Union leaders need to restore confidence in movement

OPINION: Historically, unions have played a key role on worksites across Central Queensland, protecting and advocating for the rights of workers.

Moving forward, we need them to continue to do so.

However, it's important union leaders respond in a positive way to the Royal Commission's findings, released this week.

Trade union royal commissioner Dyson Heydon has made a number of recommendations in his report.

His, at times, scathing assessment puts the onus on action.

During the time the commission sat, we heard evidence of alarming behaviour within the union movement.

Here in Central Queensland, unions have and will continue to play a leading part in the industrial relations landscape.

We only have to look at the numbers who march on Labour Day and the political fallout when the former Newman government changed this public holiday to see how many lives here are touched by the union movement

Prominent Rockhampton businessman and construction industry identity Geoff Murphy, who has worked with unions for more than half a century, has called for the commission's findings to be implemented.

It's a no-brainer that those who illegally abused their positions of leadership power within the unions should be prosecuted.

Union leaders also need to restore confidence within the community that issues are being addressed in a meaningful way.

We've seen countless times over the years that any organisation that involves people is potentially open to abuse.

We only have to look at the horrors covered up by the Catholic Church in our region in the past to see how far things can go wrong.

Issues happen across the political spectrum. You don't have to look hard to find instances by people on all sides of the political equation.

When problems happen, whole organisations and those associated are impacted.

How these problems are handled is central to an organisation's future.

There are many good people associated with unions here in Central Queensland who put the interests of others first.

They deserve to be able to continue their work knowing the community has absolute confidence the union movement has tackled head-on the current corruption and abuse of power challenges it faces.