South Australian unions are incensed that the State Labor government has transferred to the Royal Commission into unions full powers to investigate State-registered associations.
To add insult to injury, the move was never discussed with SA Unions, the State’s peak union body. Unions only found out about the transfer when they stumbled across a notice from Acting State Premier Jack Snelling to John Heydon, who heads the Commission in the South Australian Government Gazette.
No doubt the SA government will claim that the move is purely administrative, and that unions that have not “done the wrong thing” have nothing to fear.
And if the Royal Commission was an absolutely impartial body, perhaps running alongside Royal Commissions into corporate tax evasion and bribery or corporate flouting of occupational health and safety guidelines, there may be a case to argue.
However, Royal Commissions into unions have a proven track record of setting out to intimidate union officials and members, and of having to meet the corporate agenda to provide a case for busting unions.
Why, for example, did the State Labor government not call the Royal Commission for what it is, and put to practical effect the often spoken about “protections of the state industrial relations system”?
Why, for example, does the command from Snelling to the Royal Commissioner require inquiry into employees of the unions and delegates or other representatives of the unions? Isn’t it enough to attack the officials without going all the way down the food chain?
In essence, the liberals (ie Labor) and the conservatives (ie Liberal) serve the same master and play by the rules of that master whose name is Capital.
The Labor Party is not a shield behind which the workers may shelter; rather it is the platter on which the head of John the Baptist was brought to the king.