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Union boss defends overseas trip -

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Union boss defends overseas trip

Broadcast: 13/11/2008

Reporter: Luke Waters

A union boss accused of taking an $80,000 overseas trip says he was just looking after the
interests of his members. The secretary of the Electrical Trade Union, Dean Mile, says it was money
well spent, and believes the criticism is payback for his support of an independent candidate at a
recent state by-election.

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: A union boss accused of leading an $80,000 overseas junket says he was just
looking after the interest of his members.

Dean Mighell says it was money was well spent. He believes the criticism for his was because of
support of an independent candidate at a recent state by-election.

Luke Waters reports.

LUKE WATERS, REPORTER: Electrical Trades Union Secretary Dean Mighell is adamant his $80,000 all
expenses paid London study tour was in the interest of union members. $27,000 alone was spent on
accommodation at the opulent Royal Garden Hotel.

DEAN MIGHELL, ELECTRICAL TRADES UNION: We stayed at a decent place, no doubt about that. I've
certainly stayed at worst. But I don't think our members would mind as long as they knew the reason
we were doing.

LUKE WATERS: That reason was to assess a British employee entitlement scheme with a view to
adopting it in Australia.

Electrician and union member Vanessa Garbett is embroiled in a pay dispute with the union and
insists the now notorious London trip was excessive.

VANESSA GARBEET, ELECTRICIAN: What are you doing staying in a place like that; you're supposed to
represent working people. You know, get real. It's just a complete show of decadence and disregard.

LUKE WATERS: Mr Mighell says his support for independent Les Twentyman at a State by-election
prompted Labor to undermine his position.

DEAN MIGHELL: There's nothing better than they would like then to take me out as an official of the
ETU.

LUKE WATERS: Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard says an investigation is under way.

JULIA GILLARD, ACTING PRIME MINISTER: If there are any allegations, obviously, of improper conduct
in any way, then obviously that's something that ought to be properly investigated and dealt with.

LUKE WATERS: Mr Mighell is also chairman of the fund that approved the trip.

Luke Waters, Lateline.