Bill proposes jail time for union officials abusing position

Chris Ison

UNION officials found to be using their position to gain an illegal financial advantage should be subject to up to five years' jail, a private members bill from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has proposed.

While the bill was proposed by Mr Abbott today, it was similar to another bill Senator Eric Abetz circulated in the Senate last year.

Mr Abbott's bill sought to life the fines for union officials caught abusing their position in registered organisations for up to $340,000, in line with laws for those in the corporate sector.

"If a union official or a company official does the wrong thing they should face the same penalty for the same wrongdoing," he said.

"This is a very serious challenge for members opposite to resist the pull of the mates' network and stand up for the interests of the ordinary workers of our country."

Mr Abbott cited numerous recent inquiries into unions, including the Health Services' Union.

While the bill was introduced today, it was scheduled for further discussion for a later sitting day.

Topics:  bill finance jail tony abbott unions

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