Reports of an internal stoush at the Health Services Union in Victoria have triggered much speculation about the invigorated union in meddlesome ALP circles.
The union – gloriously led by Jeff Jackson (who could have been played by Marlon Brando at the peak of his powers) – is said to be the scene of discord between him and the branch President Pauline Fegan.
Last week, a branch committee of management apparently passed a series of motions designed to do the impossible, curtail Jackson’s clout and throbbing power. Gossips claim they were overwhelmingly passed and that one of the motions restricted Jackson’s ability to hire and fire staff. Jackson’s defenders insist that he is a highly consultative and inclusive employer, who has invigorated the union with excellent staff choices.
It is said that Fegan was behind the “coup” attempt. Some say she was motivated by disappointment that she was not promoted to the national secretary’s position.
The Jackson camp insists it is much fuss about nothing and that while every big family has its fights occasionally, this one will – as ever – be amicably resolved with peace, goodwill and happy endings for all.
One close observer remarked “There are plenty of people who’ve underestimated Jeff. Most of them are now in retirement.”