Labor leader Anthony Albanese has expelled union leader John Setka from the Labor Party. Picture: Colin Murty
Labor leader Anthony Albanese has expelled union leader John Setka from the Labor Party. Picture: Colin Murty

Albo to expel union boss Setka from Labor

MILITANT union leader John Setka is set to be expelled from the Labor Party for bringing the party into "disrepute" over offensive comments about domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese made the explosive announcement this morning at a press conference in Perth, saying: "John Setka does not belong in our party because of the views that he holds."

Mr Albanese declared the CFMMEU Victorian secretary's membership with the ALP has been immediately suspended.

Anthony Albanese press conf. Picture: Supplied
Anthony Albanese press conf. Picture: Supplied


"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 as leader of the Australian Labor Party and I don't want him in our party. It's that simple," Mr Albanese told reporters in Perth.

He added Mr Setka had made "completely unacceptable" comments on a "range of occasions", including his remarks about the children of people who work for the ABCC.

"My concern here is that John Setka undermines the credibility of the trade union movement through the position that he holds and the public views that he's expressed."

Mr Setka yesterday made offensive comments about domestic violence advocate Rosie Batty. Picture: Nicole Garmston
Mr Setka yesterday made offensive comments about domestic violence advocate Rosie Batty. Picture: Nicole Garmston

 

Mr Setka will remain a member of the ALP, although suspended, until the next meeting of the ALP's national executive, when Mr Albanese will personally move for him to be expelled.

In a statement this morning, the Labor leader clarified that Mr Setka's expulsion was not related to criminal charges Mr Setka is facing regarding the harassment of a woman, which are currently before the court.

"My action is based on a range of actions by Mr Setka, including his recent disparaging comments about family violence campaigner Rosie Batty," Mr Albanese said.

"These comments are completely incompatible with the values of the Labor Party and the broader labour movement.

"The party that I lead stands against the scourge of family violence and strongly supports Ms Batty's campaigning on this important issue."

Mr Albanese said Labor supports the work of Rosie Batty. Picture: Supplied
Mr Albanese said Labor supports the work of Rosie Batty. Picture: Supplied

Earlier, Mr Albanese said "people have rights" in terms of their membership and that "if there is any move with regard to his membership then we need to ensure that it's done in a way that stands up".

Mr Albanese distanced himself from Mr Setka, saying "I've never met the bloke" and "I have no relationship with this bloke".

"He's the Secretary of the Victorian branch of the CFMMEU. I do have relationships with people in the CFMMEU - people like Dave Noonan, the national secretary, who I believe is a good trade unionist," he added.

Senior Labor frontbencher Penny Wong also weighed in today, telling ABC radio: "He should certainly consider his position."

Senator Wong added Mr Setka's comments about domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty were "completely unacceptable" and "not in step with the values of the broader labour movement or the Labor Party".

Mr Setka, the Victorian secretary of the CFMMEU, claims he was "taken out of context" after reportedly telling a union meeting that Batty's advocacy had led to men having fewer rights.

The ALP national executive will meet on July 5.