Skip to content

When is a quote not a quote the sequel


The Australian are doing it again. Mind you, this time kudos to them for actually providing a transcript. But anyone doing a find would see that even before they present the transcript, they taint it. At least they do on the online version which they tell us is booming.

At the beginning of the transcript, they highlight what seems to be something directly from the transcript. A question and a part of an answer.

PETER GORDON: ‘When did you first hear of an interest in acquiring a property for Wilson to live in?’

JULIA GILLARD: ‘. . . every union has what it refers to as a re-election fund, slush fund, whatever . . .’

From all appearances, it appears a question has been asked about Wilson and part of the PM’s answer said slush fund.

BUT THAT IS NOT TRUE AT ALL!!!!! Lets actually look at the transcript!

PG: When did you first hear of an interest in acquiring a property for Wilson to live in?

JG: I think (was) either very late 1992 or early 1993 Bruce talked to me about it. The flat he had in Carlton he let go over the Christmas period between 92 and 93 when he returned to Western Australia. I can’t remember if before letting the flat go he said something to me about it or whether it wasn’t until he returned the following year that he said something about it. But my understanding was what was said to me at that stage was that Ralph had an interest in investing in a property, that he had some excess money and that was what he was going to do, make a property investment, and that Bruce had talked to him about making that investment in Victoria rather than Western Australia because it would suit everybody’s purposes — Ralph would have the investment that he wanted, and the negative gearing consequent upon that that he wanted, and Bruce would have somewhere to live that he wanted to live rather than in the ordinary landlord/tenant situation. Ralph would have the benefit of knowing that he had a tenant that, you know, wasn’t going to do anything disastrous to the property, so it suited everybody’s purpose.

Also from the transcript the response at the top, but to a totally different question

PG: Right. There is another fellow called Ralph Blewitt. Has he at all material times been Western Australian-based?

JG: Yes, he has. Bruce was acting secretary of the Victorian branch of the AWU so his substantive position was as secretary of the Western Australian branch. At some point, and I must admit I don’t recall when, but some point past the transition to Victoria, he became permanently appointed as Victorian secretary of the AWU. Under the AWU’s rules it’s not possible to hold two elected positions, so Ralph became the Western Australian secretary of the AWU so, at Bruce’s behest if you like, he filled . . .

(Half a page redacted.)

It’s, it’s common practice, indeed every union has what it refers to as a re-election fund, slush fund, whatever, which is the funds that the leadership team, into which the leadership team puts money so that they can finance their next election campaign. It is not proper to use union resources for election campaigns so you need to finance them yourself. Some of them, you know, they can cost $10,000, $20,000 — they’re not cheap. So the usual mechanism people use to amass that amount of money is that they require the officials who ran on their ticket to enter payroll deduction schemes where money each week or fortnight goes from their pay into a bank account which is used for re-election purposes from time to time. They also have different fundraisers, dinners and raffles and so on to amass the necessary amount of money to mount their re-election campaign.

(Several lines redacted.)

The thinking behind the forming of incorporated associations is that it had been our experience that if you did it in a less formal way, you just had someone, say Fred Bloggs, say, oh look, I’ll just open a bank account and everybody can put the money into there, the problem developed that when the leadership team fractured, as relatively commonly happens, you got into a very difficult dispute about who was the owner of the monies in the bank account, so it was better to have an incorporated association, a legal entity, into which people could participate as members, that was the holder of the account.

Not content with manipulating parts of quotes to make new quotes (see here), they are now totally misrepresenting the transcript they are touting as a smoking gun. The inference they make at the start is NOT what I want from a media. If the facts of the case can not make a case, then manipulation of quotes is what you do.



A.Ghebranious 2012

  1. Bill permalink

    Great work! Seems strange but I used to admire the Australian, now it’s just another rag.

    Have you tried passing this on to media watch?

  2. The important point about this “union slush fund” is that it isn’t the sort of “slush fund” that comes about as a result of squirrelling away union funds, which is how that terminology has been used in recent years.

    This is money the leadership HAS PUT IN THEMSELVES. It is their own money, pooled to assist their collective re-election. That was the original meaning of “slush fund”.

    Yet again the media are deliberately muddying the waters. How many people reading the article would be able to make the distinction between the “slush fund” of 17 years ago and the “slush fund” of today?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Graham Richardson QANDA’s himself without realising. « Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: