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Workplace Relations (Registered Organisations) Bill 2001

Part 3 Accounts and audit

Division 1 Preliminary

227   Simplified outline

This Part sets out the requirements that are placed on organisations in relation to financial records, accounting and auditing.

It provides for reports to be provided on the basis of reporting units. A reporting unit may be the whole of an organisation or one or more branches of an organisation.

Division 2 provides for the reporting units.

Division 3 sets out the accounting obligations for reporting units.

Division 4 provides for auditors to be appointed and sets out the powers and duties of the auditors and the duties that others have in relation to auditors.

Division 5 sets out the reporting requirements that reporting units must comply with.

Division 6 provides for reduced reporting requirements to apply in particular cases.

Division 7 provides for members’ access to the financial records of reporting units.

228   Part only applies to financial years starting after registration

                   This Part does not apply, in relation to an association that becomes registered as an organisation under this Act, in relation to any financial year before the first financial year of the organisation that begins after the date of registration.

229   Financial years—change in financial year

                   Where the rules of an organisation change the period constituting the financial year of the organisation, the period between:

                     (a)  the commencement of the first financial year after the change; and

                     (b)  the end of the preceding financial year;

is to be taken, for the purposes of this Part, to be a financial year.

230   Exemptions from certain Australian Accounting Standards

             (1)  The Industrial Registrar may, by written notice, determine that particular Australian Accounting Standards do not apply in relation to an organisation or to a class of organisations.

             (2)  In deciding whether to determine that a particular Australian Accounting Standard does not apply in relation to an organisation or organisations, the Registrar is to have regard to the cost to the organisation or organisations of complying with the standard and the information needs of the members of the organisation or organisations.



 

Division 2 Reporting units

231   What is a reporting unit?

             (1)  The requirements of this Part apply in relation to reporting units. A reporting unit may be the whole of an organisation or a part of an organisation.

Organisations not divided into branches

             (2)  Where an organisation is not divided into branches, the reporting unit is the whole of the organisation.

Organisations divided into branches

             (3)  Where an organisation is divided into branches, each branch will be a reporting unit unless a certificate issued by the Industrial Registrar stating that the organisation is, for the purpose of compliance with this Part, divided into reporting units on an alternative basis (see section 234) is in force.

             (4)  The alternative reporting units are:

                     (a)  the whole of the organisation; or

                     (b)  a combination of 2 or more branches of the organisation.

Each branch of an organisation must be in one, and only one, reporting unit.

             (5)  For the purposes of this Part, so much of an organisation that is divided into branches as would not, apart from this subsection, be included in any branch, is taken to be a branch of the organisation.

232   Designated officers

A designated officer is an officer of:

                     (a)  in the case of a reporting unit that is the whole of an organisation—the organisation; or

                     (b)  in any other case—a branch, or one of the branches, that constitutes the reporting unit;

who, under the rules of the reporting unit, is responsible (whether alone or with others) for undertaking the functions necessary to enable the reporting unit to comply with this Part.

233   Members, staff and journals etc. of reporting units

             (1)  For the purposes of the application of this Part in relation to a reporting unit that is the whole of an organisation:

                     (a)  the members of the organisation are taken to be members of the reporting unit; and

                     (b)  employees of the organisation are taken to be employees of the reporting unit; and

                     (c)  the rules of the organisation are taken to be the rules of the reporting unit; and

                     (d)  the financial affairs and records of the organisation are taken to be the financial affairs and records of the reporting unit; and

                     (e)  conduct and activities of the organisation are taken to be conduct and activities of the reporting unit; and

                      (f)  a journal published by the organisation is taken to be a journal published by the reporting unit.

             (2)  For the purposes of the application of this Part in relation to a reporting unit (other than a reporting unit that is not the whole of an organisation):

                     (a)  the members of the organisation constituting the branch or branches that make up the reporting unit are taken to be members of the reporting unit; and

                     (b)  employees of the organisation employed in relation to the branch or branches that make up the reporting unit (whether or not they are also employed in relation to any other branch) are taken to be employees of the reporting unit; and

                     (c)  if the reporting unit consists of one branch—the rules of the branch are taken to be the rules of the reporting unit; and

                     (d)  if the reporting unit consists of more than one branch—the rules of the branches (including any rules certified under section 235, or determined under section 236, for the purpose of giving effect to the establishment of the reporting unit) are taken to be the rules of the reporting unit; and

                     (e)  the financial affairs and records of the branch or branches that make up the reporting unit are taken to be the financial affairs and records of the reporting unit; and

                      (f)  conduct and activities of the branch or branches that make up the reporting unit are taken to be conduct and activities of the reporting unit; and

                     (g)  if the reporting unit consists of one branch—a journal published by the branch is taken to be a journal published by the reporting unit; and

                     (h)  a journal published by the organisation is taken to be a journal published by the reporting unit.

234   Determination of reporting units

             (1)  The Industrial Registrar may issue to an organisation that is divided into branches a certificate stating that the organisation is, for the purpose of compliance with this Part, to be divided into reporting units on an alternative basis (as mentioned in subsection 231(3)).

             (2)  A certificate may be issued on application by an organisation or at the initiative of the Registrar.

235   Determination of reporting units—application by organisation

             (1)  An application by an organisation for a certificate under section 234 must:

                     (a)  be in accordance with the regulations; and

                     (b)  include an application for the Industrial Registrar to certify such alterations to the rules of the organisation as are required to give effect to the establishment of the proposed reporting units.

Note:          Examples of the alterations that may be required are:

(a)           alterations to designate officers from the branches to be the committee of management for the reporting unit for the purpose of complying with this Part; and

(b)           alterations to designate officers from the branches to undertake such duties as are necessary for the purpose of enabling the reporting unit to comply with this Part.

             (2)  Where an organisation applies for a certificate, the Industrial Registrar must issue the certificate and certify the rule alterations if the Registrar is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the level of financial information that would be available to members under the proposed division into reporting units would be adequate and would be relevant to them; and

                     (b)  the alterations to the rules:

                              (i)  comply with, and are not contrary to, this Act, the Workplace Relations Act, awards, certified agreements or old IR agreements; and

                             (ii)  are not otherwise contrary to law; and

                            (iii)  have been made under the rules of the organisation.

236   Determination of reporting units—Industrial Registrar initiative

             (1)  The Industrial Registrar may only issue a certificate under section 234 on his or her initiative if the Registrar:

                     (a)  is satisfied that, to improve compliance with the accounting, auditing and reporting requirements of this Part, it is most appropriate for the organisation to be divided into reporting units on the basis set out in the certificate; and

                     (b)  is satisfied that the level of financial information that would be available to members under the proposed division into reporting units would be adequate and would be relevant to them; and

                     (c)  has complied with the prescribed procedure.

             (2)  Where, in the Industrial Registrar’s opinion, the rules of an organisation need to be altered to give effect to the establishment of the proposed reporting units under subsection (1), the Industrial Registrar may, by instrument, after giving the organisation an opportunity, as prescribed, to be heard on the matter, determine such alterations of the rules as are, in the Industrial Registrar’s opinion, necessary to give effect to the establishment of the proposed reporting units.

237   Determination of reporting units—years certificate applies to

                   A certificate issued under section 234 is in force, and has effect according to its terms, in relation to:

                     (a)  the first financial year starting after the certificate is issued; and

                     (b)  each subsequent financial year unless, before the start of the financial year, the certificate is revoked under section 238.

238   Determination of reporting units—revocation of certificates

             (1)  The Industrial Registrar may at any time, by written notice, revoke a certificate issued to an organisation under section 234.

             (2)  If a certificate is revoked, each branch will be a reporting unit.

             (3)  A certificate may be revoked on application by an organisation or at the initiative of the Registrar.

             (4)  An application by an organisation for the revocation of a certificate must:

                     (a)  be in accordance with the regulations; and

                     (b)  include an application for the Industrial Registrar to certify such alterations to the rules of the organisation as are required to give effect to each branch being a reporting unit.

             (5)  Where an organisation applies for a revocation, the Industrial Registrar must revoke the certificate and certify the rule alterations if the Registrar is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the level of financial information that would be available to members with each branch being a reporting unit would be adequate and would be relevant to them; and

                     (b)  the alterations to the rules:

                              (i)  comply with, and are not contrary to, this Act, the Workplace Relations Act, awards, certified agreements or old IR agreements; and

                             (ii)  are not otherwise contrary to law; and

                            (iii)  have been made under the rules of the organisation.

             (6)  The Industrial Registrar may only revoke a certificate on his or her initiative if the Registrar:

                     (a)  is satisfied that, to improve compliance with the accounting, auditing and reporting requirements of this Part, it is most appropriate for each branch to be a reporting unit; and

                     (b)  has complied with the prescribed procedure.

             (7)  Where:

                     (a)  the Industrial Registrar intends to revoke a certificate on his or her own initiative; and

                     (b)  in the Registrar’s opinion, the rules of an organisation need to be altered to give effect to each branch being a reporting unit;

the Registrar may, by instrument, after giving the organisation an opportunity, as prescribed, to be heard on the matter, determine such alterations of the rules as are, in the Registrar’s opinion, necessary to give effect to each branch being a reporting unit.

239   Determination of reporting units—rule alterations

             (1)  An alteration to rules under section 235, 236 or 238 takes effect on the day that it is certified or determined.

             (2)  To avoid doubt, changes in rules under those sections may include changes to the duties of an office (even if during a particular term of office).

240   Determination of reporting units—later certificate revokes earlier certificate

                   A certificate issued to an organisation under section 234 is taken to be revoked if a later certificate is issued to the organisation under section 234.



 

Division 3 Accounting obligations

Subdivision A General obligations

241   Reporting unit to keep proper financial records

             (1)  A reporting unit must:

                     (a)  keep such financial records as correctly record and explain the transactions and financial position of the reporting unit, including such records as are prescribed; and

                     (b)  keep its financial records in such a manner as will enable a general purpose financial report to be prepared from them under section 242; and

                     (c)  keep its financial records in such a manner as will enable the accounts of the reporting unit to be conveniently and properly audited under this Part.

             (2)  Where an organisation consists of 2 or more reporting units, the financial records for each of the reporting units must, as far as practicable, be kept in a consistent manner.

Note 1:       This would involve, for example, the adoption of consistent accounting policies and a common chart of accounts for all reporting units in the organisation.

Note 2:       This requirement is subject to subsection (4) which allows reporting units to keep some records on a cash basis.

             (3)  Financial records of an organisation may, so far as they relate to the income and expenditure of the organisation, be kept on a cash basis or accrual basis, at the option of the organisation.

             (4)  If an organisation keeps the financial records referred to in subsection (1) on an accrual basis, it may keep the financial records for its membership subscriptions separately on a cash basis.

             (5)  An organisation must retain the financial records kept under subsection (1) for a period of 7 years after the completion of the transactions to which they relate.

242   Reporting unit to prepare general purpose financial report

             (1)  As soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, a reporting unit must cause a general purpose financial report to be prepared, in accordance with the Australian Accounting Standards, from the financial records kept under subsection 241(1) in relation to the financial year.

             (2)  The general purpose financial report must consist of:

                     (a)  financial statements containing:

                              (i)  a profit and loss statement, or other operating statement; and

                             (ii)  a balance sheet; and

                            (iii)  a statement of cash flows; and

                            (iv)  any other statements required by the Australian Accounting Standards; and

                     (b)  notes to the financial statements containing:

                              (i)  notes required by the Australian Accounting Standards; and

                             (ii)  information required by the reporting guidelines (see section 244); and

                     (c)  any other reports or statements required by the reporting guidelines (see section 244).

             (3)  The financial statements and notes for a financial year must give a true and fair view of the financial position and performance of the reporting unit. This subsection does not affect the obligation for a financial report to comply with the Australian Accounting Standards.

Note 1:       This section is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

Note 2:       The Australian Accounting Standards may be modified for the purposes of this Act by the regulations.

Note 3:       If the financial statements and notes prepared in compliance with the Australian Accounting Standards would not give a true and fair view, additional information must be included in the notes to the financial statements under paragraph (2)(b).

243   Reporting unit to prepare operating report

             (1)  As soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, the committee of management of a reporting unit must cause an operating report to be prepared in relation to the financial year.

             (2)  The operating report must:

                     (a)  contain a review of the reporting unit’s principal activities during the year, the results of those activities and any significant changes in the nature of those activities during the year; and

                     (b)  give details of any significant changes in the reporting unit’s financial affairs during the year; and

                     (c)  give details of the right of members to resign from the reporting unit under section 172; and

                     (d)  give details (including details of the position held) of any officer or member of the reporting unit who is:

                              (i)  a trustee of a superannuation entity or an exempt public sector superannuation scheme; or

                             (ii)  a director of a company that is a trustee of a superannuation entity or an exempt public sector superannuation scheme; and

                            where a criterion for the officer or member being the trustee or director is that the officer or member is an officer or member of a registered organisation; and

                     (e)  contain any other information that the reporting unit considers is relevant; and

                      (f)  contain any prescribed information.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, the operating report may be prepared by the committee of management or a designated officer.

Note:          This section is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

Subdivision B Reporting guidelines

244   Reporting guidelines

             (1)  The Industrial Registrar must, by written determination published in the Gazette , issue reporting guidelines for the purposes of sections 242 and 259.

             (2)  The reporting guidelines for the purposes of section 242 must provide:

                     (a)  the manner in which reporting units must disclose the total amount paid by the reporting unit during a financial year to employers as consideration for the employers making payroll deductions of membership subscriptions; and

                     (b)  the manner in which reporting units must disclose the total amount of legal costs and other expenses related to litigation or other legal matters paid by the reporting unit during a financial year; and

                     (c)  details of any information required for the purposes of subparagraph 242(2)(b)(ii) (information in notes to general purpose financial reports); and

                     (d)  the form and content of any reports or statements that are required for the purposes of paragraph 242(2)(c) (other reports or statements forming part of the general purpose financial reports).

             (3)  The reporting guidelines for the purposes of section 259 must provide:

                     (a)  the manner in which reporting units must disclose the total amount paid by the reporting unit during a financial year to employers as consideration for the employers making payroll deductions of membership subscriptions; and

                     (b)  details of the form and content of the general purpose financial report to be prepared under subsection 259(4).

             (4)  Reporting guidelines may also contain such other requirements in relation to the disclosure of information by reporting units as the Industrial Registrar considers appropriate.

             (5)  Section 81 of the Workplace Relations Act does not apply in relation to reporting guidelines or the issuing of reporting guidelines.



 

Division 4 Auditors

245   Auditors of reporting units

             (1)  A reporting unit must ensure that there is an auditor of the reporting unit at any time when an auditor is required for the purposes of the operation of this Part in relation to the reporting unit.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (2)  The position of auditor of a reporting unit is to be held by:

                     (a)  a person who is an approved auditor; or

                     (b)  a firm, at least one of whose members is an approved auditor.

             (3)  A person must not accept appointment as auditor of a reporting unit unless:

                     (a)  the person is an approved auditor; and

                     (b)  the person is not an excluded auditor in relation to the reporting unit.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (4)  A member of a firm must not accept appointment of the firm as auditor of a reporting unit unless:

                     (a)  at least one member of the firm is an approved auditor; and

                     (b)  no member of the firm is an excluded auditor in relation to the reporting unit.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (5)  A person who holds the position of auditor of a reporting unit must resign the appointment if the person:

                     (a)  ceases to be an approved auditor; or

                     (b)  becomes an excluded auditor in relation to the reporting unit.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (6)  A member of a firm that holds the position of auditor of a reporting unit must take whatever steps are open to the member to ensure that the firm resigns the appointment if the member:

                     (a)  ceases to be an approved auditor and is or becomes aware that no other member of the firm is an approved auditor; or

                     (b)  becomes an excluded auditor in relation to the reporting unit; or

                     (c)  becomes aware that another member of the firm is an excluded auditor in relation to the reporting unit.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (7)  The auditor of a reporting unit must use his or her best endeavours to comply with each requirement of this Act that is applicable to the auditor in that capacity.

246   Powers and duties of auditors

             (1)  An auditor of a reporting unit must audit the financial report of the reporting unit for each financial year and must make a report in relation to the year to the reporting unit.

             (2)  An auditor, or a person authorised by an auditor for the purposes of this subsection, is:

                     (a)  entitled at all reasonable times to full and free access to all records and other documents of the reporting unit relating directly or indirectly to the receipt or payment of money, or to the acquisition, receipt, custody or disposal of assets, by the reporting unit; and

                     (b)  entitled to seek from any designated officer, or employee of the reporting unit, such information and explanations as the auditor or authorised person wants for the purposes of the audit.

             (3)  If an auditor requests an officer, employee or member of an organisation to produce records or other documents under paragraph (2)(a), the request must:

                     (a)  be in writing; and

                     (b)  specify the nature of the records or other documents to be produced; and

                     (c)  specify how and where the records or other documents are to be produced; and

                     (d)  specify a period (of not less than 14 days after the notice is given) within which the records or other documents are to be produced.

             (4)  If an auditor authorises a person for the purposes of subsection (2), the auditor must serve on the reporting unit a notification that sets out the name and address of the person.

             (5)  An auditor must, in his or her report, state whether in the auditor’s opinion the general purpose financial report is presented fairly in accordance with any of the following that apply in relation to the reporting unit:

                     (a)  the Australian Accounting Standards;

                     (b)  any other requirements imposed by this Part.

If not of that opinion, the auditor’s report must say why.

             (6)  If the auditor is of the opinion that the general purpose financial report does not so comply, the auditor’s report must, to the extent it is practicable to do so, quantify the effect that non-compliance has on the general purpose financial report. If it is not practicable to quantify the effect fully, the report must say why.

             (7)  The auditor’s report must describe:

                     (a)  any defect or irregularity in the general purpose financial report; and

                     (b)  any deficiency, failure or shortcoming in respect of the matters referred to in subsection (2) or section 241.

             (8)  The form and content of the auditor’s report must be in accordance with the Australian Auditing Standards.

             (9)  The auditor’s report must be dated as at the date that the auditor signs the report and must be given to the reporting unit within a reasonable time of the auditor having received the general purpose financial report.

           (10)  An auditor must not, in a report under this section, make a statement if the auditor knows, or is reckless as to whether, the statement is false or misleading.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

           (11)  If:

                     (a)  the auditor suspects on reasonable grounds that there has been a breach of this Act or reporting guidelines; and

                     (b)  the auditor is of the opinion that the matter cannot be adequately dealt with by comment in a report or by reporting the matter to the committee of management of the reporting unit;

the auditor must immediately report the matter, in writing, to the Industrial Registrar.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

247   Obstruction etc. of auditors

             (1)  An officer, employee or member of an organisation or branch must not:

                     (a)  hinder or obstruct the auditor of a reporting unit from taking action under paragraph 246(2)(a); or

                     (b)  refuse or fail to produce to the auditor of a reporting unit a record or other document in the custody or under the control of the officer, employee or member that is sought from the officer, employee or member by the auditor under paragraph 246(2)(a).

Maximum penalty:    30 penalty units.

             (2)  It is a defence to an offence against paragraph (1)(b) if the officer, employee or member had a reasonable excuse for the refusal or failure.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters mentioned in subsection (2).

             (3)  However, a person is not excused from producing a record or other document under this section on the ground that the production might tend to incriminate the person or expose the person to a penalty.

             (4)  However:

                     (a)  producing the record or other document; or

                     (b)  any information, document or thing obtained as a direct or indirect consequence of giving the information or producing the record or other document;

is not admissible in evidence against the person in criminal proceedings or proceedings that may expose the person to a penalty.

             (5)  It is a defence to an offence against subsection (1) if the officer, employee or member did not know, and could not reasonably have known, that the auditor, or the person authorised by the auditor, to whom the charge relates was a person in relation to whom that subsection applied.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters mentioned in subsection (5).

             (6)  In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (1), it is not necessary to prove that the defendant knew that the auditor was an auditor.

             (7)  In this section:

auditor includes a person authorised by the auditor for the purposes of subsection 246(2).

248   Reporting unit to forward notices etc. to auditor

                   A reporting unit must forward to the auditor of the reporting unit any notice of, and any other communication relating to, a meeting of the reporting unit, or the committee of management of the reporting unit, at which the report of the auditor, or any general purpose financial report to which the report relates, are to be presented, being a notice or other communication that a member of the reporting unit, or the committee of management of the reporting unit, as the case may be, would be entitled to receive.

Note:          This section is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

249   Auditor entitled to attend meetings at which report presented

             (1)  An auditor, or a person authorised by an auditor for the purposes of this section, is entitled to attend, and be heard at, any part of a meeting of a reporting unit, or the committee of management of a reporting unit, at which:

                     (a)  the report of the auditor, or any general purpose financial report to which the report relates, is to be presented or considered; or

                     (b)  there is to be conducted any business of the meeting that relates to:

                              (i)  the auditor in that capacity; or

                             (ii)  a person authorised by the auditor, in the capacity of a person so authorised.

             (2)  Where an auditor authorises a person for the purposes of this section, the auditor must serve on the reporting unit a notification, which sets out the name and address of the person.

             (3)  An officer, employee or member of an organisation or branch must not intentionally or recklessly hinder or obstruct the auditor of a reporting unit from attending a part of the meeting that the auditor is entitled to attend.

Maximum penalty:    30 penalty units.

             (4)  Where an auditor of a reporting unit:

                     (a)  attends a part of a meeting that the auditor is entitled to attend; and

                     (b)  in the course of the part of the meeting, indicates to the person chairing the meeting that the auditor wishes to be heard;

the person chairing the meeting must, as soon as practicable after having received the indication, afford to the auditor an opportunity to be heard.

Maximum penalty:    20 penalty units.

             (5)  It is a defence to an offence against a subsection of this section if the person did not know, and could not reasonably have known, that the auditor, or the person authorised by the auditor, to whom the charge relates was a person in relation to whom the subsection applied.

Note:          A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matters mentioned in subsection (5).

             (6)  In a prosecution for an offence against this section, it is not necessary to prove that the defendant knew that the auditor was an auditor.

             (7)  In subsections (3) and (4):

auditor includes a person authorised by the auditor for the purposes of this section.

250   Auditors and other persons to enjoy qualified privilege in certain circumstances

             (1)  An auditor of a reporting unit is not, in the absence of malice, liable to an action for defamation at the suit of a person in relation to a statement that the auditor makes in the course of duties as auditor, whether the statement is made orally or in writing.

             (2)  A person is not, in the absence of malice, liable to an action for defamation at the suit of a person in relation to the publishing of a document prepared by an auditor of a reporting unit in the course of duties as auditor and required by or under this Act to be lodged with the Industrial Registry.

             (3)  This section does not limit or affect any right, privilege or immunity that a defendant has in an action for defamation.

251   Fees and expenses of auditors

                   A reporting unit must pay the reasonable fees and expenses of an auditor of the reporting unit.

252   Removal of auditor

             (1)  An auditor of a reporting unit may only be removed during the term of appointment of the auditor:

                     (a)  where the auditor was appointed by the committee of management of the reporting unit—by resolution passed at a meeting of the committee by an absolute majority of the members of the committee; or

                     (b)  where the auditor was appointed by a general meeting of the members of the reporting unit—by resolution passed at a general meeting by a majority of the members of the reporting unit voting at the meeting.

             (2)  Written notice of the intention to remove the auditor must be given to each member of the reporting unit. The notice must be provided in accordance with any time limits provided by the rules of the reporting unit, or within a reasonable time before the resolution is moved if no such time limits are provided.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (3)  The auditor must be given reasonable notice of the resolution to remove the auditor and must be given the opportunity to:

                     (a)  in the case of removal under paragraph (1)(a)—make oral representations to the committee of management; and

                     (b)  in any case—make written representations.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (4)  If it is proposed to remove the auditor under paragraph (1)(b) and the auditor makes written representations, the auditor may require the reporting unit to provide a copy of the written representations to each member of the reporting unit.

             (5)  The reporting unit must comply with a requirement under subsection (4) unless the written representations exceed any limits as to length that are prescribed.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

253   Resignation of auditor

             (1)  An auditor of a reporting unit may resign by giving written notice to the reporting unit.

             (2)  The resignation takes effect on the day specified in the notice or, if no day is specified, the day that the notice is given to the reporting unit.

             (3)  If the auditor requests the reporting unit to allow the auditor to explain his or her reasons for resigning, the reporting unit must either:

                     (a)  distribute to the members of the reporting unit written reasons for resignation prepared by the auditor; or

                     (b)  give the auditor the opportunity to explain his or her reasons to a general meeting of the reporting unit.

The committee of management of the reporting unit may choose which method is used.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).



 

Division 5 Reporting requirements

254   Copies of full report or concise report to be provided to members

             (1)  A reporting unit must provide free of charge to its members either:

                     (a)  a full report consisting of:

                              (i)  a copy of the report of the auditor in relation to the inspection and audit of the financial records of the reporting unit in relation to a financial year; and

                             (ii)  a copy of the general purpose financial report to which the report relates; and

                            (iii)  a copy of the operating report to which the report relates; or

                     (b)  a concise report for the financial year that complies with subsection (3).

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (2)  A concise report may only be provided if, under the rules of the reporting unit, the committee of management of the reporting unit resolves that a concise report is to be provided.

             (3)  A concise report for a financial year consists of:

                     (a)  a concise financial report for the year drawn up in accordance with the regulations; and

                     (b)  the operating report for the year; and

                     (c)  a statement by the auditor:

                              (i)  that the concise financial report has been audited; and

                             (ii)  whether, in the auditor’s opinion, the concise financial report complies with the relevant Australian Accounting Standards; and

                     (d)  a copy of anything included under subsection 246(5), (6) or (7) in the auditor’s report on the full report; and

                     (e)  a statement that the report is a concise report and that a copy of the full report and auditor’s report will be sent to the member free of charge if the member asks for them.

             (4)  If a member requests a copy of the full report and auditor’s report, as mentioned in paragraph (3)(e), the reporting unit must send those reports to the person within 28 days of the request being made.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (5)  The copies referred to in subsection (1) must be provided within:

                     (a)  if a general meeting of members of the reporting unit to consider the reports is held within 6 months after the end of the financial year—the period starting at the end of the financial year and ending 21 days before that meeting; or

                     (b)  in any other case—the period of 5 months starting at the end of the financial year.

A Registrar may, upon application by the reporting unit, extend the period during which the meeting referred to in paragraph (a) may be held, or the period set out in paragraph (b), by no more than one month.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (6)  Where a reporting unit publishes a journal of the reporting unit that is available to the members of the reporting unit free of charge, the reporting unit may comply with subsection (1):

                     (a)  by publishing in the journal the full report; or

                     (b)  by preparing a concise report as described in subsection (3) and publishing the concise report in the journal.

             (7)  Where a reporting unit consists of 2 or more branches of an organisation and one of those branches publishes a journal of the branch that is available to the members of the branch free of charge, the reporting unit may comply with subsection (1) in relation to those members:

                     (a)  by publishing in the journal the full report; or

                     (b)  by preparing a concise report as described in subsection (3) and publishing the concise report in the journal.

255   Full report to be presented to meetings

             (1)  Subject to subsection (2), the reporting unit must cause the full report to be presented to a general meeting of the members of the reporting unit within the period of 6 months starting at the end of the financial year (or such longer period as is allowed by a Registrar under subsection 254(5)).

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (2)  If the rules of the reporting unit permit a general meeting to be a series of meetings at different locations, the presenting of the full report to such a series of meetings is taken to be the presenting of the report to a general meeting. The general meeting is taken to have occurred at the time of the last of the meetings in the series.

             (3)  If the rules of the reporting unit provide for a specified percentage (not exceeding 5%) of members to be able to call a general meeting of the reporting unit for the purpose of considering the auditor’s report, the general purpose financial report and the operating report, the full report may instead be presented to a meeting of the committee of management of the reporting unit that is held within the period mentioned in subsection (1).

256   Comments by committee members not to be false or misleading

                   Where a member of the committee of management of a reporting unit:

                     (a)  provides to members of the reporting unit; or

                     (b)  publishes in a journal; or

                     (c)  presents to a general meeting of the members of the reporting unit or a meeting of the committee of management of the reporting unit;

comments on a matter dealt with in a report, accounts or statements of the kind referred to in subsection 254(1), or in a concise report as described in subsection 254(3), the member must not, in the comments, make a statement if the person knows, or is reckless as to whether, the statement is false or misleading.

Note:          This section is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

257   Reports etc. to be lodged in Industrial Registry

                   A reporting unit must, within 14 days (or such longer period as a Registrar allows) after the general meeting referred to in section 255, lodge in the Industrial Registry:

                     (a)  a copy of the full report; and

                     (b)  if a concise report was provided to members—a copy of the concise report; and

                     (c)  a certificate by a prescribed designated officer that the documents lodged are copies of the documents provided to members and presented to a meeting in accordance with section 255.

Note:          This section is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).



 

Division 6 Reduced reporting requirements for particular reporting units

258   Reporting units with substantial common membership with State registered bodies

             (1)  This section applies to a reporting unit if there is an industrial association (the associated State body ) that:

                     (a)  is registered or recognised as such an association (however described) under a prescribed State Act; and

                     (b)  is, or purports to be, composed of substantially the same members as the reporting unit; and

                     (c)  has, or purports to have, officers who are substantially the same as designated officers in relation to the reporting unit.

             (2)  A reporting unit is taken to have satisfied this Part if this section applies to the reporting unit and:

                     (a)  a Registrar, on the application of the reporting unit, issues a certificate stating that the financial affairs of the reporting unit are encompassed by the financial affairs of the associated State body; and

                     (b)  the associated State body has, in accordance with prescribed State legislation, prepared accounts, had those accounts audited, provided a copy of the audited accounts to its members and lodged the audited accounts with the relevant State authority; and

                     (c)  the reporting unit has lodged a copy of the audited accounts with the Industrial Registry; and

                     (d)  any members of the reporting unit who are not also members of the associated State body have been provided with copies of the accounts at substantially the same time as the members of the reporting unit who are members of the associated State body; and

                     (e)  a report under section 243 has been prepared in respect of the activities of the reporting unit and has been provided to members of the reporting unit with the copies of the accounts.

259   Organisations with income of less than certain amount

             (1)  If, on the application of a reporting unit that is the whole of an organisation made after the end of a financial year, a Registrar is satisfied that the reporting unit’s income for the year did not exceed:

                     (a)  in the case of a financial year that, because of section 229, is a period other than 12 months—such amount as the Registrar considers appropriate in the circumstances; or

                     (b)  in any other case—$100,000 or such higher amount as is prescribed;

the Registrar must issue to the reporting unit a certificate to that effect.

             (2)  Where a certificate is issued under subsection (1) in relation to a reporting unit in relation to a financial year:

                     (a)  the following provisions of this section apply in relation to the reporting unit in relation to the year; and

                     (b)  except as provided in paragraph (c), this Part continues to apply in relation to the reporting unit in relation to the year; and

                     (c)  sections 242, 254, 255 and 257 do not apply in relation to the reporting unit in relation to the year.

             (3)  This Part (other than this section) applies to the reporting unit in relation to the year as if:

                     (a)  a reference to a general purpose financial report prepared or to be prepared under section 242 were a reference to a general purpose financial report prepared under subsection (4) of this section; and

                     (b)  the reference in subsection 261(5) to a general purpose financial report prepared under section 242 were a reference to a general purpose financial report prepared under subsection (4) of this section; and

                     (c)  the reference in sections 311 and 312 to documents lodged in the Industrial Registry under section 257 were a reference to documents lodged with the Industrial Registry in accordance with subsection (7) of this section.

             (4)  Within the prescribed period after the end of the financial year, the reporting unit must cause to be prepared, in accordance with the reporting guidelines, from the financial records kept under subsection 241(1) in relation to the year, the general purpose financial report required by those reporting guidelines.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (5)  After the making to the reporting unit of the report of the auditor under section 246 in relation to the auditor’s inspection and audit of the financial records kept by the reporting unit in relation to the year, and before the end of the financial year immediately following the year, the reporting unit must cause a copy of the report, together with copies of the general purpose financial report to which the auditor’s report relates, to be presented to a meeting of the members of the reporting unit.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (6)  Where a member of a reporting unit requests the reporting unit to provide to the member a copy of the auditor’s report and the general purpose financial report, the reporting unit must provide a copy of each of the documents to the member, free of charge, within 14 days after receiving the request.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (7)  The reporting unit must, within 90 days (or such longer period as a Registrar allows) after the making to the reporting unit of the report under section 246, lodge with the Registrar copies of the auditor’s report and the general purpose financial report together with a certificate by a prescribed designated officer that the information contained in the general purpose financial report is correct.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

260   Exemption from this Part of certain reporting units

             (1)  If, on the application of a reporting unit, a Registrar is satisfied, after considering such circumstances (if any) as are prescribed, that the reporting unit did not have any financial affairs in a financial year, the Registrar may issue to the reporting unit a certificate to that effect in respect of the financial year.

             (2)  The certificate exempts the reporting unit from the requirements of this Part in respect of the financial year.

             (3)  The application must be made to a Registrar within 90 days, or such longer period as the Registrar allows, after the end of the financial year.



 

Division 7 Members’ access to financial records

261   Information to be provided to members or Registrar

             (1)  A member of a reporting unit, or a Registrar, may apply to the reporting unit for specified prescribed information in relation to the reporting unit to be made available to the person making the application.

             (2)  The application must be in writing and must specify the period within which, and the manner in which, the information is to be made available. The period must not be less than 14 days after the application is given to the reporting unit.

             (3)  A reporting unit must comply with an application made under subsection (1).

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (4)  A Registrar may only make an application under subsection (1) at the request of a member of the reporting unit concerned, and the Registrar must provide to a member information received because of an application made at the request of the member.

             (5)  A general purpose financial report prepared under section 242, a concise report prepared under section 254 and a report prepared under subsection 259(4) must include a notice drawing attention to subsections (1), (2) and (3) of this section and setting out those subsections.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (6)  Without limiting the information that may be prescribed under subsection (1), the information prescribed must include details (including the amount) of any fees paid by the reporting unit for payroll deduction services provided by a person who is an employer of the member making the application for information.

262   Order for inspection of financial records

             (1)  On application by a member of a reporting unit, the Commission may make an order:

                     (a)  authorising the applicant to inspect the financial records of the reporting unit; or

                     (b)  authorising another person (whether a member or not) to inspect the financial records of the reporting unit on the applicant’s behalf.

             (2)  The Commission may only make the order if it is satisfied:

                     (a)  that the applicant is acting in good faith; and

                     (b)  there are reasonable grounds for suspecting a breach of:

                              (i)  a provision of this Part; or

                             (ii)  the reporting guidelines; or

                            (iii)  a regulation made for the purposes of this Part; or

                            (iv)  a rule of a reporting unit relating to its finances or financial administration; and

                     (c)  it is reasonable to expect that an examination of the financial records will assist in determining if there is such a breach.

             (3)  A person authorised to inspect the financial records may make copies of the financial records unless the Commission orders otherwise.

263   Frivolous or vexatious applications

             (1)  A person must not make an application under section 262 that is vexatious or without reasonable cause.

Note:          This subsection is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

             (2)  If the Commission considers an application under section 262 to be vexatious or without reasonable cause, the Commission must dismiss the application as soon as possible.

Note:          Costs may be available under section 308.

264   Ancillary orders

                   If the Commission makes an order under section 262, the Commission may make any other orders it considers appropriate, including any or all of the following:

                     (a)  an order limiting the use that a person who inspects the financial records may make of information obtained during the inspection;

                     (b)  an order limiting the right of a person who inspects the financial records to make copies in accordance with subsection 262(3);

                     (c)  an order that the reporting unit is not required to provide the names and addresses of its members.

265   Disclosure of information acquired in inspection

             (1)  An applicant who inspects the financial records under section 262, or a person who inspects the financial records on behalf of an applicant, must not disclose information obtained during the inspection unless the disclosure is to:

                     (a)  a Registry official; or

                     (b)  the applicant.

             (2)  A person who receives information under paragraph (1)(a) or (b) must not disclose the information other than to another person covered by one of those paragraphs.

Note:          This section is a civil penalty provision (see section 284).

266   Reporting unit or committee of management may allow member to inspect books

                   The committee of management of a reporting unit, or the reporting unit by a resolution passed at a general meeting, may authorise a member to inspect financial records of the reporting unit.

267   Commission to be advised of breaches of Part or rules etc. found during inspection

             (1)  If, as a result of inspecting the financial records of a reporting unit, a person reasonably believes that a breach of:

                     (a)  a provision of this Part; or

                     (b)  the reporting guidelines; or

                     (c)  a regulation made for the purposes of this Part; or

                     (d)  a rule of a reporting unit relating to its finances or financial administration;

may have occurred, the person must give the Industrial Registry written notice to that effect and give to the Industrial Registry any relevant information obtained during the inspection.

             (2)  If the Industrial Registry receives notice under subsection (1) and the Commission is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that there has been a breach of:

                     (a)  a provision of this Part; or

                     (b)  the reporting guidelines; or

                     (c)  a regulation made for the purposes of this Part; or

                     (d)  a rule of a reporting unit relating to its finances or financial administration;

the Commission must refer the matter to the Industrial Registrar.

Note:          Where a matter is referred, it will be investigated under section 313.

268   Constitution of Commission

                   For the purposes of this Division, the Commission must be constituted by a Presidential Member.