There is so much to be suspicious about in Gillard's involvement in the AWU scandal that it amazes me it's taken this long for most Aussie journos to start looking in depth at it. Apart from numerous, very specific questions regarding certain aspects of the fraud that she hasn't answered, there's the issue of the slush fund's genesis.
Yesterday Gillard's excuse for why she didn't alert the AWU about its existence was because, er, the crooks defrauding it effectively were the AWU. How could anyone in their right mind buy that? Yet many in the press gallery have.
If people do find it hard to grasp why some people might find the way she operated more than a bit dodgy, then they should read or watch a former lawyer's very useful analogy for Gillard's deeply suss conduct:
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: If you go back and look - well, I don't know about that. If you go back and look at the crux of this and, Barnaby, you seem to be struggling with what the problem is. The problem is pretty clear and let me try to put it in user-friendly terms here tonight. Let's say I am a partner at a law firm and that law firm has, as its big client, the ABC. Now, let's say Tony Jones works for the ABC and he happens to be my boyfriend.
TONY JONES: For argument's sake.
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: For argument's sake. And Tony wants to set up...
BARNABY JOYCE: Yeah, I’m struggling with that. I’m struggling with that.
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: No. No. No. Stay with me.
BARNABY JOYCE: I’m struggling with that part.
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Tony wants to set up a slush fund to gather funds for re-election of him as staff elected director onto the ABC. Now, what do I do as a girlfriend? I say...
BARNABY JOYCE: Divorce him.
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: I can do two things. I can say, look, there’s a bit of a conflict here. I should probably hand it over to someone else at the law firm. I don't do that. In fact, I give the legal advice not only to set up - to establish a trust fund for Tony, my boyfriend, but also to set up a fund...
TONY JONES: Janet, my mind is spinning. Do you mind sort of...
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: ...to set up a fund that is called...
TONY JONES: I’ve become the Bruce Wilson in the equation.
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: It improves. It improves.
PENNY WONG: That makes you Julia.
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: There’s a happy ending so let me come to the happy ending. The fund is called the ABC Workplace Reform Association.
PENNY WONG: This is getting worse and I’m getting a bit stressed by it. Would you like me to move?
TONY JONES: Certainly not.
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Now, as a lawyer, I’m very familiar with ABC rules. I know that you can't set up an association using the letters ABC without authorisation. It was not authorised. What do I do next? I decide not to open a file. I'm a lawyer. I've got fiduciary duties to my partners at a law firm. I choose not to tell those partners about this matter. I’m a lawyer. I’ve got fiduciary duties to the firms major client, the ABC, but I choose not to tell other members of the ABC that I’m doing work on the side for my boyfriend to set up a fund using the letters ABC for the purposes that have nothing to do with workplace reform.
This was a really good way of describing what happened because it might actually make some ABC luvvies twig to how dodgy Gillard was right from the outset. Surely, having that beloved three letter acronym used in such an obviously deceptive and secretive way would send them all into an indignant rage. So, no wonder people in Gillard's law firm and the AWU were appalled at what she did way back then. And no wonder anyone with any sense of morality and professional standards is appalled when they read about it now.