Busting union ratbags

The Abbott government in Australia has announced a royal commission to look into ratbag unions.

Given the parlous state of union accounts and law breaking here it is certainly something John Key should be looking at doing.

THE Abbott government will establish a royal commission into union malfeasance in the new year.

Terms of reference are under development but The Australian understands the inquiry will focus on slush funds and examine union financial management and financial control.

It is expected to be approved at one of the first cabinet meetings of next year. 

The royal commission replaces an election commitment for a judicial inquiry into the Australian Workers Union.

Government sources said it would be inappropriate to proceed in this direction, given current court action involving the one-time boyfriend of former prime minister Julia Gillard, Bruce Wilson, and the operation of the AWU Workplace Reform Association in the early 1990s.

The Australian understands the commission will have wide-ranging powers.

Sources indicated it could cause severe embarrassment for a range of senior Labor figures.

News of the inquiry comes as the government has sought to highlight financial malfeasance in the union movement in parliament this week. Employment Minister Eric Abetz told the Senate “the former prime minister” — a reference to Ms Gillard — “admitted in 1995 that every union has a slush fund”.

“Just in the last year we have seen revelations about slush funds operated by the TWU, NUW, CEPU, CFMEU and the ETU,” he said.

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