The Royal Commission into the Activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union was jointly established by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments.
The original Letters Patent setting out the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission and appointing Francis Xavier Costigan Q.C as Royal Commissioner, were issued by the Governor-General on 9 September 1980 and published in the Victorian Government Gazette on 17 September 1980. The original Letters Patent were recorded in the Register of Patents Book No. 15, page 33 on 10 September 1980. The inquiry began on 1 October 1980.
The Royal Commission's Terms of Reference were:
a) whether any executive, administrative or other body forming part of, or established by, the Union has been used, or is being used, for the purposes of illegal activities, other than activities involving only breaches of laws, whether of the Commonwealth or a State, relating to trade unions
(b) whether the Union or any of its officials or members has been or is engaged in
demanding or receiving payment (other than payments of an ordinary commercial
nature or payments in accordance with an industrial award or agreement in
respect of work actually performed or to be performed) from employers or other
persons and, if any such payments have been made -
(i) the persons by whom and to whom any such payments have been made
(ii) the reasons for, or the purpose of, any such payments
(iii) the subsequent or proposed use of disposal of any such payments
(c) whether the Union or nay officers or members of the Union have engaged in
illegal activities in relation to the election or appointment of officers of the union
or the conduct or purported conduct of Union's affairs
(d) if the Union or any officers of members of the Union have engaged in activities
of any of the kinds referred to in this or the preceding paragraph, whether the
employment conditions applying to the work of ship painters and dockers have
contributed to the development of those activities.
An interim report of the inquiry was to be delivered to the Governor-General, no later than 31 March 1981. The final report and recommendations was to be presented to the Governor-General by 30 September 1981.
Two subsequent Orders were made for this Royal Commission, to extend the delivery date of the final report.
The report and recommendations of the Royal Commssion can be found in Papers Presented to Parliament; Session 1982-85 Vol 39, No. 175 (Volume 1) and Papers Presented to Parliament; Session 1982-85, Vol 40, No. 176-180 (Volume 2-Volume 5).
The final report of the Royal Commission was tabled in Parliament on 22 Februray 1985.