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Paul Howes has a lot on his plate

Paul Howes is 31 years of age and he has a lot on his plate.

His former step-father is suing Paul in the Supreme Court of NSW for defamation.

Paul is apparently going through divorce proceedings.   He has 3 small children who need their father well and happy and able to love them.

Even though Paul was 11 years old when it happened, his union the AWU is at the centre of a scandal involving PM Gillard.   The union's actions were critical in putting Ms Gillard in the position of Prime Minister and are even more important in now keeping her there.

Paul's union is involved in a demarcation dispute with another union over coverage of Qantas workers.

Paul has apparently been seeing Olivia Wirth, a very senior Qantas executive.   The public reporting of their relationship in the Australian Financial Review newspaper yesterday apparently came as a shock to those around Paul and Olivia.

Last year Paul Howes said this about Qantas


It is apparently causing concern at the rival union headed up by Steve Purvinas that Paul's relationship with Ms Wirth was apparently not disclosed to either Qantas senior management or to the AWU or its rival unions.

Anger at Qantas PR's friendship with Paul Howes

A QANTAS engineering union has called on the airline's head of government and corporate affairs to quit after it was revealed she is stepping out with Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association said Qantas PR boss Olivia Wirth had a conflict of interest because of her relationship with Mr Howes and should resign.  

Olivia Wirth is regarded by The Power Index as one of the nation's most influential spin-doctors.   Last year it wrote this:

2. Olivia Wirth — group executive for government and corporate affairs, Qantas

On the last Saturday of October 2011, Alan Joyce assembled his five most senior advisers for an emergency 8am meeting and outlined his plans to ground the entire Qantas fleet. One of those five was Olivia Wirth.

Six hours later, Wirth rang Julia Gillard’s chief of staff Ben Hubbard to inform him of Joyce’s dramatic decision. In the PR maelstrom that followed, Wirth fronted the media, backgrounded journalists, advised Joyce on media strategy, workshopped advertising campaigns and liaised with politicians and their staffers. Her strategy of constant media engagement ensured the public heard Qantas’ side of the story as well as the unions’, and won her public praise from her boss.

Before joining Qantas in 2009, Wirth was executive director of lobby group the Tourism and Transport Forum. She previously worked as a media adviser to Joe Hockey during his time as minister for small business and tourism.

I can't imagine how Paul Howes is handling all of this pressure.   I hope he has friends around him who love him and who will give him good advice.   Moving out of his home and contemplating divorce from his lawyer wife (who is the daughter of a Family Court Judge) with two little children involved must be awful.

The Women's Weekly will now splash this story again


I still have received no satisfactory answers from Paul Howes about The AWU Scandal and his union's role in it.   I would be pleased to have an on the record interview with him about it, but I imagine that he has other things he has to deal with in his life right now.

I wish Paul and his wife Lucy and their children Sam, Zoe and Sybilla all the best for a happy future.  

I hope Olivia and Paul find happiness together.  

And I'd remind Paul and Bill Ludwig that the nation needs answers from the AWU.   Paul, when you're up to it, I'd still like to have that interview please.