The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) will appear today at the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.
National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin confirmed that while the Union would participate in hearings, it stridently disagreed with the politics driving the inquiry.
"This Royal Commission is draining $53 million from the public purse, and frankly, taxpayers’ money could be better spent elsewhere at this time," Mr Crumlin said.
"At a time when there is clear evidence of corruption in the funding of our political system, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are more interested in pursuing partisan politics through secondary processes.
“A far more useful conversation about the extent and influence of corporate money in politics is being had in the NSW ICAC, where there is a cricket team of Coalition MPs who have either been demoted or now sitting on the crossbenches.
"We will co-operate with this Royal Commission but the politics driving it are reprehensible.”
Mr Crumlin said the MUA is fully audited by independent external auditors.
“The MUA operates with full transparency. We do not, and never have, operated slush funds,” he said.
“The time and effort we have to devote to the Royal Commission is resources that would be far better utilised improving safety on the wharves or improving the retirement dignity of our members.
“Unemployment is at a 12-year high but rather than help Australian workers find decent employment, the Abbott Government is instead hell-bent on opening the back door to cheap foreign labour across the country.
“The Abbott Government is being actively supported by the Australian Mines and Metals Association (AMMA) which not only wants to sell out Australian jobs but also water down training requirements by dumbing down and eroding the national framework.
“The truth is there are employers out there who still believe it is in their interest, and the national interest, to train Australians. The MUA looks forward to continuing to work with those companies.
“But the Abbott Government and AMMA are so ideologically driven they can’t see that many employers want to do the right thing.
“The Abbott Government and its mates at AMMA would prefer to open the back door to cheap foreign labor – whether it’s in coastal shipping or in the offshore oil and gas sector - rather than invest in our country’s youth and indigenous workers.”