It will take months to remove accused embezzler Michael Williamson from his Health Services Union post even though the vast majority of the union's national executive want him gone, says the HSU's acting national president.
Ten members of the 14-member HSU national executive yesterday demanded that Williamson resign as both national president and as head of the HSU East branch.
But, as Williamson well knows, they are currently powerless to boot him out. He is so far refusing to step aside.
According to the union's rules, a member of the national executive can be removed only if they are found guilty of misappropriation of union funds, gross misbehaviour or gross neglect following an investigation by the union's ombudsman. That hasn't happened yet.
Acting HSU national president Chris Brown told The Power Index this morning that, although he believes Williamson is "dead in the water", removing him from power will probably be a drawn out process.
"We're talking about months not weeks," he said.
The executive will not move to sack Williamson unless the NSW Police or Ian Temby QC, who is conducting an audit of the HSU East branch, provides "authoritative" evidence of gross misconduct, Brown said.
Brown fears the HSU East branch, which is dominated by Williamson and his allies, won't release the long-awaited Temby report to the public or the HSU national executive. The report is expected to be highly critical of Williamson, who was a mentor to embattled Labor MP Craig Thomson.
"If it's not released it would be a travesty of justice," said Brown, who is also the HSU's Tasmanian secretary.
Williamson, a former ALP national president, has been suspended on full pay since allegations against him first surfaced last September.
The supplier of the HSU newsletter is alleged to have given Williamson and Thomson American Express card attached to his account.
Complaints were later made to union officials claiming that Williamson had ''run amok'' with the credit card and had used it to pay for things such as his children's school fees, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
He also failed to disclose that his son, who was working at the union's in-house media unit, had used an HSU building to run a recording studio.
Brown today rejected calls from national secretary Kathy Jackson for a fresh round of elections for HSU leadership positions as "self-serving and self-interested".
"The problem with Kathy is that she's a factional player," he said. "She's not playing an objective role – she's playing politics."
Jackson has previously denied that she covets Williamson's position of national president and general secretary of the HSU's dominant East branch.
Williamson's future will be discussed at the next HSU meeting on April 27. He denies any wrongdoing.