Controversial construction union boss John Setka has been forced out of the Labor Party after dropping a legal challenge to his removal.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday Mr Setka had been involved in a range of activities which were in breach of the Victorian rules of the ALP and the party’s values.
Mr Setka has been convicted of harassing his wife and was accused of criticising anti-domestic violence advocate Rosie Batty.
The party moved to expel him and the unionist fought that in the courts.
“John Setka contested that action in the courts and lost,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Canberra.
“Mr Setka withdrew his appeal and therefore accepted the decision of the courts.”
His party membership had already been suspended and Labor’s national executive was poised to bar him at a meeting on Friday.
Mr Setka pre-empted that by submitting his resignation to the Victorian ALP on Wednesday, Mr Albanese said.
“It’s a very satisfactory result in the interests of the Labor Party and, might I say, in the interests of trade union people everywhere,” the leader said.
Mr Setka said his decision was a personal one that had everything to do with Mr Albanese.
“The reason is simple: I cannot continue to be a member of the Labor Party while Anthony Albanese is its leader,” he said in a statement.
“Mr Albanese is selling out Australian workers and turning his back on the values that underpin both the party and the union movement.
“Under his leadership, the Labor Party has lost its spine. Worse still, it is in danger of losing its soul.”
Cabinet minister Peter Dutton described the comments by Mr Setka about Mr Albanese’s leadership as “insightful”.
Mr Setka’s lawyer Andrew George emphasised his client had not been expelled from the party but rather reached an agreement with Labor lawyers.
“It was our advice that once the ALP agreed to deal with Mr Setka under the Victorian rules then pursuing the appeal was inappropriate,” Mr George said.
“This is because the ALP was now acting under the Victorian rules as Mr Setka has always argued they should.
“After careful consideration Mr Setka made the decision to resign from the Australian Labor Party for reasons outlined in his media release.”
Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter said the key question for Labor now was whether the party would continue to take funds from the construction union.
Mr Setka says his quitting the party would not affect the ability of construction union’s Victorian branch – which he continues to lead – to advocate within the Labor Party.
He says his focus now was on fighting the Morrison government’s union-busting Ensuring Integrity Bill.
Passage of that bill hinges on independent Jacqui Lambie, who says she will vote for it if Mr Setka remains at the union’s helm