ᔥ Sydney Morning Herald
There is a massive scandal unfolding in Australia as more and more murk is exposed in the Health Services Union. It is becoming apparent that union bosses are positioning themselves as fat cats in the 1% by rorting and cheating their unions of cash…not to mention paying themselves huge salaries and benefits, the very actions they usually criticise the bosses of.
We are starting to see here now too that when you start looking into union monies that there appears to be significant issues in basic reporting…and that may well lead to other issues being revealed with a microscope look at the inside of unions.
Certainly no one ever thought there was a problem in Australia until Michael Williamson got caught out…now it is looking increasingly like other unions may well be ensnared in the scandal:
WHEN the lead organiser for the Health Services Union, Monique Irvine, complained last year that she was having trouble meeting her childcare costs, the union’s boss, Michael Williamson, gave her a $22,000 pay rise.
Ms Irvine is Mr Williamson’s sister-in-law. It is instances such as this extraordinary pay rise, which was not authorised by the union’s council and boosted Ms Irvine’s salary to an estimated $140,000, that have angered union members.
Mr Williamson himself is reputed to be the best-paid unionist in the country, with his $330,000 year salary boosted by the $150,000 from his various government and union-related board positions.
The union’s national secretary, Kathy Jackson, agreed at a Melbourne news conference yesterday that her own salary of $270,000 a year was ”obscene”. She blamed Mr Williamson for setting ”vastly inflated” wage figures for executives within the HSU and said she would be happy to take a substantial pay cut.
Nepotism and corruption within the union is being investigated by Ian Temby, QC, who was appointed by the union last year to carry out inquiries in the wake of allegations of wrongdoing raised by the Herald last September.
Mr Temby’s report is unlikely to be handed down before June as he will be overseas throughout next month.
Things are so bad that the HSU secretary has called for the state government to intervene to change the way unions run their internal elections:
Ms Jackson’s request yesterday for the state government to change the way unions run their elections has angered many union officials.
”Big money union elections means that it is now almost impossible for ordinary union members to stand for election in their own union with even a remote chance of winning,” Ms Jackson said.
”Nowhere is this more clear than in HSUeast. Michael Williamson recently bragged to another official that he had several million dollars for use in union elections. I believe the rampant corruption in HSUeast is caused in part by inadequate union election laws.”
The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, said he was ”happy to pursue what options are available in NSW to give the members of that union … the relief they’re seeking, which is the chance to actually have an election”.