Jacksonville 32: The winner takes it all

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The results are in for the HSU’s NSW and Victorian Number 3 branches — and it’s great news for the members. Peter Wicks reports.

[Catch up with the full back story on IA's Jacksonville page.]

'Our HSU' plan to reform the Union.[/caption]

WELL, THE RESULTS ARE IN for the HSU elections, and it seems that in the NSW and Victorian Number 3 branch, it’s all over bar the shouting and finger-pointing.

For those awaiting Victorian Branch Number 1 results, you will have to wait a little longer, due to the court action between Marco Bolano and Diana Asmar.

The Jackson faction hard man and frontrunner Marco Bolano showed his deep love for the democratic process by allegedly tampering with the payment process of rival candidate Diana Asmars membership. The object of this was to make Asmar unfinancial and therefore unable to stand for an elected position. Bolano succeeded in his bid to stop members having a choice, however Asmar contested this in court and was successful ― with the judge being particularly harsh towards Kathy’s crony.

It has now taken a judge restore proper democratic process back to the election— meaning it will drag on well into December now, with voting yet to start.

In NSW, Gerard Hayes has succeeded in his bid to bring the NSW branch back into line his way. Gerard has had a decisive win over his opponents ― Bob Hull and Katrina Hart.

Gerard Hayes and the Our HSU team stormed in with a massive margin, winning with ease. Results for President and Assistant Secretary positions will be announced by Friday, although early indicators show a likely win in all positions by the Our HSU team.

Our HSU concentrated on the members needs during their campaign, and chose to announce reform plans, rather than join in the mud-slinging and smearing. The Our HSU teams “Charter of Reform” (pictured above) proved a real hit, with members reacting positively to someone trying to put in place a path forward for the members, and a means of keeping the corruption out of the union.

Bob Hull never really stood a chance with so many questions remaining about his relationship with Michael Williamson and his alleged link to the now infamous black bag.

[caption id="attachment_27375" align="alignnone" width="658"] Katrina Hart (2nd from right) and her team.

Katrina Hart tried to win the trust of people by not talking about herself. This is probably a good idea when you are openly aligned with Kathy Jackson, however it is hard to trust someone who seems to think any good look at them would be perceived as a negative by a voter. Voters have a tendency to want to hear about their candidate and little things like — their plans.

Instead, Kathy used her pals at 2GB to get her mate Katrina endorsed by the shock jocks. Katrina seemed happy to take the endorsement from a radio station which has been the subject of much scrutiny lately over the behaviour of its presenters. Advertisers have pulling out of the radio station so fast lately, you would think it was an Olympic event, as the community has come to acknowledge that the opinions and ethics of those shock jocks do not match up to community standards

Anyway, evidently Katrina’s bright idea of seeking right-wing, union hating, shock jock support for a union election didn’t appear to work. It would appear that the members are not as daft as Katrina and Kathy seemed to think. How anybody standing for the role of a union secretary could think the endorsement of well-known union haters would work in their favour is puzzling.

For someone who says she does not have time for smear, the Katrina Hart campaign was – from what I could see ― a mixture of childish publicity stunts backed by right-wing propagandists and, most of all, smear.

It is just like I have always suggested, it is a unique state of mind out there in Jacksonville — and one look at the Katrina Hart campaign is all one needs to see the proof of this.

And Kathy Jackson’s attempt to portray her candidates as “clean” was not helped by Bolano was being dragged into court and facing the withering scorn of a judge. “Mr Clean” even has an intervention order on him now after an unfortunate incident on the campaign trail, where Bolano allegedly stalked Diana Asmar around a hospital making threatening comments and gestures. As a result of this intervention order, Bolano cannot be within 5 metres of Asmar. Mr Clean, indeed — only in Jacksonville.

Marco "Mr Clean" Bolano and Kathy Jackson

The race for Victoria’s Number 3 branch was much closer.

Craig McGregor, described by many as the only true “cleanskin” candidate in the entire election, ran a slick campaign, and appears to genuinely want to redeem the Union for the members. After years of working and watching it being seemingly systematically rorted and destroyed with Kathy Jackson at the helm, Craig came to the conclusion that it was time to stand up for change.

Craig’s opponent, Fleur Behrens, came from the Jackson faction ― although she wisely held Kathy at a far greater arms length than Katrina Hart in NSW. In fact, many HSU members were unaware of the relationship between Behrens and Jackson, and that was proving a challenge for the Cleansweep team.

Yesterday, the news broke on Independent Australia that Craig McGregor and his “Cleansweep” team had soundly defeated Fleur Behrens in every position, making it a clean sweep in fact. Clearly all the hard work campaigning from McGregor and his team paid off.

One of the other things this tells not only members, but candidates in the Number 1 Branch elections, is that you can make a difference in the HSU without the backing of the factional players.

This resounding victory takes the Jackson influence out of the branch where Kathy Jackson was the former secretary. Under Kathy’s watchful eye, members saw the union go from riches to rags, and almost into bankruptcy. Kathy managed to oversee all that financial ruin whilst struggling to get by in a tiny ramshackle cottage that she now has on the market for a little over $2 million.

Cleansweep cleanskin — Craig McGregor.

Craig and his team now have the enviable task of pulling the union back from the brink of collapse, rebuilding member confidence and increasing membership numbers.

However, assuming that Bolano and his team don’t succeed in the democratic process they attempted to manipulate, that being the Number 1 branch election, increasing the membership will be easier in Victoria with the Jacksonville influence gone for good.

After all, union members don’t really want to get involved in factional fighting, nor do they want public bloodletting and brawls. These members just want to get on with an honest day’s work and know that the union they support with their membership fees is watching their back.

All these members want is a change, so far NSW and Victoria’s number 3 Branch have voted for a change, let’s hope Number 1 Branch follows suit.

It’s about time these members caught a break.

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