Here is 2011 - 40,813
(the original post listed several years of returns then continues)
Yesterday's disclosure by the Labor Party and TWU NSW branch that the real number of members is just over 17,000 may cause some problems for the officers of the union who signed off on the accounts, for the auditors and for the Fair Work Australia rubber stampers.
I've published a screen grab of the SMH article yesterday that reported the Labor Party and TWU admissions about the new numbers - just over 17,000. What the SMH did not report on was the sworn statutory declarations made by the TWU state secretary for NSW Wayne Forno, or the numbers in his annual returns, claiming 43,800 members for 2013.
The SMH focuses on the TWU losing influence in the NSW Labor Party. Given the apparently questionable statutory declarations to FWA that may be the least of their worries.
I then compared the financial statements from the TWU with the membership numbers and dues payable
FRIDAY, 25 JULY 2014
Clearly $27 million is not accounted for in the NSW branch financial records. Either there are some zeros missing or the money must be accounted for elsewhere. That's our mission today - to find it. More soon.
25 July 2014 I report the matter to Fair Work Australia
I received no answer.
MONDAY, 04 AUGUST 2014 I reported the matter to the organisation responsible for enforcing the Statutory Declarations Act - the AFP
MONDAY, 11 AUGUST 2014 - still no acknowledgement from O'Neill at FWC
WEDNESDAY, 29 OCTOBER 2014 - AFP flicks to FWC
I made more calls, sent emails, contacted the Minister Eric Abetz. Nothing happened
As the TURC operation for its second and unexpected year kicked off, the FWC belatedly listed and inquiry into the TWU.
MONDAY, 16 MARCH 2015
It's now 8 months since the Fair Work Commission was made aware of the prima facie falsely sworn declarations and the apparently fraudulent claims regarding membership numbers within the TWU. Our initial report contained evidence that would lend itself to a prosecution brief. But there's been no prosecution. There's been no investigation. And until just over one week ago, the Fair Work Commission hadn't even started preliminary inquiries into the matter.
8 months after it received our report, this announcement appeared within a section of the FWC website hidden several clicks away from public view.
Current inquiries & investigations
- Transport Workers' Union of Australia—inquiry commenced 5 March 2015 (pursuant to s.330 of the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009)
The FWC process provides firstly for an inquiry into a reported breach of the law.
After the completion of an inquiry, the next step is to establish a investigation.
At the completion of the investigation, the matter may be referred to the Commonwealth prosecution agency for further action.
FWC - protecting union mates since Craig Thomson.
And after all that - the Gillard protection racket operated out of Fair Work says this is about a failure to update membership numbers within a union.
Here is a selection of comments from Commissioner Heydon's report on the TWU and Sheldon's conduct.
Mr Sheldon’s conduct was done in order to benefit an organisation – the TWU – in increasing delegate numbers and therefore voting power at the NSW Labor Conference. It was also done in order to procure an advantage for an officer of the TWU, Mr Sheldon, since his power as leader of the TWU delegates would increase. That is conduct falling below the professional standards of a leading trade union official.
During his oral testimony, Mr Sheldon admitted that there were not 39,212 members that could vote in a union ballot that year,54 and that roughly half of the declared members were in fact unfinancial members.
Plainly, the 2008/2009 declaration submitted by Mr Sheldon was wrong. It grossly inflated the eligible number of TWU of NSW members to be used for the purposes of calculating the TWU of NSW’s delegates to the ALP Annual Conference.
Mr Sheldon’s explanation cannot be accepted. All along the TWU should only have been reporting the ‘number of members eligible to vote in a ballot for an office in that union...’.63
It was plain throughout the examination of Mr Sheldon on this topic over 15 pages of transcript77 that senior counsel assisting was extremely sceptical about Mr Sheldon’s evidence on this topic. Mr Sheldon can have been in no doubt that his claim that what happened was an innocent mistake shared by others was not being accepted and that senior counsel assisting was contending, as lame explanation succeeded lame explanation, that Mr Sheldon knew the errors were persistently being made.
These are non-credible answers and senior counsel assisting was indicating his incapacity to believe them.
The examination concluded with the following gratuitous comment from the witness, not in answer to any question:86
THE WITNESS: You’ve probably asked me the same question about 10 different ways. I can give you a few suggestions. You’ll get the same answer.
MR STOLJAR: You haven’t answered yet, Mr Sheldon.
The evidence permitted an inference that Mr Sheldon was giving knowingly false answers, and that he had known for years that false membership numbers were being put forward. From that flows a further inference: that there was some advantage to be gained from doing this. The relevant advantage was an increase in TWU voting power at the ALP Conference and an advantage to Mr Sheldon as leader of the TWU delegates.
After Sheldon released this media statement attacking the TURC, Commissioner Heydon made this notation to a section of his Final Report.
344 Tony Sheldon’s statement is as inaccurate as the other point made in his letter: ‘The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found the royal commission was wrong to allege an agreement between Toll and the TWU to set up a fund on training, safety, auditing and education was anti-competitive’. The Interim Report made no allegation of this kind. All that it did was to note that the ACCC had announced on 21 October 2014 that it was conducting an investigation, and state that this was an appropriate course: Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, Interim Report (2014), Vol 1, ch 7.2, p 998, para 55. It is unfortunately necessary also to draw attention to a false statement in the following part of a letter to the Editor of The Australian, published on 26 November 2015: ‘The Transport Workers Union was forced to spend time and resources answering questions at the Commission. We have been vindicated at every turn.’ Quite apart from the findings made against the Transport Workers’ Union in this Chapter, of which Tony Sheldon would have been ignorant at the time of writing his letter, it is not true that as at 26 November 2015 the Transport Workers’ Union and its officials ‘have been vindicated at every turn’. See the criticisms made in the Interim Report (Vol 1, ch 4.2, 4.4, 6.2 and in particular 10.2 concerning the deceitful membership numbers supplied by the Transport Workers’ Union to the Australian Labor Party with a view to boosting the Transport Workers’ Union delegate strength at New South Wales State Labor Conferences, and Tony Sheldon’s knowingly false evidence on that subject).
Today the tragic Employment Minister Michaelia Cash is quoted in her media statement made to The Australian and the AFR last night.
The trade union royal commission made serious findings of membership rorts against the TWU. It found that these rorts were undertaken to falsely inflate the number of members in order to boost the power base of TWU bosses in the Labor Party. These are very serious matters and it is appropriate that they now be considered by the courts."