June 12, 2019 17:04:37

A powerful union figure says Labor leader Anthony Albanese should consider resigning for accepting “false allegations” against controversial construction union leader John Setka.

Key points:

  • Christy Cain, the Maritime Union boss, says John Setka did not denigrate Rosie Batty in a meeting
  • Labor leader Anthony Albanese is seeking to expel Mr Setka from Labor over alleged comments he made
  • Mr Cain said: “Why didn’t Mr Albanese pick the phone up and talk to John Setka direct”

Christy Cain, the national president of the Maritime Union, told the ABC suggestions Mr Setka had denigrated anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty at a meeting of CFMEU officials last Wednesday were false.

Mr Cain, who is also WA secretary of the CFMEU, was one of 40-plus union officials who attended the meeting in Melbourne.

He said Mr Setka had used the private meeting to open up about his own “private affairs” and the well-publicised breakdown last year of his marriage with lawyer Emma Walters, with whom Mr Setka has since reconciled.

Mr Albanese has recommended the ALP national executive expel Mr Setka from the party for “unacceptable” comments.

But Mr Cain said the Labor leader should instead consider his own position.

“It is just rubbish what is being said in the press. I think that Mr Albanese should take a good look at himself,” Mr Cain said.

“Why didn’t Mr Albanese pick the phone up and talk to John Setka direct about what happened? Why didn’t he talk to me, who was about five feet from John Setka and who was in the room? Ask Mr Albanese that.

“No, Mr Albanese’s run-off false allegations. He has misconstrued what has gone in that room and he should apologise.

“Maybe Mr Albanese should resign, I don’t know. He should take a good look at himself.

“Maybe he should get all the facts. He’s jumped the gun and as far as I’m concerned, he hasn’t got all the facts rights, in this case — especially in this case.”

Mr Setka has defied calls from both sides of politics to stand down, after days of intense scrutiny of his position.

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) secretary Sally McManus returned to Australia to confront the matter, having previously said Mr Setka should resign if the allegations about his comments were true.

She is seeking to meet with Mr Setka on Thursday amid fears his “words and actions” are not compatible with the union movement.

The ALP national executive will meet on July 5 and consider Mr Albanese’s recommendation to expel Mr Setka.

“I say to members of the national executive, have a good look at what happened in that room — 99 per cent of that room, and I would say there were over 40 [union] secretaries in that room, would be supporting John Setka in my view,” Mr Cain said.





First posted

June 12, 2019 16:12:35

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