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Thursday, November 29, 2012
Tony Abbott calls for inquiry into AWU affair
TONY Abbott has called for a judicial inquiry into the AWU affair after a furious Julia Gillard demanded he make a statement to parliament and either back claims she had broken the law or apologise.
Instead he claimed the illegal and unethical behaviour had in large part been "facilitated" by Ms Gillard who provided legal advice for the incorporation of an association, she later called a slush fund, for her then boyfriend Bruce Wilson and his bagman Ralph Blewitt.
Ms Gillard called a surprise suspension of standing orders at the start of Question Time to force Mr Abbott to speak for 15 minutes.
This morning Mr Abbott said Ms Gillard had misled the WA Corporate Affairs Commission and suggested a breach of law.
PM Julia Gillard answers accusations from Tony Abbott. Picture: Ray Strange
He told parliament: "the more we hear from the prime minister, the more obvious is it that she has been involved in unethical conduct and possibly unlawful behaviour."
The affair ultimately cost her law firm Slater and Gordon its client, the AWU, he said.
He accused the prime minister of giving the commission the impression the association, Ms Gillard later told Slater and Gordon was a slush fund, was for the purposes of promoting work place safety.
"It is actually illegal to provide false information to the corporate affairs commission," Mr Abbott said.
PM Julia Gillard listens as Opposition leader Tony Abbott assesses the Parliament. Picture: Ray Strange
He claimed Ms Gillard "knew all along this was a slush fund for the re election of union officials."
Mr Abbott then accused Ms Gillard of failing to tell authorities.
"The prime minister's wrong doing didn't end there. She must have known after the exit interview there were obvious problems here, she terminated the relationship with Mr Wilson, she must have known serious wrong doing had taken place, that union money had been stolen instead of making a clean breast of this, instead of reporting this to the relevant authorities she said nothing at all about it for years," Mr Abbott said.
"At the very least this is conduct unbecoming of a legal partner."
PM Julia Gillard answers Tony Abbott's accusations during question time. Picture: Ray Strange
He then sought to table a proposed terms of reference for a judicial inquiry into the AWU affair.
Ms Gillard thundered at Mr Abbott across the chamber: "The Leader of the Opposition is such a negative human being that's his version of an unreserved apology."
She accused Mr Abbott of being "halting, nervous and ultimately content less" during his 15 minute address.
"This morning the Leader of the Opposition went onto national television and accused me of committing a crime," Ms Gillard said.
"If he wants to see how the movie ends turn around and look at the Member for Wentworth."
It was a reference to the Godwin Grech affair when Malcolm Turnbull was Opposition Leader and false claims were made about former prime minister Kevin Rudd.
Ms Gillard said she had never misled the commission and claimed Mr Abbott was now "handcuffed" to allegations for which she said he had "no evidence