There's some controversy in Australia at the moment over the links between the Labor Party and trades unions:
LABOR officials have conceded that falling unionisation rates call into question the ALP's long-standing rule requiring party members to be in a trade union, but have rejected any moves to relax the provision.Union membership in the UK has fallen from 13.2 million in 1979 to 6.4 million in 2005.
One official told the Herald that the rule, which applies in most of Labor's state branches, was very rarely enforced in practice and there were probably thousands of non-union ALP members. Another official said this week's figures showing just 20 per cent of employees were members of trade unions meant there was a case to consider reforming the rules.
The Prime Minister, John Howard, said the decline in union membership showed the Labor Party - with 70 per cent of its frontbenchers former union officials - did not represent the broader community.