Michaelia Cash To Face Federal Court Over Last Year’s Union Raid Disaster

Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has been handed a subpoena to appear before the Federal Court to give evidence on last year’s calamitous Australian Federal Police (AFP) raid on the offices of the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

In case you zoned out on that particular debacle due to other high-profile distractions – looking at you, Barnaby – here’s a quick recap.

In October last year, the AFP raided AWU offices to seize documents related to an investigation by the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC), a newly-established independent union watchdog.

The ROC investigation focuses on whether payments the AWU made to left-wing lobbying body GetUp! a decade ago complied with donation regulations. Worth noting: current Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was AWU national secretary at the time of the payments.

Unusually, reporters arrived at the AWU offices before the AFP, and it later was revealed a member of Cash’s staff had tipped the media off about the impending raids – an offence which, if proven in court, could be punished with two years in jail.

The staffer, David De Garis, has resigned from Cash’s office, but she maintains she had no idea about the leak beforehand and certainly did not authorise it.

Shorten labelled the raid a “political witch hunt” which used the AFP as a battering ram for the Coalition government, and the AWU – which requested the subpoenas – has asked for the entire ROC investigation to be trashed.

However, a Federal Government spokesperson maintained the AFP is “completely independent of government” and that “it is absurd and false to suggest the AFP is in any way politicised.”

Cash is scheduled to face court in Melbourne between August 1 and 3 to deliver testimony, along with De Garis.

It’s definitely not a great look for the Federal Government, which is supposed to be gearing up for another election cycle.