Fwd: GLW Workers First wins, result put on hold

Alan Bradley alanb at SPAMelf.brisnet.org.au
Sun May 28 07:03:08 MDT 2000


The following article is from the May 31st issue of Green Left Weekly:

Workers First wins, result put on hold
BY CHRIS SPINDLER

MELBOURNE -- Refusing to accept the outcome in an election for Victorian
state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the backers
of defeated incumbent Julius Roe have obtained a court injunction
preventing the Australian Electoral Commission from declaring the result.

Craig Johnston from the militant Workers First team won the ballot by 440
votes, receiving 52% of the ballot to defeat Roe, who was backed by the
re-elected national secretary of the union, Doug Cameron.

Terry Bradley, Workers First's candidate for metal division organiser,
received 58% and has been confirmed as the winner over Roe supporter Mick
Rattigan.

The injunction, from Justice Lehane in Sydney, is on the basis of 912
“missing” ballots. Since receiving the injunction, the Cameron/Roe group
has sought to discredit the electoral commission and its handling of the
election.

The commission has shown that there are no missing ballots. Rather, a
clerical error caused a discrepancy between the number of ballot envelopes
returned and the number of ballots counted.

Johnston said in a letter to members that the inquiry was a ploy by Roe,
who was appointed and never elected as state secretary, to maintain his
authority against the will of the AMWU members.

Johnston told the Age, “the members have voted for me and Roe is trying to
stop me. There is no foul play and no allegations of substance. Even if you
consider the discrepancy, it was votes in the metals area and that went 65%
in my favour.”

The Workers First team is distributing a leaflet which states that Johnston
was democratically elected by AMWU members, that no ballots were lost,
stolen or destroyed, that Workers First scrutineers were the first to point
our the discrepancy and that the AEC at no time advocated a federal court
injunction.

Cameron has reappointed Julius Roe as interim state secretary while an
inquiry into the election is held, arguing that Johnston does not have the
confidence of the national office on staff and management issues. During
the election campaign, Johnston “was strongly critical of the current union
national leadership of national council in general and the national
secretary in particular”, a statement from Cameron said.

Funding solicitors and barristers to fight the case in court, and raising
the money for a possible new election, will put considerable strain on
Workers First, as is the incumbents' intention. Many rank-and-file union
members have expressed their disgust at the power grab.

Employers welcomed Cameron's re-election, believing him to be more friendly
to their cause. Their response to news of Johnston's vote was the opposite.







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