4BC Mornings: As Julia Gillard continues to be dogged by accusations and investigations over her time with Slater & Gordon the Prime Minister has lashed out at The Australian.
Greg Cary talk to Fairfax’s Federal Political Reporter, Francis Keany about how the story is playing out in Canberra
The Australian says Julia Gillard has sought to dismiss the controversy about her dealings with the Australian Workers Union, its official Bruce Wilson (her then lover) and her departure from the law firm Slater & Gordon as the claims of "misogynists and nut jobs on the internet". Yet the information that The Australian and award-winning reporter Hedley Thomas have relied on for a series of revelations has come from documentary evidence and reputable sources. Crucially, Thomas obtained a transcript of an interview conducted, as part of an internal investigation, by senior Slater & Gordon partners with Ms Gillard just before her departure. Two of those partners have also gone on the record. Yesterday's exclusive report was based on contemporaneous diary entries by then AWU boss Ian Cambridge, now a Fair Work Australia commissioner. A critical diarised conversation was confirmed under statutory declaration this week by former union staffer Wayne Hem, who says Wilson gave him $5000 cash to deposit in Ms Gillard's account. Ms Gillard has not denied or explained this deposit. Rather she has accused this newspaper of running a "smear".
Ms Gillard has used the lawyer's trick of seizing on minor errors to pass this off as a "defamatory" campaign by The Australian, but now faces keen interest across the Fairfax press, with new stories broken by The Age. Her plea for incuriosity, however, has been heard at the ABC. It is deeply worrying that a taxpayer-funded media organisation - which did not hesitate to run allegations from three decades ago about Tony Abbott's alleged behaviour as a teenager at university - is censoring coverage and avoiding legitimate questions about Ms Gillard's professional behaviour as a 34-year-old partner in a law firm, and her stubborn reluctance to be open about it now.