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)?

Corrupting benefits

  • 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).