UNDER PRESSURE: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
UNDER PRESSURE: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. MICK Tsikasaap

Government presses Shorten to explain union deal

BILL Shorten may have to explain payments made by the Australian Workers Union to his 2007 election campaign for the seat of Maribyrnong.

Mr Shorten has pledged to answer any questions from the Royal Commission on trade unions and his appearance has been brought forward, at his request, to July 8.

Following reports that Mr Shorten led the AWU at the same time a building firm paid the union $300,000 after a deal that cut workers' conditions, donations to his 2007 campaign have come under scrutiny.

Fairfax Media reported that shortly after he left the union, the AWU had tipped $25,000 into Mr Shorten's campaign for a federal seat at the 2007 election.

While not illegal, similar donations have come under scrutiny.

A spokesman for Mr Shorten told Fairfax he would not respond to matters that could be considered by the Commission.

However, the Federal Government is pushing Mr Shorten to immediately explain the arrangements.

"Why did Thiess John Holland regard payment of $300,000 to the AWU as an acknowledgement of the flexibility of the AWU deal?" Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne asked in Question Time.