18/06/2019 - 11:29

WA Labor backs Setka expulsion

18/06/2019 - 11:29

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WA Labor’s state executive has backed a motion calling for the expulsion of construction union boss John Setka, albeit by a small margin, and with Premier Mark McGowan using the issue to step up his attack on Maritime Union of Australia boss Christy Cain.

WA Labor backs Setka expulsion
Mark McGowan used the Setka issue to attack Christy Cain.

WA Labor’s state executive has backed a motion calling for the expulsion of construction union boss John Setka, albeit by a small margin, and with premier Mark McGowan using the issue to step up his attack on Maritime Union of Australia boss Christy Cain.

The vote at last night’s state executive meeting shone a light on the factional alliances inside the Australian Labor Party WA.

Most of the union’s in the Progressive Labor alliance either voted against the motion or abstained.

This included two right-wing unions – the SDA and the TWU.

Nationally, both of those unions have publicly supported the expulsion of Mr Setka – a push led by Labor leader Anthony Albanese and endorsed by ACTU president Sally McManus.

This came after he reportedly made disparaging comments about anti-violence campaigner Rosie Batty. Mr Setka is also due to appear in Melbourne Magistrate’s Court later this month on charges of harassing a woman.

Despite this, the WA branches of the SDA and TWU sided with Mr Setka’s construction union and the maritime union.

The motion at last night’s state executive meeting was moved by United Voice president Carolyn Smith, who leads the ‘broad left’ faction.

The premier seconded the motion, which called on Mr Setka to either resign or be expelled from the party.

He also criticised Mr Cain, the MUA WA branch secretary who has long been an adversary of the state government.

Unusually, Mr Cain did not attend last night’s state executive meeting, nor did CFMEU state secretary Mick Buchan.

The MUA and CFMEU moved an amendment last night removing all mention of Mr Setka and seeking to make it a general motion about opposing violence against women.

The TWU and SDA both supported the amendment.

However, the original motion was supported with a margin understood to be 10 votes.

Speaking to media this morning, the premier reaffirmed his stance.

“I think Mr Setka should be expelled from the party. His conduct and things he has had to say are completely and utterly unacceptable,” Mr McGowan said.

The premier also goaded Mr Cain.

“I think Mr Cain needs to come out and explain himself. He has criticised the federal leader and supported Mr Setka," he said.

Mr Cain has been quite cowardly in the way he has conducted himself in the last week or so.

“He needs to come out and explain himself today."

Mr Cain was unable to attend the Monday night state executive meeting because he attended the funeral of his mother-in-law, according to a report on WA Today.

 

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