The terms of reference of the Royal Commission announced today by the Abbott Government confirm it is a politically-motivated witch-hunt designed to weaken unions, says the ACTU.

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said the terms of reference released by Prime Minister Tony Abbott show the narrow focus of the Royal Commission is to smear and damage unions rather than get to the bottom of any genuine issues of corruption.

Mr Oliver said the timing of the announcement on a day when 2500 employees of Toyota were told their jobs would go demonstrated that the Abbott Government’s priorities are all about politics and not about workers.

“The Abbott Government has chosen today to announce a $100 million political inquiry to try to weaken unions when it should be dealing with a national jobs crisis,” Mr Oliver said.

“Today, the Cabinet should have been discussing how to stem the loss of jobs caused by the Government’s lack of an industry planning.

“It should have been discussing aid for people who have lost properties because of bushfires, and relief for farmers from the drought.

“Instead, it has put politics ahead of the national interest and embarked on a $100 million frolic which is aimed at damaging unions and digging the government out of a hole.

“Tonight, there are another 2500 Australian workers staring down the barrel of unemployment, but they have been totally ignored by the Prime Minister.

“This tells us volumes about this Government and who it is really looking after. Mr Abbott should be backing Australian industry and Australian jobs. Instead, it is more interested in attacking the representatives of Australian workers.

“Our initial review of the terms of reference suggests they are narrowly directed at unions and will not adequately deal with corruption or unlawful behaviour by businesses or employers.

“This Government is not genuinely interested in dealing with corruption. It is only interested in weakening unions, so that it can then begin attacking the take-home pay of working Australians.
Mr Oliver said any allegations of wrongdoing should be immediately referred to police, as unions have done.
“The union movement stands united against any proven corruption by any union officer or representative and believes that any allegations, whether they be against labour hire, building companies or individuals, union or otherwise, should be investigated by police,” Mr Oliver said.
“But we do not support a politically-motivated Star Chamber to weaken the historic role of unions in making workplaces safer and fighting for decent wages and conditions for workers in Australia.”