Ralph Blewitt.
Ralph Blewitt.

Unionist Bruce Wilson's former secretary Christine Campbell has revealed her former boss had a signature stamp, which he feared would fall into the wrong hands within the union.

In the first day of Perth hearings of the royal commission into trade unions, Ms Campbell revealed the extent of the union's internal politics with claims that she guarded the signature stamp in her handbag when not using it to sign letters for Mr Wilson in the early 1990s.

She said Mr Wilson, the former head of the Australian Workers Union, was concerned about the stamp falling into the wrong hands.

Ms Campbell said she had always believed she had the only copy of the stamp, but had recently heard that assistant secretary Ralph Blewitt had one, too.

"Only now that it's come to light he had a stamp of Bruce's, but I don't know where he got it from and I don't what he was using it for," she said. "I don't how he got it, I don't know if he had one himself … or had one made up."

Ms Campbell described Mr Blewitt as "a bit of a bully" and "a bit manic", and that he had pretended at one meeting with government officials to be an unkempt alcoholic in a bid to get a disability pension.

She said he created havoc at the union, including one case of sexual harassment. And she denied Mr Blewitt's claims that he had been intimidated by Mr Wilson, claiming the pair were friends.

Mr Blewitt has admitted siphoning money from the Workplace Reform Association, which was put into a slush fund, but claims he did it on instruction from Mr Wilson and in fear of losing his job.

Ms Campbell said that when Mr Wilson quit the union in 1995, he had told her there was money in a union association's Victorian office that some AWU members had alleged was misappropriated members funds - which he denied.

In other evidence, two former project managers at the Dawesville Cut, Brian Pulham and Steve Schalit, appeared to pour cold water on claims the AWU conducted training sessions it was paid to provide at the site.

The Thiess employees revealed they had not seen the late unionist Glen Ivory, who Mr Wilson claims had provided the on-site training from 1993.

The West Australian

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