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A very good academic paper highlighting the advantages union leaders enjoy under Gillard's laws

This 32 page booklet was originally part of Joel Silver's paper for his Master's degree at the Melbourne University law school - "Corporate and White Collar Criminal Law".

Joel sets out the differences between the main law covering unionists  behaviour - the Registered Organisations Act 2009 and the main law covering corporations and their directors, the Corporations Act 2001.

Joel examines the Williamson/Thomson HSU defalcation in some detail.  He also looks at the BLF and Norm Gallagher and Bruce Wilson et al in The AWU Scandal.

I'll highlight a few of the key differences in the laws that apply to companies, compared to the Gillard laws that apply to unions.

  • Corporations Act makes some breaches criminal offences.   There is no provision for criminal offences for breaches of the Registered Organisations Act for unions.
  • The common law and the Corporations Law require company directors to act in "good faith" and for a "proper purpose".  The Unions Registered Organisations Act has a significant difference, union leaders are required to act in "what he or she believes to be the best interests of the organisation".
  • The Corporations Act provides that directors who breach provisions of the law can be declared disqualified persons and banned from acting as a director of a company for a period of time.   No such provision exists in the union related Registered Organisations Act.
  • The financial penalties available to courts for Company Directors in breach of the Corporations Law range up to $200,000.   Until last year the Registered Organisations Act for union leaders had a maximum penalty of $2,200, increased last year to $10,020.

Joel Silver has done the nation a terrific service in researching and writing this paper.   I heartily commend it to you.

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