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One Choice Is No Choice


The Queensland Government is attempting to coerce members back into the Government-backed unions. Please support our campaign to ensure members in the Queensland public sector retain their ability to choose and freely associate. 

The state government is now trying to restrict freedom of association. Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace (former QNMU employee) has requested Linda Lavarch (former QNMU director of membership) to review the IR Act, attempting to ban unions from competing with the QNMU and other registered organisations through a Bill introduced last week.

They also handed this review down just weeks before QIRC President Justice Davis is due to make a decision on what a union and industrial association is or should be. The review adopts the QNMU's legal arguments. Shock horror.

The case before Davis involves QLD Health A/Director of HR Anne Garrahy (former senior QNMU staffer) sending a draft memo re: NPAQ to the QNMU, who assisted in providing amendments that were adopted and misleading. This was then sent to executives with a "wider intended audience" - meaning all employees.

Can the State Government not see the staggering conflict of interest and the possible severe corruption risk concerns?

The Queensland State Government has presided over the largest-scale attack on workers this State has ever seen. Thousands have been stood down and if it were not for the NPAQ, TPAQ, and other Red Unions, all would have been sacked without the resources to appeal.

The State Government has extraordinarily ramped up its attack on workers to now focus on those in our unions. They despise that we push back against them and want to coerce you back into the Government-preferred unions and force you to pay hundreds extra into their coffers.

Let's talk about the figures though, NPAQ, TPAQ and other Red Union's charge $442 per member per year. In comparison, competitor unions charge an additional $200-$250 per member, per year. We know how much it costs to run a Union, we do it. Where does that $200-$250 go? We couldn't possibly say.

What is happening here is the State Government are removing competition from organisations that financially support them. At $200 per member, per year, we're talking about north of $20 million per year. If the Government doesn't stop workers being able to choose their Union the money disappears. That's what this is about.

In fact, this could be seen as an ill-fated attempt to influence a Judge in an ongoing legal matter. 

There's no other way to say this... this is corrupt. 



The State Government wants to limit the ability of independent unions to be able to represent State Employees to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. 

In addition, they are granting special powers to Labor-friendly legacy unions (ie registered organisations) all whilst making it impossible for other independent unions to register. 

Meanwhile, a lot of the Bill's proposed changes target sections of legislation currently being argued in an appeal before President Davis. This is not "making the legislation less ambiguous for workers" this is the Labor Party protecting its union racquet. 




In response to the Bill, Red Union on behalf of its associations made a submission calling out the Bill as a blatant attempt to coerce workers back into the Government-backed Unions.  You may read our submission here.

On Thursday 21 July, the EET Committee met for a Public Hearing where Red Union Support Hub Managing Director, Jack McGuire spoke to the submissions. Watch the hearing here. 


We are a 21st-century union that incorporates modern technology to pass on savings to members. This allows us to take mass collective action on an individual basis,  meaning members remain in the control seat. We recently brought over 600 applications to the QIRC and plan to bring over 1,500 matters to the Fair Work and Human Rights Commissions. Never has a union done so much for so many in such a short time. Your membership allows us to do this. Although the government is trying to ban independent unions from being the applicant in legal matters, unions don't need this, and morally we believe members should be in control of their own matters... not a union.

What you will still receive:

We will still provide you with the same great Professional Indemnity Insurance, Enterprise Bargaining Agreement support, Fair Work Commission Support, AHPRA support, Critical Incident (ie Criminal incident) Support and more.

What will change:

We will no longer be able to represent you if your matter goes to the QIRC (Queensland Industrial Relations Commission). 

Let's talk about what that actually means though, in Queensland there are 250,000 FTE public servants, of these, in the 2020-2021 financial year 3,000 cases were brought to the QIRC, that's 1.2% of public servants.

Although the Bill is attempting to tie one hand behind our organisation's back, we have a strategy to counter this going forward, which we will be rolled out after the Bill has passed. 


Although the changes will impact our QIRC representation going forward, the bulk of our services will not be impacted. They're not actually stopping us, they're stopping 1.2% of what we do. They can't actually stop us, they're just trying to con you into believing they can. We've already worked out a number of ways to get around the stupidity.

You will always get the best legal representation as a member of a Red Union and we have a proven track record of not shying away from a fight.

You can rest assured that if you have an issue in your workplace, the NPAQ, TPAQ, and other Red Unions will never need to check whether the issue is a) not aligned with their political agenda or b) too unpopular in the media for them to pursue. 

On that note, what of the hundreds of members currently in the QIRC? The State Government are trying to stop members of ours that are trying to sue them from having representation.

The end result of this Bill is that it is simply just another tool to try and mislead state employees to scare them back to their old unions. This is all about the money, never forget that.

Have you seen the Deputy Leader of the Opposition defend nurses' and teachers' right to freely choose a union that suits them previously? If not, click here

Columnist Des Houghton covers the exchange here.