Bill Shorten and his supporters are in crisis mode as evidence comes out that Shorten perjured himself back in 2002 at the Cole Royal Commission and that he was also signing off on dodgy and corrupt deals with companies to rip off workers. Add this to the fact that Mr Shorten’s finger prints are all over deals to sign up Ghost Members to the AWU when he was National Secretary.
The Ghost Members are used for increasing the Unions power within the ALP as more members gives them more voting power at ALP conferences and also for preselecting candidates for Parliament etc. Bill Shorten was National Secretary of the AWU from 2001 to 2007 and Victorian Secretary of the AWU from 1998 to 2007.
Shorten’s position is untenable now but with the Royal Commission heating up over the last few days no one in the Labor Party would want to take his place any time soon.
There have been other major revelations which point to the Royal Commission moving up several gears between now and the scheduled report in December but let’s look at Shorten’s crisis first.
The connection showing Bill Shorten perjuring himself at the Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry was made by Blogger Michael Smith. Dino Strano gave evidence at the Royal Commission on Thursday and nailed Bill Shorten.
In Smith’s article on Thursday (4/6/15) he starts off
Bill Shorten’s sworn testimony to the Cole Royal Commission should be revisited
- Winslow Constructions has been paying bulk union memberships to the AWU since the 1990s
- The MD Dino Strano names Bill Shorten as a person he was dealing with
- Bill Shorten gave evidence to the Cole Royal Commission in 2002 stating he was not aware of bulk union memberships being paid by companies
- (Click here to read the full article)
Unions are struggling to get members so they do dodgy deals with the company instead. The company pays for all employees to become union members quite often without the employee’s knowledge and then the union allows the company to pay lower wages. I wrote about the company Cleanevent last week which is a prime example. (Click here to read the article)
At the Cole Royal Commission Bill Shorten was questioned by Counsel Assisting Mr Richard Tracey QC:
Mr Tracey: What about the notion of the union fees of workers being paid by their employers. Is that a matter on which you have a view?
Bill Shorten: The issue is if an employer pays money for workers who don’t know they are in the union, or haven’t asked to be in that union, well, I think that’s a pretty bold employer who does that. If that employer does it, and we would never advise an employer to simply pay money, for instance, to the CFMEU in the context of – in lieu of union membership, we don’t think employers should do that.
Mr Tracey: Let’s bring it to your union. Has your union, during your time as secretary or as a full-time official, ever taken money from an employer without, at the same time, receiving application forms for membership?
Bill Shorten: Not to my knowledge.
(Click here to read the full transcript of Bill Shorten’s evidence at the Cole Royal Commission)
It is clearly a lie by Bill Shorten. He knew Winslow Constructions Managing Director Dina Strano had been paying for his workers for years. There is also evidence other companies and organisations paid for their workers without their knowledge while Bill Shorten was National Secretary of the AWU.
The Herald Sun reported on Wednesday (3/6/15):
BILL Shorten has been named in a royal commission as having a relationship with a builder who paid union membership fees on his workers’ behalf for more than 20 years.
Dino Strano, founder of building firm Winslow, told the Royal Commission into Union Governance and Corruption that he had an association with the Australian Workers Union since the early 1990s.
He said he had paid AWU memberships for his workers to give his company a “degree of stability” and avoid working with the militant CFMEU.
Of his relationships with AWU leaders he said: “There’s been a variety of people from, you know, Bill Shorten, Peter Smoljko, Cesar, and various organisers over the years, yes.” (Click here to read more)
And the SMH reported on Friday
“Witnesses have told the commission of phoney AWU membership drives, including one occasion in 2005 when an entire netball players association was signed up without their knowledge.” (Bill Shorten must respond over claims heard at union royal commission: Pyne)
And Grace Collier from The Australian wrote:
The royal commission into trade unions is examining the extension of an enterprise agreement between Cleanevent and the Australian Workers Union in 2010. The commission has heard money changed hands between the parties to secure the extension of the deal, and workers were ripped off to the tune of millions.
What is yet to be highlighted is that the agreement was originally made between the parties in 2004. The current Opposition Leader signed that document.
Clause 8.2 of the 2004 deal allows the employer to offer full-time cleaners low yearly salaries (starting at $33,854) that exclude payment for all shift, weekend and public holiday penalties and loading, include up to seven hours of unpaid overtime a week, and up to 12-hour shifts. (Click here to read more)
The Royal Commission is going to give Bill Shorten a lot of other grief as well as they continue their investigation into the fraud and theft a the HSU Victoria Number 1 Branch who are rumoured to be broke and close to bankruptcy. It is Shorten’s supporters who are running the branch so it will reflect on him and the Royal Commission are due to have further hearing into secretary Diana Asmar and her management of the branch in the next few months.
Other evidence this week shows Victorian MP Cesar Melhem has had his reputation trashed by his own evidence, a witness let slip that the Federal Police had been talking to him which means they must be investigating at least one union. And the CEO of industry super fund Cbus, David Atkin, knows he is going to be nailed for perjury and corruption next week and must be sweating like there is no tomorrow. Next week we will also see the return of “Lisa Zanatta – Perjury Queen of the Trade Union Royal Commission”. There has to be a good chance that someone at Cbus has rolled.
Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission, Jeremy Stoljar, also tendered evidence on Friday of message bank calls of Bernie Riordan who is a Fair Work Commissioner and former secretary of the NSW Electrical Trades Union. That likely means the Royal Commission has been using phone taps and if that is the case the Royal Commission could turn into absolute dynamite.
Over the last few days the Royal Commission is really starting to look on target and set to justify the budgeted $61 million cost by the end of December.
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