Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has said he has “no relationship” with controversial construction union boss John Setka, who remains a member of the Labor Party despite indicating he would plead guilty to a criminal charge of harassing a woman.
Mr Setka, secretary of the Victorian branch of the powerful Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union, said last month that he would plead guilty to using a carriage service to harass the woman in an alleged incident last year. He has taken personal leave but remains the union’s Victorian secretary.
Police analysis of Mr Setka’s phone activity revealed that on a single evening last October, he called the woman 25 times and sent her 45 text messages, calling her a “weak f—en piece of shit” and a “treacherous Aussie f—en c—” and a “f—en dog”, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reported on Saturday.
Mr Setka also allegedly told a meeting of his union’s national executive this week that the work of anti-violence campaigner Rosie Batty had led to men having few rights, but he said his comments had been taken out of context and he had great respect for Ms Batty.