Friday 26 August 2011

Union chief says threats won't sway her union over its position on Craig Thomson

Dirt-covered shovel was left outside Jackson's home

Health Services Union secretary Kathy Jackson outside her Melbourne home.
Picture: Aaron Francis Source: The Australian

A UNION chief caught up in the Craig Thomson affair says she won't be intimidated after a dirt-covered shovel was left outside her Melbourne home.

Police are treating the incident overnight as a threat to Kathy Jackson, national secretary of the Health Services Union.

It follows the decision by the HSU to refer to police allegations of credit card misuse by Labor MP and former head of the union, Craig Thomson.

Ms Jackson said the union would not be swayed by the apparent threat after its national executive gave unanimous endorsement  to the referral.

“I'm a big girl. I didn't expect this sort of stuff would have occurred but it has, it's unfortunate and I'm moving on,” Ms Jackson said.

“If the person who has done this thinks they can intimidate me by this and I'll walk away, or the union is going to walk away from our position ... they've picked the wrong girl.

“I just think it's cheap tricks by idiots.”

Ms Jackson has become the public face of outrage within the union movement over the Thomson allegations and the need to publicly address them.

It's a position that has been supported by the Coalition but which is at odds with that of the Gillard government.

The shovel incident also follows reports that senior Victorian Labor figures are pushing for action against the HSU as retribution for the referral to police.

Fairfax reported Labor heavyweights were considering banning the HSU from participating in the party's state conference.

Victorian MPs Stephen Conroy and Bill Shorten were named as the key figures conspiring against the HSU in the report.

“This is not the time, nor is it ever the time to have that sort of conduct and I call on Senator Conroy and Minister Shorten to distance themselves from these (reports),” Ms Jackson said.

“Our first priority is to our membership, not the Australian Labor Party.

“If factional people have problems then that's their issue.”

Additional reporting: AAP

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