Trade Unions suspend HSU

Craig Thomson
Craig Thomson

THE embattled Health Services Union has been suspended from the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Members of peak union body's executive voted overwhelmingly - 1791 to 103 - to sever ties with the HSU after Fair Work Australia finished its three-year investigation into the alleged financial mismanagement of the HSU's national office.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said HSU members will still enjoy the support of the ACTU, adding weight to the theory the suspension is a publicity stunt to protect the trade union movement's brand.

"HSU members will not be disadvantaged in this process," Ms Kearney said.

"They will continue to be represented and offered services by their union with the support of the ACTU."

With this, ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence was asked how the HSU would be affected by the suspension.

"The decision means that the HSU cannot be represented within the governing bodies of the Australian union movement at an ACTU level," he said.

Mr Lawrence said the suspension did not reflect on all HSU members and branches.

"It restates our zero tolerance for corruption and our commitment to transparency and accountable use of members' funds," he said.

"We recognise the work that has happened, particularly within the HSU national office, to address the issues.

"But the executive was of the view overwhelmingly that it was important to make a clear statement."

Mr Lawrence did not rule out reinstating the HSU's membership once it had addressed the issues.

FWA on Tuesday announced its three-year investigation into the HSU had concluded and it had referred a 1100-page report to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Chris Craigie SC.

But Mr Craigie said he could only proceed with criminal charges with a brief of evidence, which the report was not.

FWA's investigation identified 181 breaches of workplace legislation by three former or current HSU officials and one non-official.

While FWA's two-page statement did not name any of the officials, Labor MP Craig Thomson was national secretary of the HSU during the time of the alleged breaches. Mr Thomson maintains his innocence.

FWA has not released the report, despite repeated calls from the Opposition it be made public.

Topics:  australian council of trade unions health services union

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