Law firm Slater & Gordon has backed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s claims that she has done nothing wrong in relation to how and why she left her job as partner at the firm more than 17 years ago.
The Weekend Australia reported last week that Ms Gillard left her job as a partner at the firm as a direct result of a secret probe in 1995 into controversial work she had done for her then boyfriend, a union boss accused of corruption.
A former equity partner of the law firm, Nick Styant-Browne, told the newspaper that a firm probe at the time included a confidential formal interview with Ms Gillard. In that interview, The Weekend Australian reports Styant-Browne as saying, Ms Gillard said she could not categorically rule out that she had personally benefited from union funds in the renovation of her Melbourne house.
She said in the interview that she believed she had paid for all the work and materials, and had receipts, which she produced.
The firm released a statement Sunday detailing Ms Gillard’s employment history with the firm, saying it found nothing to contradict her denial of any wrongdoing.
“The review found nothing which contradicted the information provided by Ms Gillard at the time in relation to the AWU/Bruce Wilson allegations and which she has stated consistently since the allegations were first raised,” said Slater & Gordon managing director Andrew Grech.
He said Ms Gillard gave the firm permission to produce the details of her employment.
He said in a statement: “Ms Gillard worked in the industrial department of Slater & Gordon in 1988 through to 1995. During that time Ms Gillard acted for a wide variety of trade unions and individuals in employment related matters including various branches of the AWU from 1991 until 1995.
“Upon the Slater & Gordon partnership learning of what has been described as the AWU/Bruce Wilson allegations in August 1995, it conducted an internal legal review as it would do, and has done, whenever any such allegations might be made.”
Grech said Ms Gillard co-operated fully with the internal review and denied any wrong doing.
Explaining why she left the firm, he said: “In September 1995 Ms Gillard took a leave of absence from Slater & Gordon in order to campaign for the Senate.
“Ms Gillard’s resignation from the firm became effective on 3 May 1996 when, Slater & Gordon understands, she commenced employment with the then Victorian Opposition leader as an advisor,” he said.
Grech emphasized that Slater & Gordon has regularly invited the Prime Minister back to the firm for events and functions.