3AW - Royal Commission into Union Corruption’s Final Report

  • Minister for Employment
  • Minister for Women
  • Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
  • Senator for Western Australia


SUBJECT: Royal Commission into Union Corruption’s Final Report.


NICK McCALLUM:  Minister, thanks for your time

MINISTER CASH:   Absolute pleasure.

NICK McCALLUM:  This was basically everything you expected, wasn’t it?

MINISTER CASH:  Well unfortunately yes. Look, today is D-day: the end of the denial; the end of distractions and certainly the end of the deflections. It is very, very disappointing that there have been so many shocking findings of misconduct in the report and, as the Royal Commission itself finds, none of this is the fault of the rank and file union members - they themselves have become the victims of corrupt union leaders and that is what this Government is going to address.  We need to ensure that the laws- the laws that clearly have not worked, the laws are sufficiently robust enough to ensure this type of behaviour cannot occur and if it does that there are sufficient penalties in place.

NICK McCALLUM:   Minister, one of the key ones is setting up a watchdog of the union movement. Now, how tough will it be to do that, particularly to get it through the Senate?

MINISTER CASH:   Well, as you’d know the Government has tried to put that watchdog, the Registered Organisations Commission, through the Parliament and Labor and the Greens have voted against it now three times in the Senate. I did announce today ‘though that no one is above the law. It does not matter who you are and the Government is looking at the findings from the Royal Commission. We are going to draft new legislation. It will be tougher legislation but we intend to ensure that the laws are sufficiently robust so that this type of behaviour cannot occur again.

The test today is for Bill Shorten. Does he want to side with the Government and stand up for the workers - the workers who have been ripped off; the workers who have been sold out - or does he want to continue to make excuses? Does he want to continue to deny. Because that’s not going to get the union movement anywhere in Australia. Bill Shorten has a test and I hope he steps up to the mark, I really do.

NICK McCALLUM:  Well Minister and finally, because I do know you have to move on, the Labor party and the union movement always said this was politically motivated and they basically knew what the findings would be years ago, two years ago when it was announced. So, how do you respond to that?

MINISTER CASH:  Well, in the first instance I’d say Bill Kelty, Jenny George and Martin Ferguson they’re all former senior ACTU office holders and they have all spoken of the urgent need to clean up the bad behaviours in unions. The second thing that I would say is, as the Royal Commission itself states, almost all of the underlying facts have been established by admissions to the Commission, incontrovertible documents, decisions of courts and tribunals or well-corroborated testimony. So you are not looking at recommendations or findings that have been made based on opinion - they are findings and recommendations that have been made based on fact that have been presented, in the main, by members of the unions to the Royal Commission, so I dispute anyone one who says otherwise.

NICK McCALLUM:  Okay, Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, I know you have a busy, very busy afternoon so I appreciate your time.

MINISTER CASH:   Absolute pleasure to be with you.



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