Transport Workers' Union in focus at the Royal Commission - the background to knocking off Hughie Williams
Who is Paul Bracegirdle? Tony Sheldon and the TWU's preferred super fund know.

Who is Daniel Mookhey? Maybe Paul Bracegirdle knows.

Last Thursday Stephen Donnelly was ordered to appear at the Royal Commission.   Mr Donnelly is the former Chief of Staff to Labor Senator David Feeney.   Donnelly is now the Assistant Secretary of the Victorian Branch of the ALP.
Mr Donnelly gave evidence about working on Marco Bolano's HSU election campaign.   He was asked if he'd worked on other campaigns - yes, the TWU's Queensland State Secretary union election in 2010.It must have been important because it's been reported $500,000 was spent to turf the incumbent Hughie Williams and get another man elected.   A man who was supported by Michael Williamson (Federal Labor President, HSU boss and prisoner) and Tony Sheldon (Williamson's national Vice President of the ALP and TWU federal secretary).Donnelly was asked:


Q. Was there a gentleman by the name of Daniel Mookhey
working on the campaign?
A. Certainly not in Queensland, no.


I have watched Jeremy Stoljar SC on his feet for a few weeks now.   He is superbly well prepared and across a vast amount of detail in his examination of AWU, HSU and now TWU matters.   He does not waste time.

So who is Daniel MOOKHEY?  



(Daniel Mookhey.  Source: Twitter)

Here's what Mr Mookey says about himself:

Daniel Mookhey is a Research Fellow at Per Capita. Daniel has previously worked as the National Chief of Staff of the Transport Workers Union of Australia and the National Secretary of the National Union of Students. 

He's also a director of the Chifley Research Centre.

Mookhey chifley

Here's part of a report from The Australian on Mr Mookhey's work in running the ACTU's campaign during the 2013 election.

Mookhey on the right

WHEN Dave Oliver walked in to his new office on his first day as ACTU secretary in May last year, he knew the union movement was not ready for an early election and did not have the capacity to run effective issues-based campaigns.

In a rare joint interview with Oliver and ACTU president Ged Kearney, at the 125-year-old Trades Hall on the edge of Sydney's Chinatown this week, they acknowledged the failure to build on the successful Your Rights at Work Campaign, which helped Labor win power in 2007.

"We spent years building the movement into a campaigning movement and then overnight, with the election of a Labor government, we went from being a campaigning organisation to a transactional organisation," Oliver said. "We thought a lot of issues could be resolved by going to Canberra and negotiating our way through things."

So, in July last year, Oliver and Kearney persuaded affiliated unions to amass a $12 million campaign war chest by imposing a $2 levy on its two million members over three years. The aim: to rebuild its campaigning capacity.

Now, as the federal election campaign enters its third week, the most sophisticated voter-targeting strategy outside the major political parties is at its most critical phase: turning undecided voters, who are union members, into voters allied to the unions' cause on polling day.

The Australian Electoral Study shows that, at the 2010 election, 48 per cent of union members did not vote Labor. Yet 18 seats were decided by as few as 2000 voters in each seat -- many of whom are union members.

In January, the ACTU appointed Daniel Mookhey, a former Transport Workers Union operative and policy wonk, to put together a strategy that would boost the ACTU's campaigning ability for the election and beyond.

Mookhey co-ordinates the work of five teams, who liaise directly with 19 field workers in 33 target seats. Tim Chapman, a member of Oliver's inner circle, leads strategy and communications. George Simon co-ordinates field workers. Paul Erickson manages data and research. Sally McManus overseas the online organising team.

Here's Sam Dastyari on Mr Mookhey:


Mr Dastyari praised another potential candidate, Daniel Mookhey, who is running the federal election campaign of the ACTU.

But while Mr Dastyari said Mr Mookhey would be impressive in parliament, ''there was only one of him'' and emphasised the value of his work with the ACTU.

And finally to Mr Mookhey's job working for the TWU chief Tony Sheldon.   As Stephen Donnelly was to David Feeney, so Daniel Mookhey was to Tony Sheldon - Chief of Staff.

It's a grand title.   Chief of Staff.   Michael Williamson had one, Paul Howes had one and Tony Sheldon had one.   Here's one definition of the grandness:

The title, Chief of Staff, identifies the leader of a complex organization, institution, or body of persons and it also may identify a Principal Staff Officer (PSO), who is the coordinator of the supporting staff or a primary aide-de-camp to an important individual, such as a president.

In general, a chief of staff provides a buffer between a chief executive and that executive's direct-reporting team. The chief of staff generally works behind the scenes to solve problems, mediate disputes, and deal with issues before they bubble up to the Chief Executive. Often Chiefs of Staff act as a confidante and advisor to the Chief Executive, acting as a sounding board for ideas. Ultimately the actual duties depend on the actual position and the people involved.

My dad was a unionist in the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union all his life.   I think dad and his mates got along OK without chiefs of staff.

Dad at mortdale

So who is Paul Bracegirdle?   He's the first witness on the list for the hearings of the Royal Commission in Perth.

Witnesses for public hearings: 23 to 25 June 2014

Hearings of the Royal Commission are scheduled to take place on Level 18, 111 St Georges Terrace, Perth from Monday 23 June to Wednesday 25 June, between 10.00am and 4.00pm.

The witness list in alphabetical order is:

  • Paul Bracegirdle
  • Christine Campbell
  • Mark Ronald Crofts
  • George Dean
  • Colin Gibson
  • Tony Lovett
  • Brian Douglas Pulham
  • Colin Saunders
  • Steve Schalit.

Please note, this list may be subject to change.

Royal Commission to conduct hearings in Perth

19 June 2014

The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption will sit in Perth next week.

Proceedings are scheduled for three days from Monday, 23 June 2014 to Wednesday, 25 June 2014 at a hearing room provided by the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission in St Georges Terrace.

The Commission will deal with:

  • matters associated with the Transport Workers' Union, an employee association listed in the Terms of Reference (b)(v) of the Letters Patent; and will
  • continue examination of matters relating to the Australian Workers' Union (AWU) an employee association listed in the Terms of Reference (b)(i) of the Letters Patent.