An appeal by union boss Kathy Jackson against a court decision to place the Health Services Union East branch into administration has been expedited and is likely to be heard next month.
Ms Jackson wants the full Federal Court to review last month's decision to appoint retired judge Michael Moore as administrator of both the state union, HSUeast, and the federal organisation, HSU East branch, arguing the judge was biased and she should not have been sacked.
Under the administration scheme, all offices are vacated, the union is to be demerged to one NSW-based and two Victorian-based branches and fresh elections will be held.
Federal Court Justice Geoffrey Flick found Ms Jackson should not keep her position as executive president of the state union, along with her $270,000 a year salary, because "she is very much at the epicentre of the dispute".
In a notice of appeal, Ms Jackson claimed that during the hearing Justice Flick said he would not make findings or apportion blame for the dysfunction in the HSU East.
But in his judgment he held Ms Jackson partly responsible. This was a breach of the hearing regime all parties had agreed to, a denial of procedural fairness and constituted apprehended bias, Ms Jackson said.
Ms Jackson, who says she is self-funding the appeal, has asked the court to appoint her preferred administrator, Jeffrey Phillips, SC, in place of Mr Moore. She wants her position to be reinstated as well as that of all Victorian-based officials, bar Stuart Miller, an HSU organiser expected to lead a reform team in the Victoria No.1 branch elections.
Ms Jackson also wants the appeals court to accept her affidavit containing further allegations against other HSU officials. She claims Justice Flick pressured her into withdrawing the affidavit during the original hearing.
In the Federal Court this morning, Justice Richard Edmonds ordered the appeal hearing be expedited and indicated it could occur next month.
Outside the court, Ms Jackson said she was pleased the appeal had been expedited and reiterated her determination to have the allegations contained in her affidavit heard in court.
"My case hasn't been heard and I welcome the judges and the other parties' agreement that I will be getting an expedited hearing on the matters," she said.
"I want that affidavit read I want my evidence tendered and I want to make sure the members know out there what's occured in this sorry saga."
While she could not go into the details in the affidavit, she confirmed claims were made against the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten.
"Generally its about the involvement of the Minister and others, might I add, in the HSU internal politics. The HSU could have sorted this out internally but instead the Minister took this action to stop us getting our own resolution... when we were in fact on the cusp of reaching a conclusion and if you read the Temby report, Mr Temby makes it quite clear in his report that the general reps don't get a vote on the council and that's what was at the heart of the matter."
The acting HSU national president, Chris Brown, said he was pleased the court did not order the scheme of administration under Mr Moore be stayed until the appeal was heard.
"What was pleasing from my point of view is that Kathy's legal team didn't press the stay application which means the administrator can continue to work on what he's doing at the moment which is very important to getting the east branch sorted out and getting the elections happening," he said.