Our pie refusnik industrial relations minister, Bill Shorten, has pushed the proposition that the case of Thommo and Williamson stealing from the HSU is just an isolated incident. Nothing broader to worry about, just move along.
Of course, he knows that not to be the case, as he dealt with the fallout of the Bruce Wilson ‘slush fund’ case. Other examples include:
- Shenanigans at the ETU
- Shenanigans at the communications division of the CEPU
- Cesar Melham setting up the Industry 2020 fund when he was with the AWU (Where has the money gone, Cesar?)
And now we learn on another case of an alleged misappropriation of funds from the TCFUA.
Hmmm, looks like a bit of a pattern, Bill. Could be a strong case for an investigation?
SOUTH Australian Employee Ombudsman Stephen Brennan has denied allegations of misuse of union funds while a union official but will stand down from his post while investigations are underway.
The allegations surrounding Mr Brennan’s time as state secretary of the national textile union have been referred to South Australian Police and the Fair Work Commission.
“These allegations are false,” Mr Brennan, who was appointed Employee Ombudsman by the state Labor government in 2006, said in a statement to The Australian.
“However, I feel that it is in the best interests of the Office of Employee Ombudsman that I stand down until these investigations have been completed.
“Therefore I am now on a leave of absence.”
A letter sent to union members yesterday said allegations had been referred to police and the Fair Work Commission regarding the misuse of union funds by an unnamed former branch official in South Australia.
“It has recently come to the attention of the TCFUA National Council that this former official may have acted in breach of the union’s rules and/or relevant laws relating to the expenditure of union funds,” National Secretary of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia Michele O’Neil said in the letter, obtained by The Australian.
“We take seriously our responsibility for union members’ funds.
“The person in question has not been a member, official or involved in any way with the union for many years.”
Mr Brennan spent 16 years with the Australian Textile Clothing and Footwear Union, becoming state secretary at the age of 24.
He said tonight he had been involved in litigation with the union over monies owed to him as an employee.
“This matter has been ongoing for some considerable time, and I believed it was approaching settlement,” he said in the statement.
“It is disappointing that some have decided to make the matter public to further their personal grievance.”
Ms O’Neil tonight said the union took the issue “extremely seriously” and has “taken all appropriate action to ensure it is dealt with by the relevant authorities”.
“The union will do everything necessary to facilitate and assist in any investigation they undertake.”
South Australian Police assistant commissioner Paul Dickson said in response to the allegation that up to $180,000 had been defrauded said: “We are aware of the allegations and police are currently assessing the information.”