ETU Media Releases

ETU Media Releases

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Employer reported for breach of electoral laws after allegedly offering staff $100 gift to influence vote

Paul Lister - Tuesday, September 03, 2013

A western Sydney electrical contractor is being investigated by the Electoral Commissioner after allegedly attempting to bribe staff into voting for the Coalition, with employees promised a “$100 gift” if a Coalition Government is elected this weekend.

The Electrical Trades Union reported the alleged breach of the Commonwealth Electoral Act after being provided with details of the message by workers at the firm
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The text message, sent last week to employees of HMP Electrical Services, was allegedly distributed on behalf of the company’s owner Edmond (Eddie) Hajar.

The message read:
“Hi Guys – As you may or may not be aware, the federal election is on Saturday, 7th of September 2013. Eddie has asked me to remind you to VOTE and to let you know that if the Liberal Government win you will all receive a $100 GIFT as employees of HMP Electrical Services. Aren’t we lucky to live in a democratic country! Kindest regards, Nesska (for Eddie)”

ETU NSW secretary Steve Butler said the union had received legal advice that the text message breached bribery provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act. In particular, it breached provisions of section 326 which states: “A person shall not, with the intention of influencing or affecting any vote of another person, give or confer, or promise or offer to give or confer, any property or benefit of any kind to that other person”.

Mr Butler said the message, sent by an employer who wields a position of power over his staff, was a concerning attempt to influence the votes of workers that live in some of the most marginal seats in the country.

“Their employer has not only attempted to influence their vote by making it very clear how he expects them to vote this weekend, but he has then backed that up with a promised financial incentive,” Mr Butler said.

“Employees at the company were outraged by the alleged bribery attempt, but due to the fear of reprisal from their employer they felt unable to make an official complaint, instead asking the union to ensure the case was properly investigated.

“This employer has a poor track record with his treatment of staff, with the union previously recovering unpaid wages and superannuation for staff that were owed thousands of dollars.

“This alleged bribery attempt also raises serious questions about why this employer, with his history of underpaying staff and failing to follow superannuation laws, would be so desperate to see Tony Abbott become Prime Minister.”

Hundreds of Snowy Hydro jobs at risk under Abbott’s Commission of Audit

Angela Lordan - Friday, May 17, 2013

The Snowy Hydro looks set to be sold off, with hundreds of jobs lost from the region, if the Coalition wins this year’s federal election, the Electrical Trades Union has warned.

ETU Secretary Steve Butler said Tony Abbott’s budget reply speech would have sent a shiver down spines across the region.

“We have grave concerns for the future of the Snowy Hydro after Mr Abbott’s budget reply speech,” Mr Butler said.

“The Opposition Leader has committed to a federal commission of audit. Experience from both NSW and Queensland state commissions of audit shows what will happen: it will recommend to sell commonwealth assets including the federal government’s 13 per cent stake in Snowy Hydro.

“It is highly likely that the audit will recommend the wholesale privatisation of the iconic Snowy Hydro, which would be a devastating blow for the region.

“Snowy Hydro is one of the largest employers in the region. Its sale would put hundreds of jobs at risk, because the buyer will already have an established head office either overseas, or in Sydney or Melbourne. 

“But an equally painful blow to the region would come from lost revenue. The public would lose millions of dollars in dividends that currently help fund vital services like schools, hospitals and roads.”

Mr Butler said the federal election in September would be a pivotal moment in the Snowy Hydro’s proud history.

“Ben Chifley would be turning in his grave at the prospect of privatising Snowy Hydro, a project of vision and foresight that his government supported back in 1949 for the benefit of future generations.

“The federal election will now be a referendum in Eden-Monaro on whether or not to privatise the Snowy Hydro,” he said.

“Labor has categorically ruled out any sale of the Commonwealth Government’s 13 per cent stake in Snowy Hydro, which effectively secures public ownership of the asset should Labor win the election. 

“The choice for Eden-Monaro voters is clear: a Coalition government that will sell Snowy Hydro or a Labor government that will keep it in public hands.”