The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption has released a Discussion Paper.1 The purpose? Discuss options for reform in matters arising out of the Commission’s inquiries.
A high-level overview of key proposals for discussion include:
Regulation of unions
- Adopt uniform laws in relation to the regulation of unions, including a single regulator separate and independent from the Fair Work Commission?
- Restrictions on political donations?
Regulation of union officials
- Should a corporate governance model inform the regulation of union officials?
- Making officers criminally liable for an intentionally dishonest or reckless breach of their duties?
Disqualification of union officials
- Additional grounds of automatic disqualification of a person for holding office in a union should be added?
- A criminal offence for a disqualified person to be involved in the management or control of a union?
Banning notices and orders
- Allowing a regulator to apply to a court for an order disqualifying a person from holding office in a union for a specified period?
Right of Entry Permits
- Penalties for misuse of a right of entry permit should be increased?
Relevant entities (e.g. union-associated funds)
- Minimum governance standards be imposed on all or some 'relevant entities' (including fighting funds, election funds, superannuation funds, and other generic funds)?
- Creating a criminal offence for giving a 'corrupting benefit' to an organisation (in order, for example, to avoid threatened conduct by a union)?
- A penalty of up to $17m for 'body corporates' and $1.7m for individuals?
Building and construction industry
- Specific industrial laws that apply only to building industry participants (e.g. laws for unlawful pickets)?
- More effective enforcement of injunctions and other court orders?
- Increasing penalties for engaging in secondary boycotts?
Interested parties are invited to provide submissions by Friday 21 August 2015.
We are able to assist employers in preparing submissions – on some or all of the proposals. We are also available to consider a review of the implications for employers of various proposals (if adopted).