AWU ex haunts Gillard

Sam Tomlin

A Goldfields link has emerged in the accusations enveloping Prime Minister Julia Gillard over her past ties to allegedly corrupt figures in the Australian Workers' Union.

The Prime Minister has been forced to fend off allegations in recent days she may have benefited from the alleged mishandling of union funds during her time at law firm Slater & Gordon.

Prior to her departure from the firm 17 years ago, Ms Gillard performed legal work for her then-boyfriend, AWU boss Bruce Wilson, who is alleged to have siphoned off union funds into private accounts.

As part of her work at S&G, Ms Gillard travelled with Mr Wilson to Boulder in 1992 to advocate the transfer of control of the Miners’ Fatal Accident and Death fund to the union’s head office in Perth.

While the changes to the fund were approved, the move ended in controversy for the AWU in 1995 when it was alleged cash from the fund had been used to buy two holiday units in Kalbarri, without any record of purchase or permission from union authorities.

The allegations led to a probe from the police Major Fraud Squad into Mr Wilson and fellow union executive Ralph Blewitt in relation to the purchase; however no charges were laid.