Govt accuses industry funds of funding unions, ALP

The Federal Government has sought to portray a direct link between industry superannuation funds, trade unions and the Australian Labor Party (ALP), pointing to $53 million in payments from industry funds to unions and $65 million from unions to the ALP.

In a series of questions and answers in the Senate this week, the Government has sought to attack both the industry funds and the leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, in his capacity as an official of the Australian Workers’ Union and AustralianSuper.

Employment minister, Senator Michaelia Cash led the way in the Senate by claiming that, over the last 10 years, “$53 million has been paid by industry super funds to unions. Over the same 10 years, unions have paid around $65 million to the ALP”.

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In doing so, Cash suggested the payments might represent a breach of the sole purpose test which requires super funds to invest only in the best interests of their members.

“We need to ensure, as parliamentarians, that the people presiding over these savings are acting solely in the interests of the hardworking members and not in the interests of union officials, political candidates or anyone else—especially when you are wearing all three of those hats,” Cash said. “This is the retirement savings of hardworking Australians.”

The minister said the Government had introduced legislation to amend the Fair Work Act to ban corrupting benefits paid by employers to unions and union officials noting that the legislation also required disclosure of all benefits flowing to employer groups, unions and businesses under workplace deals.

“What this will do is end the secrecy in these payments. If a payment is a legitimate payment then let us make sure every single Australian—but in particular those affected by the payment, the hardworking members of employer groups or unions—knows why these payments are being made,” she said.




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News to anyone? I don't think so... Time for these scumbags to be brought to account.

Would these not be the same as 'commissions'???

No very different. Commissions for advice was OK. Breaching the Sole Purpose test was and is a criminal offence and much more severe. I would not want to be the person authorising that transaction.
I would guess advertising during a football game would also be against the sole purpose test. How is advertising to get new members in the best interest of the existing members

It is sad the Coalition have only just woken up to this. These industry funds are so big and powerful now, there is no turning back. The Coalition will be totally outgunned in every election going forward.

No. Industry funds are only there to benefit the members aren't they? That's what the advertising says. My goodness this could be quite a Revelation.

If these Funds are forgiven their trespasses, which will most likely be the case, then all other Superfund officials and their members should be forgiven in the same manner i.e for making simple errors in levels of contributions for which they have been unfairly fined.

Interesting area of debate. Retail super funds spend funds on advertising and paid something referred to as a marketing allowance to advisers. Something we call commissions. Union Super funds claim paying a marketing allowance to Unions helps them gain access to the workforce and new members. However this also would then imply that those Unions are giving advice. What needs to brought out into the open is that Union Super funds also have been paying commissions for many years, publicly trying to wipe out the advice profession. Why is that all submissions to the FoFa process called for "opt out" to be introduced and yet only one organization (Union super funds) requested an annual opt in requirement, and that was what was adopted. A clear conflict if ever.

Commissions and fees for a service are not illegal, siphoning off a % of the funds for political purposes is. If the "fees" were used to pay for administrative personnel, or advice providers, I would have no issue with it. But the lies and deception that has been the hallmark of the ISN is something that beggars belief. My only surprise is that it has taken this long for someone to say something.

I have resisted all day the temptation to comment on this, but can not hold off any longer. How can paying $53,000,000 to Unions ever meet the Sole Purpose Test or be in the best interests of the Mum & Dad Fund Members? I have to also question why Money Management, in the interest of fairness has not published Mr Whiteley's, either response, refusal to comment or unavailability to comment on this article?

Finally Turnbull are addressing this - after throwing the FP sector under the bus thereby assisting these scumbags, he opens his eyes. The union corruption investigation is going nowhere, despite links to people with criminal records being active union leaders, let's hope if they follow the money trail they can pin the crooked operators down under sole purpose - but here's the rub; that would entail someone in ASIC actually being impartial and wanting to pursue and prosecute! Not likely under their current Labor appointed leadership. They just have to delay until the next election...

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