have lifted this straight from crikey, it’s an important story and an indication that rank and file journalists who are lefties and unionists need to get together as activists, not rely on the head office honchos. I must add a caveat. I know nothing of Margaretta Pos’ politics, but it is the principle of fair and open elections that is important in this case.
Media union hardball and the $10,000 Tassie witch
Margaretta Pos writes:
When is an election not an election? When it’s held by the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. That’s right, the champions of a democratic society are not so keen on democracy in the ranks,
So much so, that the hierarchy has spent a staggering $10,000 to stop me becoming a federal vice-president, and Australian Financial Review journalist Mark Phillips from being one of 24 media delegates on the union’s federal council. (I am a freelance journalist based in Hobart and the immediate past Tasmania branch president).
Australian Electoral Commission ballot papers were posted on Monday this week — the same day as a leaflet was posted to 16,361 Alliance members, telling them not to vote for either of us. Our sin? We weren’t hand-picked. Meaning there are four candidates for three vice-presidents and 25 candidates for 24 delegates, which means there has to be an election rather than the semblance of one.
The leaflet was signed by Christopher Warren, as federal secretary, and Sydney Morning Herald journalist Ruth Pollard, as federal president, AJA section. It’s endorsed by 37 signatories, including the presidents or secretaries from around the country, bar Tasmania.
The leaflet states in small print that it’s paid for “by the friends and supporters of the journalism team standing for federal council”. Okay, so they paid for the leaflet. But who paid the whopping postage bill? This shady group? The Alliance?
No one contacted me to ask why I was standing or to discuss my candidacy. No one contacted Mark Phillips either. Goodness! Am I such a threat? The wicked witch from Tasmania whose broomstick must be snapped in two?
I’d heard on the grapevine there was going to be a union ticket which excluded me, so I emailed Christopher Warren last week, to ask how the decision was made and who made it. This was his response on Friday (20 April), when the leaflet he’d signed was ready for postage on Monday:
In relation to the election for federal vice-president: Ballot papers are being circulated next week. The Alliance has not — cannot — endorse any candidates. I know some officers have indicated their preference as individuals, which is their right as members of the union. However, there will be no official communication to members about any candidates beyond that circulated by the Australian Electoral Commission.