I'm speechless on this TWU membership numbers issue.
On 22 July this year The Sydney Morning Herald published a story by Ben Schneiders and Royce Millar on the TWU's membership numbers - link here. The headline was
TWU loses Labor Party influence as membership rort is caught
The story ran on the eve of the NSW Labor Party conference where the TWU's influence was cut in half as a result of the correction to its membership numbers.
You might recall we reported on the Statutory Declaration of membership numbers made by the TWU's NSW secretary Wayne Forno on 24 March 2014.
I thought it incredible that the numbers could be reported in March, only to be cut in half in July. However what I've just had pointed out to me beggars belief.
On 1 December, 2013, the Sydney Morning Herald published a detailed story on the TWU's numbers, including a great deal of analysis and admissions by officials that the numbers were inflated. That's 3 months before this year's series of statutory declarations by TWU officials.
Here's a link to the Fairfax story - the headline is below.
TWU inflated membership numbers to gain voting clout
1 December 2013
While the influential Transport Workers Union's NSW branch claims nearly 41,000 members to government authorities, an analysis of its own records indicates the union has barely 25,000 financial members.
The big discrepancy (was) confirmed by the union after a series of questions from Fairfax Media
The TWU's massaging of membership numbers gives it up to 15 extra conference delegates in NSW Labor, and more clout in policy and preselections. The union had 43 delegates at last year's NSW Labor conference, making it the second largest right wing union after the shop assistants' union.
But the TWU's real power comes from its NSW branch, which accounts for nearly half of its reported nation-wide membership of 87,000.
While NSW Labor has clamped down on rorting in recent years, the TWU claimed 38,267 members to the ALP in the 2012/13 financial year.
Senior Labor sources confirmed only paid-up members are meant to be counted as part of Labor affiliation.
The Fairfax Media analysis of the TWU's 2011 accounts, shows it had over-stated its membership by at least 50 per cent.
Buried in the audited accounts is revenue from a training levy paid from the state branches to the national office of the union at 50 cents for each ''effective member''. While all other branches pay amounts broadly consistent with their reported membership numbers, the NSW branch paid only $12,404, indicating they have about 24,800 ''effective'' members.
A separate analysis of sustentation fees paid by the NSW union to the national union, also indicates it has fewer than 25,000 paid members.
Notably the NSW union's journal, TWU News, has a circulation of about 25,000. The journal is only sent to financial members.
TWU NSW chief adviser Fergus Taylor confirmed at the time the accounts were filed ''there were about 25,000 financial members''. He said it had complied with affiliation rules.
None of that seemed to bother either Wayne Forno, the NSW State Secretary or Michael Kaine, the National Assistant Secretary.
The TWU national report to FWA lists membership at 94,025. Michael Kaine, who is also a lawyer, signed and dated a statutory declaration on March 31, 2014. (see http://www.e-airc.gov.au/files/179v/AR2014.97.pdf)
I see from the Fair Work Australia website that there is still no inquiry or investigation into the TWU and its annual reports. It's very difficult to understand why.