Bronwyn Halfpenny, daughter of late communist firebrand John Halfpenny, is believed to be planning to challenge Victorian Trades Hall boss Brian Boyd in their elections next year.
Halfpenny who works at the Trades Hall, was an official at the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and Boyd hails from the construction division of the CFMEU.
The speculation follows much earlier talk that the “Taliban Unions” (as the extreme left unions are affectionately known by more moderate industrial organisations) would be looking to behead Boydy at the earliest possible opportunity. One leading Talibanist is former federal MP and born-again unionist Steve Dargavel, who continues to fail to criticise his faction-master Industry Minister Kim Carr despite Carr’s support for tariff cuts and other free-market reforms.
The Trades Hall elections are due next year.
The Taliban’s favoured Mullah to replace Boyd was Michelle O’Neill but her recent elevation to the National Secretary of the Textiles Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia seems to have ruled her out of contention.
Moderate union leaders seriously question Halfpenny’s bid though. “She not up to it”, one told VEXNEWS. “If it is put to a ballot, and the left unions split, the right unions would support Boyd over any Taliban candidate delivering him victory.”
The knockabout Boyd – a one-time Maoist and crazy – has shown a remarkable ability to win over friends on the other side of the aisle, from the Grollo construction family, many in the Labor Right and even former Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett with whom he regularly met during Kennett’s term to sort out construction disputes for mutual benefit.