There is much to praise in this announcement from Tony Abbott…
Citing the adverse findings made by Fair Work Australia against the HSU’s Victorian branch, Mr Abbott says if the offences had occurred in a company with directors, the offenders would have been exposed to criminal penalties including personal fines of up to $200,000 and up to five years’ imprisonment.
Under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009, individuals face lesser civil penalties of up to $2200.
In an address to the Victorian Liberal state council, Mr Abbott will assert his plan is about greater transparency, accountability and “protecting the interests of low-paid union members”.
“Australian workers who join trade unions deserve to know that their membership fees are being used for proper purposes,” he will tell Liberal Party delegates.
“The worst aspect of the HSU scandal is that 70,000 low-paid workers have had their hard-earned money misspent by union officials on political campaigns and escort services. Why shouldn’t the low-paid members of unions be afforded the same protections as shareholders?”
Under the Coalition proposal, the penalties i8n the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 would be the same as those in the Corporations Act 2001.
The Coalition intends to change the guidelines on financial disclosure and reporting so “they align more closely with those applicable to companies and that required by the ASX corporate governance rules”.
Sadly there is also good reason to be sad that it takes the coalition to do what the Labor party should have done to protect the interests of workers when it comes to the misuse of union funds as exemplified by the allegations against Craig Thompson
- Abbott: I’ll kill tax within six months of being elected (iainhall.wordpress.com)
- ACTU suspends Health Services Union (abc.net.au)
- HSU-Fair Work saga hits legal roadblock (abc.net.au)
- Fair Work refers HSU report to prosecutors (abc.net.au)
- Fair Work may table HSU report (abc.net.au)
- Abbott demands Craig Thomson report be made public (abc.net.au)
- Gillard ducks HSU report questions (news.smh.com.au)
- Gillard ducks HSU report questions (news.theage.com.au)
- Shorten bids to make HSU ‘dysfunctional’ (news.com.au)
- Shorten moves to put HSU branch in administration (abc.net.au)