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More accountability for union officials needed


“Two separate incidents this week have highlighted the need to boost the level of accountability of Registered Organisations (such as unions and employer associations),” Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia said.

In New South Wales three senior CFMMEU officials including the Assistant Secretary have been charged with serious criminal charges involving alleged drug offences described in media reports as a ‘cocaine sting’. The alleged offences involved the purchase and sale of narcotics, which was said to be taking place using a car owned by the union.

In Victoria, questions were raised in Parliament about the role of a separate senior building union official who, despite facing charges of “harassment and breaches of a family violence order” still sits on a government body that is responsible for, amongst other things, promoting “the government’s objective of encouraging more women into the building industry”.

“Both these incidents highlight a flaw in the existing laws governing accountability of registered organisations as, despite these incidents, the union officials involved remain able to continue in those roles and use the related powers, such as the right to enter workplaces and being deemed ‘fit and proper’ under workplace laws,” Denita Wawn said.

“The Ensuring Integrity Bill, which stalled in the previous Parliament, contains a series of changes to accountability laws that would see officials face meaningful consequences for breaking workplace laws and incidents such as those witnessed this week,” Denita Wawn said.

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