Last night the Turnbull Government delivered on a key election commitment to improve accountability and transparency of registered organisations.
The Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Bill 2014 establishes a new Registered Organisations Commission to oversee unions and employer groups, with strong powers to enforce the law.
It means officials from registered organisations will be subjected to similar standards as company directors under Corporations law, including more thorough reporting and disclosure and, for those who break the law, bigger penalties.
It will mean stronger laws to prevent honest members being ripped off to prevent a recurrence of the numerous scandals that have beset various registered organisations in recent years, such as the HSU, AWU and NUW.
There are 47 unions and 63 employer groups in Australia with annual revenue of $1.5 billion and assets worth $2.5 billion.
Minister for Employment Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said they represent more than two million members, who deserve to know their organisation is acting in their best interests.
“I commend the crossbench Senators who negotiated constructively to deliver good policy in the national interest,” Minister Cash said.
“Sadly, Labor has opposed this legislation every step of the way for the last three years, despite the undeniable evidence that the laws governing registered organisations were desperately in need of reform.”
“Labor even voted against enhanced whistle-blower protections to protect union members who are the subject of mistreatment.”
“Bill Shorten’s Labor Party has again shown that it would rather defend union rorters than protect union members. Mr Shorten’s position on this legislation embodies all that is wrong with the modern Labor Party.”