Health Services Union

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

The Health Services Union (HSU) is a specialist health union with around 50,000 members working in all areas of healthcare across Australia.[5]

The membership of the union includes doctors, 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 Sydney, New South Wales. Its current National Secretary is Chris Brown.

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 Queensland Branch
  • HSU South Australia Branch
  • HSU Tasmania Branch
  • HSU Victorian Branches
    • No 2 Branch (Health and Community Services Union)
    • No 3 Branch (Victorian Health Professionals Association)
    • No 4 Branch (Medical Scientists Association of Victoria, Victorian Psychologists Association, and Association of Hospital Pharmacists)
  • 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).[6] 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]

A former HSU national secretary Craig Thomson, faced allegations from 2008[7] 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.[8] 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".[9] On 31 January 2013, Thomson was arrested and was expected to face 150 fraud charges in Wyong Local Court.[10]

Following regulatory and administrative investigations, criminal trials and a subsequent appeal, on 15 December 2014 Thomson, a former Labor politician, was found guilty in the Victorian County Court of thirteen charges of theft, convicted, and fined A$25,000.[11][12][13] Forty-nine charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception were dismissed;[13] following an earlier finding in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 18 February 2014 against Thomson of defrauding the HSU in order to pay for personal expenses.[14][15][16][17] On 25 March 2014, Thomson was convicted on 65 charges of fraud and theft for using Health Services Union funds for personal benefit and sentenced to twelve months imprisonment, with nine months suspended over two years. Thomson's legal team immediately lodged an appeal against the conviction and sentence and was granted bail.[18][19][20][21][22]


  1. ^ "Mr Craig Thomson MP Dobell". ABC News. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  2. ^ Williamson, Michael (6 May 2003). Address by National President to annual conference dinner (Speech). First national conference of the Health Services Union. Sydney. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "Health union boss losing his empire". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 April 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "NOTICE: HSU East Branch and HSUeast". Health Services Union. 6 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Federal Court splits up HSU East branch, sacks leaders, refuses Kathy Jackson bid". The Australian. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "The HSU: anatomy of a Labor nightmare". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Embattled Thomson suspended from Labor Party". ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 29 April 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012 (updated)
  8. ^ "ACTU suspends Health Services Union". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 5 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "Craig Thomson arrested by fraud squad". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Cooper, Adam (17 December 2014). "Craig Thomson convicted and fined $25,000". The Age. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "Craig Thomson appeal: Former federal MP escapes prison term over theft from Health Services Union". ABC News (Australia). 17 December 2014. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Carlyon, Peta (15 December 2014). "Craig Thomson appeal: Former MP not guilty of 49 fraud charges, guilty of theft". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Akerman, Pia. "Craig Thomson found guilty of defrauding HSU". The Australian. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Davies, Anne (18 February 2014). "How Craig Thomson came undone". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  16. ^ Cooper, Adam (18 February 2014). "Craig Thomson found guilty of fraud, theft charges". Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  17. ^ Donovan, Samantha (18 February 2014). "Thomson found guilty on fraud/theft charges". PM (ABC Radio). Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Craig Thomson: Former Labor MP sentenced for defrauding Health Services Union". ABC News (Australia). 25 March 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "Former MP Craig Thomson sentenced to three months’ jail". The Herald Sun. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  20. ^ Cooper, Adam (25 March 2014). "Craig Thomson sentenced to 12 months' jail, nine months suspended". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  21. ^ Akerman, Pia (25 March 2014). "Craig Thomson bailed ahead of appeal over jail sentence for HSU fraud". The Australian. AAP. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "Prosecution error clears Thomson". 15 December 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 

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