FRAUD squad detectives have seized 10 boxes of documents from the offices of the Victorian Health Services Union.
The news comes amid the latest round of rancorous campaigning in union elections, which finish on Wednesday.
Victoria Police detectives last month took nine lever arch folders filled with receipts, bank statements and other documents from the union’s South Melbourne office.
A receipt of documents signed by a detective-sergeant on November 12 and seen by Fairfax Media shows police took the folders and 10 boxes of records ”for their investigation purposes”.
The documents are believed to relate to spending by the union’s No. 3 branch during the period its state secretary was Kathy Jackson.
Ms Jackson said on Sunday she had not been interviewed by police and that she was not aware of any investigation.
Details of the seizure come as 11,000 of the union’s Victorian members continue to be bombarded by mailouts from candidates in union elections, called after it was placed into administration in June.
Most mailouts have come from former Darebin mayor Diana Asmar, one of three candidates for secretary.
At least 13 pieces of direct mail, either directly supporting Ms Asmar or attacking her opponents, have been sent to members – raising the question how her campaign is being funded.
Fairfax Media last week revealed the Australian Workers Union had a slush fund, which was used to bankroll Ms Asmar’s unsuccessful bid for secretary in the Health Services Union’s 2009 elections.
AWU Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem reluctantly confirmed last week that the non-profit company he runs, Industry 2020, had made a ”significant” outlay of funds on the bitter HSU 2009 election.
While Ms Asmar’s opponents believe the fund is also being used this time, Mr Melhem said that ”at this stage” he would not use Industry 2020 to support Ms Asmar in this poll.
Mr Melhem did not return calls on Sunday.
On Friday, health industry workers who are union members received a fake letter that appeared to come from the Australian Electoral Commission.
The anonymous letter, which had a Commonwealth coat-of-arms letterhead and looked at first glance like government correspondence, incorrectly warned union members voting was compulsory. They would be fined $55 if they failed to cast a vote, it said.
A union employee said that the union’s call centre on Friday went into ”meltdown”, with hundreds of members calling to ask if this was correct. Many rang to complain that they had resigned from the union and now feared they would be fined for not participating in the elections.
The Australian Electoral Commission’s spokesman, Phil Diak, said on Friday that the commission was aware of the concocted and incorrect letter, which was ”certainly not the from the AEC”.
”Voting is not compulsory for industrial elections and there is no fine for not voting, as the letter suggests,” Mr Diak said.
”The [commission] will continue to look at this matter [on] Monday.”
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