Broken Train

Posted: December 20, 2012 in HSU Saga

It all looked so promising, people had been intimidated, the membership files tampered with, the stage was set for a Marco Bolano win in the HSU Number 1 branch election.

Unfortunately for Bolano and his factional backer Kathy Jackson, they forgot one little thing, the mood of the membership.

This was the Jacksonville ticket that was sure to win, the one piece of power that Jackson was going to be able to clutch onto with straining fingers. However it seemed that the membership had other ideas.

In a clear indication that the membership are tired of the Bolano bully boy antics, and the stongest of indications that the membership support the police investigation into Kathy Jackson and the decimated finances of the Victorian branches of the HSU, Bolano has been tossed out on his ear.

Bolano sucks it up

Bolano sucks it up

Maybe it was the lack of fake ballot boxes, maybe it was the desperate bid to pass the Bolano team off as a “new team”, whatever it was, the final result was a victory for the membership.

Diana Asmar has succeeded in her campaign to become the Secretary of the Number 1 Branch, and the membership will be relying on her to deliver. Diana has a monumental task ahead of her in terms of rebuilding a shattered union, and reinvigorating a downtrodden membership.

It must come as a relief to Diana, as well as Craig McGregor and Gerard Hayes that Kathy Jackson, despite all her shock-jock mates, buddy press packers, and expensive hair stylings, has failed to deliver a single election victory. Zero out of three, a fine display of how much it helps to have friends in inconsequential places. Kathy and her propagandists complete failure to produce a single result will no doubt make Diana and the other secretaries job much easier, as they will have less interference to deal with.

In what has been an intensely close election, while Diana Asmar has had a clear victory as Secretary of the HSU Number 1 Branch, it seems the members may yet have more turmoil to deal with as the results are indicating the possibility of a mixed ticket finish. The assistant secretary position may fall to a Jacksonville candidate, which would put them in charge of the purse strings. Having someone from a Jackson faction in charge of the unions finances would be like putting Andrew Bolt or Alan Jones in charge of the UN Refugee Convention, a recipe for disaster. This is not yet confirmed, but is a possibility despite the overwhelming majority of positions looking like going Asmars way.

I hope that anybody from the Bolano ticket who is elected can think of the members rather than their factional puppeteer. It would make for a nice change.

Clearly the members are calling for a change, as this election has seen Jacksons lead candidates knocked out in each of the elections in both states.

Diana Asmar, derailer of the Jacksonville Express

Diana Asmar, derailer of the Jacksonville Express

As for Bolano and Jacksons backer, Labor Senator David Feeney, I hope this makes him think twice before backing the Liberal Party horse again. Laying down with the enemy rarely produces a pleasing result.

For Kathy Jackson, it would appear that the gravy train has reached its final destination and the only passengers left on board are the Victorian Police. This was the last stop for the Jacksonville Express and it looks like the membership caught the train that was headed in the opposite direction.

I wish Diana all the luck in the world, and I hope that the membership reap the rewards from this union that has finally been able to turn a corner and gain a glimpse of light on the horizon.


  1. Marilyn Shepherd says:

    Peter you deserve a medal for this work this year, notice not one apology from Kate.

  2. Vicky Bonventi says:

    Dear Mad Wixxy, Thanks for being a decent journalist. I have been following your Jacksonville story with great interest. If you have time are you interested in following up another story? I have been yelling at the TV all day, when they are reporting the brilliant journalism which has uncovered the Customs corruption. Yet, no- one has mentioned Allan Kessing, the customs officer given the job of writing a report on corruption back in 2002. He uncovered a huge amount of corruption and criminality and so his report was shelved. Someone then leaked details of this report to The Australian newspaper. Allan Kessing was charged under the Crimes Act s70 for this. He tried in vain to clear his name.

    So, why would the Liberal Party be claiming this corruption has only occurred since they took over and why are mainstream journalists allowing them to get away with it?

    Kind regards, Vicky

  3. Heather says:

    Brilliant news. So that, I hope, means Bolano is out of a job?
    Thanks for your brilliant investigative reporting of this whole issue, which I have followed from the start. Well done!

  4. sue says:

    Congratulations for all your hard work Wixxy and Congratulations to all those Union members who have got control back.

    Lets hope you all do not have to wait too long for police to act.

    Wixxy do you think David might be interested in Vicky’s story?

  5. Ken Atkinson says:

    Great job Peter ! Much of the success in ousting Bolano is no doubt due to your intrepid investigative work and much kudos to you. Keep the flame burning within mate!

  6. Catching up says:

    So the union can get back to what it was in the past, before Jackson come on the scene.

  7. debbiep says:

    Get Outcome so far to this saga. Feel relieved to see that it has ended this way, as you yourself must also .

    Again Great service of Truth seeking and investigate journalism Peter and I hope this story shows those in the know your talent. As Vicki said in an earlier comment there are other ‘truth’ stories that need to be told . And you would be the perfect person for that well paid job.
    I guess we now wait to see the finally or Encore of what the Police finds bring… toot toot

  8. llordlloyd says:

    Thanks for here in Tassie, Peter. This is a just outcome where bluster and chicanery could so easily have prevailed. Although not part of the unions in question, I am an HSU member down here and I know how naive many members are: they pay their dues mainly because they want some protection, some insurance in case things turn bad.

    This is fair enough, and people who exploit this trust for their own gain are the lowest- the fact that Jackson schmoozed with some of the most anti-union bastards in the country tells you all you need to know. Thanks so much for shining some light on this cess pit in these months past- if we’d had to rely on the MSM they would have got away with it.

  9. Lizzie says:

    Some people make a difference in the lives of others and Wixxy, you are one of those rare people.

    You still have roads to explore in the journey through Jacksonville. Without doubt you will expose a great deal more, some will be predicatable, some will surprise.

    Looking forward to taking the next leg of this journey with you.

    PS: Happy birthday for tomorrow -enjoy!

  10. Marilyn says:

    The media just don’t get it. They are still claiming that Thomson faces fines of $450,000 for supposedly going to brothels when no such level of fines has ever existed.

    Killing people at work attracts a fine of less than $100,000, Andrew Lindberg was fined $100,000 for stealing $300 million to give to Saddam Hussein and so on.

    Now FWA are claiming the statute of limitations does not apply to Thomson, in fact it appears no law applies to Thomson, they are simply persecuting him without cause and with media stupidity.

    Even for the election of Asmar the Herald has a photo of Thomson and not Asmar.

    They just cannot bring themselves to admit they were all wrong, as they were with Slipper.

  11. John Taylor says:

    Jaytee says:

    Jackson remains the Federal Secretary of the HSU, on a salary of $150,00 per annum – this should make for interesting Federal Council meetings. Hopefully the new leadership of the various State branches will be able to exercise sufficient authority through their positions on that Council to keep her in check, and maybe even make her life so unbearable that she resigns.

  12. Is there any possibility of that little miscreant Jackson being able to insert herself into being a supplier of goods and services to the HSU, under a fictitious company name, whereby she would be able to charge the Union exorbitant fees. Does she have any enablers planted is what I am concerned about. I put nothing past her.

    • wixxy says:

      That has actually been done before with her buddy through the company Urban Giftware….
      I can’t see her being able to do it though given the election results… but I’d put nothing past her

  13. stratton says:

    While it’s good that Bolano and Jackson have lost out in the HSU election, I don’t think that Asmar has a clean sheet either. It would have been much better if someone like Craig McGregor has won.

  14. Ranknfile says:

    Bolano being unemployed is fantastic but Asmar has her own dodgy past which will be public soon. Before that all comes out there’s the enormous sums of money put into her campaign which she claims comes from trivia night fundraisers. The people who REALLY paid for her campaign didn’t do it out the goodness of their little black hearts, they will want something in return. Sadly there was NO clean skin running in this branch.

  15. Meincranbourne says:

    Perhaps what we need is to belong to a new union and let the HSU sink into the filth.

  16. Catching up says:

    Happy new year. Keep up the good work.

    When can we expect the next happening in this saga. Where are the police at?

  17. RVC says:

    I hope you’ll be continuing your coverage of the HSU Victorian Branch into the New Year. Will the AEC be investigating the false letter sent to members by one of the campaign teams? It’s worth reflecting on the question of which campaign had the greatest interest in maximising voter responses, as opposed to those who probably wanted as low a turn-out as possible.

  18. RVC says:

    Just out of interest, why are there so many ‘branches’ within the HSU? And what would be the process for dissolving a branch of a union? Are these issues the same across the HSU branches, or are they uniqie to No. 1 branch?

    As Meincrabbourne asks – perhaps this union, or perhaps this particular branch, needs to be allowed to fold and for members to be represented by some other branch or union.

    One of the problems I see here is that, not unlike the Labor party, the union has forgotten it is an organisation and sees itself as an institution which is immune from the kinds of pressures and imperatives for change that cause organisations to either adapt or die. Because there is no alternative for members to seek representation – particularly lower paid workers who are in greater need of support and representation – it is so much easier for unions to take advantage – which is clearly what has happened here.

    • wixxy says:

      The branches I believe were set up for different parts of the industry who face different needs. For example, a hospital cleaner would have different needs to a surgeon, or another health professional. Hence they had different organisers.

      This unions problem is that they were full of corruption at most of the branches, NSW had Williamson, #3 Branch had Jackson, and #1 had Bolano.

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