LAWYERS who represented the Australian Workers Union in cases against Julia Gillard's former boyfriend, the allegedly corrupt union official, Bruce Wilson, say they never uncovered any link between Ms Gillard and Mr Wilson's alleged activities.
Ms Gillard refused to comment yesterday on the issue, saying she had addressed the matter on Sunday and noted that her old law firm, Slater & Gordon, has cleared her of any wrongdoing following an internal investigation 17 years ago.
The Prime Minister's caucus allies continued to fret about the consequences of the story. Even if Ms Gillard did nothing wrong, the allegations being bandied about will fuel negative perceptions which already surround her regarding trustworthiness.
As an industrial lawyer at Slater & Gordon, Ms Gillard represented Mr Wilson, who was accused of rorting hundreds of thousands of dollars designated for the union and siphoning the money into separate accounts.
Some of the money was used allegedly to buy a house in Fitzroy. Ms Gillard has repeatedly rejected allegations some money was used to refurbish her own home.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity yesterday, a lawyer involved in a case in which the AWU pursued Mr Wilson told the Herald ''we never had anything indicating that she was the beneficiary of these funds''.
Slater & Gordon said in a statement on Sunday that Ms Gillard co-operated with an internal investigation that interviewed her on September 11, 1995 and found she had done nothing wrong. She took a leave of absence that same month to run for the Senate and resigned in May 1996 to work for the then-Victorian opposition leader John Brumby. She remains on good terms with the firm, visits regularly, and has a meeting room named after her.
On Saturday, The Australian reported a former equity partner of the law firm, Nick Styant-Browne, claiming Ms Gillard told the internal investigation she could not categorically rule out gaining personally from rorted union money.