UPDATE: Julie Bishop, former managing partner of the Perth office of national law firm Clayton Utz, believes Gillard’s conduct is a serious breach of professional or ethical conduct:
“If a partner didn’t open a file for work they were doing for a client with whom they had an intimate relationship, and then had no reasonable explanation for it, that would be viewed very seriously within a law firm.
“You have to have a file number, so you have to open a file so that other partners can see what work is being done.
“It would give the impression that there is something to hide and partners would view that very dimly.” (source)
Cue Gillard’s cracked record response, no doubt: I’ve dealt with this all before and I’ve done nothing wrong.
It’s wearing very, very thin, Julia.
Just a reminder that when you read the following, it’s 21st century Australia we’re in, not 1970s Soviet Union. The implications for press freedom (which includes the right for blogs such as this to publish views which challenge the government position) are significant.
Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard is floundering amidst allegations regarding her conduct as a lawyer in the mid-1990s, in particular the setting up of an association which was used – allegedly – to misappropriate union funds.
The Australian and talkback hosts are on the trail, and more of the media is becoming alerted to the story, yet instead of coming clean about it and making a statement, Gillard’s first instinct, and that of her party, is to deny everything, say nothing and instead shut down the legitimate questions by “regulating” the media (i.e. suppressing dissent and only allowing acceptable views to be printed – acceptable to Labor, Gillard and the Left, of course). The mark of a true totalitarian.
The hypocrisy is breathtaking. If this was a Labor opposition making the same claims of a Coalition Prime Minister, the ABC and Fairfax would be screaming from the rooftops, but naturally, because it involves their mates, Labor, both of those organisations have been virtually silent on the issue.
JULIA Gillard has lashed out at her online accusers over the circumstances of her departure from law firm Slater & Gordon in the mid-1990s, as her caucus colleagues urged her to “take the gloves off” in a fight with the press.
The Prime Minister took aim at news coverage of her personal life and blasted internet blogs for their “gender-based” attacks on her leadership, amid increasing scrutiny of her link to a disgraced union official and her departure from Slater & Gordon in the mid-1990s.
In a heated discussion within the Labor caucus, MPs urged backbencher John Murphy to “go harder” as he attacked News Limited, publisher of The Australian, over its coverage of the government.
Ms Gillard responded by vowing to proceed with media reforms by the end of the year, keeping the threat of regulation hanging over the sector.
The remarks came as Tony Abbott said the circumstances of Ms Gillard’s departure from Slater & Gordon were the subject of “legitimate media interest” and the Coalition would give her “every opportunity” to make a statement on the matter to parliament.
Ms Gillard has refused to discuss claims by two former Slater & Gordon partners that she left the firm in 1995 after an internal investigation into her dealings with her then boyfriend, Bruce Wilson, a former Australian Workers Union boss who was later accused of corruption. (source)
Janet Albrechtsen asks Gillard some hard questions:
PRIME Minister, you once said News Limited had hard questions to answer. When pressed, you couldn’t elaborate. Allow me to elaborate on some questions for you. Simply repeating that you have answered questions previously is a political tactic that treats voters as stupid. But we are not. You may have answered other questions long ago. But new information has raised new questions.
On ABC1′s Q&A on Monday night, Graham Richardson said you don’t get the best advice from your staffers but the buck stops with you. He said that you have shown a lack of sound political judgment in the way you have dealt with this issue to date. Please reconsider your strategy. Surely you don’t believe that this is simply the work of feral bloggers? To be sure, a scurrilous online campaign is being waged. But completely separately, important issues are being raised by serious people in serious places. You might not like it but democracy depends on an intellectually curious media. (source)
The Australian‘s editorial is also on the same subject:
On Sunday, Ms Gillard attacked our editor-at-large, Paul Kelly, arguably the nation’s most eminent political journalist, because he dared to follow up allegations made through this newspaper by former Slater & Gordon partner Nick Styant-Browne. “The central point was that the partner alleged you had to resign because of this issue,” said Kelly. “Is that correct or not?” “Look, Paul,” Ms Gillard responded, “I did resign from Slater & Gordon, that’s a matter of public record. I made the decision to do that. I mean, join the dots for me, Paul. What matters about this today for Australia and me being Prime Minister? Just articulate that … I did nothing wrong.”
While Ms Gillard dodges the question, Thomas has now confirmed through a second senior partner at the time, Peter Gordon, that the firm considered “terminating” Ms Gillard’s employment over her handling of the AWU matters before accepting her resignation. Mr Gordon and Mr Styant-Browne are not “birthers” – they are experienced lawyers who have been cautious and deliberate about their statements.
At the heart of this matter is the allegation Ms Gillard, while a salaried partner, carried out undeclared legal work for her then boyfriend and AWU boss Bruce Wilson and his bagman, AWU official Ralph Blewitt. This included establishing an entity named the AWU Workplace Reform Association – later revealed to have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from companies that were then used by Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt for private purposes, including buying a house in Melbourne’s Fitzroy. Ms Gillard attended the auction with Mr Wilson, who moved into the house. Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt later sold the property, keeping the proceeds.
And there’s plenty more. Rather than accept that a free press is one of the fundamental features of an open democracy, and difficult questions asked of a prime minister must be answered, the Left’s response is always to regulate and control the media, for their own selfish ends.