News National Bill Shorten declared donation late
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Bill Shorten declared donation late

Mr Shorten faces allegations a corruption inquiry in Sydney.
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Opposition Leader Bill Shorten denies allegations he used his position as national secretary of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) to his personal advantage during the 2007 federal election campaign.

Mr Shorten has taken the stand at a corruption inquiry in Sydney to answer accusations related to his time heading up the Victorian and national branches of the AWU.

He is facing questions over several cases raised so far at the hearings, including allegations about deals that were detrimental to workers but helped business.

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Counsel assisting Jeremy Stoljar asked the Opposition Leader about Lance Wilson, who helped Mr Shorten with his campaign in 2007, and went on to work in his electorate and ministerial offices.

In late 2006 or early 2007, Mr Shorten met with labour hire company Unibilt boss Ted Lockyer and the-then AWU national secretary asked whether the company could provide a research officer, Lance Wilson, the commission heard.

Mr Stoljar told the commission the total amount paid by Unibilt came to $40,000, with a further $12,000 written off by the AWU.

Asked whether he declared the donation to the Australian Electoral Commission, Mr Shorten said: “It has come to my attention that the declaration hasn’t been made until very recently.”

Asked how recently, he said: “In the last few days.”

“What I did once I saw all the royal commission papers, I went back and I have sought legal advice, worked out what needed to be done and I have now completed that,” he said.

Mr Shorten said he had signed an official declaration in early 2008 that did not mention the donation.

According to a job contract with Unibilt, Mr Wilson was known as a research officer.

“I cannot explain why that particular title is used, he was a campaign director for me,” Mr Shorten said.

Asked whether he had raised the idea of hiring Mr Wilson while negotiating a new enterprise bargaining agreement [EBA] with the company, Mr Shorten said: “Not at all.”

Mr Shorten said he was no longer the union’s Victorian secretary at the time the EBA was ratified.

He said Mr Lockyer had indicated at a meeting in Melbourne in early 2007 that he was “willing to donate a resource, employ a person”, and provide that person to the Maribyrnong election campaign.

The Labor Leader said he did not “micro-manage” the details of the employment contract for Mr Wilson.

Mr Shorten declined to identify another part-time staff member who helped with his campaign in 2007.

The woman was paid by the AWU’s national office, he told the commission.

“She has asked me not to reveal her name in this royal commission, but I am happy to write it down for you,” Mr Shorten said.

Commissioner Dyson Heydon offered to describe the woman as “the mystery person”.

But Mr Shorten said she should be described as the “second campaign worker”.

with AAP 

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