Government says unions should welcome scrutiny

UNIONS should welcome the coming scrutiny of both a potential Royal Commission and a reinstated Australian Building and Construction Commission, Employment Minister Eric Abetz said on Wednesday.

After Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday refused to rule out a Royal Commission into links between unions and crime, Sen Abetz said such an investigation was not a witch-hunt.

His comments followed CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan saying the investigation was a witch-hunt, after reports of death threats, bribery and corruption in the union.

Mr Noonan has said the union would not tolerate corruption, pledging to sack any union officials found to be engaged in such activity.

While Sen Abetz said on Wednesday that the government had not suggested a Royal Commission, he said it was "the same union officials that are now opposed to any suggestion of an inquiry".

He said the allegations "clearly indicate the need for the ABCC to be reinstituted", and there was also a need for a broader inquiry into union funding.

"The only way trade unionism is to have a future is if the members who pay the money know that money is being used for appropriate purposes," he said.

"(But) let me say you wouldn't have these corrupt union officials if the businesses weren't willing to pay these commissions."



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