5 February 2014: Australia – Safeguards Needed in Response to Allegations of Union Corruption

“The recent allegations that the administration of some trade unions is affected by corruption are serious and cannot be ignored”, Transparency International Australia Executive Director, Michael Ahrens, said in Sydney today.

“Trade unions have privileges and obligations under state and federal legislation.

“They have duties to their many members.

“Their conduct directly and indirectly affects businesses and their employees, the economy and members of the public.”

“If true, the allegations show that in this context the existing safeguards are not working”, Mr Ahrens said. “If that continues, infiltration by other parties such as organized crime becomes almost predictable”.

“At the same time, those employers and head contractors from whom any corrupt payments and favours are demanded cannot escape responsibility when they yield. The excuse commonly offered of necessity to do so to meet exigent project deadlines cannot absolve them of it. Those on the “supply side” of any corrupt conduct, who accede to illegitimate demands of the type alleged, become direct participants in it”.