Gillard: 'I knew nothing of union slush fund'

FORMER prime minister Julia Gillard has told a royal commission into trade unions she had no knowledge of the operations of a union slush fund linked to her ex-boyfriend.

Ms Gillard worked for Slater and Gordon lawyers when she helped set up the Australian Workers Union Workplace Reform Association for then-union official and her later boyfriend Bruce Wilson.

But she said after setting the industry association up, she had no knowledge of how it operated, and never questioned the use of the union's name in the association.

Ms Gillard said she understood the fund was set up to help Mr Wilson and AWU colleague Ralph Blewitt to raise funds for a union re-election campaign in Western Australia.

While she said she did not believe the association was part of the union, she had no reason to suspect the use of the union's name for the fund would mislead people.

Under heated questioning over allegations that misappropriated funds were used to renovate her then home in Melbourne, she denied any such knowledge.

She said she had made a point of paying for all renovations of the home by cheque, and despite trying to obtain bank records to defend her claims; she was unable to, due to the time since the renovations.

However, Ms Gillard admitted she would have acted differently in setting up the slush fund for Messer's Wilson and Blewitt, but she did not have a "time machine" to go back.