gillard caught in awu conflict

  1. 40,096 Posts.
    LOL not long now.

    JUST as a "smear campaign" is not an acceptable tactic in political attacks, so it is unacceptable in defence. It does the government no credit that in order to defend its leader from what it calls "smear and sleaze" it indulges in the same tactics against her questioners. Julia Gillard and her supporters in the media are exposed for hypocrisy by attempting to absolve her simply by denigrating witnesses.

    We are told we cannot trust Ralph Blewitt because he has used brothels - yet when allegations about Craig Thomson and brothels were raised he was given the benefit of the doubt. We are told that we cannot trust Mr Blewitt because he is disreputable, yet apparently we can trust the disreputable former boyfriend Bruce Wilson when he vouches for the Prime Minister. Mr Blewitt, apparently, is a "sexist pig" for making demeaning comments about women on Facebook, while former Speaker Peter Slipper was defended for demeaning texts about women. These are silly distractions.

    We are told now that we should not trust Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop because she met Mr Blewitt last week. Yet we should not question Ms Gillard's four-year close relationship with Mr Blewitt when she advised him on the incorporation of an association - which she later described as a "slush fund" - and witnessed a power of attorney for him to facilitate his purchase of a house, part-financed by Ms Gillard's firm. We are told not to trust the opposition because it has a file of material on the AWU affair, yet we should not question why Ms Gillard failed to open an official file on her work for Mr Blewitt and Mr Wilson. The public is told not to trust The Australian because, apparently, we want to bring down the government. And Mark Baker of The Age should not be trusted because he is a friend of former Slater & Gordon partner Nick Styant-Browne. It is, as Ms Gillard says, very complicated. Trying to win the argument by character assassination is dangerous - it is bound to end like a Shakespearean tragedy, with half a dozen bloodied daggers and the entire cast dead on the stage.

    Which is why this newspaper assumes that no one can be trusted. Only cold, hard facts matter. Our reporting has been based on detailed documentary evidence. In doing so we choose the hard course for journalism. It would be easier to engage in the

    "he-said, she-said" reportage evident in the nightly news, which has made a hash of this story. In the end this would tell us little. We would be left with nothing but self-interested, partisan posturing. We understand the patient task of piecing together evidence and breaking a story incrementally can be frustrating for all concerned - politicians, readers and even us. Still, it is the only way to establish the facts. And it has led to the specific questions we continue to publish and put to Ms Gillard, often to be met by obfuscation.

    Yesterday's statement from Slater & Gordon has provided some clarity. In declaring it had acted ethically, the firm seemed to confirm that Ms Gillard's undeclared work for Mr Wilson and Mr Blewitt had created a serious conflict of interest with the firm's major client, the AWU. History now shows this is when and why Slater & Gordon, the AWU, Mr Wilson, Mr Blewitt and Ms Gillard parted company. Yesterday the Prime Minister again told parliament that she had "done nothing wrong".
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