A special meeting of the ACTU Executive has been called for Thursday afternoon to consider the immediate suspension of the Health Services Union of Australia from the ACTU.
The ACTU Officers will recommend that affiliates support the proposed suspension to send a clear message to the HSUA that it must effectively deal with serious issues of governance and financial management in the interests of its members.
The suspension would remain in place until the HSUA has comprehensively demonstrated it has addressed these issues.
ACTU President Ged Kearney said the ongoing allegations and investigations into the HSUA have caused concern for the ACTU, for its affiliates, and for union members.
“Unions and their officials work hard every day of every year representing members in their workplaces and broadly in the community, and their primary responsibility is to their members. This responsibility is particularly important for elected officials, who are entrusted with the management of member funds.
“The union movement has zero tolerance for corruption or misuse of members’ funds, and is committed to transparency and democracy.
“We understand that every person has a presumption of innocence and that they must be granted the opportunity to due process.
“The staff and delegates of the branches of the HSUA are dedicated and hard-working for their members, and the ACTU is committed to supporting them in representing their members.
“However the issues facing the union are so substantial that we believe strong action must be taken.”
ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence said the senior leadership of the ACTU met this morning and would recommend that the Executive suspends the HSUA from having any role in the ACTU.
“This has been a very difficult decision, because we recognise there are branches of the HSUA against which no accusations have been made,” Mr Lawrence said.
“We are not passing judgement on the investigations and allegations raised about the HSUA, and while the union’s National Executive has taken steps to address these concerns, the governance issues are of such seriousness that the broader union movement is forced to do whatever is in our power to send a message to the members of the HSUA and the many good people within the HSUA that the situation cannot continue.
“It is time for the HSUA to fix these issues. The senior leadership will recommend suspension of the HSUA until such time that the union can prove to the rest of the union movement that they have dealt with these issues and have a plan to manage the union properly. The ACTU Executive will actively monitor the progress of the HSUA in responding to these concerns.”