Delia Delegate’s Catholic sister Della Delegate has thrown down the challenge and revealed a grubby fundraiser for Greg Sword this Friday.

Well, it all has to do with two union secretaries getting together. Delia has a spiteful anti-catholic edge to her, poor thing, and her ravings about conservative catholic conspiracies didn’t go down that well in the predominantly-relaxed, secular political party that’s the ALP today.

In particular her sectarian spite rubbed raw with a certain Joe De Bruyn, the low profile national secretary of the Shop Distributive Association (the shop assistants union), the ALP’s largest union affiliate. Now, Joe is low key, but don’t let his demure personality fool you. Joe is the leader of (what’s left of) the Right in the Labor Party.

People like Bill Shorten, David Feeney and Steve Conroy may do the public “meet and greets”, but the bullets they fire are designed, financed and manufactured in the SDA war camp, steered discreetly by Brother Joe.

Most of the time, Joe is a relaxed guy, happy to support SDA loyalists and friends into Federal and state parliaments everywhere, happy to support the Labor Party with big cheques at election time, and happy to live reasonably peacefully with the rest of the Labor world.

Until he saw Delia’s meanderings. A state Labor parliamentarian was so concerned with Delia’s hitlists that he e-mailed Joe all of her columns. To say that Joe was white with rage is an understatement.

Joe asked ALP national president Greg Sword for a quiet little meeting one Saturday afternoon at the National Union of Workers bunker in Victoria Street, North Melbourne. The message stop Delia’s sectarian ravings, or all bets are off political and industrial.

And considering the Western Australian branches of the SDA and the NUW just happen to be the same union with the same secretary Joe Bullock and considering the NUW’s national elections start in a fortnight it made sense for Greg to pull the plug on the troublesome Network correspondent.

What Della Delegate wants to know is whether sister Delia will be turning up at the Melbourne Hilton on Friday, to sit in on Greg Sword’s major fund-raising effort for his re-election bid?

That’s right. Two weeks before Greg’s desperate re-election ballot opens, all his business supporters are turning up to the Hilton in East Melbourne to hand over the cash to Greg’s campaign funds.

They’re being asked to pay $380 a pop, to something called “Workforce 2002”, for a talk and three-course lunch.

These “information seminars” are a cute front for employers to fund the union bosses they prefer to cut deals with. They’re “educational”, so the companies can claim them as a tax deduction, and the accounts that are set up to receive “funny money” are usually wound up straight after the union ballot closes, so the ATO is left none the wiser ..

If you’re interested in seeing how the union-business relationship works in practice, turn up to the Melbourne Hilton this Friday, July 19, from 11am onwards, and see the bosses turn up to drop their cheques off. Makes you proud to be a worker.

I know Delia is worried that her fans are missing her. Can we hope that she’ll send in an exclusive report on Greg’s fund-raising love in? Somehow, I don’t think so.

Keep posted for further exciting adventures in the life of a besieged ALP national president and burnt-out union boss.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW