AWU Investigation: Just One Little Mistake…

ONE LITTLE SLIP is all it can take, sometimes, to land in a giant receptacle of excrement; so it would appear in this case. Pursuant to Ben Fordham’s recent statements on 2GB regarding the Police investigation of the Prime Minister, a little substance has been forthcoming from other quarters today.

It is crucial — and I emphasise this — that opinions of who did what, or right or wrong, be kept quiet on this issue at present, given it remains the subject of an active Victoria Police investigation that may or may not lead to criminal charges against a person or persons.

Even so, more material relating to this issue has appeared today, and knowing the matter is of tremendous interest to my readers I wanted to share it.

Many people have pondered the reasons Ben Fordham has made not one but two statements in as many days this week, essentially stating that Julia Gillard is under Police investigation, by Fraud and Extortion officers from Victoria Police, and that this “is fact.”

In and of itself, I agree it would seem a little odd as a stand-alone contention.

And I should note before publishing the link I intend to share that many commentators — in the mainstream media and from independent comment sources like this column — are being extremely circumspect in what they say and write regarding the AWU scandal.

The reason of course, as I have explained, is that a very trigger-happy Prime Minister has proven adept at slapping down a lot of material that has appeared in the public domain as a result of such discussion; there is ample evidence of journalists losing their jobs, and websites being shut down, and apologies and “corrections” being extracted and published, as a consequence of those endeavours to keep the minutiae of the matter under the carpet.

Today, it (publicly) becomes a little clearer why.

Noted journalist Hedley Thomas from The Australian has published a piece that deals directly with the Fordham statements, and provides the link (for those who didn’t already unofficially know) explaining why Police were so eager to obtain a statement from Fordham in the wake of the Gillard’s appearance on his program some six weeks ago.

And it is noteworthy — as I mentioned yesterday — that after a brief initial flurry of activity to emphatically deny that any investigation involving Gillard is in progress, the denials of the fact by both Gillard and her office have ceased.

Read this article very carefully. It’s probably a good idea to peruse all of it, if for nothing else than to reacquaint yourselves with the sequence of events thus far, who has said what and about which events in the whole sordid saga, and why Police were so interested in what was said on Fordham’s program in March in the first place.

If you’ve paid attention, when you reach the end of it you will see the point.

One little mistake.

One little slip.

It’s all it takes to land in the shit.

This issue, it would seem, is about to grow legs and run.

AWU Scandal (Update): Unprecedented Criminal Investigation Of A Prime Minister

FURTHER to my Wednesday post — noting that Julia Gillard may be under investigation over the AWU scandal — 2GB host Ben Fordham has revisited the issue, stating explicitly that Gillard is being investigated by Fraud and Extortion Police. It is an unprecedented inquiry of a sitting Prime Minister.

I would like to preface my remarks by simply saying that if no such investigation is being undertaken, then the mother of all lawsuits for defamation of character will lob into the offices of 2GB, publicly, and probably well before the end of the month.

That said, I wouldn’t anticipate it happening.

This will be a short post, and — again — aimed more at keeping readers abreast of these developments rather than making much comment on them.

After all, the substance of any Police investigation is best left alone until concluded.

Even so, Fordham makes an excellent point: that Gillard may not even be (officially) aware that she is under investigation. It is certainly — certainly — possible, however unlikely it may sound to readers at first blush.

Fordham made an additional statement on this issue on his radio program yesterday, and it can be accessed here for those wishing to listen to it.

I am going to keep this post brief today; as I indicated on Wednesday, it seems unlikely that we’ll have to wait too long for these matters to run their course, and there will be ample scope to discuss them at that time, which is appropriate.

But I make the point that having an incumbent Prime Minister facing investigation over fraud and extortion matters is without precedent and — on balance — not a very good look.

And the flurry of denials (and outright abuse of Fordham, and of others who even recorded the event of his statement, such as this column) that appeared online shortly afterwards have suddenly, and abruptly, ceased — a pointer, perhaps, to verification of the substance of the Fordham statement by the PM’s office itself.

However, I need to remind readers in the strongest possible terms that no conclusions should be drawn on allegations or suggestions of wrongdoing by Gillard: it is entirely plausible that any criminal actions being investigated do not directly involve Gillard at all, and that her involvement in the investigation is purely at the periphery and on account of the fact she was actively known to others involved in the alleged misdeeds at the time.

We simply don’t know; and that is why I would ask readers wishing to comment here (or anywhere else) on these matters to exercise a degree of circumspection.

Be assured that as these matters develop, we will discuss them; but for now it is enough to assume — given Fordham’s reputation as a meticulous journalist when it comes to the verification of his sources — that the investigation of Gillard is, indeed, under way.

AWU: The Question Of Whether Julia Gillard Is Under Criminal Investigation

THE ISSUE of the AWU slush fund scandal — and Julia Gillard’s alleged role in it as a lawyer at Melbourne firm Slater and Gordon in the 1990s — has resurfaced, with 2GB radio host Ben Fordham today stating on the record that the Prime Minister is under investigation. She insists that she isn’t.

This column has been extremely circumspect in its discussion of the AWU scandal and any potential involvement in it by Gillard, and even then our comments have been restricted to material in the public domain.

One reason for this is that the Prime Minister has demonstrated a litigious approach to published material in regard to these matters, and that approach sits on hair-trigger alert.

The other reason — as I made clear when last the scandal boiled over before Christmas — is that it has always been very obvious that the matter has some way to run.

For those readers unfamiliar with my comments at that time, they may be accessed here, here, here and here. I would also encourage anyone revisiting these articles to also read the articles I have linked to, in one or two of them, for additional analysis of the situation as it was publicly left prior to Christmas.

The purpose of my post tonight is not so much to offer new comment as to record today’s events, and to provide direction to where the conversation was left for the benefit of newer readers in particular; it seems clear that this issue is going to burst into the headlines again, and we should be ready to dissect any new material that is presented in that regard.

This latest airing of the AWU matters — and the implicit allegations stemming from them — has been triggered by Sydney radio host Ben Fordham making a public “correction” to something that was said during his interview with the Prime Minister, on air on 2GB, on 7 March 2013.

It turns out that Fordham sought to “correct” something the Prime Minister had said.

As I said at the outset, I intend to remain extremely circumspect in my dealings with any new material involving the AWU scandal and any alleged involvement on Gillard’s part; the last thing I need is a lawsuit from a trigger-happy Prime Minister.

But in posting this, readers will be equipped with everything — in the one spot — for a quick refresher on these matters; it would appear inevitable that we’ll be talking about them more regularly, in the near future, after today’s developments.

This link will enable readers to listen to the Fordham announcement on 2GB today, and includes the relevant excerpt from his interview with the Prime Minister on 7 March.

And this link will take readers to a story on the latest developments from Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, which sets out a reasonably succinct account of these.

At this point, the only comment I am going to make is that the quoted statements of support from Environment minister Tony Burke and former Attorney-General (and odious Gillard attack dog) Nicola Roxon should be disregarded as irrelevant; based, that is, on the assumption that neither of them had anything to do with the circumstances of the AWU scandal and consequently have no first-hand idea what they are talking about.

Beyond that, I note just three things:

1. 2GB announcer Ben Fordham has stated, on air and on the record, that the Prime Minister is under investigation in relation to these matters.

2. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has emphatically denied that she is the subject of any such investigation.

3. Victoria Police have confirmed they are “investigating a complaint regarding the alleged misappropriation of funds from a union” and have (properly) refused to make any further comment at this juncture.

We will continue to follow this story, and analyse and discuss any new developments. Based on today’s events, it would seem we won’t have all that long to wait.

 

If you have accessed this article either from a site administered by Benjamin Fulford or from a link to Mr Fulford’s site that has been reposted on another forum, click here.

“Sleaze And Smear?” Spare Us The Propaganda, Prime Minister

The parliamentary year is over, concluding with a noxious exchange in Question Time on Thursday; it’s hard to see Julia Gillard enjoying her Christmas break — under siege as she now is — and the New Year may yet see the swearing-in of Labor’s third Prime Minister in less than six years.

I’m starting tonight with something I have never featured in this column — something from Herald Sun journalist and commentator Andrew Bolt, who this morning posted on Twitter a partial transcript from Julia Gillard’s interview yesterday with Paul Bongiorno on Channel Ten’s Meet The Press.

It’s an instructive read, and it underscores the point made by Piers Akerman in the  comment piece he wrote in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph last week and which I also reposted: that the only real response Gillard has to any allegation or question or revelation regarding the AWU scandal and her involvement in it is evasion.

I think it’s fair to say that readers — like the rest of the country — are, in equal measure, fed up and fascinated by the AWU scandal; the now near-daily trickle of salacious revelations, discovered documentation and freshly released transcripts seems never-ending, yet the public appetite for more detail appears limitless.

Certainly, this is no longer the taboo subject it was even a month ago; that taboo — the result of intimidation, or by virtue of a judgement not to discuss the affair — has probably only served to heighten public interest and awareness in it.

Which, of course, is the last thing Gillard would ever have wished.

The obvious question is why Gillard went into politics at all, if she was so vehemently opposed to the AWU scandal and attendant matters of the 1990s ever being aired; Gillard is neither stupid nor as naive as she has repeatedly claimed to be, and anyone with a modicum of nous about the way the political world operates knows that the background of MPs is fair game to be raked over.

So here we are; the latest formulation (and thanks to the Herald Sun for posting the Meet The Press transcript on its Twitter feed) is simply to hit out at “sleaze and smear.”

(As an aside, “sleaze and smear” is a concept Gillard and her acolytes are only too familiar with, having engaged in a “sleaze and smear” exercise of their own, baselessly, without a scrap of evidence and with absolutely no justification, in attempting to portray Tony Abbott as a woman-hating misogynist. Worse, of course, was the fact the centrepiece speech in that despicable enterprise was made in the defence of filthy specimen Peter Slipper, in apparent dismissal of his own, odious, words on women).

Gillard used the phrase “sleaze and smear” in direct relation to Tony Abbott eight times in five answers to questions from Bongiorno in that short excerpt of the transcript alone; I didn’t see Meet The Press yesterday, but I shudder to think what the full interview must have been like for Bongiorno to have to sit through.

It’s a bit like the ubiquitous “Moving Forward” every time Gillard opened her mouth during the 2010 campaign — until the ALP’s internal polling began to show Abbott and the Coalition winning the election, at which point everyone in the red corner panicked and started talking about “the real Julia,” making promises of no carbon tax under her government, and all the other hot air on which Labor’s re-election pitch was based.

Given it didn’t work then, and hasn’t worked since, why would it work now?

It’s clear that the ill-effects of the endeavour to, er, smear Abbott as a misogynist are wearing off; his opinion poll ratings are beginning to recover for one thing, and for another the Labor hacks around Gillard who perpetrated it have largely fallen silent.

On that score at any rate.

Gillard fronted up at the last question time of the year brimming with feigned indignation and outrage; I say “feigned” because, simply, she yet again blustered and ranted, but still failed to give a satisfactory account of herself or for the actions in the early 1990s as a Slater and Gordon solicitor that are now the subject of so much scrutiny.

And remember, the last thing Gillard wants is scrutiny.

The interesting thing about the AWU scandal has been that Gillard has given every impression of fighting a classic rearguard action: at first, there was nothing to talk about, nothing to discuss, and nothing to account for.

Initially, every time the AWU scandal was raised, it disappeared; websites disappeared, journalists suddenly fell silent, and a lot of interesting stories abounded regarding the odd way in which “everyone” knew the allegations, but nobody would print them.

Progressively, each time a specific event was revealed, or a document uncovered, or an allegation made, Gillard has made plenty of noise about answering questions — and insisting the matter, thenceforth, was closed.

She’s done that three times so far in the last couple of months; yet the matter clearly is not closed, and Gillard has now failed to provide adequate explanations to specific allegations levelled at her by the federal Opposition in relation to at least one alleged breach of the law.

In short (as I’m sure everyone knows by now), the Opposition charge was that Gillard broke the law by supplying misleading information to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission about the true nature of the “AWU Workplace Reform Association” — the so-called slush fund central to the whole AWU scandal.

Tony Abbott aired the allegation on breakfast TV on Thursday, and the charge was pursued again in Question Time by Abbott and Julie Bishop, in the face of Gillard’s performance.

And the substance of the Opposition case has been outlined by shadow Attorney-General and eminent barrister, George Brandis SC. It makes for compelling reading.

We now know Gillard wrote to the WA Corporate Affairs Commission; we know that because she herself said so at her taped exit interview at Slater and Gordon, the relevant section from the transcript having now been released to the public by former S&G partner Nick Styant-Browne.

What we don’t know is what the letter said — to date, it has not been located.

Yet Gillard’s answer — to paraphrase, that she wrote many letters on the instructions of clients — is disingenuous.

And a statement from her office, quite literally, asked: “so what?”

What we also don’t know is what further revelations there are to come to light between now and the resumption of Parliament in February.

So we go into the parliamentary recess with the whole matter unresolved; the Opposition determined to pursue the matter further, and Gillard — caught like a deer in the headlights whenever she is put on the spot over the AWU scandal — digging determinedly in, and stubbornly refusing to utter a syllable more than the barest minimum required.

The whole thing has come to a head just as the ALP has begun sliding backwards in the polls again; a Galaxy poll at the weekend had Labor falling 46-54 behind the Coalition after preferences; Essential had it slipping a point to trail 47-53.

I am unsure as to whether a Newspoll is due later tonight, but I would think its last reading of 49 Labor, 51 Coalition is too high for Labor — and that read was taken at the height of the “Abbott’s a sexist pig” campaign and therefore likely to have been artificially inflated at any rate.

In closing, The Red And The Blue endorses the call by Tony Abbott for a judicial inquiry into the AWU scandal; at the very least, it would untangle the entire sordid web of the events of the early 1990s, and answer once and for all any and all pertinent questions that demand a response.

If Julia Gillard has nothing to hide, as she claims, she will enthusiastically convene the inquiry as soon as possible.

I suspect, however, that she won’t.

I suspect, too, Gillard’s colleagues will be discussing her leadership over their Christmas cheer, behind her back, and counting their numbers to boot.

And lest anyone think the only grub in the Labor Party lives in The Lodge, soon-to-retire member for Bendigo, Steve Gibbons, said on Twitter last week that “Libs are led by a gutless douchebag and a narcissistic bimbo who aren’t fit to be MPs let alone PM and Deputy. Both should be sacked.”

Of course, the aptly named Gibbons deleted his tweet and apologised, but not before the damage was done: his true colours were on display just long enough to ricochet across the country and into every media outlet in Australia.

Then again, in the ALP there are all sorts of ways to render service to the party.

It is to be hoped the Prime Minister — spending Christmas in her famous brick veneer in Altona — is seeing the renovations are progressing to schedule.

A Perspective On Julia Gillard And The AWU Scandal

This week, the scandal enveloping Julia Gillard, centred on her conduct as a lawyer in the early-mid 1990s and involving Slater and Gordon client the AWU and figures linked to it, has become the number one story in politics; tonight, I share a perspective on the week’s developments.

 Like everyone else with an interest in the national polity, I have followed the events of the past few days with great interest, and readers of The Red And The Blue will be pleased to know that over the weekend, I will be publishing analysis and comment on these.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading some excellent coverage of these events as time has permitted me to do, and I am posting a link to an excellent comment piece that appeared in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today.

It’s by the Tele‘s resident commentator and blogger Piers Akerman, and I strongly encourage readers — irrespective of whether they nominally sit in the blue corner or the red corner — to take the time to check it out.

I’ll be back to my own comment pieces during the weekend, covering both the Gillard/AWU saga, and also to look further on what’s going on with the LNP in Queensland.

Here’s A Challenge For Julia Gillard

By now, most readers will know of the meaningless charade played out by Julia Gillard today, first at a press conference to “deal” with the AWU scandal that persists at present, and subsequently in Parliament where she simply referred to answers she gave at that press conference.

In some respects, it actually doesn’t matter any more whether she is as innocent as the clear blue sky in relation to what (for expediency) I will simply refer to as the AWU scandal, or whether she’s as guilty as sin of God only knows what; either way, the Prime Minister’s conduct leaves an awful lot to be desired.

I watched today’s press conference in the expectation that nothing at all would be clarified, and I wasn’t disappointed. But it occurs to me that the AWU scandal, in many ways, has become a metaphor for just about everything that is wrong with Gillard as Prime Minister and with the ALP generally as the present party of government.

Readers will know that I have made much of the modus operandi of the Labor Party; simply stated, it is to fling as much shit at opponents as possible, as hard as possible, with the objective that some of it sticks.

To smear political rivals and to seek to destroy reputations and careers on false premises is standard ALP practice nowadays; lest there be any doubt, the way it fought the recent Queensland state election with allegations of corrupt and unlawful conduct against Campbell Newman that were baseless is an excellent case in point.

To operate in a moral vacuum, free of the constraints of any meaningful system of ethical conduct, is a concept utterly synonymous with the Labor Party of today. The ALP is a party that seeks to win and retain office through slogans, stunts, jingoism and smart answers to legitimate questions.

To lie — and if not lie outright, to conduct itself with overt dishonesty at a basic level — is another defining characteristic of modern Labor; its carbon tax promise, arguably the difference between a technical and an outright loss at the last election and quickly discarded in subservience to the Greens, is a good example. Its utilisation and betrayal of Andrew Wilkie is another.

Gillard’s defence to any questions she has thus far faced over the AWU scandal have largely been predicated on a) the amount of time that has elapsed since the events in question; b) the quality (or otherwise) of the recollections she has of those events; c) the notion that, in the early 1990s and aged in her early 30s, she was “young and naive;” d) the absence of specific allegations of illegality against her (or, at least, the absence of any people are prepared to place on the record based on current available evidence); and e) free character assessments of other key figures implicated in the events of the AWU scandal, like this on Ralph Blewitt: “Mr Blewitt, according to people who know him, has been described as a complete imbecile, an idiot, a stooge, a sexist pig, a liar and his sister has said he’s a crook, and rotten to the core.”

I would add that it makes no difference whatsoever that Gillard’s ex-boyfriend from the time, former AWU official Bruce Wilson, declares she knew nothing: maybe she doesn’t, but in the circumstances his should be the last word anyone should take on it.

I disagree with Michelle Grattan, who writes in The Age today that by virtue of her press conference performance, Gillard has narrowed the target for her critics and their opportunity to generate fresh momentum; she did nothing of the sort.

Instead, she has focused their resolve to find a smoking gun, if it exists, to link Gillard to corrupt and fraudulent misconduct in her time at Slater and Gordon over the AWU scandal — again if, and only if, that proves to be the case.

Some commentators in the mainstream press — including many privately sympathetic to Labor — have gone to great lengths to convey the impression that Gillard is home and dry, or at the very least to give the view that on the balance of probabilities it is the opponents of Labor and/or those asking questions of Gillard (which is not, on the whole, necessarily the Coalition) who are on the flimsiest of ground.

But whether you vote Liberal, Labor or otherwise, once again — as has so often been the case with this government and this Prime Minister — it is, simply, the facts of the matter that must be established.

And so, in issuing a challenge to Gillard, my remarks cover not just this latest flare-up in the AWU scandal, but really reach across the character and conduct of her government as a whole; I pity the genuinely good people in the ALP whose work is besmirched by the standard way of their party’s operation nowadays.

These are the questions I ask of Julia Gillard, and in so doing pose my challenge; some deal with the AWU scandal and others are more concerned with her government as a whole.

1. Julia Gillard staged a press conference today to field and answer questions on the AWU scandal; this was a tactical move specifically aimed at deflating the AWU issue before facing opposition questioning. If she could provide answers to questions at a press conference, why couldn’t she do so inside the House of Representatives? Was there a fear of misleading Parliament if she did so?

2. At her press conference, Gillard repeatedly stated, in effect, that she couldn’t be questioned at length on matters pertaining to the AWU scandal by virtue of the passage of time, statements she made at the time, the unavailability of some records (e.g. her banking records) due to an expiry of time limits, and the questionable accuracy of the recollections of both herself and other key people in the events of 1995 that cannot be relied on. Will she therefore agree that the same standards should now be applied to the pursuit, by herself and by her goons, of Tony Abbott over events that occurred in 1977 whilst he was a university student?

3. During today’s press conference, Gillard asserted several times that she has been repeatedly defamed in the process of others attempting to get to the bottom of this matter; she even spelt out the purported slur (and no, I am not going to print it here). In light of that and in consideration of the repeated defamation that she claims, why has there been only one defamation action instituted by the Prime Minister to date — a proceeding against The Age that was eventually abandoned?

4. The most telling aspect of Gillard’s defence of herself is that any question raised about her involvement in these matters is part of a systematic and sustained campaign of smear and innuendo against her. If she believes that smear and innuendo constitutes such disgraceful conduct as she claims, will she and her cronies now concede that their campaign against Tony Abbott (he’s a misogynist, a woman-hater, etc) is one similarly rooted in smear and innuendo?

You see, people, Gillard may indeed be completely innocent of any wrongdoing in relation to the AWU scandal, just as she claims. She may, alternatively, be in it up to her neck. But whether she is or not, one thing she certainly is is a hypocrite.

I wrote last week that the Prime Minister has a problem, and indeed she does: irrespective of the rights or wrongs of any involvement Gillard has (or has had) in the events of the AWU scandal, her conduct as Prime Minister and that of her government puts her on pretty shaky ground to mount a defence of any credibility — be it accurate or otherwise.

Very few people believe her, and even fewer people trust her, and if Gillard wants to know why her inquisitors won’t stop until they find the smoking gun, she would be well advised to consider that smart answers, economies of honesty and ethics, clever stunts and semantic games might be a good idea at the time, but ultimately, they have a consequence.

For Gillard, that means scrutiny — of those events she least of all wishes to be scrutinised.

Misogyny And The AWU: Julia Gillard Has A Problem

Based purely on current polls, if an election were held tomorrow the ALP might — might — be re-elected. Julia Gillard’s five minutes in the sunshine of voter favour, however, will fade as the memory of her hypocritical “misogyny” speech subsides, and — in any case — real trouble is brewing.

It’s all been very impressive, in a perverse way.

Starting with a savage, blistering and brutal attack on Tony Abbott in Parliament — an attack, mind, made without a shred of evidence of “misogyny” on Abbott’s part, and made on the dubious pretext of defending a man on the record as describing bottled mussels as “salty c*nts in brine” — Gillard has seen her ratings as Prime Minister improve to the point of near-acceptability, Abbott’s plummet, and the Labor vote improve to the point the party appears to be in striking distance of the Coalition.

Cheered on by sections of the media — and aided and abetted by attack dogs such as the odious Nicola Roxon — Gillard inflicted substantial damage on both Abbott’s image and his reputation.

As usual in matters pertaining to Gillard, there was the requisite lack of honesty: Abbott is no misogynist, and Gillard knows it; yet the current Labor way of throwing as much shit as possible, as hard as possible, at an enemy to ensure some sticks is a stronger instinct for the Labor beast than are any niceties of a grounding in fact.

And, as usual in matters pertaining to Gillard, there was the requisite degree of hypocrisy: for after all, tearing Abbott to shreds on a whim and without basis might be well and good in the absence of any ethics or scruples, but to do so in defence of Peter Slipper and his revolting views on women — now firmly and publicly etched into Australia’s political yearbook — is grotesque, but broadly in line with what I suspect most Australians have come to expect from her.

I would wager, though, that the Prime Minister regrets not rushing off to an early election a month ago when her polling numbers began to improve, and if she doesn’t, she will shortly have cause to do so.

Already, the rise in Labor’s and Gillard’s polling numbers has tapered off; indeed, the ALP’s voting figures are beginning to slide again, e’er slowly, and it stands to reason that Gillard’s ratings must soon follow.

And in the absence of any other issues, the great and dishonest misogyny speech delivered by Gillard under the coward’s veil of parliamentary privilege, for the little that it is worth, is already fading from the collective conscience of the electorate.

Of course, the ruse of “Abbott the Misogynist” is simply the latest in a long line of smokescreens perpetuated and/or pursued by the Prime Minister and some of her cronies in the name of keeping their arses in ministerial leather and/or smearing and throwing shit at opponents in the name of providing governance to Australia.

The deceit of Andrew Wilkie over poker machine reform, the disgraceful race-related riot on Australia Day with its genesis in the Prime Minister’s office, the stolid defence of Craig Thomson, the recruitment of Peter Slipper as Speaker, and now the baseless accusation of Abbott as a woman-hater, to recount a mere few, all point to a Prime Minister and a government operating in a spirit of moral nihilism entirely innocent of any hint of decency, or principle, or propriety.

Speaking of Craig Thomson, he has already been hit with dozens of civil charges arising from his time at the head of the Health Services Union; indeed, investigations by Police into he and his mates at the HSU have resulted in criminal charges being laid against Michael Williamson with more to follow, and whilst it would be wrong to pre-empt the identity of the two people Police have foreshadowed charging soon, it’s hard not to guess that one, in likelihood, must be Thomson.

And so — in the last flushes of the success of her disgusting campaign against Abbott — the weather for Gillard is already beginning to sour; her numbers are beginning to falter, and as they resume their fall, so does the last realistic prospect of the Labor Party winning the election that is now almost certain to occur on schedule in August or September.

Enter the AWU, and the scandal brewing around Gillard’s time as a lawyer at Slater and Gordon in the 1990s.

I still intend to be very circumspect on this matter, but it is now directly relevant both to Gillard’s viability as Prime Minister and to the point I am making here.

No longer the preserve of “nut jobs” — Gillard’s own term — on the Internet, figures directly connected to the events of the 1990s and the scandal involving misappropriated AWU monies are now coming forward, publicly, and on the record.

Former self-confessed AWU bagman Ralph Blewitt has returned to Australia from Malaysia and is helping Fraud and Extortion Squad Police with their inquiries in relation to the allegations surrounding Gillard’s involvement in setting up a “slush fund” using AWU money.

Nick Styant-Browne, a former partner at Slater and Gordon at the time the alleged events occurred, has gone public in recent days to fill in what he says are significant gaps in the public account of these matters provided by Slater and Gordon.

He has released into the public domain a document — an insurance certificate of currency, which was required for approval of a mortgage provided by Slater and Gordon to Blewitt — which directly ties Gillard to the mortgage despite repeated denials she knew nothing about it.

Readers will see I am listing only a few examples in relation to these matters (for reasons I have previously stated) but the point is that there is now a great deal of material, including documentation and testimony, forthcoming in relation to the scandal and to Gillard’s role in the alleged events it concerns.

Significantly, there is no rash of lawsuits, no media outlets being injuncted, no websites being closed down, no journalists being fired…

We have reached the point, on the AWU issue, where it is no longer sufficient for Gillard to claim to know nothing and to protest her innocence.

With the emergence of the document relating to the mortgage provided by Slater and Gordon, she is now in a position that demands an explanation of her role in the alleged events now receiving public scrutiny in the mainstream press.

And with the emergence of numerous individuals directly involved in these events in one way or another, it’s a sure bet there will be a lot more material coming that will need to be addressed.

Typically — in the face of being repeatedly connected to the events of the AWU scandal and questioned on her conduct as a lawyer at the centre of those events — Gillard’s response is to hit out and to accuse others of smearing her. Which, at the end of the day, is a nice hypocrisy, given her own form on the same score.

But the allegations and accusations will not abate, and nor will the scandal; and as useful or as expedient as Gillard and her cronies may have found the likes of Slipper and Thomson and Wilkie, there isn’t a half-baked stunt to escape the fact that now, over issues that have haunted the Prime Minister for nearly 20 years, the walls are closing in on her.

The Prime Minister has a problem.