Trade union membership standards for Not for Profit regulation

Parliament house flag post

Trade union membership standards for Not for Profit regulation

Posted 4/02/2011 by Paige Darby

Recommendations adopted by the Australian Senate Economics Committee’s inquiry into the regulation of the Not for Profit (NFP) sector and developed by the Productivity Commission in its 2010 report on the NFP sector invite questions as to how governance arrangements applying to NFP entities might materialise under any forthcoming regulatory scheme. A recent Parliamentary Library research paper examines the governance aspect of the proposed NFP regulation, putting the case for entities, which comprise the NFP sector, to adopt constitutions, objects and rules for administration upon registration. Entities registered under the proposed scheme would meet standards for their governance.

Trade unions are required to meet prescriptive regulation for the conduct of their internal affairs primarily on the basis of them being economic entities, yet the statutory scheme [Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009] provides a basis for democratic involvement and membership accountability in the organisation’s affairs. A similar regulatory system could have application to NFP economic entities; whether the regulatory scheme would develop to approach the ‘democratic’ standards currently applying to Australian trade unions is another matter. Non association rights could also be considered in an NFP regulatory scheme.

As the reform program for the NFP sector takes shape, consideration should be given to NFP membership issues and what rights members may derive under a new scheme. A requirement to have and observe rules is a pre-requisite for NFP accountability. It may be feasible to derive basic principles in a more general reform program affecting the NFP sector which would include rights for members to cease membership and enjoy freedom not to associate protections. Dissident members or members with complaints may gain rights under a statutory regulatory regime to ensure administration of their group in accordance with its values and principles.

NFP regulation should require the submission of constitutions objects and rules on public register. Further, membership participation in the making of rules would facilitate a form of legal redress against oppressive treatment of members and related discriminatory treatment. Provisions preventing coercive membership would be in keeping with the non association principles set out by Robert Menzies in 1942 (Forgotten People series, ‘Compulsory Unionism’). NFP governance standards—at least approaching those for the governance of trade unions— applicable to the NFP sector could contribute toward saving many individuals considerable grief and financial cost. If it is deemed to be in the interests of the membership of the Transport Workers Union of Australia, as an example, for its accounts to include a political fund as a statutory requirement, then it would appear difficult to argue that it is not in the interests of the memberships of organisations such as the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Liberal Party of Australia or the Exclusive Brethren for their accounts to feature such provisions. In other words movement toward a more homogenised governance framework for NFP memberships in the federal jurisdiction may help to remove the perceptions that certain entities are subject to discriminatory treatment while others are privileged. A reference to a body such as the Australian Law Reform Commission on the appropriate governance and membership framework for a diverse and growing federal NFP jurisdiction may be thus warranted.

For further information see the Parliamentary Library's research paper by Steve O'Neill.

Image sourced from: http://www.sydneygraphicdesigner.com/articles/not-for-profit-graphic-design.jpg 


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print

FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

immigration refugees elections taxation asylum Parliament criminal law election results Australian Bureau of Statistics social security disability citizenship Indigenous Australians political parties United Kingdom UK Parliament Census statistics banking early childhood education Middle East Australian foreign policy OECD Australian Electoral Commission voting mental health Employment military history by-election election timetable China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament Productivity Defence income management asylum seekers High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title Senate ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories leadership aid Papua New Guinea emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding Electoral reform politics refugees immigration asylum Canada procurement Australian Public Service firearms Indigenous health constitution High Court e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament women 2015 International Women's Day public policy ABS Population Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade skilled migration Private health insurance Medicare Financial sector EU national security fuel China soft power education violence against women domestic violence Fiji India Disability Support Pension disability employment welfare reform Tasmania Antarctica China Diplomacy Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency Sport ASADA Federal Court WADA ADRV by-elections state and territories terrorism terrorist groups Bills corruption anti-corruption integrity fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform science innovation research and development transport standards Afghanistan Australian Defence Force NATO United States social media Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism higher education Higher Education Loan Program HECS welfare policy pensions social services welfare ASIO Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Australian Secret Intelligence Service intelligence community Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 sexual abuse online grooming sexual assault of minors labour force workers

Show all
Show less
Back to top