Under the guise of making unions more “accountable” to their members, the state Liberal National Party government is forcing Queensland unions to publish their spending details online from this month. In the latest attempt to undermine the key force in the state that can resist its attacks on workers and the poor, the LNP is accusing unions of “wining and dining” at members’ expense.
Under the new rules, credit card statements, along with details of political donations, campaign costs and salaries of union employees, must be uploaded to a publicly viewable site each month. Predictably, employers and their organisations will not be subject to the same requirements.
Union members should reject outright any notion that the LNP is acting in our interests. Unions are correct to argue that this is simply the latest in an ongoing smear campaign aimed at further weakening the ability of unions to fight the LNP’s agenda. Given the LNP’s track record, with mass sackings and constant attacks on our unions, it is contemptible for it to feign concern for the interests of union members. This is a cynical attempt to foster discontent among members as a means of breaking down unity in our organisations.
Members have every right to demand accountability from our unions. We should insist that the leadership act in our interests at all times and that our unions have democratic structures that ensure we have control over union activities. But the priorities of our unions, including how they spend our dues, are no one’s business but ours. It should be for union members alone to pass judgment on the performance of our officials.
Campbell Newman and his cronies want a union movement that is weak, divided and unable to mount a serious fight back. Those who want strong and united unions that can push back his agenda should not be fooled by LNP posturing about accountability. We need to be clear that the LNP is no friend to union members and reject its feeble attempt to fool us into thinking otherwise.