Today's poll: Have your say on union membership
THE royal commission on union corruption will be formally launched on Friday and will begin calling witnesses and holding hearings in the next month.
Five of the nation's most powerful unions, all with close ties to the Labor Party, can expect to be among the first witnesses called when the commission sits for the first time on April 9.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott will ask his state government counterparts to issue letters patent in the same terms as the federal government to ensure state-registered unions have nowhere to hide as the inquiry gets under way.
Attorney-General George Brandis said the royal commission would get to the bottom of the ''widespread and systemic problems ingrained across institutions''.
''Workers and trade unions are entitled to know that the unions they belong to are using their money in the pursuit of the objectives of the organisation,'' he said.
Is union membership a waste of money?
This poll ended on 11 April 2014.
Yes. Unions are a thing of the past, and they're too political
No. People forget how much unions have done for workers
Yes. The officials are only interested in themselves
No. Workers would be taken advantage of without unions
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.