Biagini departs as audit prompts TWU Qld governance freeze

Overhaul sees authority temporarily transferred to NSW branch

Biagini departs as audit prompts TWU Qld governance freeze
Peter Biagini


An external audit has sparked an interim suspension of the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) Queensland branch governance and departure of state secretary Peter Biagini.

It has also led to a temporary merger with NSW under a re-named NSW/Qld (Interim Governance) Branch, the union said.

The move comes after the union’s national council directed its external lawyer, Michael Doherty Legal, to probe anonymous complaints in late May.

The TWU said that former judge Frank Marks and consultancy Deloitte were subsequently tapped to examine the complaints and governance standards of the branch and found that:

  • Governance procedures at the Queensland Branch were in breach of the TWU rules and national standards, including insufficient oversight and unclear levels of authority
  • Serious governance breaches led to the significant mishandling of aspects of management at the branch
  • There was a failure to disclose commercial arrangements which involved conflicts of interest
  • The departure of the former Qld Assistant Secretary was misclassified as a redundancy and the payment incorrectly approved
  • There were no findings of fraudulent misuse of members’ money however the redundancy payment to the former assistant secretary will be further examined by national council.

After the findings were handed down, governance structures in the Queensland branch were temporarily disbanded, with governance temporarily transferred to the NSW branch under the stewardship of the National Council in line with rules and principles developed by Deloitte.

Queensland branch assets - including the branch office, bank accounts and all other property – are quarantined and used only in the "best interests" of Queensland members.

In the interim period there will be no Queensland branch secretary, while all other Queensland TWU employees will remain in their positions.

How TWU responded to NSW lockdown orders, here

"The aim of national council is to ensure continued high level of representation for TWU Queensland members and to re-establish robust governance structures at the branch as soon as possible," a TWU communique noted.

"The stewardship of the Branch is a temporary measure which will allow a thorough process to put these governance structures in place to ensure a repeat of the breaches never happens again.

"Members will not notice a difference in day-to-day services, with access to nine organisers across the state."

The union will, however, seek to employ new Queensnd-based officials to increase organising resources in Queensland and "provide more pathways for Qld delegates and members to step up into roles in the Union Office".

"Our union is gearing up for one of our most important fights for better standards for transport workers," it said.

"Over the coming months, our road transport members will take direct action to ensure fairness and safety in their jobs.

"Nothing will deter us from pursuing and achieving these goals.

"The TWU remains as strong and united as ever."


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