Gillard 'disgusted' by HSU
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has expressed her "disgust" at the behaviour of officials in the Health Services Union.
Ms Gillard made the comments during a passionate address at the Australian Council of Trade Unions Congress in Sydney on Tuesday.
The scandal-plagued union, which is the subject of police investigations in two states, was suspended from the ACTU last month.
"Instead of the sole focus of those union officials being on benefiting those members, those members have been let down," Ms Gillard told delegates at the three-day conference.
"That disgusts me and I know that it disgusts you, too, and we will work together for change to right this wrong because we all believe that a dollar taken from a worker is a precious thing, and a dollar taken from a worker as part of their union dues should always be used for their benefit.
"So we will work together, for new reforms on transparency and new stiffer penalties.
"That will be our way of saying loudly and proudly that what has happened here is not good enough and we, the Labor Party and the Labor movement, will be saying to union members around the country that we're getting on with the job in their interests, having drawn a line under this and acted for change, and we will work together to do that."
The former national secretary of the HSU and current Member for Dobell, Craig Thomson, was suspended from the Labor Party caucus two weeks ago as allegations he misused members' funds during his time with the union continued to swirl.
He denies the allegations and will make a statement to the House of Representatives next week.
The Prime Minister also broke with her habit of not commenting on opinion polls to acknowledge "the depths of the political challenges that confront our government".
In his speech to the congress ACTU secretary-elect David Oliver vowed to stamp out "bad governance" in the union movement.
He will on Wednesday move a resolution designed to "set standards" to protect union members' money.