Trade union royal commission hands down report

THE Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption has referred 37 individuals and seven organisations to authorities.

The final report from Commissioner John Dyson Heydon was released yesterday and included 79 recommendations and 45 referrals.

Some people were referred to the Fair Work Commission, but others, including Victorian MP and former Australian Workers' Union Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem and former Health Services Union secretary Kathy Jackson, were referred to police for possible prosecution.

The final report said Ms Jackson might have illegally obtained $250,000 from "an employer".

Commissioner Heydon also recommended NSW Police investigate National Union of Workers organiser Nicklouse (Nick) Belan for credit card misuse.

CFMEU Queensland president David Hanna was referred to Queensland Police for possible corruption charges.

The CFMEU NSW branch was referred to the NSW Government and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The AWU was referred to the Victorian police for possible corruption and false accounting charges.

Commissioner Heydon said misconduct took place among a wide variety of unions and industries, and it was "widespread" and "deep-seated".

The Federal Government announced yesterday it would introduce legislation soon to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission, and introduce additional legislation to further strengthen the Registered Organisation Commission.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was a watershed moment for the trade union movement.

Union officials hit out at the findings yesterday.

CFMEU national construction secretary Dave Noonan said the investigations had been a "witch hunt", the commissioner's referrals were not a finding of guilt and the commission was biased.

Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Dave Oliver, who described the royal commission as a "biased" and "politically motivated exercise", rejected claims that corruption was widespread and systemic in the union movement.

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