The Australian Workers’ Union has today welcomed the Federal Court’s ruling that the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) did not have reasonable grounds to launch an investigation into the union that led to the AFP raiding the AWU’s offices.
AWU National Secretary Daniel Walton said he was pleased the court had ruled in the union’s favour.
“We have said from the very beginning that this investigation is was invalid, that it never should have commenced. So we’re very satisfied the court has ruled that way today,” Mr Walton said.
“This has been an exhausting, resource-draining, and distracting process for our union, but it’s a vital part of democracy that the actions of public agencies can and should be held to account.
“We were determined to bring the facts in this case to light, and that has taken a huge effort. When our union is attacked, when our members’ interests are attacked, we will always push back.”
Maurice Blackburn Principal Josh Bornstein, who is acting for the AWU, said the decision made clear the ROC had made a serious legal error of judgement in deciding to pursue its AWU investigation.
“As today’s judgement makes clear, the ROC had no proper legal basis to conduct an investigation into the AWU’s compliance with its rules some 10 years earlier. The investigation into that matter was tainted by illegality and so the court has ruled it was invalid,” Mr Bornstein said.
“This was the first major investigation conducted by the ROC, following a request by the then Minister Cash and it did not comply with the law”, he added.