The Royal Commission into the Activities of the Australian Building Construction Employees' and Builders Labourers' Federation was jointly established by both the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments.
The original Letters Patent setting out the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission and appointing John Spence Winneke Q.C as Royal Commissioner were issued by the Governor-General on 20 August 1981 and published in the Victorian Government Gazette on 20 August 1980. The original Letters Patent were recorded in the Register of Patents Book No. 16, page 37 on 20 August 1980. This inquiry began on 10 September 1981.
The Royal Commission's Terms of Reference were:
(a) whether any executive, administrative or other body forming part of, or established by or associated with the Federation, has been used, or is being used, for the purposes of illegal, improper or corrupt activities (other than activities involving only breaches of laws, whether of the Commonwealth or a State, relating to trade unions)
(b) whether the Federation or any of its officials or members have been or are engaged in demanding or receiving directly or indirectly any payment, reward or other benefit or in causing any payment, reward or other benefit to be received by any other person (other than in the ordinary course of commercial dealing or pursuant to a contract of employment in respect of work actually performed or to be performed) from employers or other persons and, if any such payment, reward or benefit has been made or given -
(i) the persons by whom and to whom any such payment, reward or benefit has been made or given
(ii) the reasons for, or the purpose of, any such payment, reward or benefit
(iii) the subsequent of proposed use of disposal of any such payment, reward of benefit
(c) whether the Federation or any officers or members of the Federation have engaged in illegal, improper or corrupt activities in relation to the election or appointment of officers of the Federation or the purported conduct of the Federation's affairs.
The Royal Commission were further directed that any findings that the Federation or any officer or member of the Federation has engaged in conduct amounting to a criminal offence be made only on evidence, admissible in a Court of Law sufficient to place the Federation, officer or member on trial for that offence.
The report of the findings of this inquiry was to be completed by John Spence Winneke Q.C., no later than 28 February 1982.
The final report was tabled in Parliament on 20 October 1982.
The reports of the Commission can be found in Australian Parliamentary Papers 296/1982. They were also published in the Victorian Government Papers Presented to Parliament; Session 1982-85, Vol 21, No. 33 (Volume 1) and No. 34 (Volume 2).