The Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations has today intervened in Federal Court proceedings concerning the Health Services Union (HSU) and advised the Federal Court he will make an application for the appointment of an Administrator to the HSU East Branch.
The HSU East Branch covers workers in the health services sector in New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT. The Secretary of the Branch is Michael Williamson and the Executive President is Kathy Jackson.
The Government has taken this decision to provide for the HSU to function into the future:
- meeting the expectations and in the interests of HSU members;
- sustainably and in a proper and democratic way; and
- in accordance with its statutory obligations, including those set out in the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act.
“Australians have long supported a free and independent union movement which is representative of and accountable to its members,” Mr Shorten said.
“I am particularly concerned that the interests of HSU members across Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT are not being properly served by the current dysfunction within the HSU East Branch.”
“My intervention is to ensure the broader public interest in working Australians having effective and accountable union representation is not undermined.”
“An application of this type is extremely rare. Australia’s trade unions are overwhelmingly member focussed, professional, democratic and highly effective organisations.”
The Minister’s application is not in support of any individual or group within the HSU, the National Office or the HSU East Branch. The application does not preclude charges against officials of the HSU East Branch being heard and determined.
Most importantly, the Minister’s application will ensure members of the HSU East Branch can continue to be represented by their organisers and delegates whilst the structural causes of the current dysfunction can be resolved.
The Government will be proposing to the Court:
- all elected offices in the HSU East Branch be declared vacant immediately;
- an Administrator be appointed to manage a transition to a properly functioning organisation, which will involve a more democratic and representative structure, including:
- providing for dedicated branches in NSW and Victoria;
- for fresh elections for offices in each of those branches;
- current members will be transferred to the branch in the State in which they work.
The Minister’s application is supported by a range of HSU officials and members, the Australian Council of Trade Unions and UnionsNSW.
The timetable set by the Court today requires the Minister to file his application no later than close of business Monday next week.