CANBERRA, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday responded to the new allegations of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) slush fund scandal, relating to documents on the purchase of a Melbourne property by her former boyfriend and the former AWU boss, Bruce Wilson.
Gillard said Friday that she could not recall seeing a mortgage insurance document for a property partly paid for by stolen union funds when she was interviewed by her employers at law firm Slater & Gordon two and a half years later.
She has been under pressure over the past three months for the old scandal 17 years ago, which dated back to 1995 when Gillard was a lawyer at Melbourne firm Slater & Gordon.
On the ABC last night, Nick Styant-Browne, her former colleague at law firm Slater & Gordon, produced a 1993 Commonwealth Bank document that he claimed contradicted what Gillard told the firm's partners about the mortgage two-and-a-half years later.
He said the document of March 1993 shows she knew about insurance organised for the property in Melbourne. The purchase of the property was part-funded by money from the AWU Workplace Reform Association, which Gillard set up and later described as a "slush fund".
Gillard set up a legal entity for then Australian Workers Union ( AWU) boss Bruce Wilson, her partner at the time. The entity allegedly received union funds it shouldn't have. No charges were ever laid against Wilson. The law firm in 1996 made an internal investigation into the matter and cleared her.
Gillard quit the law firm later on. She has consistently denied any wrongdoing. However, as her political career progressed, allegations surrounding this case followed which were raised under privilege in the Victorian Parliament in 1995 and again in 2007 when she did a newspaper interview explaining that she had been " young and naive" and badly let down by Wilson.
She has always strenuously denied that she benefited in any way from the arrangement, or that she knew what the association was going to be used for, or that she had done anything at all wrong. However, the scandal is still around Julia Gillard. Some new evidence emerging in August this year makes her under pressure until now.