The federal government has announced the head of the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC), the Turnbull government’s new union watchdog.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash says that Australian Investment and Securities Commission (ASIC) commissioner Mark Bielecki will lead the organisation. Bielecki is currently the ASIC Commissioner for South Australia as well as performing a number of other legal roles for the organisation.
The appointment of someone from outside the business or industrial relations community is being seen as an attempt by the government to draw the teeth of criticism of the ROC, which is generally expected to focus more on unions rather than employer associations, even though it will have responsibility for both.
In fact it was because the ROC was clearly designed by the Coalition to target the union movement that it twice failed to get through the Senate before eventually being passed in November last year.
The ROC will have responsibility for matters of union governance including the conduct of elections, financial management and reporting and disclosure and will be responsible for any inquiries or investigations into unions’ behaviour in these areas.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) will continue to have responsibility for registration, amalgamations and deregistration; rules (including eligibility rules); right of entry permits (and training).
It will also have its traditional responsibility for awards and agreements, disputes and appeals.