Union reports concerns to watchdog

A union at the heart of Labor's scandal-prone NSW Right has reported questions about the conduct of its own officials to the national workplace watchdog after an investigation by Fairfax Media.

On Thursday Fairfax Media sent dozens of questions to the national and NSW branches of the powerful Transport Workers Union, led by its national secretary and ALP vice president, Tony Sheldon.

The questions focused on issues around their involvement in the union's 2010 Queensland branch election, and in the 2012 election of the Flight Attendants Association of Australia.

The Fairfax Media investigation has uncovered cashed-up slush funds held by the union movement, including in the TWU, a key player in Labor's dominant NSW right faction.

Full details of the investigation appear in the Saturday Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

It is unlawful to use union resources in internal or intra-union battles. Slush funds are legal but unregulated and increasingly the target of criticism from both the Coalition and from Labor figures.

A spokesman for the TWU said it had forwarded "concerns regarding regulatory matters" to the Fair Work Commission for their consideration. The decision was "not an endorsement of the validity of the concerns - (it) simply seemed a prudent step to have the regulator made formally aware of the matters raised."

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