This was, of course, always an incredibly safe bet for anyone who had an ounce of common sense, for one simple reason: if anyone had compelling evidence of Gillard's knowledge of the matter, it would have been used to hurt her politically long, long ago by someone within Labor, let alone the Coalition.
I have said before that it is scandalous that a Victorian police investigation was allowed to drag on for so long given its political sensitivities. When is it going to announce that it is formally closed vis a vis the ex PM?
And, of course, Andrew Bolt's disgusting role in promoting all of the Michael Smith muck racking via the sleaziest of sleazy characters involved, and that of Pickering and Hedley Thomas, is a blot on the media landscape too.
Update: I see that Arthur Sinodinos has quit, which is really the right thing to do. It's unfortunate that one of the few politicians in the Abbott government who is widely liked, and considered moderate and sensible (well, until it came to how to make a quick buck for little work outside of politics) had to go, but them's the breaks.
Update 2: Bolt and Smith are saying that Heydon's disbelief of Gillard's evidence that she paid for all of it is some sort of damning result against her. Yeah: they have to say that to attempt to save face. In fact, to my mind, Heydon's sections about this read to me as the work of a somewhat eccentric judge. I mean, have a read of this:
Gillard denied the claim, but the commission believed the account of her builder Athol James, who gave evidence that “she said Bruce was paying for it”.
The commission said there could be alternative explanations for Gillard’s testimony. The first was that she wanted it to be true that she had paid for all the renovations; the second was that she knew her testimony to be false.
It was very unlikely that Gillard’s testimony proceeded only from “some unconscious transmogrification of the truth proceeding from velleity”, the report says.
“She knew that Athol James’s testimony was inconsistent with the position she had developed over the years up to 2012.” The report adds it would be very hard for Gillard to make any concessions; “a cleaner solution was absolute denial”.Seems to me to quite of bit of unnecessary "thinking out loud" there.
Also, even if one disbelieves Gillard on that question (that she paid for it all and Wilson paid nothing) - who knows what Wilson may have said about the source of the money? We knew from the evidence that he was one to sometimes go on casino benders - and why could a winning night there not plausibly be the claimed the source of $5000?
There was never hope of proving that Gillard was knowingly receiving money Wilson fleeced from the company, which never pressed for charges against him anyway. Well, not without the clearest of clear evidence from parties who she had discussed it with. As I said at the start, if such evidence existed, it would have been used against her years ago.
So instead the story got recycled as a smear campaign by Smith, Bolt and Thomas for, what, about 3 years now?
It was a disgraceful journalistic performance by all involved, motivated by revenge at her understandable fury that had resulted in the sacking of a lazy journalist (Milne) and an obnoxious one (Smith).
The only good thing to come out of this is that Smith is now even discredited on the Right due to his apparent infatuation with the attention seeking Kathy Jackson. How's the Smith marriage holding up, I wonder?