Union chief in Batty row re­fuses to go

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - TOM MINEAR, JAMES DOWL­ING and MONIQUE HORE

LA­BOR al­lies of union boss John Setka are urg­ing him to quit his post af­ter Op­po­si­tion Leader An­thony Al­banese moved to kick him out of the party yes­ter­day.

The CFMEU Vic­to­rian state sec­re­tary was last night dig­ging in, de­spite the fed­eral La­bor Leader’s at­tempt to have his party mem­ber­ship ripped up.

That also prompted Vic­to­rian Premier Daniel An­drews to dump Mr Setka from a state gov­ern­ment job.

It is un­der­stood Mr Setka is be­ing en­cour­aged to walk away from his job with the mil­i­tant union, with a se­nior La­bor source say­ing “the writ­ing is on the wall”.

La­bor fig­ures be­lieve his po­si­tion with the CFMEU is now “un­ten­able” but one source said that, while Mr Al­banese’s ac­tions had uni­fied the party, Mr Setka was “the type of guy that will need to be blasted out”.

Mr Al­banese asked the party’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive to sus­pend Mr Setka’s mem­ber­ship over com­ments he re­port­edly made about for­mer Aus­tralian of the Year Rosie Batty at a union meet­ing, sug­gest­ing her ad­vo­cacy on fam­ily vi­o­lence had led to men hav­ing fewer rights.

But Mr Setka re­port­edly said he would not quit, say­ing it was “dirty ALP pol­i­tics” and re­ports of his com­ments were “an out­right lie”.

Mr Al­banese said: “John Setka does not be­long in our party be­cause of the views that he holds.

“Rosie Batty is a great cam­paigner against fam­ily vi­o­lence and the idea that she should be den­i­grated by some­one like John Setka is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able to me … and I don’t want him in our party.”

Mr An­drews de­cided to re­move Mr Setka from the state’s build­ing in­dus­try con­sul­ta­tive coun­cil and said he sup­ported ex­pelling him from the La­bor Party. “The com­ments … are dis­grace­ful and his re­fusal to apol­o­gise for them is ap­palling,” he said.

Ap­pear­ing on The Project last night, Ms Batty said she was con­cerned about Mr Setka’s re­ported com­ments.

“The state­ment about … men’s rights has been re­duced. I won­der what he means by that,” she said.

“If it means the right to harm to threaten, to in­tim­i­date, to bully and use vi­o­lence then yes that’s fair enough.

“I’m quite in­cred­u­lous re­ally that my name has been utilised in this way be­cause I’ve never met the man, I’ve never heard his name and I didn’t know who he was un­til this came about.”

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