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LIBERALS LOVE MIGHELL: Firebrand unionist enjoys warm embrace of nation’s conservatives

deanmighelltonyabbottVictorian ETU boss Dean Mighell could be the first nationally prominent trade union leader to be aligned with the Liberal party, party insiders hope.

The colourful character, who has been previously aligned with Labor’s Socialist Left, its then supposedly more militant Pledge Left, then the Greens and more recently Bob Katter’s Australia Party and the Sporting Shooters, has now built a strong base of support within Liberal ranks who see him as a useful voice against the federal government’s proposed tax on carbon.

Mighell is in a pitched battle with the NSW Right over control of his union at a national level, the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, where he has in recent times lost allies in Queensland, had allies win internal elections in NSW and is generally waving his stick about in a brutal power-play against the NSW Right kingpin Bernie Riordan.

He has recently accused Riordan of financial impropriety and – union insiders tell VEXNEWS – could face similar claims himself as the sparks fly in union elections that also include Mighell’s state branch of the ETU, which represents electricians.

Mighell’s ultimate quest, though he denies it to supporters, is to position himself as the national boss of the CEPU. The union currently has a rule that prevents him from serving as a state secretary of the ETU while being national secretary so he’s proposed a rule change that would enable him to hold both jobs.

In the meantime, he has put up Howard Worthing, described by opponents as being ‘worthless’ to run for the national role and is spending up a fortune to try to get his sock-puppet elected against the respected NSW Right-backed national secretary Peter Tighe.

Cunningly, and in a move closely watched by Liberals who think Mighell has considerable potential even as a possible Liberal parliamentary candidate in the future, Mighell is playing off Labor’s current burst of unpopularity in NSW and Queensland to attack unionists who defend their union’s affiliation with Labor.

In recent times, Liberal hardmen Eric Abetz and Sophie Mirabella have put out statements commending Dean Mighell’s stance on carbon.

Internal critics within the ETU in Queensland have been angered by Mighell’s association with country conservative Australia Party founder Bob Katter on the basis that he was part of the Bjelke-Petersen government that sacked thousands of electricity workers during the ugly SEQEB strike in the 1980s.

When we asked a senior Liberal whether they were ready to embrace the firebrand unionist, who was punted from the ALP at Kevin Rudd’s bizarre insistence because Mighell had used profane language when addressing his members, there was a long pause and a slightly hesitant “Sure, of course, he’s clearly a strong leader for his members and he’s probably just listening to them, many electricians vote for us, remember… we’re not likely to agree with Dean on everything though.”

Mighell’s move into the national scene threatens to make Labor’s annus horribilis even worse. He has already disaffiliated his state branch of the union from the ALP and is reportedly looking at directing his new allies in the NSW Postal division of the union to do the same.

His loud public attacks on the government’s carbon tax make it even more difficult for prominent unionists to support the Prime Minister’s unpopular plan.

Ironically, Mighell’s enormous donations to the extreme-left Greens party in the federal seat of Melbourne where he backed Dr Adam Bandt PhD (Marxism) with several hundred thousand dollars of members’ money was a huge factor in Bandt’s election.

While Mighell put the ALP affiliation of his branch to the membership (which was essentially presented as a chance to vote against politicians so most did), they did not get to vote on whether $300,000 or more of their money should go to a party that is publicly committed to policies that would throw many of his members in Victoria’s power-stations on the scrap-heap. It’s one of the many contradictions of Mighell that defy sensible explanation.

The recipient of Mighell’s largesse, Bandt – a Marxist legal scholar – has boasted that his election to the Reps meant Labor was left with no choice but to tax carbon.

Kevin Andrews, whose courageous fight against Malcolm Turnbull ultimately almost single-handedly changed the course of Australian politics, agreed with The Aged newspaper reporting:

Federal frontbench Liberal Kevin Andrews said Australia would not have a carbon tax if the Liberal Party had not directed its preferences to Mr Bandt ahead of Labor because of a mistaken belief that the Greens were not the real enemy.

We live in challenging and confusing times. Dean Mighell opposes the carbon tax his guy – Dr Bandt – demanded on pain of sacking the government. The Liberals oppose the carbon tax despite their preferences electing the guy whose pivotal vote in the Reps gave the Greens the negotiating leverage they needed to impose it.

Some Liberals believe the national elections for the CEPU could be the first time a Liberal-friendly nationally prominent union leader emerges. The NSW Labor Right face an acid-test, can they see off the pesky yet vocal maverick who appears to have been an active player in every party except the Nationals.

When we put this proposition to one of Mighell’s mates yesterday, he explained “He had to draw the line somewhere.”

Mighell’s union election – to be played out over the next month or so – promises to be a blood-thirsty slag-fest of the most vicious kind. Naturally, VEXNEWS will be there, the first with the worst.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. Good to see Mighell stand up and honestly defend the interests of his union’s members – unlike the traitor of the workers, Paul Howes.

    Posted by Anonski | July 22, 2011, 8:56
  2. It is interesting to ask how this affects Mike Symon who was elected with ETU backing. Is he now supposed to attack the plan in the caucus.

    Posted by Martin | July 22, 2011, 9:56
  3. Good for people to see how the ALP comes out slugging when their preselections, board positions, and tiny bits of power that make them feel like big men are threatened. While the Right of the ALP keeps the union bosses focused on Mighell, the real power elite can keep on doing all kinds of trade agreements that really do the damage to workers. I think most tradies truly understand why unions can do nothing about the flood of 457 visas. Paul Howes, Craig Emerson etc; every multinationals best friend.

    Posted by Medici | July 22, 2011, 10:12
  4. “We’re not likely to agree with him on everything thought” has to be the understatement of the year.

    A more accurate description would be “he is a thug and the Liberals are vehemently opposed to almost everything he stands for except his opposition to the carbon tax”.

    And given his proven commitment to the Greens you have to wonder about that too.

    By all means use him for tactical benefit during the carbon tax debate but, other than this, if any Liberal thinks getting closer to Dean Mighell is a good idea they need their head read and membership removed.

    Posted by Ronnie | July 22, 2011, 11:43
  5. Mighell is an opportunistic, self service, ego driven shit of a human being.

    Posted by political realist | July 22, 2011, 14:35
  6. Mighell is an opportunistic, self serving, ego driven shit of a human being.
    I hate spellcheck!

    Posted by political realist | July 22, 2011, 14:36
  7. Andrew this is excellent work. The word i have is that Mighell has been sighted strutting around Mitcham and has put Mike Symon on notice that he’ll be running for the seat. The residents out that way have found great amusement in the vanishing act of (Go)anna Burke and Mike Symon who have slithered away and are now formally in hiding after coming under a withering amount of fire from consituents over the carbon tax stunt

    Posted by Mike Symon MIA...soon to be political KIA | July 22, 2011, 14:54
  8. Isn’t the issue that the ALP has so successfully alienated its rank and file – that they’ve become a greenfield site for the libs.
    Does it not also prove that Mighell’s strategy of being independent of the ALP gives him a voice for his members – while the leaders of ALP unions remain mute on behalf of their members, for fear of sacrificing their preselection ?

    If Julia has decided to handball an election landslide to the libs and relegate the ALP to political irrelevance- what benefit is there for union members to share the noose?

    Posted by Bye bye lemmings | July 22, 2011, 15:51
  9. What a ridiculous article. Mighell is calling for renewable energy manufacturing hubs to be set up in the Latrobe and Hunter valleys to allow workers to get out of coal and into secure, well paid, quality alternative jobs. How is this in any way inconsistent with the ETU giving donations to Bandts campaign? Some liberals are cheering the ETU for opposing the tax (just to spite the ALP), but hey some liberals backed Bandt just to spite the ALP. Look where that left them – do u reckon they are happy that they helped deliver a green as part of the balance of power in the hung lower house?

    Posted by old mate | July 22, 2011, 15:54
  10. Who is Peter Tighe ?
    Who respects him ?
    What for ?

    Posted by Where's Wally? | July 22, 2011, 15:58
  11. The liberals will be laughing out of the other side of their face if Mighells proposal gets up. Can you imagine Abbott and the scum he represents watching a government funded wind turbine or solar thermal component factory getting opened in Morwell or Muswellbrook?! They would be rightly horrified as it would represent the quickening end of 19th century electricity generation and the ushering in of 21st century electricity generation which btw creates LOTS of jobs for sparkies.

    Posted by old mate | July 22, 2011, 15:58
  12. This has nothing to do with politics or Carbon. SheMighell is desperate to remove Tighe with Worthing Because Tighe is investigating the SheMighell selling a union company on the cheap to mate and then lying to the ETU members for years in the annual reports that the union still owns it. If the SheMighell ges Wortihng up because He is The sheMighels gutless bitch He will attempt to cover up the corruption

    Posted by Dipper | July 22, 2011, 16:11
  13. This story is nonsense. Mighell is not goign near th eLibs….just because he’s sticking it to a couple of crooked right wingers doesnt mean he’s joining up with Abbott.

    Bernie is shitting himself as is Sinkers. They’ve been caught out and the NSW ETU members want blood. Bernie is a dead man walking.


    Posted by fishbowl | July 22, 2011, 16:53
  14. Hey Bernie where id your mate the POG?????

    Howes goes silent when he might be caught out too!

    Posted by fishbowl | July 22, 2011, 16:54
  15. he is a weak dip shit that mighell, he just got the hots of kroger and doesnt care about the workers like me and tony…selling out the blokes

    Posted by Craig Johnson (fmr AMWU state sec) | July 22, 2011, 17:16
  16. The enemy of my enemy is my friend

    Posted by Futureproof | July 22, 2011, 18:24
  17. Howard Worthless 12 months ago Dean was twisting alp arms to make Howie an ALP state legislative council MP in a safe seat.Now their on an anti alp kick . consistency has never been one of Mighells traits

    Posted by WORTHY | July 22, 2011, 18:46
  18. Dean Mighell is planning to run for Wills and hopes to secure Liberal party preferences.

    I understand that he has teamed up with that useless “I would like to get you on a football field and see how you will fare” thug anti parliamnetary republic, Phil Cleary.

    He has one major obstical he needs the Greens and voters support to out poll the Liberal Party and pegg back the ALP below 50%.

    Posted by Wills electorate | July 22, 2011, 19:13
  19. Howard please return my red lace panties and inflatable ‘Dolores’ she-male doll.

    Posted by Dean Mighell | July 22, 2011, 20:05
  20. Dean and the Vic Branch of the ETU have kept those within the ALP so confused and nervous about their activities that its become comical to see how the ALP are reacting. Maybe some of the gutless leaders from other Unions should watch and learn how to get the ALP to pay attention.

    Posted by FatBoy | July 22, 2011, 22:30
  21. To the neanderthals who keep posting veiled references about the sexuality of others grow up. It just demonstrates your own mixed up ideas and confusion about your own sexuality. If you were all sure you wouldn’t be so obsessed and juvenile.

    Posted by Not sure | July 23, 2011, 0:18
  22. Dean has lost the plot. Going from the left of the ALP, then to the Greens, then back to the ALP but this time in the right, then again to the Greens, then backing the Shooters Party and now the Liberals! It just shows how nutty this rat is.

    Posted by I love trannies | July 23, 2011, 7:47
  23. How can Dean Mighell call himself a unionist when he is supporting Bob Katter? Katter was a member of the National party government who sacked 1100 workers in Qld when they were in power in the 1980’s.The only thing bigger then Mighell’s mouth is his ego.

    Posted by Kedo | July 23, 2011, 9:05
  24. ***how can Dean Mighell call himself a unionist when he is supporting Bob Katter?***

    Gee, that’s a toughie. Let’s put on our thinking cap. Maybe Mighell wants to protect his members’ jobs, from the most antibusiness government in our history?

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | July 23, 2011, 9:28
  25. Cleary and Mile and who ever else thats posting here has to try I suppose but the fact is the ALP doesn’t give a fuck about Mile and hasn’t for a long time. The fact is what ever political party your in, union you belong to, Football club, Dodgy Company, anyone that has anything to do with Mile very quickly learns what a dumb selfcentered tosser he is to the point to know mile is to hate his fat guts. All tis talk about being a hero because he stands up to political partys is a very thin smoke screen to anyone who has the unfortunate disleasure to have to deal with what is in reality a very corrupt and ordinary union official and is looked upon now by people who beleave in unionism as a cancer that needs to be lanced asap

    Posted by You People crack me up | July 23, 2011, 9:52
  26. Kedo I would of thought the only thing bigger than the shemighells mouth would be his guts and the horn he gets when he thinks about Suzzana

    Posted by Come out rentboy | July 23, 2011, 9:57
  27. Have you seen how much those electricians make?

    Show me one who earns less than $120k p.a.

    They earn more than many senior execs – no wonder they are cosing up to the party of capitalism – they are ripping off the real workers with their pay & conditions.

    Posted by The Plumber | July 23, 2011, 15:07
  28. I am a respected political strategist.

    Does Mr Mighell need an adviser to assist him in devising a respectable strategy for dealing with the Liberal Party?

    My fees are competitive.

    Posted by Shambles | July 23, 2011, 17:41
  29. Time to get back to real labour values. november reshuffle in sydney. 9781920769857

    Posted by freddy-turtle | July 23, 2011, 18:34
  30. willing to work with you Dean, see you at the party

    Posted by freddy-turtle | July 23, 2011, 18:51
  31. Mighell convinced us that he was more dinkum than Gary Main, But once he got the gig he has developed into a gigantic ego. his rants are bizzare ,He is a dial a quote for any journo who rings him. The joke in the sheds is if he got snapped by a speed camera he would go back to make sure they had a good shot of his profile.

    Posted by Been there before | July 23, 2011, 21:29
  32. i can help the team Dean …..how much cash do u want ?????? And i can make the doorway wider for your head and the sheep that run around after you.

    Posted by billy bob of bent and distorted NSW | July 23, 2011, 23:50
  33. Good work Vexnews. mighell is buddys with high profile Liberals in Bernie Finn,Robert Doyle and Niel Mitchell since being employed by 3AW and its well known around the party they have recruited him in exchage for there freindship. this might not sound like much of a deal but the boys deserve the Robert Menzies medal for keepjng up there end of the deal.one of them has been quoted of “beig sick in the guts just being in mighels presence” but He will do there right thing for the party and Abbot

    Posted by Watch this space | July 24, 2011, 13:47
  34. If doing deals with the Greens is now verboten in the Liberal Party, doing any sort of deal with Mighell or Cleary or their mates must also be banned.

    It doesn’t matter if this week he is the enemy of my enemy, he is not someone who shares a common philosophy with any strand of Liberalism.

    We can use him and take advantage of him (by praising his stance) but we must never assist him in his political ambitions.

    The Liberals have more in common with the right wing of the ALP than they do with the left wing of the union movement which is still infested with old communist types, Hartleyites, Halfpennyites and their ilk.

    At least the broad right of the ALP supports Israel, the United States, state aid for independent schools etc. Progressive elements of the ALP right also support economic growth, the accumulation of private property, lower taxation, less government interference, deregulation, privatisation and more flexible labour markets.

    If we are sensible, we will now combine to demolish the Greens as an extremist group. It is for the good of Australia that we win this battle against economic stagnation, social disintegration and moral relativity.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | July 24, 2011, 20:00
  35. Andrew,

    Long time surfers here know about your constant vilification of Dean. By contrast, you are a tiresome, constipated turd.

    Posted by Klondyke | July 25, 2011, 1:40
  36. I can’t see how Mighell gives money to the Greens yet is running for a position on the Sporting Shooters Vic Executive. One very conflicted fellow…

    Posted by WTF? | July 25, 2011, 16:19
  37. WOW were those two creeps in that photo seperated at birth. Thats spooky.They both have that smug magalomaniac look about them

    Posted by I wont be able to sleep tonight | July 26, 2011, 12:38
  38. The word is megalomaniac. It is the old term for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Dean is definitely not an NPD. However the CEPU does have at least one but it is not Mighell. Ok back to the drawing board on personality disorders.

    Posted by Go back to school | July 26, 2011, 23:48
  39. “Dean is definately not an NPD” HA HA HA HA HA Ha HA Ha Ha

    Posted by Sorry for the typo Phil | July 27, 2011, 10:25
  40. leave dean alone.

    Posted by toss | July 27, 2011, 11:19
  41. westfield supports dean.

    Posted by toss | July 27, 2011, 11:20
  42. Have you seen how much those electricians make?

    Show me one who earns less than $120k p.a.

    They earn more than many senior execs – no wonder they are cosing up to the party of capitalism – they are ripping off the real workers with their pay & conditions. Posted by The Plumber | July 23, 2011, 15:07

    Ok so the solution is to join the union that gets their members the 120K then? or what drop the salaries to match Plumbers? Electrical work not real work, what is it then? Silly posting really, even you would admit that.

    Posted by Follow the logic........ | July 27, 2011, 18:59
  43. It is interesting to see that the normal Labor right bloggers have run out of steam here. These hate entries above are many clueless liberals and lack the intensity of previous anti-ETU rants.

    I think we all know the Labor brand has been smashed in NSW and now nationally.

    ‘Me tooism’ with both Liberal and Greens policies has led to the political decline of the most successful Labor party in the world.

    You can blame the ETU for the high wages of electricians in Victoria but not for the ongoing failure of Federal Labor.

    The current poorly designed carbon tax gives the Greens kudos with their voters but sends a huge chunk of Labor’s ‘wage earning’ base vote to the Liberals.

    In short Labor is taking all the pain and none of the gain on this Greens inspired policy.

    Posted by all vexed out | July 28, 2011, 8:15
  44. So the She=Mighels is running for a position on the Sporting Shooters Vic Executive. The sporting shooters vic would be getting showered by the ETU members money as we speak

    Posted by toss | July 28, 2011, 13:11
  45. Did Montibello confuse the interstate officials with one of his wives he use to bash in his car

    Posted by Andrew D. | July 28, 2011, 14:46
  46. Mighel is a slimy greedy , only out to elevate himself rather than help out the ETU.. what a

    Posted by Bernie Riordan | August 1, 2011, 17:09
  47. Dean in bed with the Libs, must be a big bed to fit Katter, Bandt, Little Mick and the Shemale.
    Not much room for Abbotts big ears.

    Posted by Deans Ex Mate | August 5, 2011, 14:31
  48. Dean, the bed is too full, can the membership pay for a bigger one?
    We have Katter, Bandt, Little Mick, Wilke and the shemale. There is no room for Abbott.

    Posted by Bill Shortone | August 5, 2011, 14:38
  49. Posted by Dean Mighell | August 5, 2011, 14:40
  50. Posted by Dean Mighell | August 5, 2011, 14:42
  51. I want to be Deans blood Brother too. Don’t forget about me Brother


    Posted by Les McLauglan | August 5, 2011, 14:50


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