Anthony Albanese is moving to expel John Setka from the Australian Labor Party, after the controversial union official criticised anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty.
Mr Albanese, 56, said Mr Setka had undermined the labour movement and his comments about Ms Batty were ‘completely unacceptable’.
The Leader of the Opposition is confident Labor’s national executive will unanimously support his decision when it next meets on July 5.
‘I don’t want him in the party I lead. It’s that simple,’ Mr Albanese told reporters in Perth on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Setka should have resigned a long time ago.
‘They can root out one Labor thug in the union movement, but there’s plenty more where John Setka came from,’ Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
‘The CFMMEU is one of the most litigated against and charged unions in the country – their charge sheet is longer than your arm – and John Setka is just one of many.’
Mr Setka, the Victorian secretary of the CFMMEU, claims he was ‘taken out of context’ after reportedly telling a union meeting that Ms Batty’s advocacy had led to men having fewer rights.
The Victorian Trades Hall Council said it condemned all forms of gendered violence.
‘We believe the vital work being done by Rosie Batty and other survivors of family violence isn’t taking away anything from anyone, except those who choose to perpetuate family violence,’ the council said in a statement.
‘Prejudice and discrimination, including misogyny, have no place in our movement.’
Outgoing senior Labor senator Doug Cameron was among the first to demand Mr Setka resign.
Senator Cameron, a former trade unionist, said he strongly supported the ‘mindful militant’ behaviour of the CFMMEU.
‘(But) there is nothing mindful about the alleged behaviour of John Setka. He should put the movement and members first by resigning,’ Senator Cameron said.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said he supports Mr Albanese’s move.
‘The comments made about her (Ms Batty) by Mr Setka are disgraceful and his refusal to apologise for them is appalling,’ Mr Andrews said in a statement.
‘They cannot be defended in any context.’
Mr Andrews ignored Liberal Party calls to take action against Mr Setka last month when the union boss indicated he would plead guilty to two criminal charges following an incident at a Melbourne home.
He faces a charge of breaching a court order, along with another charge, details of which cannot be revealed for legal reasons.
Mr Albanese stressed his decision to seek Mr Setka’s expulsion is not linked to his court case.
Mr Setka is expected to return to court on June 26 to officially answer the charges.
The Liberals also condemned him last year for likening the federal government to the Hitler regime and for posting a picture of his children holding a sign saying ‘Go get f*#*ed’ with the caption ‘Leave our dads alone and go catch the real criminals you cowards’.
He later deleted the tweet.
Last year prosecutors withdrew charges that Mr Setka and his CFMMEU state deputy Shaun Reardon blackmailed two managers of concrete company Boral.