Union boss makes bribe claim

Former union boss Bruce Wilson has sensationally claimed he was offered $200,000 to implicate his one-time girlfriend and former prime minister Julia Gillard in the Australian Workers Union slush fund scandal.

The bombshell revelation came as counsel assisting the royal commission into trade union corruption, Jeremy Stoljar, said Mr Wilson and former offsider Ralph Blewitt had conspired to commit fraud by siphoning money from an entity known as the AWU Workplace Reform Association.

He also revealed a witness would testify he saw Mr Wilson give Ms Gillard cash to pay for work to her Melbourne home.

Mr Stoljar said at commission hearings in Perth this month that executives from construction company Thiess and Woodside would outline how payments were made to the association.

Mr Wilson, who was the union's WA secretary, and Mr Blewitt set up the association in 1992 ostensibly to promote workplace training and safety, with Ms Gillard - an industrial lawyer at the time - providing legal advice on its establishment.

But the association was secretly designed to raise money for union re-election campaigns.

It allegedly received more than $400,000.

Some of the cash was used to buy a house in Fitzroy in Mr Blewitt's name for Mr Wilson's use. It is claimed some funds were also used to pay tradesmen for renovations to an Abbotsford house owned by Ms Gillard. She has insisted she paid for the work out of her own pocket and strongly denied any wrongdoing.

In Mr Wilson's written statement to the commission, leaked to ABC Melbourne radio host Jon Faine and broadcast yesterday, he said he rejected in 2012 a $200,000 bribe from lawyer Harry Nowicki and a man identified as Z to doctor evidence against Ms Gillard.

"There are a number of benefactors prepared to support you," Mr Wilson alleged Z told him.

Mr Nowicki allegedly said: "We just needed a statement to start. Say something like, 'I paid for renovations for Gillard's house but I can't recall where the money came from'."

Mr Wilson, who will face the commission tomorrow, also said Mr Nowicki introduced him to celebrity agent Max Markson to discuss selling his story.

Mr Wilson has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Speaking outside the commission, Mr Nowicki accused Mr Wilson of making up evidence and defaming him.

Mr Stoljar told royal commissioner Dyson Heydon the evidence showed the association was a "mere contrivance" controlled by Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt to issue "sham invoices".

He said Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt had committed offences under sections 409 and 558 of the WA Criminal Code. Mr Stoljar said it was clear some of the money was used to part-fund buying the Fitzroy house, but it was a matter of "factual controversy" over who paid for renovations to Ms Gillard's home.

The West Australian

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