Fact Sheet No. 02/2003 7 May 2003, Australian Industrial Registry

Registration and Accountability of Organisations Legislation Fact Sheet


The Registration and Accountability of Organisations Schedule (Schedule 1 to the Workplace Relations Act 1996) [the RAO Schedule], generally comes into operation on 12 May 2003. The RAO Schedule contains most of the matters previously dealt with in the body of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 [ the Act], which related to the registration and functioning of organisations of employers and employees under the Act. The Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Registration and Accountability of Organisations) (Consequential Provisions) Act 2002 [the RAOCP Act], deals with various transitional provisions arising from the introduction of the RAO Schedule.

The Registration and Accountability of Organisations Schedule replaces the existing provisions of the Workplace Relations Act dealing with registration and internal management of registered employee and employer organisations. While many parts of the Schedule replicate existing provisions of the WR Act, the RAO Schedule contains significant changes, especially those dealing with the financial reporting requirements of organisations and their election processes.

The Schedule incorporates all the provisions relating to:

Fact Sheets are available about all these matters.

A Key Differences fact sheet also outlines the major changes the Schedule has made to the registered organisations provisions of the WR Act.

The new RAO Schedule (which is Schedule 1 of the WR Act) begins on 12 May 2003.

Outline of the RAO Schedule

The RAO Schedule is made up of 11 Chapters.

Chapter 1

Chapter 1 contains the principal objects of the Schedule, which are:

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 deals with the registration and cancellation of registration of organisations of employers and employees. It provides:

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 deals with both the amalgamation of registered organisations and withdrawal from amalgamations and details the procedures to be followed such as the ballots of members that must be conducted.

The Chapter also deals with the consequences of amalgamation and withdrawal from amalgamation, such as assets and liabilities and respondency to awards and agreements.

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 deals with the representation rights of unions and orders which the Commission may make in relation to a demarcation dispute.

Chapter 5

Chapter 5 concerns rules of organisations, including what rules organisations are required to have and the procedures for altering rules. It contains a new requirement that the rules of organisations must not be discriminatory.

Chapter 6

Chapter 6 deals with rights to membership of an organisation, resignation of membership, and conscientious objection to membership. The Chapter also requires that organisations periodically remove the names of non-financial members from their register of members.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 deals with elections for offices of organisations (and where requested by organisations, elections for non-office positions), inquiries by the Federal Court into elections, and disqualification from holding office in an organisation.

Chapter 8

Chapter 8 contains financial and reporting requirements for organisations, including requirements to keep records and lodge information with the Industrial Registrar, and the preparation and auditing of financial accounting reports and members' rights of access to financial information and other records.

Chapter 9

Chapter 9 sets out the duties of officers and employees of organisations in relation to their financial management responsibilities.

Chapter 10

Chapter 10 sets out penalties for contravention of civil penalty provisions, orders that the Federal Court may make, and who may apply for these orders.

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 deals with miscellaneous matters, including the conduct of investigations into breaches of the Schedule and the provision of financial assistance to applicants in proceedings under the RAO Schedule in cases of hardship.

This material has been prepared by the Australian Industrial Registry as a general guide to the Workplace Relations (Registration and Accountability of Organisations) legislation. This material should not be treated as advice on the circumstances of any particular case. This material does not have any legal status; the relevant law is set out in Schedule 1 to the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (the RAO Schedule), the RAO Schedule Regulations and the Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment (Registration and Accountability of Organisations) (Consequential Provisions) Act 2002.

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