The construction union's Victorian branch is calling on its national office to unconditionally support John Setka, as his stoush ramps up with federal Labor.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese has moved to expel Mr Setka, secretary of the Victorian branch of the CFMMEU, due to accusations he told colleagues anti-family violence campaigner Rosie Batty’s advocacy has led to men having fewer rights.
But Mr Setka has rejected the accusations and the union is digging in behind its leader, passing resolutions which show it won’t make the battle easy.
It wants the national tier to decry and forensically investigate the “cowardly manufactured leaks” from the most recent national executive meeting, where the comments about Ms Batty were allegedly made.
The resolutions also include a vow to cease all financial support to the ALP if Mr Setka is expelled from the party, and to cut ties with unions that have “attacked the branch”.
Labor has received at least $11 million in donations from the CFMMEU nationally since 2000.
Mr Setka says Labor squandered millions of dollars during its unsuccessful federal election campaign and has vowed a long battle if Mr Albanese tries to expel him from the party.
“I am a little bit old school, I actually think you should have actually done something before you get cooked on a spit about it,” he told the New Daily on Monday.
Mr Setka is facing court later in June when he is expected to plead guilty to two criminal charges, including one of using a carriage service to harass a woman.
Mr Albanese is standing his ground and appears unfazed by the possibility of losing money from the union, saying he makes decisions based on their merits and not from a funding perspective.
“I’m pro-union, but I’m also pro-making sure that union officials bring credit to the trade union movement,” he told ABC News.
He said the party had received legal advice, which it acted upon, in terms of first suspending Mr Setka’s membership before the expulsion process took its course.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus last week demanded Mr Setka resign as secretary of the Victorian CFMMEU with the leaders of the three largest unions – representing mainly female workforces – following suit.
The Australian Workers Union on Sunday backed the other unions, but called for proper processes to be followed.