No need for a hearing now, here's the union's statement clearing everything up.
ETU MEDIA RELEASES
ETU NSW response to Trade Union Royal Commission
Posted on 27-4-2015
The Electrical Trades Union has pledged to respond to all matters scheduled to be heard at the Trade Union Royal Commission over the coming fortnight in a transparent and professional manner.
ETU secretary Steve Butler said the matters being reviewed by the Royal Commission largely preceded his election as State Secretary in 2012, and that he had commissioned transparent reviews of the matters on taking office.
“The Trade Union Royal Commission intends to investigate an investment made by the NSW branch of the Electrical Trades Union almost five years ago, which involved a commercial loan to the NSW Labor Party,” Mr Butler said.
“The loan was repaid in full during 2013, including more than $100,000 in interest.
“On assuming the position of secretary in July 2012 I immediately ordered a review of this matter to ensure proper internal processes had been followed and that the rules of the union had been complied with.
“The review reported that the loan was an investment decision, the rules of the union were complied with and the loan was properly made.
“It is not unusual for unions to invest members’ money in order to generate returns that are then used to benefit members by supporting union activities.
“The ETU was one of three unions to extend loans to NSW Labor in 2010/11, all of which were agreed to on commercial terms with interest payable and fully disclosed in financial accounts.
“One must remember that trade unions founded the Labor Party more than one hundred years ago as the political voice of working people, and we continue to enjoy a close working relationship with the Labor Party to achieve our goal of improving the lives of working people.
“Under my leadership I have always acted in the best interest of ETU members. It is disappointing that these matters are being investigated, but despite this the ETU has committed to assisting the commission during its inquiry.
“Any questions raised about the actions of formers office holders of the union will be best addressed by those individuals and the ETU will not be providing an ongoing commentary.
ETU investment loan facts:
An Investment loan to NSW Labor was extended by the ETU in December 2010.
The investment loan was for an amount of $500,000.
The investment loan was reported in the financial accounts of both the ETU NSW Branch and the NSW Labor Party.
The investment loan was granted on the basis of a commercial arrangement with interest payable at an annual rate of 8.5 per cent.
The ETU was one of three unions to extend commercial loans to NSW Labor in 2010/11.
The loan repayment schedule was renegotiated with NSW Labor at different times on terms agreed to by both parties, and approved in accordance with the rules of the union.
Bernie Riordan resigned as secretary of the ETU NSW Branch in March 2012.
Steve Butler assumed the secretary’s position following a fresh election in July 2012.
Mr Butler ordered a review of the ALP investment loan in August 2012, after receiving one internal complaint.
The review was conducted between August and October 2012 by NEW Law and found the investment had been omitted from the minutes of an executive meeting by error, but the investment was made in accordance with the rules of the union.
Following a further complaint from the same source, a further review — by KPMG — was conducted. This review was handed down in July 2013 and found that the original review had adequately investigated the matter.
The investment loan was repaid in full in July 2013, including interest of $103,047.