|Issue No 12||07 May 1999|
Cotter Withdraws Currawong Standover Claims
Marrickville Mayor Barry Cotter withdrew claims Labor Council officer Mark Lennon had threatened affiliates in the lead-up to the Currawong vote following a fiery meeting in Trades Hall this week.
Cotter had named Lennon from the floor, after Labor Council secretary Michael Costa had demanded he substantiate claims that officers had been heavying unions to back the controversial lease.
After the meeting Cotter withdrew the charge when approached by Lennon for clarification. Lennon has now demanded a public apology and retraction.
Sussex Street "bully-boy" Lennon says he was more upset by the reaction of the room after the claims were made. "They all started laughing," Lennon complained. "The least they can do is take the charges seriously."
The anticipated vote on the lease with the transcendental meditation group, World Plan Executive Council, was cancelled after it became apparent opponents of the plan had garnered sufficient votes to veto the deal.
Under Labor Council rules dating back to the Lang split of the 1930s, a lease can be vetoed by any seven affiliates. The Friends of Currawong had attracted the bear minimum of affiliates required to block the plan, including one union with fewer than 50 members.
Michael Costa said he would not allow an archaic rule to frustrate the will of more than 90 per cent of affiliates. He said he had received legal advice that the rule could be overturned in the courts, but did not want to bog this deal down in legal action.
Instead, the lease was formally withdrawn and Labor Council will now commence negotiations to restructure the deal as a management service contract arrangement. The deal would retain the key commercial components of the original deal, including:
- the construction of upgraded eco-friendly accommodation;
- continued access to TUTA for trade union training activities.
- ongoing access for trade union members;
- $200,000 per year to the Labor Council to be earmarked for organising and recruiting.
Costa said he would bring the deal back to the Council in a month, where it would need a bare majority of votes to be passed.
He said once the current Currawong controversy died down he would look at changing the seven-affiliate rule.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005