The AWU is after a new spin-doctor - got any contacts in that caper Paul?
The devil's bedside book - one page, opened at random - how could Leonard Rossiter have known?

Judge Madgwick and the ACTU-select team deliver the verdict - unions are taking care of business! And if there is a problem, and we're not saying there is, but if there is a problem it was all Michael Williamson and Craig Thomson

Judge Rod Madgwick and his hand-picked team of independent experts have finished their review of union governance.

This is His Honour independently appearing in an ad for the ACTU.

And this is the ACTU's grateful acceptance of His Honour's report, which recommends unions adopt “best practice” governance standards rather than active external reviews of union finances - the report also finds no case for new laws to tighten up union financial controls.



Actu release union governance

Dave Oliver is right - all unions will be keen to embrace this approach, sorry, all union officials will.

How the AFR saw it

Former Federal Court judge Rod Madgwick found that “nearly all” union officials and employers are “honest and behave appropriately in their stewardship of union funds”.

The review recommended “best practice” governance standards for unions rather than investigating misbehaviour or surveying the finances of individual unions.

“Don’t try and convince us that – because there’s a couple of these isolated instances – that the rest of the movement is tarnished in some way,” ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said. “I don’t accept that.”

Speaking after the report was presented to the ACTU national executive in Melbourne, Mr Oliver argued there was no justification to regulate unions in the same manner as companies. Many unions have already overhauled their practices with input from large accounting firms, including KPMG and Ferrier Hodgson.

(The report) did not deal with external accounts or off-balance entities operated by union officials.

 

And The Australian's view

Governance standards won't be enforced

  • BY:EWIN HANNAN, INDUSTRIAL EDITOR 
  • From:The Australian 
  • March 07, 2013 12:00AM
Unions will not be compelled to implement new governance standards recommended by an ACTU-commissioned panel set up in the wake of the Health Services Union scandal.

The ACTU also acknowledged yesterday that there had been no timeframe set for when the 13 detailed recommendations of the panel would be implemented by unions.

The report found, despite the allegations involving the HSU, that Australian unions were "honestly run".

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said the panel had not been asked to investigate any current impropriety, if it existed, within unions.

Instead it was designed to identify examples of best practice within unions.

This is the entire report

Download ACTU Governance Panel Report to Exec

A few pieces of it caught my attention.

Actu 2
Disclosure of policy is likely to do more to prevent malpractice than any amount of punishment?   The corollary of that seems to be that penalties are not needed, just disclose the policy and Bill's your uncle.

This next comment, however, is a little disturbing for me.

From 1995 until 2002, His Honour Justice Rod Madgwick presided over matters involving defalcation and invalidities in the conduct of the AWU's affairs.   I can find no disclosure of His Honour's involvement in that matter in this report.   The report goes to great pains to single out the alleged crimes of Michael Williamson and Craig Thomson MP and to describe in great detail the malfeasance at the HSU.

The Fin Review opens its report with this summary paragraph

The financial scandals in the Health Services Union did immense harm to the reputation of unions but most are honestly run, according to a review of union governance commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions

The Australian with this

UNIONS will not be compelled to implement new governance standards recommended by an ACTU-commissioned panel set up in the wake of the Health Services Union scandal.

The financial scandals in the Health Services Union did immense harm to the reputation of unions but most are honestly run, according to a review of union governance commissioned by the Australian Council of Trade Unions

Then there is this single reference to circumstances that could reasonably be seen to be The AWU Scandal, now the subject of a well-publicised Victoria Police investigation.   The union's name is helpfully avoided, as is the involvement of the current Prime Minister in the scandal.

Actu report awu scandal
His Honour Judge Madgwick was the judge who presided over that case.   He made decisions and Orders in the matter.  I would have thought a disclosure in that regard, and a note to the report setting out His Honours Judgement (if any) and Orders would have been an important inclusion to the Report.

I find it difficult to accept the Report's characterisation of the scandal, currently the subject of a full-blown Major Fraud Squad enquiry as "alleged large scale defalcation (embezzlement of money) by a senior branch officer and another official".   Compared and contrasted with the treatment focussed entirely on the HSU it seems a significant oversight, particularly in view of the Committee's recommendations about sunlight and openness.

The Committee also expresses its vote of no confidence in meting out punishment to offenders.

Actu gaol no deterrent
Fear of the law or punishment will not hold them back.   The Report links to this Sydney Morning Herald article

THE Chief Justice has made a thinly veiled call for the state government to change sentencing laws, saying the notion that longer prison terms deter crime is ''fiction''.

The impact of an individual's sentence on the likelihood that someone else will commit a similar crime in the future - known as ''general deterrence'' - is one of the factors judges have to consider when sentencing a criminal.

But Chief Justice Tom Bathurst said there was no ''persuasive evidence that it works''.

Therefore, it was important to reconsider whether deterrence should continue to have a role in sentencing, he told the NSW Legal Aid criminal law conference yesterday.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/long-jail-terms-are-no-deterrent--chief-judge-20120801-23fmw.html#ixzz2Mmvj0X6P

So the union movement's woes are almost wholly attributable to two people, Michael Williamson and Craig Thomson.   No more investigations are needed - just the overt adoption of new "best practice" governance procedures.

And don't mention the AWU.   Rod Madgwick did once in the 1990s but I think he got away with it.

And this is the Committee's model for how a good modern union should be run.   Astute observers may note the absence of any external review - the model of a modern major union requires no outside observers.

Union model management



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