CFMMEU secretary John Setka has refused to resign for comments made about domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty despite increasing pressure from union colleagues and Labor.
"What was reported in relation to Rosie Batty is completely false," Mr Setka said. "I have always been a huge supporter of Rosie Batty."
It was reported Mr Setka told a union meeting last Wednesday that Ms Batty's advocacy work had led to men having fewer rights.
Mr Setka's refusal to leave his powerful job sets up a showdown next month between the Labor Party and the Victorian branch of the powerful blue-collar union.
The CFMMEU influences Labor pre-selection in key seats and is an important party donor, and both Labor and the union movement have hesitated to move on Mr Setka, a key powerbroker.
But on Tuesday, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he wanted Mr Setka expelled from the party. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews swiftly followed suit.
Some of his colleagues and other union leaders were understood to be urging him to step down as secretary of the Victorian building branch of the CFMMEU.
The nation's top trade unionist, ACTU secretary Sally McManus, has flown home from Switzerland to deal with the crisis.
Labor figures, including some of the party's most prominent women, lined up on Tuesday to condemn Mr Setka over his comments about Ms Batty and call on him to quit.
Mr Setka was elected secretary by rank-and-file union members, meaning he can only be removed by his colleagues in the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union in a process that would take time and be politically difficult for the broader labour movement.
More to come
- SMH/The Age