rid us of this evil PM and his Govt, albeit in my own minute way.
    I also have a debt to pay to Julia. She deserves more, much more than the treatment handed out to her day after day by Abbott and his Tory thugs, by the Murdoch media and the ABC. Culminating yesterday in the Abbott final desperate attempt by way of his stunt of a Royal Commission, to belittle, to demean her, to blacken her name for good.

    I felt two burning emotions as I watched the 4 hours of interrogation of her by a Counsel who had a case as weak, so weak it was a joke, a very bad joke, but one that at times was politely but decisively turned on him with his own words,by a lady who never lost control, remained cool, calm and politely resolved.
    i was desperately sad for this first lady Prime Minister that she was being subjected to this Government inspired, sponsored and prosecuted circus. Then a rush of pride, love and jubilation because when the kangaroo court type inquisition was over, I saw a proud woman, who showed during those long four hours the stuff that made her a bloody magnificent awe inspiring Prime Minister.
    We have lost an opportunity to make this country a leader in so many ways under her guidance.

    To borrow loosely words Teddy Kennedy said at his brother Bobby’s funeral..,,,,,.
    ‘Some people dream and say why…Julia dreamed and said why not’.

    God speed Julia and thank you.

  21. Sorry I can’t find the link, but I read last night, that Julie Bishop has admitted her extraordinary attacks on Julia Gillard in the last week of parliament in 2012, were a response to the success of the misogyny speech. Bishop took up Question Time that week asking question after question, insinuating malpractice re these tired old HSU matters. Apparently, the misogynist speech was so successful, and Tony was so upset to be seen around the world, for what he is, a sexist, that Julie had no choice but to go after the PM. I watched every one of those question times and Julia wiped the floor of Julie then, just as she did yesterday. TURC was definitely set up to trash the reputation of Julia Gillard, Australia’s best prime minister, and it failed dismally yesterday

  22. The question that kept popping up about backhanders being paid in her absence was about as shallow as a saucer. “You’re asking me to make a statement about something I have no evidence of it taking place in my absence”
    It was a flagrant witch hunt, because the process is simple. I’ve worked as a builders labourer & it’s obvious to any decent tradesman when a job has been over quoted. A painter may charge $250 to paint a door, or $6.50 a sq Mtr for wall. Hourly rate for prepping. Tilers the same. others on hourly rates etc.
    If this RC had have been thorough with it’s investigation, & they were sure there was criminality they would have had the Reno costed, & produced some back up, but they chose to rely on two real crooks in Wilson & Blewet & hearsay.
    Classic Kangaroo court, same as the other $20 million on the pink bats that showed while Howard was running the show, there were no where near the quantity of work done but under Labors HIP injuries dropped by 70%. More holes in feet.

  23. Here is another chicken home to roost.

    The comments here though as sickening. Gillard’s legacy is the loss of babies by trafficked women, jailed babies for life, forced deportations to torture and prison, disappearances and rapes in Sri Lanka, punished single parents and aborigines, gays and lesbians denied their human rights and so on.

  24. “. . .particularly when one’s memory may be impacted by Multiple Sclerosis as Darveniza’s statement confirms.”

    Hold on! According to Mr Elliot, it was Darveniza who refreshed his memory.

  25. Guessing that’s Bob Browns legacy too, after all they had a signed agreement….

  26. Isabella, keep looking for that link. I have found myself lately quite liking Julie Bishop and need to be grounded.

  27. Actually, there still is one question that needs answering as illustrated in your report of the statement: “Giving advice in this regards was a common practice for Slater and Gordon. Gillard testified that the law firms major source of work was plaintiff personal injury work. It was common for work to be done with no charge for unions so that the firm may pick up personal injury work from the unions members.”

    The question is: Does the provision of “free” legal work constitute corruption by the Union and or the legal firm in that the Union then uses/recommends that legal firm for lucrative work done for their members?

  28. It’s a common business practice in many types of business doing things for free to try and gain additional business, just like Coke giving fridges to take-away stores

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