Queensland’s deputy premier could be walking into a bear pit this weekend after a powerful union chief and supposed ally turned on her and demanded her political scalp.
Labor’s dominant Left faction is warring over Jackie Trad’s future on the eve of the party’s state conference in Brisbane.
After a rowdy rally at parliament house on Thursday, CFMEU construction and general branch state secretary Michael Ravbar demanded the resignation of his factional ally.
He said she couldn’t be trusted to oversee the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, was no friend of workers, wasn’t liked and was at the centre of an integrity scandal.
He told her to quit as treasurer and deputy premier if he wanted Labor to hang on at the next election, before suggesting he might turn up the heat this weekend when the union brings a motion about procurement issues linked to the rail project.
“It doesn’t say Jackie but you can amend resolutions. I might decide to get up and amend the resolution,” Mr Ravbar threatened.
“Who knows. I’ll keep my powder dry, we’ve got a couple of days, and have a bit of fun while we’re there.”
Ms Trad has not directly responded to the call, which blindsided the Left’s Electrical Trades Union.
ETU chief Peter Ong has described the call as disappointing even though he’s alleged the rail project has been plagued by “ministerial mismanagement”.
Ms Trad is still waiting to hear if the Crime and Corruption Commission will formally investigate the purchase of an investment property along the route of the rail project she has overseen. She says she’s done nothing wrong.
Griffith University political analyst Paul Williams believes it’s almost inevitable that Ms Trad will go, and that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk now has the Left’s “permission” to move against her.
“It’s one thing for Deb Frecklington to call for Trad to go. It’s quite another to hear that from a senior member of the Left,” he told AAP on Friday.
“If a very loud voice on the Left says ‘it’s ok, you have our permission’, then it means she can act without risking a revolt.”