Records retention notice

Records related to governance and management of trade unions, related funds, organisations, accounts and financial arrangements, including payments to and from these entities and associated unlawful activities. This retention notice was withdrawn on 2 December 2016.


This document is to notify relevant Australian Government agencies and other agents or people in possession of Commonwealth records (records) that any relevant Commonwealth records must be retained for the purposes of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. Your agency is currently responsible for some potentially relevant records.

It is likely that some of the relevant records have been authorised for destruction under general and agency-specific records authorities issued by the National Archives or using a normal administrative practice (NAP). The purpose of this notice is to prevent any such destruction and to ensure that all relevant existing and future records are available for current and future actions.

This notice suspends the National Archives of Australia’s permission to destroy any relevant records. Relevant records and any associated drafts and working papers cannot be destroyed using any agency-specific or general records authorities or through a normal administrative practice (NAP).

It is a legal requirement that you apply this notice by protecting any relevant records and I ask you to convey this to the relevant people in your organisation as a matter of urgency. Penalties for the unauthorised destruction of documents and records are specified in various Commonwealth laws, including the Archives Act 1983 and the Royal Commissions Act 1902.


This action is taken pursuant to paragraphs 24(2)(b) and 24(2)(c) of the Archives Act 1983.


The National Archives has withdrawn this records retention notice with effect from 2 December 2016.


On 10 February 2014, the Prime Minister the Hon Tony Abbott announced the Australian Government’s intention to establish a Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

On 18 February, the National Archives of Australia sent an alert to relevant agencies requesting that they retain any potentially relevant records that may be needed by the Royal Commission, pending a formal communication from the Archives.

The Governor General, Her Excellency the Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, issued Letters Patent and Terms of reference (see Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption Established, Attorney-General for Australia) establishing the Royal Commission on 13 March 2014. The Honourable John Dyson Heydon AC QC has been appointed as the Royal Commissioner to inquire into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, in accordance with the terms of the inquiry set out in the Governor-General’s Letters Patent. The Royal Commissioner is asked to provide a report of his findings and recommendations on or before 31 December 2014.

Action required

Agencies and other agents or people in possession of relevant Commonwealth records should:

  1. Ensure that all workers are informed of the records retention notice.
  2. Conduct a risk assessment to:
    1. determine if workers, contractors or records service providers have any records due or overdue for destruction that come within the scope of the records retention notice; and
    2. identify and retain relevant existing and future records subject to this notice.


The processing, reviewing and storage costs arising from the implementation of this notice will be borne by the agencies or other agents or people concerned.


For inquiries about this notice, please contact the Agency Service Centre at or 6212 3610 or Christine Johnston on 6212 3732.

Issued by

Signature of David Fricker, Director-General, National Archives of Australia

David Fricker
National Archives of Australia

21 March 2014

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