The federal takeover of the Victorian Labor Party, including the suspension of thousands of rank-and-file members' voting rights, is facing a legal challenge by a group of powerful unions.
- The group includes prominent unions like the CFMEU and Health Workers Union
- If they are successful, it will allow Victorian members to vote in upcoming preselections
- It comes amid heightened tensions between the party's factions, who have struck a contentious "stability pact"
Voting rights for all Victorian Labor members were suspended last year at the request of Premier Daniel Andrews following the uncovering of industrial-scale branch stacking, allegedly led by former state minister Adem Somyurek.
Mr Somyurek resigned his Labor party membership, but has strenuously denied the branch-stacking allegations.
The voting rights suspension means the national executive will decide all preselections for state and federal seats for next year's twin elections. Local branch members and affiliated unions will not have a say.
"Kim Jong-un is jealous of how undemocratic the ALP has become," Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) Victoria construction secretary John Setka told the ABC.
"The Labor Party is for all members and affiliated unions, not just the ones who want to do dirty deals."
In a direct challenge to Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Mr Andrews, a group of unions including the Australian Workers Union, United Firefighters Union and Health Workers Union is seeking an immediate halt to the current preselection process for federal seats.