The Origins and Evolution of the Statutory Duties of Trade Union Officers
Australian Business Law Review, Vol. 47, No. 1, pp. 23-39, 2019
21 Pages Posted: 20 May 2019
Date Written: December 17, 2018
In Australia, statutory duties are imposed on trade union officers in several jurisdictions. In the 1990s, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia introduced duties for officers of employee and employer organisations registered under industrial relations legislation. In 2002, the Federal Government introduced officers’ duties for federally-registered organisations. These federal and state duties have been modelled on the directors’ duties that are found in corporations legislation. This article examines the origins and evolution of these duties at the New South Wales and federal level and also considers the debates regarding the appropriateness of applying corporate law duties to trade union officers. The article shows how the introduction and development of the duties imposed on trade union officers, and the penalties for contravening them, have been politically contentious — much more so than the development of the duties imposed on company directors.
Keywords: trade unions; trade union officers; directors' duties
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