Complaints by members of registered organisations
Section 66 of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) provides an avenue for:
- a person who is or has been a member of an organisation; or
- a person who has applied for and not been admitted to membership in an organisation; or
- the Registrar, acting on the complaint of or on behalf of a person referred to in s 66(1)(a); or
- the Registrar of their own motion,
to make an application to the Chief Commissioner for orders and directions relating to the rules of the organisation and their observance, non-observance or the manner of their observance. The Chief Commissioner has the authority to determine whether an organisation has breached its rules in this regard.
The Chief Commissioner may also declare a true interpretation of any rule and enquire into any election for an office in the organisation in circumstances where it is alleged that there is an irregularity in the election process.
In addition, the Chief Commissioner has the authority to determine whether particular rules should be disallowed in circumstances where any rule is:
- inconsistent with any act, law or State industrial instrument; or
- is tyrannical or oppressive; or
- prevents or hinders any member of an organisation from observing any act, law or State industrial instrument; or
- imposes unreasonable conditions on a member or members; or
- is inconsistent with the democratic control of the organisation by its members.
Making an application
Applications made pursuant to s 66 of the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA) are to be filed on a Form 1 - General Application. Grounds in support of the application must be included in the Form 1.
The Form 1 must state the correct name of the registered organisation, in full, and contain the relevant contact details for each party. A list of all registered organisations, along with the registered rules of each organisation is available here.
The grounds in support of the application should state:
- whether you are a current member of the organisation, a previous member, or a person who has been denied membership;
- which particular rule/s of the organisation that you allege have not been complied with; and
- a brief summary of the facts, as you perceive them, which have led to the breach, non-compliance or inappropriate action.
Further, the grounds must specify the remedy you are seeking. For example, you may seek an order from the Chief Commissioner that a specific rule or rules be disallowed, or that the Secretary of the organisation be directed to undertake a certain course of action.
What happens next?
Once filed, the application will be forwarded to the Chief Commissioner's Chambers to be endorsed with procedural directions which are issued to the Registrar of the Commission.
The directions will ordinarily include the date and time by which the Registrar is to serve the application on the parties and a date for a directions hearing. The directions may also include a requirement to swear an affidavit setting out the facts which support the application.
The purpose of a directions hearing is to establish whether there are any preliminary issues which need to be dealt with such as whether any documentation relevant to the application is sought to be discovered from any of the parties. A date for the hearing of the application may be set during the directions hearing.