I am surprised this story about former trade union state secretary, Stephen Brennan, being charged on multiple fraudulent offences has not received much publicity. I am not sure Fairfax even carried the story. But it is a biggie. Here are the main points:
- Stephen Brennan was state secretary of the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear Union in South Australia for sixteen years, having achieved the position at the age of 24!
- He was appointed by the SA Labor government to the very well-paid position of Employee Ombudsman in 2006.
- He stood aside from the position – on full pay – in May 2013 after allegations were aired that he had misused union funds. The national secretary of the union, Michele O’Neil blew the whistle.
- At the time, he declared: “these allegations are false.” (Haven’t we heard this before?)
- In March 2014, he was charged with 35 counts of falsifying accounts and 32 accounts of dishonestly dealing with documents. The overall sum of money is quoted at $180,000.
- He remains on leave with pay. His position is a statutory one and he can only be removed by Parliament.
- Buggered if I can figure out what a state-based Employee Ombudsman really does or why it is needed. There are state bureaucrats who can deal with workplace complaints as well as the Fair Work Ombudsman which has very broad coverage.
- On the other hand, it is a useful position to park a factionally aligned ex-union mate in a well-paid taxpayer funded position.
BRING ON THE ROYAL COMMISSION, IT IS CLEARLY NEEDED.