Yet another senior labour movement leader has called for controversial Victorian construction unionist John Setka to quit.
Australian Workers’ Union national secretary Daniel Walton says he expects the CFMMEU ‘s national leadership team – who have so far been silent on Mr Setka’s fate – are working through their organisation’s processes to take action.
Mr Setka, who leads the Victorian branch of the construction union, is facing court later in June when he is expected to plead guilty to two criminal charges, including one of using a carriage service to harass a woman.
The outcry over his leadership has grown louder in the past week after he was accused of telling union colleagues that anti-family violence campaigner Rosie Batty’s advocacy had led to men having fewer rights.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus on Thursday demanded he resign as secretary of the Victorian CFMMEU branch and the leaders of the three largest unions – representing mainly feminised workforces – have followed suit.
Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese is moving to kick Mr Setka out of the party. The union boss has already had his membership suspended.
A Labor national executive meeting on July 5 will consider expelling him from the party.
While the CFMMEU’s NSW and Victorian branches have publicly endorsed Mr Setka to stay on, its federal leaders are yet to comment.
Mr Walton said there were proper processes and he imagined the union’s leadership didn’t want to jeopardise that.
“In fairness for the CFMMEU and their leadership … I would imagine right now that they’re going through their internal processes to work out how this unfolds,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
“But the reality is for trade unions these are elected positions, they are not appointed positions.
“I think the Australian people have rightly pointed out in recent times they don’t like elected people suddenly being removed.”
He said the trade union movement was “having its oxygen sucked from out of it” by having to spend so much time talking about Mr Setka instead of prosecuting the case for workers in the wake of the coalition’s federal election win.