Who’d be a state opposition leader at the moment? Not Zak Kirkup, the as-of-Saturday-night ex-Liberal leader over in the west, now getting thoroughly trashed by his own party despite having at least tried to be innovative in attempting to stop the marauding electoral juggernaut of Mark McGowan.
In NSW, there’s Labor’s Jodi McKay, who despite being up against the most corrupt government since the Wran years has failed to land a blow on Gladys Pork Barrelijikian. Helpfully, over the weekend Liberal-aligned Nine newspapers ran some polling showing McKay on course for a Kirkup-style smash-up, with Labor managing a primary vote of just 23.9%.
Which polling was that? It was polling “supplied to Nine and the Herald by the AWU”. Australian Workers Union head Daniel Walton chipped in with his own polling commentary, that “Labor is simply not performing to an acceptable level”.
So why is the right-wing AWU publicly undermining a Labor leader — especially one from the right wing of the NSW parliamentary party? Well, of course, the AWU has history in doing exactly that. Who can forget then AWU secretary Paul Howes going on Lateline to join in the massacre of Kevin Rudd in 2010? And didn’t that work out well.
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But the AWU, don’t forget, opposed McKay for the Labor leadership in 2019, backing her right-wing rival Chris Minns. It seems the union doesn’t think that contest is quite over.
Another union that opposed McKay, the Health Services Union, also contributed to the polling story, with union head Gerard Hayes declaring McKay was “just not cutting through”.
But the AWU has a particular problem with McKay. The union is strongly opposed to climate action, and has lobbied hard for the federal party to abandon commitments to any meaningful climate policy. Last year, Walton wrote to state Labor MPs unsuccessfully demanding they defy McKay and oppose a private member’s bill seeking to block Santos’ Narrabri gas field development.
It all sends a very clear message: support climate action, and the AWU will come after you.
Not all the fossil fuel vested interests are on the Coalition side. Not by any means.