NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
10th September, 1981 : Norm Gallagher, the Secretary of the Builders’ Labourers Federation, and professed champion of the workers, has feathered his own nest to the tune of $100,000, a Royal Commission into the Federation was told today. The counsel assisting the Commission, Peter O’Callaghan, QC, said property developers paid for work worth about $100,000 on beach houses for Mr Gallagher and his son. The Commission is inquiring into whether the union or any part of it has been used for illegal, improper or corrupt purposes, and whether any officials or members have demanded or received rewards beyond normal duties.
[Grace Collier, August 2014 : Recent events in the royal commission into union malfeasance may have left people confused. Is Kathy Jackson a villain or a hero? Who is good, who is bad, what is the truth? More important, how do union officials have so much money and what can we do to prevent union corruption?
The truth about Jackson and all other union people is this: there is no such thing as a “bad unionist” or a “good unionist”. It is naive to categorise union officials as one type or another. Although most people enter the union movement with good intentions, sections of the union movement, when it comes to ethics, are a sewer, and it is impossible to swim in a sewer without getting filthy. We shouldn’t expect union whistleblowers to be squeaky clean.
For the uninitiated, the easiest way to tell if a union is at risk of corruption is to assess two factors: supply and demand.
First, is the union affiliated to the Labor Party? If so, then the demand factor is present. The people running the union need lots of money to buy votes within the ALP, support takeovers of other unions so their ALP votes can be controlled, play factional power games and fund a political career.
Second, consider the characteristics of the industry with which the union deals.
Do the employers have the ability to hand out money? If so, then the supply factor is present. For example, a union servicing the public sector is unlikely to be riddled with corruption simply because managers in the public sector just don’t have the latitude to give money to union officials, whereas managers in, say, a construction company do.
So, if a union is ALP-affiliated and operates in a sector in which employers have the means to hand out money, then the union will be almost certainly engaging in corrupt activity. …/ whole article The Australian ]