Luke Hilakari, secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall who has been coordinating the food delivery drive, confirmed Ms O’Neil had been helping with the food drive. Mr Hilakari said he was a “bit disappointed” with the post and was glad it had been pulled down.
A spokeswoman for the Victorian construction union said Mr Setka had not approved the post, which was made on Thursday, and when alerted to it later that day, had it removed immediately. It is unclear who within the union branch made the post.
The powerful Victorian construction division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime and Energy Union has had a poor relationship with Ms O’Neil and the ACTU since they called for Mr Setka to resign last year when he was charged with harassing his wife via text messages.
Mr Setka was later convicted for the messages in which he used insults including calling his wife Emma Walters a “f—en piece of shit”. Ms Walters stood by Mr Setka and said the couple were under intense stress at the time.
The same episode sparked an internal battle within the CFMMEU between Mr Setka and his allies and those of Michael O’Connor, the union’s national secretary as well as the secretary of its manufacturing division. Mr Setka’s group has been angry at Mr O’Connor for not publicly opposing the ACTU’s push to oust him.
The Facebook post said Ms O’Neil had not helped her members when she had been secretary of the former Australian textile, clothing and footwear union, now part of the CFMMEU’s manufacturing division, and asked “what’s she going to do for these people [in Flemington]?”.
A spokesman for the ACTU declined to comment as did the national branch of the construction union.
The ACTU’s leadership, including Ms O’Neil, have had discussions with Dave Noonan, the national secretary of the construction union, in recent days about an incident in which two CFMMEU organisers were allegedly assaulted in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn last week.