Commissioner Ian Cambridge

Ian Cambridge and Bill Ludwig covered up the 1996 AWU fraud case which helped Julia Gillard

Sometimes you can say one word or one line that can destroy your case or defence. With Ian Cambridge and Bill Ludwig there are just a couple of lines that you need to look at that destroy their creditability that they were trying to get back the stolen money in the Bruce Wilson / Julia Gillard / AWU fraud in 1996.

The evidence for this comes straight from the horses mouth in Ian Cambridge’s affidavit he wrote in 1996 and the letter he sent to the then Federal Minister for Industrial Relations Laurie Brereton in 1996 asking for a Royal Commission into the AWU scandal.

It is not always what you say, it can be what you do not say that is telling on what the reality is. A prime example is in court where parties leave out information that is not beneficial to there case.

Remember this when reading this post. In January 1996 Ian Cambridge wrote to the Federal Labor Party government requesting a royal commission. In March 1996 Labor lost government and the John Howard led coalition government came to power. If Cambridge was serious about having a Royal Commission why did he not write to the Howard government requesting a Royal Commission? Because he knew there was a good chance they would actually have a Royal Commission!


This has been written about extensively here and many other places, but a it is worth having a quick overview.

In the early 1990’s Julia Gillard’s then boyfriend Bruce Wilson and others were committing mass fraud and theft at the Australian Workers Union. Julia Gillard was involved in helping Bruce Wilson and she left the law firm she worked for, Slater and Gordon and Bruce Wilson and others left the union in 1995. Exactly how much Julia Gillard helped Bruce Wilson and when she exactly left Slater and Gordon is in dispute, but lets not argue those points here. Ian Cambridge who was then Joint National Secretary of the AWU started an investigation and in January 1996 wrote a letter to the federal minister asking for a Royal Commission. Bill Ludwig who was then the President of the AWU instituted various proceedings to get some of the money back. In one of these proceedings Ian Cambridge wrote an affidavit in September 1996. The union never recovered any money as they dropped off the chase. There were also various police investigations which went nowhere.

There was clearly a factional fight going on in the union and very few if any people in management had clean hands. From what I can tell is that Bill Ludwig, Bruce Wilson and Ian Cambridge were on one side with the other Joint National Secretary Steve Harrison and others on the opposite side.

What is clear is that the Steve Harrison side was going hard after Bruce Wilson and then Ludwig and Cambridge retaliated and went hard after everyone as if to say if Bruce Wilson goes down you will too. Bill Ludwig and Ian Cambridge would have been fully aware by doing what they did would put the blow torch on many people in the union movement and Labor Party to make sure that the whole mess was covered up.

It is highly likely that Bill Ludwig at least and likely Ian Cambridge were beneficiaries to some degree of the many cash cheques Bruce Wilson authorised.

Ian Cambridge’s affidavit (Click here to read the affidavit)

In Ian Cambridge’s affidavit he signed on the 19th September 1996 you can see where he goes right after the document trail. The affidavit was produced in a matter instituted by Bill Ludwig against many members of the AWU. In the affidavit it shows Cambridge sent letters to banking institutions and also the law firm Maurice Blackburn requesting information and files. Slater and Gordon lost the AWU account in 1995 when the fraud and theft came to light and it was moved to Maurice Blackburn.

Nowhere in the affidavit does it say or show that Ian Cambridge requested any information from Slater and Gordon which leaves one greatly disturbed. There is no excuse for it, even more so given he went hard against Maurice Blackburn trying to get their file.

Some of the evidence in the affidavit of Cambridge going after the paper trail:

Page 33 paragraph 26 – 4TH August 1995 – Robert.F.Smith – Branch Secretary of the AWU Victoria Branch – sent a fax to Cambridge that he intended laying charges against Bruce Wilson under union rules and that these charges would also be forwarded to the police.

Page 33 paragraph 27 – 9th August 1995 – Cambridge says he wrote to the Commonwealth Bank seeking details of bank accounts that were in dispute by parties being respectively represented by Maurice Blackburn and Slater and Gordon lawyers. He says he sent a copy of the letter to  Robert.F.Smith and Bruce Wilson.

From what I can tell the 9th of August 1995 is the first time that Cambridge became involved in the investigation of fraud. If this is the case it is 5 days after Robert.F.Smith wrote to Cambridge flagging his intended actions against Bruce Wilson and in my mind is clearly the old trick by Cambridge “attack is the best form of defence”. Cambridge is saying if you go after Bruce Wilson we will come after you.

Page 27 Paragraph 19 – Cambridge says “I wrote to all banks and financial institutions in Australia” requesting details of all accounts held in the union’s name. And on other pages such as 33 and 34 Cambridge says he again wrote to the Commonwealth Bank and at one stage he says he received correspondence from the bank saying it had been referred to their solicitor.

Page 34 Paragraph 31 – 8th September 1995 – Cambridge also says he wrote to Bob Smith AWU Victorian Branch Secretary requesting information. At paragraph 32 Cambridge says he received correspondence from Bob Smith saying he had sought legal advice and would send the information requested.

Page 37 Paragraph 44 – 21st June 1996 – Cambridge writes to Steve Harrison Joint National Secretary requesting he counter sign a letter to Maurice Blackburn lawyers requesting the relevant files. Mr Harrison never did sign the letter.

Page 39 Paragraph 52 – Ian Cambridge writes to Maurice Blackburn and requests they send the relevant files to Bill Ludwig’s lawyers C.A. Sciacca and Associates in Federal Court matters 1247 and 1296 of 1995.

Page 39 Paragraph 55 – Maurice Blackburn advise Cambridge their CEO, John Cain, is on leave and when he returns the matter will be raised with him. At paragraph 57 Maurice Blackburn advise Cambridge their client has refused to make the file available as it is covered by privilege. The client is the Bob Smith, the AWU Victorian Branch Secretary. At paragraph 58 Cambridge suggests Smith will not release the files to cover-up his actions.

Above is just short summary of the parts in the affidavit showing Ian Cambridge going after the paper trail. There is plenty more in the affidavit. The key parts start at page 27 paragraph 19 showing the correspondence.

So why did Cambridge not go after Slater and Gordon. 

In the affidavit at paragraph 18.2 pages 19 and 20 Ian Cambridge, raised specific questions about the role of Ms Gillard’s law firm, Slater & Gordon, in the purchase of a Melbourne property by Wilson. “I am unable to understand how Slater & Gordon, who were then acting for the Victorian branch of the union, could have permitted the use of funds which were obviously taken from the union, in the purchase of private property of this nature, without seeking and obtaining proper authority from the union for such use of its funds,” Mr Cambridge said.

In the affidavit there is not one letter, fax or phone call to Slater and Gordon from Ian Cambridge requesting information or files? So who was Cambridge protecting? Well we know in the affidavit that Cambridge was working with Bill Ludwig given Cambridge wanted the Maurice and Blackburn files sent to Ludwig’s lawyers. We also know Ludwig was close to Bruce Wilson.

Yes, Cambridge does go hard against Bruce Wilson in the affidavit. But not as hard as he could have if he was serious. At the time of writing the affidavit there were a number of police investigations either just concluded or still in motion. So going hard against Wilson was possibly just to cover themselves in case the police did do their job. Also the Howard Liberal government had just come to power a few months earlier so maybe Cambridge and Ludwig were worried about the federal government holding a judicial inquiry. But they made sure they helped keep the most powerful evidence against Bruce Wilson, which Slater and Gordon had, hidden.

Ian Cambridge wanted a Royal Commission (Click here to read his full letter) When you click on the link scroll down to see the actual letter.

As I raised in my previous post “Cambridge wrote to the then federal Minister for Industrial Relations Laurie Brereton in 1996 asking for a Royal Commission into the AWU scandal. Cambridge was not expecting a Royal Commission, all he was doing was improving his negotiating position for a bribe which he eventually took. He would have been fully aware that a Labor government that is controlled by the unions was not going the have a royal commission into their own supporters.

On further reflection and with further evidence what is clear is that Cambridge was in fact putting the blow torch on the federal government to make sure the whole matter disappeared as well as looking after his own position. In the last paragraph of his letter he says “I ask for your commitment to initiate an inquiry into this matter” “if re-elected”. Cambridge sent the letter on the 23 January 1996 and the Federal Government announced the election on the 27th January 1996 to be held on the 2nd March 1996.

All my research says that everyone knew Labor was in for a hiding at the 1996 election and that is what happened. The ALP lost 31 seats to the coalition and its 38.8% primary vote was the lowest recorded by the ALP since 1934. This is important because when Cambridge said in his letter “if re-elected” what he was really saying to Laurie Brereton is, you deal with it or John Howard and the liberals might when they come to power. Brereton would have choked when he read the letter.

It must be remembered what I wrote in a previous post where I quoted from the Victorian Government Hansard where it says in relation to the Cambridge letter:

Not long after Robert F. Smith, branch secretary at the AWU wrote a letter to Steve Harrison who along with Ian Cambridge was joint national secretary of the AWU.

The letter is in the Victorian Government Hansard and starts off:

Dear Steve,

Further to our telephone discussion this morning, I propose the following resolution to be put to national executive next month.

As we have discussed, you know as well as I do that if Cambridge is not stopped we are all history. I have spoken to Bill Kelty and Jennie George, and they are supportive of this course of action. Both you and I can work the phones before the national executive meeting to make sure we have the numbers before this motion is put. I have already spoken to a number of national executive and they are very nervous to say the least. Please ring when you have considered my proposal. (Click here to read more)

Cambridge had achieved his aim with the letter. Intimidate people to close down the whole affair. If it was not closed down Bruce Wilson was in a lot of trouble and that would have led back to Bill Ludwig and I have no doubt Ian Cambridge as well. As we know Ian Walter Cambridge ultimately took a bribe with his appointment as a Commissioner to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission in 1996.

Julia Gillard was a major beneficiary of the actions of Bill Ludwig and Ian Cambridge.

Some questions that Cambridge needs to answer:

1. Why did he not request information or files from Slater and Gordon given he chased so hard for information from Maurice Blackburn and the Banks?

2. Why did he ask the Labor government for a Royal Commission when he knew they would not have one?

3. Why did he not write to the Howard government requesting a Royal Commission? Was he worried they would actually have a Royal Commission?

3. Why did he shut his mouth when he was appointed a Commissioner? There was nothing legally stopping him from still pushing for an inquiry.

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24 replies »

  1. So, if not for Bill Ludwig, Ian Cambridge, Robert Smith, BIll Shorten, Nicola Roxon, Murphy and Peter Gordon as a minimum, not sure who I left out, this country would not have had the crooked PM we have now. Can these guys not be charged for suppressing a crime?

  2. will all this talk get anything done shane we can speculate but i think gillard and her cronies have this one coverd.

    • People are saying it is going to be raised in parliament again this week. So see what happens. But for me a key part is to make sure this sort of thing never happens again where we have a Prime Minister with major unanswered questions in relation to their past that could and should be addressed.

    • John, Parliament does not sit now until Monday November 26th. That will be the last sitting week until Feb 2013. I just hope Julie Bishop can land some significant blows in those remaining few days.
      Chief head kicker and attack dog Anthony Albanese will be ready of course to try and shut things down as usual.
      Shane thank you, your usual forensic reporting. It seems that pupeteer Bill Ludwick runs Australia from QLD.

  3. Do I smell even more fish in this mess than those Koala21 lists? What is the real dissconnect to the Opposition? What is keeping the hoard of lawyers in the opposition parties from taking up the cudgels. what is keeping our numerous police forces off? Why is this corruption being left to people outside the Parties to pursue? There is ample prima facie evidence out in the public arena for a proper inquiry to be implemented if only those honest politicians can get going. Or are there none?

  4. It seems all Gillard has to say ‘I was young and naive’ and she thinks that excuses her from a possible crime. She doesn’t think a crime 20 years ago is still a crime. Also saying ‘I have already covered this in full’ gives here carte blanche not to answer any new questions. What I can’t understand is why the people that have the power to pursue her are sitting on their hands. Surely there is enough evidence on hand! You are trying your best Shane as are others but it is very frustrating that it is going nowhere.

  5. I just pledged $50, get with it folks, it’s only a case of beer each to help “out” these criminals. I bet most of you donate this much to the publicans each week, at least!

    • As an age pensioner, I’m limited, but have made several small donations as I can afford them. How about more of you good people who are still working? Surely we can give Shane more support – he’s actually working for us!

  6. Good luck in Canberra Shane. I see in the news this morning a report about money from B.Wilson being deposited in JG’s bank account. The plot thickens. I was hoping this would start to ramp up, maybe this is the catalyst that was needed.

  7. Those questions you have requested for Ian Cambridge should be questions for Cambridge to answer if there is a royal commission into the unions Shane. Why Cambridge went cold on the awu fraud when the coalition got elected? Why Cambridge accepted (took a bribe) a position with the NSW industrial relations when there was major investigations in the Bruce Wilson frauds in 1996? Why Cambridge has said nothing about the frauds since 1996?. There should be more questions about Cambridge as well than just the obvious ones you have raised Shane.

  8. Call me paranoid, but it seems incredible that after the key files all went missing last week, bits of them surface now and the witnesses start to surface from wherever they have been kept on ice. I’d guess that Blewett, Steyant-Brown et al will corroborate what is now in the once-missing files and Julias latest written summary statement. Her memory is improving as the newly designed facts appear.
    My one nagging thought is that the (new?) evidence in the files is no longer admissable as their temporary disappearance has broken that trail of hard evidence. This presents a good fall back position should the perpetrators latest efforts fail.
    Perhaps our diligent police can backtrack to the original documents and compare the two sets.
    Steyant-Brown was reading from an autocue last night on TV. Blewett is a known prevaricator. And Bill Ludwig, well enough said already.

  9. Bill Ludwig is a PM puppeteer and he will be working in the background to position his next favouite so he will be pulling the strings.

    • With Kevin Rudd’s situation, Rudd appeared to be Ludwigs puppet! I would speculate Ludwig is a puppet of something higher that controls our government! Ludwig you are a Coward!

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