Prime Minister Julia Gillard was completely clueless of the alleged nefarious activities of her former partner, then Australian Workers Union boss Bruce Wilson, 17 years ago. Mr. Wilson, on the other hand, claims that they were backed by her former employers at Slater & Gordon law firm.
Former Slater & Gordon senior partner Peter Gordon reiterated on Tuesday that Ms Gillard, who in 1995 worked for the law firm, was not directly connected to any wrongdoing that was attributed to Mr. Wilson, her boyfriend and client at that time.
The then industrial lawyer was reportedly instrumental in setting up the AWU Workplace Reform Association, which The Australian said was subsequently used by Mr Wilson to attract funds that run to hundreds of thousands.
It was alleged that the money collected were used by Mr Wilson for personal ends and partially to finance the renovation of a Melbourne house that belonged to Ms Gillard.
But those accusations were refuted by Ms Gillard, according to Mr Gordon.
"I believed at the time that there was no explicit or indirect evidence that she was involved in any wrongdoing and that remains my view today," Mr Gordon was reported by Fairfax Media as saying in a statement he issued Tuesday.
He also clarified that the leaked statement published by News Ltd on Monday may have contained insinuations that he was doubtful with Ms Gillard's reasoning during an internal review on the matter that she did not bother to dig deeper on the plans and actions of Mr Wilson but such is not the case.
The work she did for AWU at that time was for free, Ms Gillard reportedly told the panel probing the incident though she admitted regretting not asking more questions, which would have painted a clearer picture for her on what was about to unfold.
The Australian reported that Ms Gillard stopped short of looking further because there was not "any great scientific explanation for that."
She was also convinced that her home improvements works were paid out not from her AWU engagement but from earnings she collected from her overall legal practice.
The whole investigation, according to Mr Gordon, ended up with the review panel unable to put any blame on Ms Gillard as he clarified too that his leaked statement was fraught with "minor inaccuracies."
That statement, The Australian said, suggested that Slater & Gordon senior partners had strongly considered terminating the services of the future prime minister for lack of trust and confidence due to the incident.
However, Ms Gillard had claimed that she left the law firm on her own decision, which was confirmed by Mr Gordon's statement: "Ms Gillard elected to resign and we accepted her resignation without discussion.
At the same time though, Mr Gordon did not bother to explain his statement that said: "The partnership was extremely unhappy with Ms Gillard considering that proper vigilance had not been observed, and that (her) duties of utmost good faith to (her) partners especially as to timely disclosure had not been met," which was published by News Ltd on Monday.
Instead, he criticised another senior partner, Nick Styant-Browne, who was the intended recipient of the statement and the supposed source of the leaked material.
Mr Gordon conceded that Mr Styant-Browne may have not been sold by Ms Gillard's answers during the probe but as far as he is concerned, the future prime minister was not "in any way aware of or a knowing participant in any wrongdoing."
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