New legislation may lead unions to raise insurance for officials

New legislation may lead unions to raise insurance for officials | Insurance Business

New legislation may lead unions to raise insurance for officials
Unions may be forced to significantly increase insurance policies for their officials following the passage of the Turnbull government’s latest legislation, The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports.

The Registered Organisations Commission will be tasked with regulating the governance and accountability of unions and employer groups instead of the Fair Work Commission. Under the new regulator, higher civil penalties will be implemented, ranging from $18,000 to $216,000 for individuals, and as much as $1 million for a body corporate.

Dave Oliver, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) secretary, said the latest legislation would prompt union leaders across the nation to reconsider their existing insurance policies.

“Each union will have to evaluate their current level of insurance to determine whether it will accommodate the increased level of liability introduced by the higher penalties put in place by the Registered Organisations legislation,” he told the publication.

Oliver added that the changes were “clearly designed to over-regulate unions” and believes they impose the risk of greater penalties on those who advocate for the rights of working people.

Michaelia Cash, Employment Minister, said the legislation would subject officials from key organisations, including unions, to the same standards and penalties that apply to company directors under corporation law. She believes it will also prevent fraud and corruption in unions.

The passage of the new legislation has also been welcomed by national employer groups.

Innes Willox, Ai Group chief executive, said: “The findings of the Heydon Royal Commission into misconduct by some unions and some union officials demonstrated that the existing registered organisation laws needed to change,” SMH reported.

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