Julia Gillard - Paul Howes - Bill Ludwig

Australian trade unions. The Royal Commission we had to have

The Royal Commission into trade union corruption announced on Monday by the federal government is a real game changer on many fronts and maybe many more depending on how the Royal Commission performs. For starters it is the first Royal Commission that has been driven by the online community, although I am sure that no one in the MSM (Mainstream media) will tell you that.

While the paperwork does not give a time frame, it has been reported that the RC is scheduled to last for 12 months and if it sticks to that time-table it will be one wild ride trying to cram all the corruption into those 12 months of the commission.

I will just address a few issues the Royal Commission raises in this post and the rest as the RC unfolds.

Royal Commission details

The Royal Commission was announced on Monday the 10th February 2014 at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Tony Abbott MP, Senator Eric Abetz, Minister for Employment and Senator George Brandis QC, Attorney-General.

The key elements of the Royal Commission media release said:

It will inquire into the activities relating to ‘slush funds’ and other similar funds and entities established by, or related to, the affairs of these organisations.

This will not be an inquiry into trade unionism or the day to day activities of honest trade union officials.

Instead, it will address increasing concern arising from a wide range of revelations and allegations involving officials of unions establishing and benefiting from funds which have been set up for purposes which are often unknown and frequently unrelated to the needs of their members.

We don’t want honest workers to be ripped off by dishonest union bosses. Before the election the Coalition promised to establish a judicial inquiry into the Australian Workers’ Union slush fund scandal. This announcement honours that promise.

A number of similar allegations have also been raised in relation to many other funds established by officials of other unions. These strongly indicate there are systemic issues involving secret funds, commissions and kickbacks that need to be considered.

In addition, recent allegations of corrupt behaviour, unlawful kickbacks and standover tactics in the construction industry have made it clear that there is a need for serious scrutiny of allegedly corrupt conduct, wherever it may occur.

As a result, the terms of reference are not limited to any particular organisations, particular allegations or particular industries. The inquiry will be able to go wherever the evidence leads it. This means that union officials, employers and any other persons who are involved in such conduct will be subject to equal scrutiny. (Click here to read the full media release)

The Terms of reference (Click here to read), which is what the Royal Commission will do, are wide and broad but a key element that caught my attention is section 2 which says:

  1. Without limiting the matters in paragraph 1, alleged activities relating to the establishment or operation of any such entities as they relate to the various registered branches of the following employee associations:
    1. the Australian Workers Union;
    2. the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union;
    3. the Electrical Trades Union;
    4. the Health Services Union;
    5. the Transport Workers Union; and
    6. any other person, association or organisation in which in respect of which credible allegations of involvement in such activities are made.

This site has published many posts in the past as far as the Australian Workers Union is concerned and we knew that was coming, but what made my eyes light up was the Transport Workers Union which is run by Tony Sheldon. Regular readers will know that Mr Sheldon threatened this site with defamation in May last year (click here to read the lawyer’s letter and post) because of two previous posts that I had written outing him for setting up a slush fund to pay Craig Thomson’s legal bills. (Click here and here to read the two posts) That story alone could and should get a run at the Royal Commission. I think it is time for KCA to polish the boots and iron the shirt, Royal Commission here we come!

Julia Gillard and Tony Sheldon

Julia Gillard and Transport Workers Union (TWU) boss Tony Sheldon who is a well-known fraudster, thief and money launderer. He has previously threatened this site with defamation via a letter from lawyers Maurice Blackburn.

Australian Labor Party is owned by the Unions

They say a picture tells a thousand words. Well look at the picture above and the one below and it is not hard to work out who runs the Labor Party. I know prior to the last election is was something like 70% of the federal politicians had a union background and that was not by accident. The unions control the numbers and who gets into parliament for the Labor Party.

Julia Gillard - Paul Howes - Bill Ludwig

Julia Gillard when she was Prime Minister with Australian Workers Union (AWU) boys Paul Howes  and Bill Ludwig. Mr Ludwig stole $45,000 from the AWU only a couple of years ago to pay for his own personal legal bills.

Is the RC a political witch hunt?

Tony Abbott had no option but to have an inquiry into the AWU slush fund theft at the very least as that was an election promise as per the announcement above where it says “Before the election the Coalition promised to establish a judicial inquiry into the Australian Workers’ Union slush fund scandal. This announcement honours that promise.” I have also previously said if Tony Abbott did not have an inquiry as promised then he owned the fraud at the AWU and was just as guilty for covering it up which plenty of other voters would have thought the same.

It was just a matter of what shape the inquiry would take which was made easier given the latest union criminal allegations in the media.

The Commissioner – Former High Court judge Dyson Heydon

I referenced Dyson Heydon in a post I published May last year titled “High Court of Australia – The biggest poker game in town” (Click here to read the post)

“Dyson Heydon (2003-2013) has been quoted as saying:”

“Retired High Court judge Dyson Heydon has fired a parting salvo at his fellow judges in an essay that categorises them as overbearing personalities and weaker spirits, with a herd mentality that poses a threat to judicial independence.”

“In a thinly veiled critique of the dynamic on the High Court, the most solitary figure on the bench in recent years attacked the tendency of some judges to dominate others, in an essay subtitled ”The enemy within”, published  in the Law Quarterly Review.”

And: ”In pre-hearing judicial conferences, the activities of dominant judicial  personalities carry the danger of creating the appearance and the reality of  prejudgment – a closure by members of the court of their minds too early, before word of oral argument has been uttered,” Mr Heydon wrote (Click here to read more)

Other than that I do not know a lot about him but the above gives you some idea of what Heydon is like and how he thinks. I have no doubt we’re about to get a true and accurate picture of the man with the Royal Commission which the whole of the Australian public will be able to see and judge for themselves.

Why we had to have the Royal Commission and the game changers 

Australia needs a strong Labor Party as we in effect have a two-party system and they are one of those parties. The problem being is that the internal corruption in the Labor Party had become so rife that they had become unelectable and not an alternative government. Australia needs a strong opposition no matter who it is to keep the government of the day honest.

The Royal Commission is a real game changer for the media. The RC originally was only as a proposed inquiry into the AWU slush fund fraud which started being reported again online back in August 2011 on this site and was initially driven solely online. The MSM did eventually do a lot of the heaving lifting in reporting the AWU fraud, but so has the online community. (Click here for the historical posts) Without the online reporting into the AWU fraud there would highly unlikely be a Royal Commission as I doubt the recent revelations in the MSM regarding corruption at other unions would have led to a RC by itself. 

So people involved in online social media reporting and news (Blogs, Facebook and Twitter etc.) can take some credit for the Royal Commission. Social media will also play a large roll in reporting the Royal Commission and probably influencing it as much if not more so than the MSM.

I have already written extensively about union corruption and I expect that I will be loaded up with new material for posts from the Royal Commission. I also expect to make a submission or two to the Royal Commission and hopefully help make a change for the better. I see one of my main roles as trying to read through all the lies told before, during and after the Royal Commission and report it back to you in the posts on this site.  

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24 Comments on “Australian trade unions. The Royal Commission we had to have”

  1. kurt flahavin February 16, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    This Royal Commission into the unions will definitely be one of the best Royal Commissions ever in this country’s history. This retired High Court judge Dyson Heydon I suspect will make monsterous findings out of this Royal Commission. The findings will be enough to recommend criminal charges against a number to many people. I think Gillard, Shorten, Ludwig, Tony Sheldon plus others will be finished out of this Royal Commission. These people who will be exposed in this Royal Commission are criminals of the highest order who have to face justice no matter what. I also believe that more hideous things will be exposed out of the AWU fraud and how Julia Gillard was able to appoint people who knew, even helped her in the fraud, and covering up the fraud to judicial, ministerial positions etc when she was prime minister. The AWU & the CFMEU are the ones who have plenty to worry about in this Royal Commission. Many hideous things I suspect will come out of these 2 unions. They are both criminal unions, simple as that. Bring on this Royal Commission!! Game on!!.

    • Chookums February 16, 2014 at 3:52 am #

      You forgot to mention the complicity of company managers too. The original police investigation into the AWU fraud was clearly stonewalled by Theiss who surely must also end up on the RC’s list of concerns.

      As a business owner who was defrauded of $250k by a partner, let me tell you I’d have moved heaven and earth to nab the person if I could have, but our situation was deemed an inside job with no paper trail and impossible to prosecute. I’d still love to leave a ‘gift’ on his grave if I knew where they were buried.

      Theiss on the other hand claimed they got what they paid for and all was hunkey dorey and refused to press charges or ‘co-operate with the investigation. They covered up too because they were guilty of corrupt practices.

      • The Climate Realist February 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

        Don’ forget that the manager of Thiess at the time, Joe Trioli was Wilson’s brother in law. Hardly likely to rat on family. Theiss management also needs looking at for the goings on at Blackwater in Queensland.

      • Chookums February 16, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

        That’s exactly what I was alluding to but I don’t believe that Trioli acted without the support of others in Theiss who may not have known Trioli’s connection to Wilson but it beggars belief they could they have so blithely approved the transfer of significant funds without verifying it was a legitimate expense

      • Leigh February 17, 2014 at 9:30 am #

        “Hardly likely to rat on family”.
        Oh he’s ratting on “family” alright.
        Him and his mate at theis who’s name escapes me at the minute.
        The Victorian fraud squad has already paid him and others a visit and applied a little pressure to his lefty.
        He sang like a soprano.
        He sang so “sweetly” the magistrate who made the the ruling to release the evidence collected in the raid to exacute Slater and Gordon search warrant.
        Actually used Trioli’s statement to the victorian fraud squad as a part of that ruling.
        If the appropriate legal threats are made or implied during this royal commission and I emphasize legal, we will undoubtedly discover more “singers” of immense talent.
        Some who you thought couldn’t sing a note will surprise all of us.

  2. Brian Richard Allen (@Brian_R_Allen) February 16, 2014 at 3:42 am #

    #auspol …. Australia needs a strong Labor Party as we in effect have a two-party system and it is one of the parties ….

    Half True but no World Whale Day Box for you, this year!

    Australia needs a strong opposition party as balance in its effectively two-party system. But since the Time of the totalitarian traitor, Whitlam, Labor has regressed from being just the gang of lying, looting, rorting, laundering, ambushing, hijacking, and holding to ransom, stand-over and shake-down merchants — as is regularly exposed by its increasingly-overt corrupt activities, it still, also, is — to being something much more sinister.

  3. The Climate Realist February 16, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    “Australia needs a strong opposition no matter who it is to keep the government of the day honest.”

    However, we don’t need the Labor party per se. We are the opposition, to corruption, cronyism, malfeasance and lies. But, for us to be effective, we have to stick 100% to truth and the provable facts. Smear and innuendo are the tools of the weak and criminal.

    Endless repetition of undeniable facts until the facade of the guilty comes crashing down is our most powerful weapon. Truth will out and carry the day.

    • Pat McCann February 16, 2014 at 10:22 am #

      Well said ! If the RC is going to take 12 months, I hope that they investigate the Politicians first, especially Gillards SLUSH FUND!

  4. Allan Usherwood. February 16, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    It is too much to hope for that all the crooks mentioned in Kurt Flahaven’s post will be afforded the punishment they deserve for there is nothing more distasteful to honest citizens than the treason like behaviour of elected grubs like Shorten Gillard and Co. It is very strange how the scum always ends up at the top of the pile. With a responsible press and media this would never happen. The Australian media as a whole is just like most reporting establishments, although we do export a lot of our garbage like Murdoch and his crooked mob. If the likes of us had perpetrated some of his crimes we would be in jail and the key would be at the bottom of Loch Ness. Let us hope the RC will Justify all the hard Yards that the people like Shane have diligantly pursued. Allan from Myalup.WA

  5. Simon M February 16, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    @ The Climate Realist. Joe Trio (not TriolI) was indeed Wilson’s Brother-in-law, and may indeed have been complicit in the scam with Wilson. However, when Inspector Ross Mitchell sat down with Trio and put it to Trio that he (Trio) had two choices (1) admission in being part of a fraud or (2) a statement that Thiess was defrauded (i.e. a victim) of Wilson, just which option do you think Trio chose?

    Yup. Wasn’t me…’twas HIM!!!!!!

    And so we will see all the rats running for cover and squealing to save their own skins.

    • The Climate Realist February 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

      The other thing Simon that will amaze many, but not me having personal experience with people of the same mindset, will be the number of people that have been sitting on boxes of papers that will suddenly feel safe enough to hand them over to authorities. The old saying, payback’s a bitch, will be back in common usage this coming year.

  6. Barrie Macmillan February 16, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    Just great news about the Royal Commission. I hope you, Shane have your day in front of them and expose the liars, cheats and criminals that you have exposed in your quest over a long time. It is high time that Gillard, Shorten, Ludwig, Wilson, Sheldon etc etc get their just desserts and all end up in the clink down the track….where they deserve to be!

  7. Paul February 17, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Now that Gillard has been welcomed into the Globalist community (Brookings etc) I wonder if she will suddenly become “unavailable” to answer any calls for her to attend the RC?

    • Wreckingball February 17, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      The Royal Commission has the power to compel witnesses to attend and give testimony. It will not be a good look for a former PM to be coerced to appear by the execution of an arrest warrant, now would it?.

    • Patrick February 17, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

      My dear chap, that dreadful woman is as cunning as a sly fox. She would have known that a RC was on the cards as soon as Tony got in. That is when she started putting her plans in place to get into the ‘global community’ as you put it. She cares about as much for global education as she does for Kevin Rudd. She will do her lying, coniving best to get out of fronting any RC. Because when and if she does it will be ‘do collect all of your ex-union mates and… go direct to jail’. Patrick.

  8. davey street February 17, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    It’s beyond belief that folks would actually believe this RC will have any effect on union corruption. The sleaze and the slime of union corruption will have seen all evidence destroyed years if not decades ago so nothing will come of it, nothing at all. The Labor MPs are not totally dumb. If they had thought there was any chance of an RC destroying the reputations of Gillard, Rudd, Shorten and all their repulsive union boss mates, they would never have been so daft as to put Shorten in over Albanese. THE FIX IS IN.

  9. curious February 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

    Every dog has its day!

  10. The Climate Realist February 18, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Off topic but Thomson found guilty in court this morning. One more bought down.

    • Patrick February 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

      Reply to ‘Off the topic’:- I had a dreadful feeling in my water that he would walk. However, the axe has finally fallen. (Is he stupid enought to appeal? YES)!! My question is: Why did it take so long? Answer:- Gillard, Shorten and all of their slimy little thieving mates were protecting him and using Union Members fees to pay his legal bills. Roll on the RC. Patrick

  11. Sam the Man February 20, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    The chickens are finally coming home to roost, (we hope) ! But as Davey Street said , “pre- warned is pre-armed”. These sleaze-bags knew this RC was coming & they’re currently scurrying around destroying all evidence they can. Let’s hope there are are few scared “rats” who will try to save their own hides by singing long & loud in desperation to save themselves.
    All kudos to Shane in his never-ending devotion at personal cost to “keeping the fires burning”. Well done ,Shane, & may your endeavours finally bear the sweetest fruit.

  12. peter February 22, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Bha ha ha ha next time labor gets in if ever I sense a tit for tat. divide and conquer of the 2 party dictatorship. and for that reason this enquiry will be nothing but a side show.that goes nowhere.

  13. Mark February 22, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    Unions are not to blame they provide a great service to those working Australians that are skilled at their trade but not skilled at negotiation. If a worker was to go one on one with the CEO the HR and the company work place negotiator they would be working for nothing. This is the reality of work place negation.

    Gillard, Shorten and all the opportunist in government deserve their day in court. Without a balanced government we will end up with a right wing extremist ruling minority as happened in Europe in the 1930’s.

    • Patrick February 22, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

      Dear Mark,

      I agree that Unions are not to blame. They were, and still are nesessary for the protection of ‘the worker’. However…it is the rotten apples within the various Union movements who are to blame for the reputation Unions have in Australia as a whole. A smooth talking, shifty, Union member becomes a ‘shop steward’, starts stirring up trouble in the work place in the guise of looking after his ‘members’ interests and very soon after that he is voted into the Union ‘leadership’. Power goes to his head, he has an expense account he has never had before, he is luaded and look up to by his ‘members’ but he soon forgets who he is actually working for. It has happened many times and it will happen again if they keep getting away with it. Hopefully this RC will a go long way towards bringing the thieves in the Union movement to justice and leave the Bob Kernohans and his like to do their jobs in an honourable fashion. I believe your comment about Europe in the 1930s to be a tad extreme. However, I do agree that a balanced Government is essential in Australia. But, if we keep electing so many tarnished ex-union bosses into Parliament we will continue having problems with that proper balance. Roll on the RC.

    • Paul February 22, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

      No one disputes that. Its the corruption, both political and criminal (if you can really divide the two) that seems to always take hold. If you are what’s commonly called a “Leftist”, then we should all have a lot in common if objective observation is more important to you than simple politics.

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