Health Services Union

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Health Services Union National Office.jpg
Full name Health Services Union
Founded 1991
Members 50,000
Country Australia
Affiliation ACTU
Key people

Kathy Jackson, National Secretary; Natalie Bradbury, National Assistant Secretary; Michael Williamson National President (stood down),

Chris Brown, Acting National President.[1]
Office location South Melbourne, Victoria

The Health Services Union (HSU) is a specialist health union with around 50,000 members working in all areas of healthcare across Australia.[2]

The membership of the union includes doctors, nurses and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists and radiographers, ambulance officers, clerical and administrative staff, managers and support staff. Due to Australia's industrial relations system HSU coverage in Queensland only extends as far as health workers servicing Aboriginal health. The Australian Workers' Union (AWU) in particular, but also the Australian Services Union (ASU) and the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) primarily represent the positions the HSU would represent in Queensland.

The national office of the Health Services Union of Australia is located in South Melbourne in Melbourne. Its current National Secretary is Kathy Jackson.

Branch structure[edit]

The HSU contains multiple branches in many states. This is unusual in Australian trade unions. Branches are sub-divided by occupation. For example, the Victorian Psychologists Association Inc is an organisation covering registered Psychologists in Victoria. The association negotiates terms and conditions of employment for employee psychologists. It along with the Medical Scientists Association of Victoria and the Association of Hospital Pharmacists are component Associations of the Health Services Union of Australia HSUA Victoria No 4 Branch.

  • HSU National Office
  • HSU East Branch (Formed by the merger of the NSW Branch with Victorian Branches 1 and 3)
  • HSU Queensland Branch
  • HSU South Australia Branch
  • HSU Tasmania Branch
  • HSU Victorian Branches
    • No 2 Branch (Health and Community Services Union)
    • No 4 Branch (Medical Scientists Association of Victoria, Victorian Psychologists Association, and Association of Hospital Pharmacists)
    • No 5 Branch (Health and Community Services Staff Association)
  • HSU Western Australia


The union officially came into existence in 1991 with the amalgamation of two existing unions, the Hospital Employees' Federation (HEF) and The Health and Research Employees Association (HREA).[3] But its origins date back to the early years of the twentieth century when organisations of hospital employees were first formed in Australia.

Over the years the membership of the unions that eventually came together to form the HSUA has been based around a nucleus of hospital staff and psychiatric care staff. But it has gone much further to include ambulance, aged care, community health, disability sector, hospital scientists, mental health and drug and alcohol workers.

Financial controversy[edit]

The former HSU national secretary (and Labor MP) Craig Thomson, faced allegations from 2008[4] that he used an HSU union credit card to pay for escorts, and other financial improprieties with the card. Amid the allegations, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) suspended the HSU's membership.[5] Thomson maintains his innocence, but in May 2012 a report by Fair Work Australia recommended that civil court action be taken against Thomson for what the report says was a "substantial misuse of members' funds".[6] On 31 January 2013, Craig Thomson was arrested and is expected to face 150 fraud charges in Wyong Local Court.[7]


  1. ^ "NOTICE: HSU East Branch and HSUeast". Health Services Union. 6 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Federal Court splits up HSU East branch, sacks leaders, refuses Kathy Jackson bid". The Australian. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "The HSU: anatomy of a Labor nightmare". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Embattled Thomson suspended from Labor Party". ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 29 April 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012 (updated)
  5. ^ "ACTU suspends Health Services Union". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 5 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Wright, Jessica (7 May 2012). "Fair Work moves on Thomson over 'misuse' of HSU funds and escort services". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Craig Thomson Arrested by Fraud Squad. [1], "The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 January 2013

External links[edit]