Archive: Jun 8, 2022, 12:00 AM

Commission appoints interim delegate board to Union after historical s 71 certificate unable to be located

The Chief Commissioner has issued orders under s 66 of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) appointing an interim delegate board of The Coal Miners' Industrial Union of Workers of Western Australia (respondent).

In proceedings before the Full Bench of the Commission in December 1992, declarations under s 71 of the  Act were made. An amendment was made to the respondent’s Rules in February 1994, to facilitate the issuance of a s 71 certificate. 

The intended effect of the s 71 certificate was that all persons elected to positions on the WA Branch board of management of the CFMMEU, an organisation registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (Cth), would hold the corresponding office in the respondent. As a result, no separate elections have been held for office holders on the respondent’s board of management for many years. 

The applicant gave evidence that it was likely the respondent did not notify the Registrar of the matters set out in s 71(5)(b) of the Act to obtain a s 71 certificate, and that no s 71 certificate was ever issued. Accordingly, persons elected to offices in the WA Branch, were not validly elected to the corresponding offices of the respondent. Further, the respondent was unable to validly constitute its Delegate Board. Even if there had been a s 71 certificate issued, changes to the WA Branch Rules in subsequent years, would have meant the s 71 certificate could not validly operate. 

The Chief Commissioner noted that without an effective and functioning Delegate Board, the respondent could not hold regular meetings, appoint returning officers and conduct elections for office holders under its rules. The Chief Commissioner ordered that an interim delegate board be established, so that the affairs of the respondent could be regularised, and that the respondent could represent the members’ interests. 

The decision can be read here.