Julia Gillard’s cleavage and Grace Collier, the “human booby trap”

On Sunday morning Grace “how dare you call me right-wing” Collier was a guest on the Outsiders segment of Radio National’s Sunday Extra, hosted by Jonathan Green.

Collier had earlier tweeted that she was hopeful of “lift[ing] the mood a little at 9.30 when I come on” following what she described as being a “depressing discussion about happiness!” between host Green and a national treasure, cartoonist Michael Leunig.

Earlier this year Collier gave evidence by affidavit in the Federal Court matter of Director of the Fair Work Building Inspectorate v Automotive, Food, Metals, Engineering, Printing and Kindred Industries Union [2013] FCA 82 (14 February 2013) before Justice Shane Marshall. In that matter, which concerned a blockade at one of my favourite places in Melbourne, the Werribee sewage treatment works, a Ms Wendy Grace Collier (she appears to have dropped the Wendy) provided evidence in her capacity as an IR consultant for Tedra Australia Pty Ltd, the head contractor of the works.

Ms Collier’s evidence was referred to by Marshall J in the following passage in his judgement of 14 February 2013:

Concerns with the evidence of Ms Collier

Ms Collier said that in a conversation which occurred between “Monday, 4 February and Thursday [sic], 6 February”, she discussed with Mr Mavromatis where the figure of four men came from. She said that Mr Mavromatis said words to the effect that he wanted the four Filipino workers sacked or removed from the site. She said she could not recall exactly during which conversation Mr Mavromatis said those words. Mr Mavromatis denies ever making such a demand to Ms Collier.

Before making the above claim, Ms Collier had been careful to relate the content of actual discussions in their sequence. The above assertion must be treated cautiously. Ms Collier had no discussion with Mr Mavromatis concerning the site until Tuesday, 5 February 2013, so the reference to 4 February 2013 may be dismissed.

Ms Collier recorded the discussions with Mr Mavromatis and “Nick” at the site office on 5 February 2013. She placed a “device” near her handbag. The applicant arranged to have the recording transcribed. The transcription is inadequate. Much of the conversation is attributed to people who did not utter the words attributed to them and multiple hand-written corrections have been made. It would be unsafe to rely on this material to be satisfied as to any particular fact, other than that the meeting occurred.

The same considerations apply to the taping of a conversation with Mr Mavromatis at about 11.30 am on 5 February 2013 at the front of the site. In that conversation Ms Collier said that she asked Mr Mavromatis “what would it take for the picket to go away” and that he replied with words to the effect that “Tedra had to hire local labour” and that “Tedra needed to hire four men”.

The conversation between Mr Mavromatis and Ms Collier at about 6.45 am on Wednesday, 6 February 2013 was also recorded by Ms Collier. She achieved this by secreting a device in her bra. The transcript of that recording is riddled with crossings out, hand-written additions and various changes. It is of no probative value.

Quite properly, the applicant, as a model litigant, did not attempt to tender into evidence any transcript (intelligible or otherwise) of Ms Collier’s recording on her computer of the telephone conversation she initiated with Mr Mavromatis at about 12.30 pm on 6 February 2013. Ms Collier’s conduct in that respect raises a serious concern as to whether she has breached the provisions of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Cth). In the absence of any detail as to the precise circumstances of that recording, the Court is unable, at present, to say any more about that matter. Indeed, it would be inappropriate to do so.

It is unnecessary for current purposes to deal with any other concerns with Ms Collier’s evidence.

Notwithstanding the Court’s assessment of her evidence, three weeks later Ms Collier noted her experience in a Diary entry in The Spectator:

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Categories: Australian politics, Fun stuff, Some places I've been, Stupidity, The Northern Myth

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9 Responses

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  1. This is becoming a theme with Collier.

    by Robert Corr on Jun 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

  2. a good get from Robert Corr – thanks for the link.

    by Bob Gosford on Jun 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm

  3. Ah, so Julia Gillard shows a bit of cleavage ONCE in 2006 (while in Opposition) and suddenly it’s “always flashing her cleavage”?

    A bit of reality wouldn’t go astray.

    And in any case, I’m not sure what Collier means by “unprofessional”. Lots of professional women show off their legs with short suit skirts and high heels, or a great figure with jackets tightly nipped in at the waist. If you have a great decolletage, why the hell shouldn’t you show it off?

    But I suspect Collier has actually hit the nail on the head in a way she didn’t intend in terms of the reaction of the populace to PM Gillard: there is a very deep-seated idea in this country of what a PM should be.

    He needs to have a wife (who we can call the First Lady and ensure she is Patroness of a whole lot of worthy charities involving kiddies and middle-class ladies), he needs to have lovely kids who can be wheeled out on special occasions and he needs to wear sombre, dark grey suits with a crisp white shirt and a calm, light blue tie.

    Ask Don Dunstan how people react when you don’t conform to the stereotype, even when you’re a bloke. Or Al Grassby. Then imagine being a woman, not a man. Then imagine being a woman without a Prime Ministerial wife. Then imagine being a woman without photogenic kids. Or without kids at all.

    THAT’S why Gillard’s copping it. She is thumbing her nose at convention in 3 ways and the conservatives can’t cope with it.

    by Danny Lewis on Jun 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm

  4. Grace Collier: “Excuse me, I spend 80 per cent of my time representing people who are unfairly dismissed and helping sacked workers. So I take offence to you labeling me as Right.”

    I think you’ll find, if you check out Grace Collier’s Linked In profile, she much prefers to be dishing it out to workers than helping them:

    As, Managing Director
    Australian Dismissal Services

    “I provide unique Solutions to Workplace Problems – I don’t tell you what you can’t do, I assist you with what you can do and how to do it.”

    “Commercially focused Industrial Relations solutions should increase profit and flexibility. Whether you need to reduce your costs, reset your relationship with your workforce or deal with difficult individuals, we will work with you to find the solution.”

    Grace Collier is recognised as one of Australia’s leading industrial relations experts. With an early background in the Union movement, Ms Collier delivers sound results for her clients.

    The company was formed in 2003 to provide the business community with tailor made solutions to workplace problems. Grace is sought after by companies who need profitability, flexibility and responsive relationships with employees. She has worked with businesses, both large and small, to utilise industrial relations legislation to their full advantage.

    by C@tmomma on Jun 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm

  5. And there is this in The Oz from late October 2011.

    Lockouts won’t solve Alan Joyce’s problem
    BY:GRACE COLLIER From:The Australian October 31, 2011 12:00AM

    IF you are going to take a baseball bat to a group of unions, you’d better not stop belting until there is none left alive. You had better finish them off once and for all because, like monsters in horror movies that just won’t die, unions rebound with renewed force and enraged retaliation. I would have thought that Work Choices had proved that.

    See more at:

    by Bob Gosford on Jun 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm

  6. And this in from

    “An ABC spokeswoman said Ms Collier was not an employee and the observations were strongly rejected by the rest of the panel.
    “The RN audience is capable of weighing different views and perspectives when aired during a live debate,” she said.
    A spokeswoman for Ms Gillard declined to comment.
    However, a senior Labor source said Ms Collier “should crawl back into the gutter she came from.”

    by Bob Gosford on Jun 16, 2013 at 9:02 pm

  7. Beautiful photo of the PM. I’d like to see an original of the one Collier posted, supposedly an iphone shot of The Australian’s page photo. Who was the photographer? I think the PM has a wonderful appearance, appropriate to occasion and simple, totally unoffensive.

    by Shine on Jun 16, 2013 at 9:05 pm

  8. This comment has been passed on from Crikey’s Bernard Keane, who was a member of the panel on The Outsiders yesterday.
    “A close listen or read of the transcript will show that Ms Collier in fact made two ludicrous comments about the Prime Minister, that she’d “never heard anyone attacking her for being a woman” and the claim that the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for showing her cleavage justified or explained the abuse directed at her.

    As Ms Collier made them in rapid succession, I found myself blowing up about one even as the other was being uttered.

    As I noted at the time, some elements of the Right really do have an obsession with the Prime Minister’s body.

    You would think there was plenty in the Gillard government’s policy and political record to dispute and critique, even on gender issues (single mothers and Newstart, anyone?) but the relentless tendency of some to come back Julia Gillard’s body is remarkable — whether it’s Bill Heffernan or George Brandis or Janet Albrechtsen discussing her childlessness, or Larry Pickering portraying her as a dildo-wearing rapist, or anti-carbon price protesters portraying her as the sexual possession of Bob Brown, or shockjocks directing misogynist abuse at her or News Ltd columnists peddling rumours about the nature of her relationship with her partner.

    Ms Collier’s fixation with the Prime Ministerial cleavage – which no one seems to be able to find an example of outside Photoshop and Ms Collier’s febrile imagination – is part and parcel of this obsession.

    Her only response was to insist that she wasn’t of the Right – an argument a brief read of her frothings on IR, the evils of Australian unions and the AWU “scandal” for the Financial Review will rapidly dispel

    Perhaps she expects that even the more perfervid obsessives in conservative ranks won’t want to have anything to do with her after this.”

    by Bob Gosford on Jun 17, 2013 at 11:28 am

  9. Hardly got ‘small breasts’, has she?

    by C@tmomma on Jun 17, 2013 at 11:43 am

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