DANIEL Wallace, the recently re-appointed head of Hunter Workers (as Newcastle Trades Hall Council is now known), resigned on Friday from the ALP, citing the parliamentary party’s decision to back the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
“My good deed for the day . . . finally realised that the shortcuts taken by the ALP usually lead to detours which lead to dead ends,” Mr Wallace wrote on Facebook, with a copy of his resignation letter.
The letter cited the TPP as the reason for resigning.
He said resigning would not affect his role as secretary of Hunter Workers.
He said Hunter Workers was not affiliated to the ALP because the affiliation occurred at an individual union level.
Left union leaders around the country have spoken out about a caucus decision taken this week to side with the Coalition over the TPP, ensuring its passage into law. Mr Wallace, an ALP member since he became a union organiser in 2004, said the TPP decision was in conflict with Labor’s official policy opposing the deal.
Mr Wallace, who was an organiser with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union before becoming trades hall secretary, said the way things worked internally in the ALP meant it was “one rule for parliamentarians and one rule for everyone else”.
He said said he was sick of hearing MPs say they had fought against decisions in ALP caucus meetings but now had to support those policies because of caucus solidarity.
“Some good people left in Labor but I will leave them to fight from the inside for what they believe in and I will just stick to fighting for what I believe is in the best interest of workers.”
He said his union and the Electrical Trades Union were concerned about various aspects of the TPP including the dispute resolution procedures and the “investor/state provisions” that allow corporations to take legal action against the government.
The ETU’s national secretary Allen Hicks criticised Labor’s decision earlier this week but ruled out the union disaffiliating from the ALP “on this occasion”.
"But we've certainly got strong concerns about it and we want to make sure that not only the Labor Party but the broader Australian community understand what our concerns are," Mr Wicks said, calling on the ALP to “backflip” to look after Australian workers.
The ACTU also came out against the TPP.