ELECTRICAL trades union leader Kevin Harkins has been accused of paying for members of his union to join the ALP.
Mr Harkins, a key figure in Labor’s Tasmanian Left faction, today cited privacy reasons for refusing to comment on the allegations, which have emerged three days out from the Tasmanian election.
An electrical worker has told The Australian that his ALP membership fees and those of many of his workmates were `fixed up” by Mr Harkins, an assistant secretary with the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union.
The worker, who asked not to be named, said that while he consented to being made an ALP member, funded by Mr Harkins, he did not renew his membership but still received a letter in the post saying his membership had been continued.
He said his membership and that of many work colleagues at this workplace were organised, renewed and paid for by Mr Harkins.
Mr Harkins would not comment when repeatedly asked whether he had paid the ALP membership fees of union members or others.
“It would not be appropriate for me to comment about people’s personal, private business,” he said.
Mr Harkins has been seeking preselection as a Labor candidate for the Senate at the coming federal election.
THE TASMANIAN Labor Party has complained to police about alleged stolen information being used in a story in a national newspaper.
State ALP secretary John Dowling said last night that the party was considering whether to press for a police investigation and other possible legal action against The Australian for publication of the story.
The Australian’s Tasmanian journalist Matthew Denholm confirmed that the story, which he co-wrote, would not be pulled from the newspaper’s online section and that a printed version would run in the newspaper this morning.
He said that the newspaper was comfortable with its sources and the stories that related to claims over Tasmanian union assistant secretary and former political candidate Kevin Harkins.
But Mr Dowling said that he was disappointed about the matter and the timing of it three days before the state election.
He said that it could be damaging to the reputation of the party and to individuals.
He confirmed that the ALP’s lawyers had issued letters last night to all Tasmanian media outlets warning against using the same information.
“Since the information was stolen from the party headquarters, any dealing with it including reproduction of it may attract criminal responsibility in that it involves the receiving and use of stolen property,” the lawyer’s letter said.
Mr Dowling alleges that someone recently entered the ALP’s Hobart offices without authority and accessed and copied three-year-old records that included the names and other details of party members.