In recent months, as we have been working hard to rebuild your Union, it has been drawn to our attention how little has been reported in the mainstream media, or directly to members, about the decisive election result in late 2012 that put the new team in charge.
We would like to set the record straight. By any measure, Health Services Union members in Victoria have delivered an emphatic mandate for change. It is also clear that health professionals are highly engaged with the running of their Union, and can see a positive way forward.
Three of the ten HSU branches in Australia held elections towards the end of last year. After the controversy surrounding some HSU branches earlier in 2012, the elections were an important chance for members to have their say, and for a new direction to be forged. Yet despite heavy media coverage in the lead-up to the elections, there has been almost no reporting or analysis since then of what we believe are exceptional results, particularly for the HSU’s Victorian Branch 3.
Australian Electoral Commission figures confirm that a remarkable 58 per cent of HSU Branch 3 members voted. This is far in excess of historical union election participation rates, which typically vary between about 25 and 35 per cent. It was also a far bigger turnout than for the other HSU elections; fewer than 45 per cent of Victorian Branch 1 members voted, while the corresponding figure for the New South Wales Branch election was just 27 per cent.
And contrary to some commentary by our opponents, it is also clear that the Branch 3 election victory achieved by Craig McGregor and his team was decisive. The margin between McGregor and his rival for the Branch Secretary’s position – 54.8 per cent to 45.2 per cent – was the largest of any of the 54 positions contested nationally.
Ours was a genuine rank-and-file campaign – we have no affiliation with any political party, nor any political agenda beyond serving the interests of HSU members. We see the result as a strong endorsement of independent union stewardship and a new direction. We are gratified by the result and are working hard to reward your faith in us.
The next round of HSU elections is due in June 2014, when positions in all ten branches will be contested. This gives the three new HSU teams limited time to settle in and make a difference. Inevitably, as with any such transition, there will be a number of hiccups along the way. Please bear with us while we build a better Union for members. We are determined to use our mandate wisely, energetically and faithfully.