Union chief in Batty row refuses to go
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.”