Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Victoria Police confirm (again) that it is investigating a certain union scandal

AWU whistleblower Ralph Blewitt plans to talk to Victorian police

  • Stephen Drill 
Ralph Blewitt

VICTORIA Police has confirmed it is investigating a complaint against a union as AWU whistleblower Ralph Blewitt arrived back in Melbourne to meet police.
Mr Blewitt, who admitted to being involved in the misappropriation of union members' funds, said he had new information for fraud squad detectives.
The return of Mr Blewitt from his home in Malaysia threatens to reopen the affair, which engulfed Prime Minister Julia Gillard last year.
Ms Gillard, who was involved in setting up the fund for her then boyfriend while working as a lawyer for Slater and Gordon, has consistently and strongly denied any wrongdoing.
Victoria Police spokeswoman Leonie Johnson said she would not comment on individual cases.
But she said in a statement this afternoon: "Victoria Police Fraud and Extortion Squad is currently investigating a complaint regarding the alleged misappropriation of funds from a union.
"As the matter is under investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further."
Mr Blewitt told the Herald Sun in a taped face-to-face interview at a Melbourne café that he was willing to risk time in jail to get to the truth.
He said he was in discussions with Victorian fraud squad detectives in Melbourne and would meet them as soon as possible. A planned meeting at 2.30pm tomorrow had been postponed, he said this afternoon. 
Mr Blewitt said he would provide new information regarding Mr Wilson's action in Victoria and to Ms Gillard's alleged involvement in the AWU Workplace Reform Association.
"I've reviewed documents that there was some information I should have passed on before but was left out," he said.
"I want to add that to statements I have made before."
Mr Blewitt said he had made himself available to police, who then agreed to meet him.
"They said: ‘You're more than welcome to come and talk to us anytime Mr Blewitt to assist us with our investigation.' "
Mr Blewitt and Mr Wilson allegedly misappropriated $400,000 through the AWU Workplace Reform Association, which was used as a "slush fund".
The political storm has centred on Ms Gillard's role in providing legal advice to set the association in 1992.
The Prime Minister has made several strenuous defences of her actions and in November hit out at Mr Blewitt.
She said he had been described as "a complete imbecile, an idiot, a stooge, a sexist pig, and a liar."
Mr Blewitt told the Herald Sun today that he was considering taking defamation action against Ms Gillard but did not have the money to cover legal costs.
He said he would reserve his rights to sue in the future.
The Prime Minister's office has not responded to the Herald Sun's questions on the matter this afternoon.

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