A union or employer association is not ‘registered’ until they apply, and we approve the application. Understand the process to apply and the legal rights of registration.
Steps to registration
- A group submits the relevant application.
- Unions: apply to be registered as an employee association (Form F56)
- Employer associations: apply to be registered as an employer association (Form F55)
- Enterprise unions: apply to be registered as an enterprise association (Form F57).
- We advertise the application and invite objections.
- We review the application and any objections and decide whether to register the group or not.
How we assess applications
We consider various factors, depending on the type of group applying. We ask:
- Is the group genuine?
- Is the group's purpose to further or protect its members' interests?
- Will the group meet the obligations in the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act (the RO Act) and the Fair Work Act?
- Is registering the association consistent with the purposes of the Fair Work Act and the RO Act?
- Do the group's rules cover the areas required by the RO Act?
- Is the group's name too like others?
- Are the members in favour of registration?
Applications from employer associations
If the group is an employer association, we also look at whether other organisations exist that:
- the members could belong to
- that could represent the members.
- Is it more appropriate for the members to join the other organisation?
- Could the other organisation represent them more effectively?
We will also ask:
- Have the members of the employer association employed a total of 50 employees on average during the last six months?
Applications from enterprise associations
If the group is an enterprise association, we also consider if:
- the association is free from control or improper influence
- a majority of potential members support its registration.
The rights of registration
When we register a union or employer association, they gain legal rights. Registration gives them the right to:
- represent their members at the Commission
- hold free elections under their rules (run by the Australian Electoral Commission)
- become a body corporate
- have perpetual succession
- buy, hold, sell, lease, mortgage, exchange or own property
- sue or be sued in their registered name.