LABOR AT WAR
Internal divisions triggered by fracking set to erupt as union plans coup at NT conference
AN internal Labor war is set to ignite during the next fortnight as Queensland union heavyweights seek to overthrow the NT division’s secretary Kent Rowe, according to senior party sources.
It is understood factional tensions, which have simmered for more than a year, have been brought to a head by the internal division over the Gunner Government’s decision to overturn its fracking moratorium and allow the extraction of onshore shale gas.
The Sunday Territorian has been told the move will once again be spearheaded by QLD CFMEU leader Michael Ravbar, who attempted a similar coup in June last year.
That move came as the NT Labor Government was negotiating with the public service unions on a new enterprise bargaining agreement but was ultimately thwarted by the ALP national executive committee. The tensions between SENIOR LABOR PARTY SOURCE the left and right, however, have risen sharply due to the issue of fracking since that time and it is understood the move has much more support this time around.
The lifting of the fracking ban, which could generate significant revenue for the NT has been welcomed by business groups and the Chamber of Commerce but outraged environmentalists.
The Left faction have generally been against fracking in the Territory while the right have tended to support it.
A senior party source said Mr Ravbar would be flying from QLD to the Territory shortly for the NT Labor conference mid next month.
“There has been strong debate (of fracking) and some strongly held views,” the source said.
“They are coming with the intention of hardening up the left to fight fracking.”
The Sunday Territorian understands Mr Ravbar will be bringing with him his preferred pick for Mr Rowe’s position. Both factions have been jockeying up support for their positions and this is expected to intensify as the conference nears.
“This is potentially a watershed moment. It is an attempted takeover of the NT branch by the CFMEU,” the source said.
The source said the OLD CFMEU was attempting to “exploit” the fracking issue, despite the solidarity over the Labor Government’s stance on the issue.
United Voice was contacted for comment. Queensland CFMEU state secretary Michael Ravbar