Bill passes at 2am to hold Unions accountable
When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull sought out the first double dissolution since 1987, it was so the Government could deliver on the commitments they had made, like finally making Unions more transparent and accountable.
At 2:13am last Tuesday morning, Nationals, Liberals and cross-benchers united to achieve this, passing the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Bill 2014, so registered organisations can be kept honest.
Now that the Bill has passed, a Registered Organisations Commission will be established to oversee unions and employer groups, with strong powers to enforce the law. This means that officials from registered organisations will be subjected to similar standards as company directors, including more thorough reporting and disclosure and, for those who break the law, bigger penalties.
Unsurprisingly, Labor has opposed this legislation every step of the way for the last three years, despite the undeniable evidence that the laws governing registered organisations were desperately in need of reform. Labor even voted against the enhanced whistle-blower protections, which would protect union members who are the subject of mistreatment.
It is hoped these new strongholds will help prevent honest members being exploited, and that a repeat of the numerous scandals we have seen in recent years is avoided. Better protection and a compensation regime for whistle-blowers in the corporate and public sectors is also on the cards.