Union ‘ ghosts’ haunt Shorten

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

BILL Shorten will be quizzed on “ghost” union mem­bers and deals struck with con­struc­tion com­pa­nies when he faces the royal com­mis­sion to­day.

The for­mer Aus­tralian Work­ers’ Union na­tional sec­re­tary will be the third La­bor leader, af­ter Ju­lia Gil­lard and Kevin Rudd, to ap­pear at two royal com­mis­sions ini­ti­ated by Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott.

Ms Gil­lard ap­peared at the unions in­quiry and Mr Rudd faced ques­tions in the home in­su­la­tion com­mis­sion. Mr Ab­bott said yesterday ev­i­dence of p r e v i o u s w i t n e s s e s s h o w e d there were “ghosts” on union mem­ber­ship rolls and deals had been done to “dud” work­ers. “Let’s see what light can be cast on that in the next day or so,” he said.

La­bor work­place spokesman Bren­dan O’Con­nor said the Prime Min­is­ter had his own ques­tions to an­swer.

“Why has he spent $ 80 mil­lion of taxpayers’ money go­ing af­ter his po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents?” Mr O’Con­nor said.

Mr Shorten has been briefly men­tioned in ev­i­dence dur­ing the in­quiry in 2014 and 2015. He has pro­vided sev­eral af­fi­davits to the royal com­mis­sion.

In one af­fi­davit, Mr Shorten de­nies a 1996 con­ver­sa­tion in which he was al­leged to have told for­mer AWU Vic­to­rian pres­i­dent Bob Ker­nohan “we are all just mov­ing on” when dis­cussing re­cov­ery of some worker re­dun­dancy pay­ments.

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