The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and Industrial Registrar are responsible for administering certain provisions in relation to registered industrial organisations that is, unions who are either employer organisations or employee organisations. The requirements for registration, membership rules, structure and control, election of office – bearers, and financial accountability of industrial organisation are governed by Chapter 12 of the Industrial Relations Act 2016.
Applications for registration of organisations may only be made to the Commission under Chapter 12 Part 2. Under s. 607, the Commission may grant the application only if satisfied of certain conditions including: the applicant exists to further or protect its members' interests; the rules the applicant proposes to have as an organisation are not contrary to the Act and the applicant's name is not the same as an organisation's name or so similar to an organisation's name as to be likely to cause confusion.
Applications for amalgamation of two or more organisations, may only be made to the Commission. Amalgamations (and withdrawals from amalgamations) are approved under Chapter 12 Part 14. Under s. 840, the Commission may approve an amalgamation only if the process has complied with the Industrial Relations Regulation 2018, and the rules of the amalgamated organisation will comply with the Act's requirements about rules (which are in Parts 3 and 4 of the Chapter.
Each registered organisation has a registered list of callings. The list of callings means the list stating the callings that accompanied the organisation's registration application. This list may be changed by application under section 615 of the Act.
Each organisation must have a name which is compliant with s612 of the Act – note that this section does not apply to employer organisations that are corporations.
If an organisation wishes to change its name, this may be done only if the amendment is proposed according to the organisation's rules and approved under the Act. Section 680 enables the Registrar to approve a simple change of the word "union" to the word "organisation". However more substantial name changes must be approved by the Commission (s661).
Part 16 of the Chapter provides for an organisation to be de-registered, on certain grounds, by a Full Bench of the Commission. For this purpose, the Bench must include the President (see s432(2)). The grounds for de-registration are set out in s878; and s879 states who may apply. In certain circumstances, the Full Bench can act of its own initiative to bring proceedings to de-register an organisation. The Registrar can also apply to have an organisation de-registered on one of the grounds in s878, or on the ground that the organisation is defunct. Under s885, the Commission may review an organisation to inquire whether the organisation is or may be a small organisation [i.e. for an employee organisation - less than 20 members who are employees; for an employer organisation - employer members who have, in total, employed a monthly average of less than 20 employees during any 6 month period].
Under s614 of the Act, the Registrar must keep a register of industrial organisations, along with copies of their rules.
A Register of Officers is to be filed using Form 66 - Register of officers of an [employer] [employee] organisation:
The rules and the register of officers are open for inspection on payment of the fee prescribed (see ss 614 and 737).
Exemption - members or officers register (two separate applications) - Checklist s804(2)(a) and s804(2)(b).
Industrial organisations must have rules on certain matters which are outlined in Parts 3 and 4 of Chapter 12. Part 3 covers general content of the rules, including restrictions on content (see s623 and 624). Part 4 sets out requirements for rules governing election of officers in the organisation (this Part does not apply to organisations that are corporations). Elections are discussed briefly below. A copy of the rules of each organisation must be lodged along with registration details in the Registry (s614). These are open for inspection on payment of the fee indicated in the Schedule of the Tribunal Rules.
Under Part 5 of Chapter 12, a person who is a member of an organisation can make an application to the Industrial Commission, if he or she believes the organisation's rules do not comply with restrictions set down in s623. A member can also apply to the Commission for a direction that an office-bearer, or some person who is obliged to do certain things under the organisation's rules, perform those things, or observe the organisation's rules. If a person does not comply with the Commission's direction to perform or observe the rules, he or she can be penalised up to 40 penalty units. If necessary, financial assistance can be made available for applications under Part 5. This is an important avenue for members to ensure that their organisations are accountable.
The rules of an organisation can be amended, on approval by the Commission or the Registrar. If the Commission has declared, following an application under s646, that a rule does not comply with s623, the organisation must amend it within 3 months - if this is not done, the Commission or the Registrar may amend the rule to enforce compliance (s656).
The Commission must determine an application to amend the eligibility rules. This rule defines who may be a member of each of the registered organisations. (s662). Checklist
The list of callings represented by an organisation (s615). The Registrar can initiate the amendment of rules (see s655). Applications by organisations to amend rules may only be approved by the Registrar if they are proposed in accordance with the organisation's rules and will not contravene the restrictions set down in s623 (see s666).
Application to amend rules and the requirements of the legislation for information that must be contained in an organisations rules, for a complete new set of rules. Checklist
Checklist below outlines the required content of the application to amend rules. This checklist is just for the application – not rules. Checklist
Checklist for employer organisation that is a corporation and outlines the required content of the application to amend rules and the requirements of the legislation for information that must be contained in an organisations rules. Checklist
The Act requires all industrial organisations to make rules governing elections to office (see Chapter 12 Part 4). Section 628 also states a general requirement of transparency: that is, rules should ensure that election processes are transparent and irregularities are avoided.
The rules must provide for elections to be either by a direct voting system (Div 3 of Part 4) or by a collegiate electoral system (Div 4 of Part 4). A direct vote must be conducted by a secret postal ballot, or by some alternative form of secret ballot approved by the Registrar. Schedule 2 of the Industrial Relations Regulation 2018 sets out "Model Election Rules" which may be adopted in full or in part.
Industrial organisations' elections are conducted by the Electoral Commission of Queensland in accordance with each organisation's rules (Chapter 12, Part 7). This is arranged by the Registrar when the organisation notifies the Registry that it is seeking to hold an election. The Registrar must be satisfied that the election is required under the rules. The cost is borne by the State.
An industrial organisation may apply to the Registrar for an exemption from having the Electoral Commission conduct an election on its behalf (see Part 12 Div 2).
Any industrial organisation with a counterpart federal organisation may apply to the Registrar for exemption from certain requirements of the Act, including the stipulations about holding elections on the ground that their federal counterparts held elections under the federal Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009.
Where an organisation has an exemption under s812 of the Act – the organisation must give the Registrar the Returning Officer's name and a statutory declaration sworn by the returning officer stating that they are not an employee, member or officer of the organisation.
"Casual vacancy" means a vacancy in an office because of the death, removal or resignation from office of the office holder.
If a member of an organisation believes there has been an irregularity in the conduct of its election, the member can apply to the Industrial Registrar under Chapter 12 Part 8 to conduct an election inquiry. If the Registrar is satisfied there are reasonable grounds and the circumstances justify an inquiry, the application may be referred to the Commission. Under s687, the Commission may, on an application referred to it by the Registrar, conduct an election inquiry about a claimed irregularity in an election for an organisation or branch. Such applications can only be made by members of the organisation who are financial or were financial within 1 year preceding the application.
The Act makes provision for the Commission to validate a matter or event about the management or administration of an organisation's affairs, the election or appointment of an officer of an organisation or the making, amending or repealing of a rule of an organisation. An application about an invalidity may be made by an organisation, a member of the organisation or another person the Commission considers has a sufficient interest in whether an invalidity has occurred. In deciding the application, the Commission may declare whether or not an invalidity has occurred. If, on the hearing of the application, the Commission declares an invalidity, the Commission may make an order it considers appropriate to remedy the invalidity or to cause it to be remedied, change or prevent the effects of the invalidity or validate an act, matter or thing made invalid by or because of the invalidity.
Chapter 12 Part 11 of the Act sets out financial accountability obligations of organisations. Copies of audit reports and financial reports must be filed in the Registry in accordance with s784. Section 795 sets out details about the Registrar's investigations into an organisation's finances and financial administration. Checklist
Exemption under s786 of the Act (no financial affairs) Checklist
Exemption from accounting s808 of the Act (CFB – Counterpart Federal body) Checklist
Exemption from accounting s820 (corporations) Checklist
Reporting Guidelines under Section 765 of the Industrial Relations Act 2016
Below are details of financial management training courses that have been approved by the Industrial Registrar as required under s741 of the Industrial Relations Act 2016.
Approved Financial Management Training
Section 741 of the Industrial Relations Act 2016 provides that the registrar can approve financial management training for financial management officers.
Organisations must ensure each of its financial management officers completes the approved financial management training within 6 months after the relevant day.
Financial management officer, for an organisation, means an officer who holds an office that includes performing functions or exercising powers relating to the organisation's financial management.
Relevant day means
The table below contains relevant information about the approved financial management training under the Industrial Relations Act 2016.
Approved Financial Management Training
DWS IR Finance & Governance Training (as approved on 5 July 2017)
Servir Group Pty Ltd T/as DWS Hospitality Specialists
Ph: 07 3878 9355
Financial Management Training
Tel: 0413 483 012
Exemption from Financial Management Training
The registrar may exempt a financial management officer from completing financial management training under section 741 (4). The training required by the Commonwealth Registered Organisations Act which the Registrar has approved can be found here - Approved financial training.
Eligibility for and admission to membership of industrial organisations are governed by Part 10 of Chapter 12.
The Commission decides questions or resolves disputes about membership of an industrial organisation (see ss722 and 723). Under s722, a person or organisation may ask the Commission to decide a question or dispute about: a person's eligibility for membership; when a person became a member; whether a membership subscription, fine or levy, or some other requirement of the rules is reasonable; and the qualifications for membership of a membership applicant.
Registered industrial organisations – that is unions – are either employer organisations or employee organisations, which has been registered by the Commission under the Industrial Relations Act 2016 and governed by Chapter 12 of the Act.
Some of the rights gained by becoming a registered industrial organisation include:
To view the registered names and registered contact details of Industrial organisations click below:
Application filed using Form 54 - Application for issue of an authority.
The Registrar, on application by an organisation, may issue an officer or employee of the organisation with an authority under s337 of the Industrial Relations Act 2016.
In accordance with s 131 of the WHS Act, a union may apply to the Industrial Registrar for the issue of a WHS entry permit to a person who is an official of the union (meaning a person who holds office in, or is an employee of, the union). Applications can be made by either state or federally registered industrial organisations.
That official must have satisfactorily completed the prescribed training and holds, or will hold, an entry permit under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) or an industrial officer authority (issued under s 337 of the Industrial Relations Act 2016). Further information on prescribed training courses may be found on the Safe Work Website.
Applications can be made by filing a Form 70 - Application for issue of a WHS entry permit.