Michael Smith uncovers zingers from the Royal Commission into Trade unions. Gillard, Shorten, Ludwig and others from the AWU send the Union broke:
I am dumbfounded by that figure. Several hours after I first read it I remain astounded, sickened, genuinely shocked and appalled at the sheer utter waste. I’ll try to get the $800K into some perspective.
During its two year life the TURC allocated 33 public hearing days to the AWU. The $800K sum in fighting subpoenas breaks down into an average of $25,000 per sitting day – not in total legal costs but in simply trying to keep evidence from the Commission.
6 months of AWU membership costs $286 or $572 annually – so 1,400 AWU members annual dues have been soaked up to pay the $800K bill.
So what did those 1,400 members get in return?
Absolutely nothing, What possible benefit could there be for a rank and file member in the suppression of information about his union’s affairs?
Very, very few people stood to benefit from fighting the subpoenas – a handful at most. Bill Shorten, Bill Ludwig, Cesar Melhem and some other senior decision makers with secrets to hide have had their backsides protected through 1,400 workers each kicking in $572 to produce $800,000 of delays and legal frustrations.
Scott McDine the AWU National Secretary told The Australian:
…the AWU’s national office had also suffered a hit to finances and membership. “We’ve had aluminium smelters close, and redundancies among the steelworkers, and we’ve had the purge since the (trade union) royal commission: did you really think we were going to grow under those conditions?” he said. The union has spent more than $800,000 fighting royal commission subpoenas.
Victorian secretary Ben Davis said he had shed members after revelations that many had been signed up without their knowledge or were paying “service fees” rather than genuine dues.
I’m amazed they have any members after performances like that. $800K provided by the masses to protect a few suss characters with dirty secrets to hide.