Court declares investigation into AWU invalid in blow to ROC, Morrison Government’s anti-union agenda

26 November 2019
The Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) has suffered a humiliating defeat after the Federal Court today ordered that its unlawful investigation into the Australian Workers Union (AWU) be quashed.

Federal Court Justice Mordecai Bromberg this morning formally brought to an end the investigation which resulted in a notorious raid by AFP officers on the headquarters of the AWU. The AFO raid was leaked to the media by federal government advisers before the AWU’s offices were raided by more than 30 AFP officers in October 2017.

The Court has also ordered that the AFP return all documents seized by it during the raids to the AWU.

Acting AWU National Secretary Misha Zelinsky said:

“This Liberal government has no higher priority than destroying the power workers have through their unions. To further this agenda they created the ROC which, in turn, can draw on the resources of the AFP.

“All working people have to defend one another and our legal rights. This case shows how important legal rights and standing together are. The “Ensuring Integrity” Bill will expand the scope of union-busting laws in this country.

The ROC has already spent an extraordinary amount of taxpayer dollars and the extensive resources of the federal police on this illegal pursuit.”

Maurice Blackburn Principal Josh Bornstein, who is acting for the AWU, said the raids on the union’s offices were unprecedented but the Scott Morrison Liberal Government had continued its anti-union vendetta with the Ensuring Integrity Bill currently before the senate. Bornstein said:

“We welcome the court’s orders quashing this illegal investigation by the ROC. Unions are subject to the one of the most repressive regulatory regimes in the OECD. Unfortunately, the effect of current laws is to weaken unions and deprive employees of a voice in the workplace. The effect of this phenomenon is made clear almost every day with stories of stagnant wages and repeated underpayment and other scandals in the labour market. We are paying a huge price for the deliberate deunionisation of the workforce.”

“The ROC should have never investigated this trivial matter dating back 12 years in the first place. It should focus its efforts on issues of substance,” he added.

Justice Bromberg ruled in October that the ROC did not have reasonable grounds to launch an investigation into the AWU.

Media inquiries: Paddy Murphy at Maurice Blackburn on 0490 297 391 or Anil Lambert at the Australian Workers’ Union on 0416 426 722.

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