Paul Howes, the 32-year-old National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, has announced his resignation and indicated he will also relinquish his other political positions in the labour movement and the ALP.
Howes has been a paid official of the AWU since he was 17. After Bill Shorten left the union in 2007 to enter federal parliament, Howes assumed its leadership. He has been a significant political influence in the ALP, supporting the removal of former prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2010 but falling out with his Right faction colleagues by refusing to support the overthrow of Julia Gillard last year.
In what he said would be his final interview, Howes, who was 14 when he left school, told David Speers on Sky News that he wanted to undertake formal studies. He said it was time “to do something different” and that he would be withdrawing from political commentary.
Howes is also deputy chairman of AustralianSuper, a member of the ALP’s National Executive and vice-president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. It appears that he will relinquish these positions as well.
Howes denied that he was standing down to pursue a parliamentary career. Last year, the NSW Right faction passed him over for former Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s Senate position. Today, he left open the possibility of entering parliament at a later time.
Media reports say Howes is now free to advocate cutting the ALP’s formal links with trade unions.
- Listen to David Speers interview Paul Howes on Sky News (27m)
Resignation statement by Paul Howes, National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union.
This morning I advised the National Executive of my decision to step down as national secretary of our union in July.
It has been a tremendous privilege to serve in this role and I will be eternally grateful for the trust that has been placed in me. [Read more...]