Hughie Williams loses TWU Qld election


Long-serving Transport Workers Union Queensland State Secretary Hughie Williams looks set for defeat

Hughie Williams loses TWU Qld election
Hughie Williams loses TWU Qld election

By Ruza Zivkusic | November 29, 2010

The Queensland branch of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) is only hours away from having the result of its ballot announced.

As the votes are still being counted, the 'New Transport Worker Team', led by Peter Biagini, believes it is ahead and is likely to win.

Biagini told
ATN that 70 percent of the votes that were counted on Friday had his name as a preference.

"We were leading by 72 percent out of those 70 votes counted," Biagini says.

Incumbent
Hughie Williams believes he has been "ousted" as the secretary by a "tsunami of money" that funded a campaign against him.

He is calling on the State Government to launch an inquiry into the election campaign and is demanding answers from Biagini as to where his money came from.

"The transport industry is vital to Queensland’s economy and the public have a right to know that influential unions like the TWU are above board and without skeletons in the closet," Williams says.

"The question has to be asked of the incoming TWU leadership - where did your money come from?

"Their campaign had a bottomless pit of money and it’s in the public interest to know where it came from."

Biagini says his team
spent $120,000 on the campaign.

"This was a clean campaign - if Hughie had spent three times the amount we did, it wouldn’t have made a difference to the result, people aren’t stupid," he says.

It was his "positive" campaign that placed him ahead, Biagini says.

The father of two, who has been a union member since 1974, was earlier accused by Williams of defaming him in
campaign material sent to voters.

"I got out there and spent the last eight weeks travelling to every workplace from Coolangatta to Cairns and people were very motivating in the sense that they wanted their opportunity to make a change," Biagini says.

"I think people had enough of faith to say Hughie has had his time and it’s time to put someone else up there."

Williams will remain in office as State Secretary until the official change-over on January 10.

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