Jurisdiction - Australia
Australia – Royal Commission Into Trade Union Governance And Corruption: Discussion Paper On Options For Law Reform.

8 June, 2015


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 AUD 17m for ‘body corporates’ and AUD 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.


End Notes:


  1. The Discussion Paper is available here.


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For further information, please contact:


John Cooper, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills

[email protected]


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