The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has commenced civil proceedings against the Health Services Union's national office for allegedly breaching its financial record-keeping obligations.

The workplace watchdog launched the proceedings in the Federal Court on December 21, lodging a statement of claim outlining a series of breaches of statutory obligations under federal laws, along with infringements of the union's own rules.

The statement alleged the union failed to keep financial records relating to the dining and entertainment expenditure on union credit cards between October 2002 and November 2005.

Federal MP Craig Thomson was the HSU's national secretary during the period and used the credit cards to rack up about $30,903 on dining and entertainment in Melbourne in that time, according to the FWC claim.

The union had contravened the registration and accountability of organisations (RAO) schedule under workplace relations laws to keep and retain financial records for a period of seven years, as required, the industrial watchdog said.

Financial records relating to other expenditure, including escort services were also missing, FWC said.

"The HSU, through the national office, did not, in respect of the other national office transactions, retain the financial records that it was required by section 252 of the RAO schedule to keep and retain, for a period of seven years after the completion of the transactions to which they related," the court documents say.

FWC said the union was liable for civil penalties for failing to prepare an end-of-financial-year statement for 2006/07 as soon as practicable, in accordance with the HSU's own reporting guidelines.

"On or about April 30, 2009 the national office sent to the industrial registrar a document purporting to be an operating report relating to the 2006/07 financial year that was not signed or dated," the court documents say.

The statement of claim also outlines contraventions of union rules relating to the approval and disclosure of a $5000 donation made in 2006 by the national office to the Central Coast Convoy for Kids.

The charity fundraiser was organised by the Transport Workers Union on the NSW Central Coast, where Mr Thomson won the federal seat of Dobell for Labor in the 2007 election.

It also identified donations of $10,000 to the Dad's in Education organisation on the Central Coast in three separate transactions in 2007.

FWC said the HSU was prohibited by its own rules to make the donations to both organisations and had failed to lodge a statement of loans, grants and donations showing the donations, contravening workplace relations laws.

FWC investigated the HSU national office, its Victoria No 1 branch and Mr Thomson in a lengthy three-year investigation.

Mr Thomson was suspended from the Labor party last year but has vigorously defended the charges laid against him in separate civil proceedings launched by FWC in the Federal Court.

AAP ah/lk/je