Vic Labor MP Cesar Melhem taken to court

Victorian Labor MP Cesar Melhem is being taken to court over alleged contraventions of the Fair Work Act dating from his time at the Australian Workers' Union.

The Registered Organisations Commission says it has commenced Federal Court proceedings seeking civil penalties against the Australian Workers' Union and its former Victorian branch secretary, Mr Melhem.

The action relates to allegations of a scheme to artificially inflate union membership between 2008 and 2013, in breach of the Fair Work Registered Organisations Act.

"The Commissioner alleges the AWU entered in its register of members hundreds of persons who were not members and failed to remove from its register over 2,000 unfinancial members in breach of various provisions of the RO Act," it said in a statement this week.

"The Commissioner further alleges the conduct engaged in by the AWU and Mr Melhem constituted a scheme pursuant to which the membership of the AWU was artificially inflated and the AWU Victorian Branch received payments that were not legitimately due to it."

In 2015, Mr Melhem resigned as upper house whip following allegations aired during the unions royal commission that he did a deal while at the AWU which denied workers penalty rates.