Julia Gillard had two big goals for the second half of 2012 and was on track to achieve both of them. The first one was simple enough: to survive. If a doctor’s guiding dictum is “do no harm,’’ the political equivalent is “being there’”.

A little chewy sticks too. Image: Tiedemann

For any leader, and particularly an unpopular one, merely making it through the closing days of parliament – the so-called “the killing season’’ - is something of an achievement.

The second goal was to finish off the year well allowing Labor to hit the ground running in 2013. That too seemed to be working. Progress through the second half of 2012 had been steady and encouraging just as she promised.

This is attributable to the reality of the carbon price - as distinct from the fear of it - and to the opportunity presented by the clearing of that dense cloud to re-define Tony Abbott as relentlessly negative, and unlikeable.

The polls since June have charted Labor’s slow but steady rise just as they have also shown a decline in Mr Abbott’s never strong personal approval. As one MP quipped recently, “Tony Abbott himself is now more unpopular than the carbon tax’‘.

Labor’s primary vote had climbed from the mid-twenties to the mid-thirties. Then came the return of the Slater and Gordon AWU slush-fund affair.

Like Paul Keating’s piggery and the Whitewater controversy that dogged Bill and Hillary Clinton without ever being fully cleared up (nor result in a charge against them) the AWU slush-fund has been on a slow burn.

Zealous opponents have been feverishly working away for years looking for that elusive smoking gun - proof that way back in the 1990s, the (mysteriously) despised Julia Gillard was part of something murky or even criminal - the legal expertise behind a conspiracy to steal union money.

For most of the time the Opposition has left the running on the issue to others - not wanting to get involved in another Godwin Grech / utegate debacle.

But what was a smouldering peripheral fascination was re-energised when one of Ms Gillard’s own - dumped former attorney general Robert McClelland - referenced the old issue in a parliamentary speech. That breathed new life into the old events resulting in renewed attention and the crisis engulfing the Government in recent days.

The final week of Parliament has seen a once reluctant Opposition weigh in fully turning the House of Representatives into a B-grade court-room.

Few voters will have engaged with the many complex details of the case and even fewer will have formed a new view of the PM based on her culpability or otherwise as a lawyer way back when. But that has never really been the Opposition’s goal anyway.

Despite breathless gotcha headlines and politically foolish over-reaches such as Julie Bishop’s personal contacts with the self-declared bag-man Ralph Blewitt, there has been no proof of any corruption or malfeasance by Ms Gillard. Neither, however, has there been a full explanation.

What there has been though is plenty of suggestion and much guilt by association. This, as one observer put it, is word-cloud politics - linking terms such as union, bag-man, corruption, boyfriend, fraud, con-man, etc. with Labor and of course with Julia Gillard.

If Ms Gillard’s prestige with voters has not been dented by all this it would be a miracle. And her standing was hardly helped when she was rebuffed on her intention to have Australia vote against Palestine in the United Nations.

“She’s basically lost the caucus,’’ said one sage Liberal observer not normally given to hyperbole. But the Opposition has hardly come out smelling of roses either.

Yesterday’s unfounded criminality claims by Tony Abbott were a clear mistake as evidenced by the fact he failed to back them or move no confidence in the PM – surely the least he should do if he was serious.

It was an untidy, unedifying end to a rancorous political year. From here, it seems next year will be the same.

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

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107 comments

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    • Pedro says:

      06:35am | 30/11/12

      Put up or shut up, Tony. And slandering the PM on commercial telly. You foolish man.

    • Kurisu Sonsaku says:

      08:19am | 30/11/12

      Wull if Gillard feel she has been slandered or defamed she can take legal action.

      Of course that would mean full disclosure, so she will just splutter & bluster as usual.

    • NO NO NO says:

      08:53am | 30/11/12

      The leader of the NOalition has got NOthing on Gillard it’s just all BS designed to smear the PM. No policies, No plans, No idea JUST PURE SMEAR.

    • Phillb says:

      09:02am | 30/11/12

      I feel the same whenever I hear the PM call him sexist with no proof Pedro…

      Insulting the asker is not answering the question.

    • acotrel says:

      09:08am | 30/11/12

      She has answered all relevant questions at two press conferences, and in Parliament.  The definition of insanity is ‘doing the something repeatedly and still expecting as different result’. Abbott is oviously earning his nicknane ?

    • Borderer says:

      09:17am | 30/11/12

      Kurisu Sonsaku
      Parlimentary privillege prevents it. How ironic the very same privillege that she used to slander him as being a mysogonist is now being used to paint her a dodgey lawyer.

    • Jaqui says:

      09:19am | 30/11/12

      @Pedro: I look forward to Gillard pushing for a legal case, she needs to put up or shut up because if she doesn’t take him to court over this, then we can assume she has something to hide.
      I am sure Larry Pickering has said a lot worse and yet she still hasn’t done a thing. Guess why?

    • iansand says:

      09:23am | 30/11/12

      I think you will find that Abbott’s statements are so obviously defamatory that he will be the one having to justify them.  He was looking a bit glum in question time.  My guess is that he was working out if he could afford the necessary increase to his mortgage if Gillard does sue.

    • Kurisu Sonsaku says:

      09:28am | 30/11/12

      @ Borderer - Abbott said it on commercial TV not in Parliament. So if Gillard is so outraged she can take legal action, she won’t because that would then require full disclosure.

    • AdamC says:

      09:33am | 30/11/12

      When Julia talks about ‘defamatory’ allegations, I always wish someone would step out of Parliament, repeat the accusations and challenge the PM to sue them. That would be entertaining.

    • AdamC says:

      09:33am | 30/11/12

      When Julia talks about ‘defamatory’ allegations, I always wish someone would step out of Parliament, repeat the accusations and challenge the PM to sue them. That would be entertaining.

    • Borderer says:

      10:03am | 30/11/12

      @Kurisu Sonsaku
      Now that is interesting, it would seem the put up or shut up is on the other foot.

    • Stephen T says:

      10:22am | 30/11/12

      @iansand: I’ll refer you to the Australian Bar Review, vol 5 No 1 March 1989 page 1 refers to conspiracy to defraud and aiding and abetting a breach of the law as the two areas of the criminal law which potentially apply to professional advice. His Honour McHugh J said (in part) “...when the lawyer goes beyond advice and draws documents for the purpose of enabling a client to achieve an objective, it is, I think, almost impossible to contend that the adviser does not aid the commission of any offence which results.”

      I would argue that the letter of appeal to the Commission (after they had initially rejected the application because it it “sounded” like a union) in which Gillard argued it was NOT a union and used the name and bona fides of Slater & Gordon, to convince the Commission to allow the illegal incorporation may fall under the auspice of the Australian Bar review.

    • Peter says:

      10:38am | 30/11/12

      @Stephen T -

      “I would argue that the letter of appeal to the Commission (after they had initially rejected the application because it it “sounded” like a union) in which Gillard argued it was NOT a union and used the name and bona fides of Slater & Gordon, to convince the Commission to allow the illegal incorporation may fall under the auspice of the Australian Bar review.”

      Uh, but it WASN’T a union, was it?  Or have I missed something?  If it wasn’t, then what is your point, exactly?

    • hammy says:

      10:41am | 30/11/12

      You make me laugh iansand.  Funniest part is you think what you say is true.

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      10:52am | 30/11/12

      Stephen T, while your resourceful rejoinder to iansand’s pathologically ‘objective’ observation might satisfy any political layperson; ian has his political antennae so highly tuned that he in fact has been able to draw such effortlessly nuanced conclusions beyond the considered reach of many mere mortals…
       
      F*** he’s clever, but whatever you do, don’t call him a lefty.

    • Stephen T says:

      11:04am | 30/11/12

      @Peter: The point is that she was not acting for the union, in actual fact there was a conflict of interest between what Slater and Gordon’s client Bruce Wilson was trying to achieve and Slater and Gordon’s client the AWU.  In representing Bruce Wilson Julia Gillard intimated that she represented the AWU which was not the case.

      When asked why she didn’t send a copy of the required AWU Executive Resolution with her application to the WA Commission for Corporate Affairs she said:
      “I was already acting for the AWU via Bruce Wilson and therefore I didn’t need to inform the AWU Executive”, there was no Executive Resolution because the AWU weren’t aware of any application, as Shorten so aptly said it was an ileggal use of the AWU’s name.

    • Gordon says:

      01:13pm | 30/11/12

      Good to see some with legal knowledge commenting: good work guys.

      1. The intent of the query from the WA Commision (I thought) was not: is this dodgy? It was: is this in our jurisdiction?  Regardless of how dodgy the Association was, and who knew it, the answer “no this is not a union”, is a correct answer to a specific technical question. No?

      2.  If the supposed aim was to fund reform-minded candidates and fund reform-minded activities the name seems consistent with the objective. Regardless of how true or untrue the objectives were in the minds of Wilson & Blewitt, unless someone can show that JG knew they were untrue at the time, I don’t see how the name itself is an issue.  There are examples of external groups who use the name of a body in their own name: Friends of the ABC, Defence force Association, to name a couple.

      3. “He buried the money and it rotted”. Has no-one woken up that we had plastic currency by then. How did it “rot”? Why has the money trail not been followed to a logical conclusion. There is dodginess somewhere! Who got the money from the sale of the bloody house?

    • Stephen T says:

      02:08pm | 30/11/12

      @Peter: You may have missed this part but as an adjunct to my previous explanation I would refer you to the determination given by His Honour McHugh J “...when the lawyer goes beyond advice and draws documents for the purpose of enabling a client to achieve an objective, it is, I think, almost impossible to contend that the adviser does not aid the commission of any offence which results.”

      This extract contained in the Australian Bar Review, vol 5 No 1 March 1989 page 1 is important as it establishes a context in relation to the accountability of Julia Gillard in the setting up of the association. That Julia Gillard was aware that an offence had been committed is demonstrated by the fact that at a later date she was instrumental in filing a defamation writ in the Supreme Court effectively gagging those in the union who were trying to disclose the fraudulent activities.

    • iansand says:

      02:49pm | 30/11/12

      This is getting silly.  2 posts, one asking for the context of StephenT’s post, and a second giving it (Forsyth’s case, about which McHugh J was writing, was about the setting up and active marketingby lawyers of tax avoidance schemes, and he was acquitted anyway) have disappeared into the black hole.  But my attempts to track the quote down reveal one thing - it is a brainless repetition from other people’s blogs.  I don’t mind the controversy - it’s the lack of imagination to which I object.

      But Rolls Canardly’s moronic attempts at personal attack make it through.  Go figure.

    • PJ says:

      03:13pm | 30/11/12

      Where is the WA file gone too?

    • Reacherhatesliears says:

      06:41pm | 30/11/12

      PJ even ATO does not expect records to be kept for longer than 7 years or 31/2 years depending.

      Read the Records Administration Act in WA.  Depending on the “record” 3/5/7/10 years.  Nothing is required to be kept for over 15 years.

      But you keep telling your lies, you are more boring than Abbott

    • acotrel says:

      06:36am | 30/11/12

      ‘This is attributable to the reality of the carbon price - as distinct from the fear of it - and to the opportunity presented by the clearing of that dense cloud to re-define Tony Abbott as relentlessly negative, and unlikeable.’

      More spin ? It is not difficult to redefine the truth when it is staring everyone in the face.

    • acotrel says:

      06:42am | 30/11/12

      I wonder why so many people were ready to believe that Tony Abbott is a misogynist ? Could it have been his early association with Mr B.A.Santamaria and his ‘barefoot and pregnant stuff’ ?  Or his current friendship with the cardinal who is also straight from the 50s ?

    • lostinperth says:

      08:31am | 30/11/12

      Only the rusted on ALP supporters believe that. Most of the rest of Australia can see the work he’s done to help women - when was the last time the PM organised a charity that raised over $100,000 to help women?
      Or sat down for a week with Aboriginal women in Central Australia to see how assistance could best be delivered.
      Or spoke about nominating an Aboriginal women to parliament?

      Abbott seeme to be doing more to advance women’s causes then our PM, who is to busy trying to cover up union rorts and illegal behaviour.

      In fact, judging by your comments about female engineers the other day I would be confident in stating that many readers of Punch believe you are a bigger misogynist then Tony Abbott

    • Brad says:

      08:57am | 30/11/12

      Acotrel,

      There needs to be more in the general media about the fact that she likely helped to bust up one marriage by pursuing a long term affair with Wilson. Let alone her role in the Emerson affair. She accuses Mr Abbott of being a misogynist, however a woman conducting a long term affair with a married man with two kids is no friend of the sisterhood. There is no greater damage one woman can do to another then by carrying out a deliberate affair.

    • Anubis says:

      09:10am | 30/11/12

      And what about your revered Prime Minister acotrel? The woman who likened married women to prostitutes, the woman who supports misogynist Slipper and god’s gift to prostitutes Thomson?  The politician who, whenever asked a question fully fails to answer it, no matter what the subject or - if it is too close to home pulls out the victim card and says “Those nasty mens are picking on me cause I’m a girl”.

      Just what category does that put Julia in to?

      I must give you one thing though acotrel, being a confirmed misogynist yourself (all female engineers are useless) I supposed you would be able to detect another misogynist when you see one wouldn’t you?

    • Jaqui says:

      09:27am | 30/11/12

      @acotrel: Look at it this way, at least Abbott, unlike Julia Gillard, doesn’t think that all married women are like prostitutes.

    • ramases says:

      10:02am | 30/11/12

      And your proof is??? Of course the proof that Gillard is a liar is well documented but proof that Abbott is a misogynist is sorely lacking.
        Of course guilt by association is a big factor in the Labor plan of things but in that the case and using your logic then every Labor Politician is a liar because they associate with Gillard, a proven liar, cant be fairer than that.

    • Chris L says:

      10:33am | 30/11/12

      “Of course guilt by association is a big factor”

      If it weren’t then people wouldn’t be able to accuse Gillard of likening married women to prostitutes. After all, this quote isn’t attributed to her.

    • Jaqui says:

      11:12am | 30/11/12

      @Chris L: So you mean when you are the head of an organisation who adopts a statement that “all married women are like prostitutes”, it isn’t attributable to you?
      Pull the other one Chris, we already know she has a special place for married men, which just shows her utter contempt for married women.

    • Chris L says:

      01:19pm | 30/11/12

      @Jaqui - Yup. Guilt by association. Big factor.

      Were you trying to disagree with me?

    • Jaqui says:

      02:54pm | 30/11/12

      @Chris L: awesome, I am off to start an association and say whatever I want because according to you it won’t be attributable to me regardless.

      Perhaps I should seek proper advice first, from someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

    • acotrel says:

      06:48am | 30/11/12

      ‘Zealous opponents have been feverishly working away for years looking for that elusive smoking gun - proof that way back in the 1990s, the (mysteriously) despised Julia Gillard was part of something murky or even criminal - the legal expertise behind a conspiracy to steal union money.’

      Perhaps the laws pertaining to slander should also apply to our parliament ?
      ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness’

      I believe in freedom of speech, but this situation is ridiculous !

    • Borderer says:

      09:24am | 30/11/12

      I agree, but what would the ALP speech writers do for a crust? Think of their families.

    • tez says:

      09:59am | 30/11/12

      @Borderer The libs need them.

    • dovif says:

      06:50am | 30/11/12

      Mark Said “there has been no proof of any corruption or malfeasance by Ms Gillard. Neither, however, has there been a full explanation.”

      That was the point, for example, Julia never denied receiving $5,000 from her ex boyfriend, she just said she cannot remember. For me, if someone gave me $5,000 I would normally remember. She has never really answer the question of the money

      The other thing that she did not remember was the conveyencing, it was not as if Julia’s ex-boyfriend was hiding it from Julia, he used Julia’s law firm to do the conveyencing/mortgage. Julia has to know he got a new place. She stayed there afterall. She might be “young and Naive” and never asked her boyfriend where the money come from, but she was smart enough to know about the slush fund

    • andye says:

      08:52am | 30/11/12

      @dovif: “That was the point, for example, Julia never denied receiving $5,000 from her ex boyfriend, she just said she cannot remember. For me, if someone gave me $5,000 I would normally remember. She has never really answer the question of the money”

      You seem to be cutting and pasting a lot today, dovif.

      Also, I explained the other day that I found it plausible. With ex partners there has been a number of large transactions I wouldn’t remember the exact details of, over various things like holidays, loans, bond, large purchases. Some of those would have been greater than that amount. I do know there was a number of them but I couldn’t tell you the amounts or exact details.

      I don’t want to get condescending about the amount of money, dovif, but it is 5 grand. It ain’t that much in the scheme of things for a lot of people.

    • dovif says:

      09:30am | 30/11/12

      ANdye

      Then she should have said it might have happened, she never gave a yes or a no, she just said that CBA only keep record for 7years, it seems evasive as if she had something to hide

      As for cutting and pasting a lot, I made the same comment in 2 article, the same amount as Gillard calling Abbott out on fake sexism.

    • Chris L says:

      09:57am | 30/11/12

      “she never gave a yes or a no”

      If she didn’t remember the details, how could she give a yes or no? That would be lying.

    • Joan says:

      06:50am | 30/11/12

      PM - squeaky clean? - laugh of the year. The overnight knifing of Rudd, her No Carbon Tax doublecross,  Wilkie double cross, the trail of broken families left in her lust for married men. A woman with a heart of stone and up to her neck in mud as she goes through life. A sorry day for Australia that this type of person became PM of Australia - rotten to the core as layer by layer of Gillard actions and persona is revealed.

    • dibatag says:

      06:59am | 30/11/12

      while Gillard might not have done anything wrong,at least in her view,with the electors the muck will stick

    • Borderer says:

      09:26am | 30/11/12

      How does she know she hasn’t done anything wrong if she can’t recall?

    • Over it says:

      12:09pm | 30/11/12

      Maybe she’s done nothing wrong legally, but just as she was a dodgy unethical lawyer she is the same character in a new role.  It is nothing but one coverup after another starting with Thompson ,a friggen protection racket and all they can do is attack the lnp. It stinks that we have to wait to get this pathetic corrupt government booted out of office.

    • dafall says:

      07:02am | 30/11/12

      Death stare??  Meh - you wanna see a REAL one, take a look at Julie Bishop ... now that’s the real McDeath stare ...

    • Achmed says:

      07:03am | 30/11/12

      The only smoking gun is the one Abbott?Bishop have shot themselves in the foot with

    • FINK says:

      08:14am | 30/11/12

      @Achmed,
      Have to sort of agree with you there.
      However, Bishops aim was straight and true, but bloody Tony got in the way of the shot, coping a cap right in his @ss.

    • tez says:

      10:33am | 30/11/12

      @ Achmed; It’s the loaded gun fired at Julie Bishop by Abbott apparently her position is dispensable.

    • PJ says:

      07:15am | 30/11/12

      Whatever is pointed out spoken, no matter how many of Decency and Respectability Contracts are broken, if Gillard gets up and starts shouting out insults after, wagging that finger, doing that little Two step, the Australian media always pronounces she has won the day. A ‘feisty performance’ they say, like we’re viewing cheap television, the sort that exploits amoral poor people in America.

      What have we become?

      How can you join in the celebration that there is ‘No evidence’ to the questions asked?

      There was no file created despite that being proper procedure at Slater and Gordon. No file means:
      - no evidence
      - no trace
      - no accountability for actions
      - no income for Slater and Gordon
      - no knowledge of the formation of the Association at Gordon and Slater
      - no one knows the Association exists at the AWU.
      - the formation of the Association is a secret between Wilson, Gillard and Blewett

      - then we find out the West Australian Corporate Affairs Commission file has also disappeared. Just take a moment.

      - we heard how Gillard had one client, the AWU.
      - we had been told Gillard had only ‘Given Advice’ about the set up of the Slush Fund, but did not had a hand in it.
      - yet yesterday we learned that Gillard had written to the Australian Commission to persuade then to open the Association. That’s ‘Hands On’, not acting at a distant advisory capacity as was inferred.

      - the WA Commission required 5 members to run the account, but this account was only to have 2, Wilson and Blewett.
      - that there was not the Required 5 members was never pointed out to them.
      - the Fund was set up as ‘a Workplace Reform Association’ not a ‘Re- Election Slush Fund’.

      - even after Gillard left Slater and Gordon under ‘mutual consent’
      - even after she had broken with Wilson

      - No Authorities were told of the Funds existence and the fraud carried on after.

      We’re all okay with this because of the ‘feisty’ performance.

    • Phillb says:

      09:12am | 30/11/12

      I’m glad I am not the only one that hates hearing about her ‘feisty’ performance.  Seriously, I would rather she be meek as a kitten if it meant straight answers, ownership and the realisation people can judge her on her character and performance not just her sex.

    • Expat Ozzie says:

      09:15am | 30/11/12

      @PJ: Are you really Donald Trump PJ? You sound allot like him. All bluster and light on fact.

    • Anubis says:

      09:17am | 30/11/12

      Yes a feisty performance. The origins of the word feisty “[C19: from dialect feist, fist small dog; related to Old English f?sting breaking wind]”

      I would have to agree that most of Gillard’s performances could be related to dog farts.

    • Lol says:

      10:42am | 30/11/12

      I’d rather watch her speak than that moronic Abbott
      . He. Speaks. One. Word. At. A .Time.With. His. Head. Wagging. No.No.No.    zzzzzzzzzzzz

    • PJ says:

      04:29pm | 30/11/12

      If Gillard had of opened a File as she was supposed to:
      - Slater and Gordon could of collected there money due for work done
      - Slater and Gordon would have known about the AWU Account
      - the AWU would have known about the Account
      - there would probably not have been an account because there needs to be 5 members administering not two, Blewett and Wilson.
      - the Account would have ben Registered with the WA Commission with the correct name that befits it’s purpose.

      In short there would have been no opportunity to defraud $1 million.

    • Mahhrat says:

      07:30am | 30/11/12

      You know, I’m just looking at that picture.

      If any public servant I know treated another member of staff with that kind of aggressive body language, she’d be couselled for inappropriate behaviour.

      Knock that shit off.  I wonder what our parliament would achieve were they actually held accountable for that kind of behaviour.

    • acotrel says:

      09:14am | 30/11/12

      And we wonder why OHS is not taken seriously in many workplaces ?  Who sets the example ?

    • Anubis says:

      09:20am | 30/11/12

      I would assume that is why they have changed the picture

    • Kurisu Sonsaku says:

      07:35am | 30/11/12

      PM Squeaky clean - To paraphrase Tallulah Bankhead;

      She is as pure as driven slush.

    • acotrel says:

      09:17am | 30/11/12

      To paraphrase Acotrel - They should use Abbott’s head as a dunny brush.

    • Kurisu Sonsaku says:

      09:30am | 30/11/12

      @ Acotrel - they don’t need to, your tongue has already done the job.

    • AdamC says:

      11:50am | 30/11/12

      In all seriousness, though, this week certainly vindicated the Coalition strategy of continuing to dig into AWU-Gate. They haven’t nailed Gillard yet but, let’s not forget, earlier this week Gillard was still carefully non-denying sending a letter to WA officials and insisting her role was merely to ‘advise’ on setting up the fund. That story is now in tatters and Julia was forced to drag out the Carmen Lawrence, ‘I do not recall’ routine.

      Call me suspicious, but it all suggests there is ample reason for Julie Bishop to keep looking around. Were there is smoke and all that ...

    • ramases says:

      08:30am | 30/11/12

      Did you actually read what you wrote Mark and if you did how could you do it with a straight face. Squeaky clean, that’s almost as funny as acotrels posts. This PM is a clean as a group of mud fighters after the bout.
        Her penchant for lying not only to the public but to the Independents to gain and hold onto power negates your assertion that she is squeaky clean once and for all. As for the other claim that all she wanted to do was survive, that’s all she has wanted to do from the time she knifed Rudd in the back and she will use whatever underhanded trick or lie that suits her purpose. 
        If the PM is so squeaky clean lets her convene a Royal Commission into the WA affair and all Union dealings over the last 30 years or would this show the public the true scale of the lies that this person has told. Its either put up or shut up ,as far as most are concerned as this affair has gone on long enough and a definitive answer is needed not the convenient excuse that she cant remember.

    • acotrel says:

      09:21am | 30/11/12

      ‘. Squeaky clean, that’s almost as funny as acotrels posts.’

      From a purely impartial perspective, - I am an expert on liars -  Julia Gillard is not one. And she doesn’t even use a script .

    • ramases says:

      09:55am | 30/11/12

      People who are usually are!!!!!

    • Ripa says:

      11:10am | 30/11/12

      @acotrel
      ” I am an expert on liars -  Julia Gillard is not one.”

      Love your work acotrel, whats it like living in a different reality smile?

    • Anubis says:

      11:18am | 30/11/12

      acotrel - impartial haaaaaaaaaaahahaaahahahahahahaahhaahahahaahaha

      Joke of the month there acotrel

      * There will be no carbon tax under a Government I lead
      * We will seek consensus on the best way to price carbon and take it to the electorate at the 2013 election
      * I was only a member (of the Socialist Alliance) during my University days
      * We will create a Coast Guard
      * We will deliver cheaper groceries through Grocery Watch
      * We will deliver cheaper fuel through Fuel Watch
      * We are helping working families
      * I now pronounce a Timor solution
      * We will create a fair and humane solution to the asylum seekers issue
      * I was young and naive (at 37 whilst a partner in a law firm, yeah right)
      * I have done nothing wrong
      * I can’t remember
      * I have no recollection
      * We will manage the nations borders
      * Craig Thomson has my full support
      * Craig Thomson is innocent
      * I fully support Speaker Slipper
      * Tony Abbott is a misogynist
      * We are fiscal conservatives

      Do you want more examples of what a liar says @acotrel. Who was it who uttered all these? There is your liar

    • Geko says:

      11:31am | 30/11/12

      ROTFLMAO
      Good one Anubis!
      The blinkered rusted-on Labor crowd will studiously avoid these blatant lies.

    • Keith says:

      08:32am | 30/11/12

      The sooner Gillard goes, the better Australia, and as it follows, we, will be. She has to go! Now!

    • acotrel says:

      09:25am | 30/11/12

      And Abbott would be much better.  Sounds great if you say it quickly ?

    • C says:

      08:32am | 30/11/12

      Isn’t it time that columnists like Mark Kenny were required to declare their political associations and allegiances when they publish this sort of story?
      I doubt any politician is “squeaky clean” but does anyone really doubt that the departure of Ms Gillard from Slater and Gordon by “mutual consent” was anything other than being required to leave? Law firms like S & G do not require staff to go without good cause. They were, at very least, concerned by her conduct.
      Ms Gillard did not just have a union official as a client she had a personal relationship with him. That files conveniently go “missing” and that other records are “no longer available” should have alarm bells ringing.
      Instead the government, with the help of certain columnists, is attempting to make out that this is all a smear campaign by Abbott - and nothing more.
      Give me a break - smearing the messenger with your own mud just gets your own hands even dirtier.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      09:03am | 30/11/12

      Why @C ? Nobody asks that of any journalists on the ABC, not that they need to! Anyway, that’s what a free press is all about; dissenting opinions.
      But wait for Gillard’s further restrictions on free speech and press as she becomes more desperate.
      Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

    • Chris L says:

      10:07am | 30/11/12

      He doesn’t hate Gillard and love Abbott. He must be biased!!!

    • ChrisW says:

      11:17am | 30/11/12

      @Chris L - no mate this time take a look at WHO the columnist is married to - a Labor politician I believe - I think ALL journalists should be required to state such associations - marriage, live with, in a relationship with, member of that party….at least then we would be aware of potential bias… I don’t think @C was having a pro-Abbott moment - more like a “there is bias here in favour of JG because of the columnist’s political leanings” - and there is!

    • Chris L says:

      02:45pm | 30/11/12

      @Chris W - Whoever he’s married to, a quick look through the other articles by Mr Kenny shows equal attention given to both sides of politics. He’s shown often that he is capable of levelling criticism and praise at either side when it’s deserved (at least, according to his analysis). In my opinion he’s the most balanced contributor to the Punch.

    • NGS says:

      08:40am | 30/11/12

      She seems to think that Lawyer behaviour is good enough for the office she holds. She thinks its all ok as long as it can’t be proven. That’s her basis for not answering questions in Parliament, that she can obfuscate and make mountains out of molehills in her attempts to deflect and decry. She seems to think that we are all village idiots and can’t see what she is up to, but now we have it confirmed once again that she will lie, and lie again and again. And she seems to think this is appropriate behaviour for Prime Minister. She is wrong, dead wrong. Lawyers behaving like their stereotypes is one thing, Prime Ministers behaving like stereotypical lawyers is revolting.

    • acotrel says:

      09:28am | 30/11/12

      So you would sack most of the Liberal Party ? It must be the most common prior profession of most politicians - why would their behaviour change ?

    • FINK says:

      10:03am | 30/11/12

      @acotrel,
      “So you would sack most of the Liberal Party ?”
      Why not! That’s all that John Howard achieved in his first term. Delete and reshuffle his cabinet, oh sorry and think a GST was the other thing he did.

    • Kaff says:

      10:48am | 30/11/12

      @Fink

      No, GST was the second term, after he won a majority of seats but not a majority of the vote.

    • FINK says:

      12:18pm | 30/11/12

      @Kaff,
      Thanks Kaff, I stand corrected.

    • ProfGold says:

      09:16am | 30/11/12

      “This, as one observer put it, is word-cloud politics - linking terms such as union, bag-man, corruption, boyfriend, fraud, con-man, etc. with Labor and of course with Julia Gillard.”

      That might be how the media are playing it.  But the people I talk to associate the Coalition with mud-slinging, dirt, scumbag, and desperation.

      A curious thing about the media: no one’s asking the obvious questions (a) Who’s paying Ralph Blewitt’s expenses? (b) What’s in it for Nick Styant-Brown?
      These are far more interesting questions than whether Julia Gillard recalls a letter 17 years old.

    • acotrel says:

      09:31am | 30/11/12

      ‘A curious thing about the media: no one’s asking the obvious questions (a) Who’s paying Ralph Blewitt’s expenses? (b) What’s in it for Nick Styant-Brown?’

      Follow the money trail ?

    • acotrel says:

      09:34am | 30/11/12

      When Blewitt was interviewed on the 7.30 Report on ABC1, he mentioned who was a financing his jaunt. Perhaps we could start there and investigate ?

    • acotrel fan says:

      10:34am | 30/11/12

      I like acotrel - even when he bugs me. Keep it up ole bean!

    • john of solomon says:

      09:29am | 30/11/12

      I don’t like Tony Abbott and doubt he will ever be Prime Minister, but by the same token I find it hard to believe that someone supposedly as smart as Gillard had absolutely no inkiling of what was going on with her then boyfriend and the AWU, she was either very gullible or very cunning and either way I don’t think she should be the Prime Minister of Australia.

    • Karen from Qld says:

      09:51am | 30/11/12

      I wonder if Rudd got a knife sharpening set from his secret Santa at the office Christmas party.

    • Marron from Pemberton says:

      11:12am | 30/11/12

      Why do you bother Karen?
      blowin in the wind.

    • Karen from Qld says:

      11:38am | 30/11/12

      Why do I bother - 40 and counting - tick tick tick

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      10:04am | 30/11/12

      Another day of The Punch, another dozen (dozen!) “contributions” from acotrel.

      All of them sneering, dismissive, argumentative and smearing.

      You really drag the tone of the debate mate, and spoil any chance of rational, reasonable conversation in this place.

      You’ve turned this place in to a pig sty.

    • LMAO says:

      10:12am | 30/11/12

      @lowercaseandrew

      So you think “acotrel” is actually Tony Abbott ?

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      10:34am | 30/11/12

      @LAMO

      Mindless comments such as yours are one of the reasons this debate is so poor.

      Not everything is about Abbott. Or Gillard.

      Please try to get past the most obvious and banal of political motivations.  Do better for yourself, if not your fellow readers.

      This place doesn’t HAVE to be a repository of stupidity, party slogans and dull-witted one-liners.

    • upper caste malden says:

      10:39am | 30/11/12

      really funny lca
      Abbott has turned parliament into a pig sty with his continuous dummy spit; calls for suspension of standing orders and lack of debate on policy.
      He is a disgrace to the voters of his electorate.

      With Abbott as opposition leader, there can be NO debate. Ditch the misogynist and bring debate back to parliament.

    • Chris L says:

      01:35pm | 30/11/12

      Acotrel is not the only contributor making repetitive, two-dimensional comments, but he is the most prolific at the moment.

    • George says:

      02:38pm | 30/11/12

      along with PJ and his Liberal “facts” instead of honest real fatcs.

      His comments are half truths, rumour, drunken pub gossip, misinformation and just plain lies.

    • LMAO says:

      02:42pm | 30/11/12

      @lowercaseandrew

      “This place doesn’t HAVE to be a repository of stupidity, party slogans and dull-witted one-liners.”

      Try telling that to Tony Abbott.

    • LMAO says:

      03:59pm | 30/11/12

      @lowercaseandrew

      “This place doesn’t HAVE to be a repository of stupidity, party slogans and dull-witted one-liners.”

      Try telling that to Tony Abbott, Andrew.

    • Helen of Troy says:

      10:07am | 30/11/12

      Anyone watch the Brandis press conference this morn? Nails being hammered in

    • AdamC says:

      10:16am | 30/11/12

      Well, for some mystifying reason, my entirely innocuous comments about this matter are not being posted on the other AWU-Gate thread. So I will post it here.

      The last week has made Julia look pretty bad in some respects, but not bad enough to cost her the prime ministership. Over summer, both the Coalition and Labor will be scrambling to determine two things:

      a) whether any copies of the WA letter still exist anywhere; and

      b) if so, whether the letter contains any false representations about the nature of the slush fund.

    • the moor says:

      12:04pm | 30/11/12

      The only reason the Libs stop to these depths to score points is because they are a total failure on the policy front.  Their track record since the ‘Budget Reply Speech’ failure is abysmal.  They just can’t seem to come to grips with the reality that they aren’t the government and that the existing government is not going to collapse.  The longer the denial that there are systemic problems which need to be dealt with goes on the less likely it is that they will win the next election.

    • NotSoSimple says:

      12:22pm | 30/11/12

      This is freaking hilarious! The Punch is so predictable! The PM played a brilliant rope-a-dope strategy in Question Time yesterday and made Abbott commit no clear case of her wrongdoing into Hansard and lo and behold, we have not one, but THREE negative articles in tandem about Gillard and the Labor government,

      Geez, you’d think she gave Abbott and Bishop a bloody nose, wouldn’t ya? You might even think the conservative forces were just a teensy bit worried about PM Gillard’s fighting qualities and the fact that she and her side of politics are the only ones with any policies or vision AT ALL for this country.

    • mikey says:

      01:09pm | 30/11/12

      I’m really looking forward to the three pre-election debates between Gillard and Abbott.  She will absolutely cream him.

    • Rolls Canardly says:

      01:22pm | 30/11/12

      Yeah, OhSoSimple.
      She actually began the ‘brilliant’ strategic move before her political career even kicked off, by cleverly leaving a paper trail of incriminating documents that would mysteriously disappear from various archives, and getting shunted by her other partners for being such a great asset to S&G, to move onto the preferred vocation of all communist lawyers…
      Rather than just denying the truth, and obfuscating, and pouring vitriol on her detractors, she has in fact been building a web to snare the unwitting members of the misogynist, internet nutjob society as they flail about in her wily trap.
      Wilson, and Blewitt were also in on her cunning plan to catch the evil tories out, and they have given the better part of their lives sleeping on this clever ruse, to help their ‘friend’ nobly stay on as PM as she lays all of the true facts on the table… Oh, wait!
       
      Obviously a student of the iansand school of political analysis, it must truly strike a raw nerve when folk just refuse to see the ‘facts’ the same way you do.

    • NotSoSimple says:

      02:12pm | 30/11/12

      Yawn, Rolly Polly. Put up or shut up. Facts and evidence make cases. Abbott had none to produce. Game Over.

      It’s all an irrrelavant 20 yr old smoke screen anyway so the LIbs avoid actually discussing “policy” - oops, if they had any.

      Bored now.

    • Bear says:

      02:15pm | 30/11/12

      Rolls what “disappeared” paper trail? This whole thing was dredged up and turned into something it isn’t by the Liberal Dirt Unit because there IS paper!

    • the moor says:

      02:20pm | 30/11/12

      Rolls dig into any lawyer’s past and their will be instances where they have been deceived by clients. Very few of us will go through life without knowing and dealing with people who are not being totally truthful about their intentions.  Can you honestly say you are one of those people who hasn’t.  I doubt it very much

    • iansand says:

      02:43pm | 30/11/12

      Rolls Canardly is having fun today.  I must have hit a raw nerve or 2.

    • NotSoSimple says:

      03:17pm | 30/11/12

      And where is my reply? Disappeared into the ether. Funny about that.

      Abbott has made unsubstantiated claims about the PM’s behaviour being criminal. He has not been able to back thst up with little unimportant things called facts. He is the one who islet with egg on his face, not Gillard.

      Smoke screens which are used to avoid discussion of actual policy only point out the paucity of ideas from this Opposition leader. The fact that he was not present for the NDIS debate speaks volumes.

      Rage all you like, Canardly, it changes nothing. Your name is rather apt, actually. This baseless, unproven mudslinging allegation is indeed a canard.

    • Achmed says:

      06:47pm | 30/11/12

      On the news this morning they were saying the Parties will be concentrating on the election, going very much into election mode.
      Labor - NDIS, NBN, Pokies, the economy.

      Liberals - more sleaze, smear to distract from their tax increase to pay for maternity leave, their recent vote against a tax cut for small business, their plan to give away taxpayer money from the budget to big business polluters, that fact thattheir pacific Solution that they ranted about since 2005 has been initiated and is failing and fingers crossed the Royal Commission into Child Abuse dont investigate st patricks

 

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