Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption

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Alleged financial irregularities associated with the affairs of trade unions
Inquiries Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption
Commissioner The Honourable Dyson Heydon, AC QC
Inquiry period 10 February 2014 (2014-02-10)present
Constituting instrument Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth)

The Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption is a Royal Commission established by the Australian government pursuant to the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth) to inquire into alleged financial irregularities associated with the affairs of trade unions.[1] The Australian Workers Union, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Electrical Trades Union, Health Services Union and the Transport Workers Union were named in the terms of reference.[2] The Royal Commission will inquire into the activities relating to slush funds and other similar funds and entities established by, or related to, the affairs of these organisations.

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the Royal Commission on 10 February 2014 and nominated that the Commission be overseen by a sole Royal Commissioner, The Honourable Dyson Heydon, AC QC, a former High Court judge. The Commissioner has been asked to submit his report to the Governor-General by 31 December 2014. Letters Patent were issued on 13 March 2014.



The powers of Royal Commissions in Australia are set out in the enabling legislation, the Royal Commissions Act 1902 (Cth).

Royal Commissions, appointed pursuant to the Royal Commissions Act or otherwise, have powers to issue a summons to a person to appear before the Commission at a hearing to give evidence or to produce documents specified in the summons; require witnesses to take an oath or give an affirmation; and require a person to deliver documents to the Commission at a specified place and time.[3] A person served with a summons or a notice to produce documents must comply with that requirement, or face prosecution for an offence. The penalty for conviction upon such an offence is a fine of A$1,000 or six months imprisonment.[4] A Royal Commission may authorise the Australian Federal Police to execute search warrants.[5]

Procedures and methods[edit]


The Letters Patent require that a final report be delivered by the Royal Commission not later than 31 December 2014, and permit the delivery of interim reports, at any earlier time, as the Commissioner sees fit. No reports have yet been delivered.


  1. ^ Abbott, Tony; (Prime Minister); Brandis, George; (Attorney-General); Abetz, Eric; (Minister for Employment) (10 February 2014). "Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption" (Press release). Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Five unions named in royal commission". SBS World News (SBS). AAP. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "ROYAL COMMISSIONS ACT 1902 - SECT 2 Power to summon witnesses and take evidence". Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "ROYAL COMMISSIONS ACT 1902 - SECT 3 Failure of witnesses to attend or produce documents". Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "ROYAL COMMISSIONS ACT 1902 - SECT 4 Search warrants". Retrieved 23 January 2014. 

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