Union steps in to protect Vic MP
Australian Associated Press
A “horrified” CFMEU has demanded Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews stop another union’s campaign against one of his MPs.
The powerful union has weighed into a factional battle in Victorian Labor, which is threatening to disrupt Bill Shorten’s election preparation.
CFMEU Victorian assistant secretary Shaun Reardon wrote a letter to Mr Andrews on Monday supporting former emergency services minister Jane Garrett.
“I am writing to you to vent my absolute dismay and frustration in regards to a very personal campaign (against Ms Garrett),” the letter states.
Ms Garrett quit cabinet two years ago during a bitter fight over a new pay deal with the United Firefighters Union, which has continued to target her since.
“I believe she has been scapegoated by certain party members, assaulted near her family home, and is the victim of a misogynistic social media campaign,” Mr Reardon said.
Victorian Labor factions are currently horse-trading over a new federal seat, with the CFMEU and right wing unions demanding Ms Garrett be given a safe spot.
But UFU secretary Peter Marshall sent a letter to MPs saying a deal to give Ms Garrett a seat was not in the state’s interest.
He also said her replacement, Emergency Services Minister James Merlino, would struggle to win his seat at the November state election without UFU support.
The creation of a new electorate essentially splitting Mr Shorten’s seat of Maribyrnong has sparked a factional battle over who gets control of it.
Under one proposed deal, Ms Garrett would leave her marginal Brunswick seat and go to the upper house.
Right faction MP Daniel Mulino would then go into the new federal seat.
Other options would see Ms Garrett stay in Victoria’s lower house.
Mr Reardon urged Mr Andrews to shut down any UFU attempt to campaign against the Victorian government.
“I am horrified that another party member, and a union leader at that, would threaten to campaign against the return of an Andrews-led government,” he said.
Mr Shorten is still considering how the new seat’s factional owner will be decided.
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