The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations today welcomed the NSW Government’s belated support for an administrator to be appointed to the NSW Branch of the Health Services Union.
“Following the directions hearing at the Federal Court this morning, I received a letter from the Hon Greg Pearce MLC confirming the NSW Government’s support that an administrator be appointed to the NSW union HSU East,” the Minister said.
“The federal government has taken what is a most serious and grave action, but one that ensures the interests of the 55 000 hardworking members of the HSU East Branch of the Health Services Union are the primary focus of the Union into the future,” the Minister said.
“That’s why it has been supported by other branches of the Health Services Union, Health Services Union members, the ACTU and Unions NSW.”
The Minister’s application was made under the federal Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009. The application included a proposed scheme of administration to create a more democratic structure for the HSU East Branch. Under the Minister’s proposed plan, all offices of the HSU East Branch would be declared vacant. Consequently, under the rules of the HSU offices in the NSW Union would also be vacant and the Minister’s scheme includes arrangements for that contingency.
In his correspondence to the Minister, Greg Pearce advised the NSW Government will introduce legislation to enable the appointment of an administrator by the NSW Government, under NSW law, to the NSW union.
“The NSW Government’s belated recognition of the need for intervention in the NSW union is welcomed,” the Minister said.
“However, instead of waiting even longer to draft and pass legislation, the NSW Government should be working with the Commonwealth to ensure this issue is resolved quickly and in the interests of HSU members.”
The Commonwealth’s application is set down for hearing before the Federal Court commencing 5 June, if mediations ordered by the Court do not resolve the administration issue.
The Commonwealth has already sought the NSW Government’s cooperation in this matter. The Attorney General the Hon Nicola Roxon MP has already written to her state counterpart seeking his agreement to appoint his Honour Justice Michael Walton, Vice President of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission as the administrator of the HSU East Branch and the NSW Union.
“Unfortunately, the NSW Government has not agreed to the appointment of Justice Walton and are instead proposing an option which will delay the resolution of this matter. This is clearly not in the interests of HSU members in NSW or those in the ACT and Victoria.”
“I have today written to Mr Pearce advising that I am willing to work with the NSW Government to resolve this matter in the interests of the 55 000 members of the HSU East Branch. Whilst I recognise that the NSW Government might wish to rectify a deficiency in their own legislation, I would be particularly concerned were the NSW Government’s proposed legislation to delay resolution of this matter to the disadvantage of the members of the HSU East Branch.”
“In my view this would see my application resolved as soon as possible in accordance with the timetable set down by the Federal Court today,” the Minister said.
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