In a blow to new Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the state secretary of the union, Dean Mighell, has issued information to union members clearly calculated to push them to vote in favour of the disaffiliation proposition.
A vote in favour will deprive Labor of at least $100,000 per annum on a regular basis and will certainly end the unionâ€™s previously generous support to Labor candidates like Mike Symons in Deakin. Symons is said by Liberal sources to have received at least $500,000 of financial backing from the ETU in the 2007 election. Curiously Symons is thought to have subsequently shunned Mighell in an attempt to keep in sweet with former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. That was â€“ as it turns out â€“ not the smartest move.
It is perhaps the inevitable end of Mighellâ€™s wars with Laborâ€™s hierarchy where he was effectively unilaterally expelled from the party for swearing and boasting to his members about how he squeezed more money for them from bosses through sneaky ways. Even conservatives like Fairfax Radioâ€™s grouch mouth Neil Mitchell thought Mighell had been treated harshly. Even VEXNEWS thought it was well over the odds. Being expelled from the ALP for swearing by PMX Kevin Rudd after the reports of his potty-mouth problem was certainly a profound insult.
Union insiders say heâ€™s been planning his revenge for some time. Indeed, some say Mighell is on the verge of becoming national secretary of the CEPU, the amalgamated union of which the ETU is a key part, after gaining support from the previously moderate Queensland ETU. It will be interesting to see if Mighell pushes for the disaffiliation of all of the components of the CEPU, as some believe he wants to.
The Victorian ETU currently has banners displayed for the Greens party candidates in Melbourne and in the Senate election, who are both likely to be opposed by experienced unionists in the form of the NUWâ€™s highly regarded Antony Thow and inner-city lefty Cath Bowtell who has played a senior role at the ACTU for some time.
It reflects Mighellâ€™s displeasure about the ALP rather than his opposition to those candidates, insiders say. Mighell has been a member of the Greens party in the past although it didnâ€™t last. Mighell enjoys roo shooting and monster-truck driving so his politics are more sparkie than greenie. Indeed some have noted his co-operative action with Liberal party MPs in drawing attention to the bungled insulation scheme.
Mighellâ€™s information pack sent to members is highly amusing, regardless of your view of Mighell or of the idea of walking away from the party they have been part of for many decades.
It purports to present both sides of the argument with equal space but shows all of the neutrality VEXNEWS musters when reporting on the life and slimes of Greens party hacks like Stephen Luntz.
Those wishing to assist Comrade Mighell in his liberation movement should feel free to print out a spare copy of the ballot and post it in to his office in North Melbourne. Weâ€™re sure heâ€™ll make every vote count.