Acting Australian Nurses Federation WA state secretary Janet Reah has won their internal union election by less than 60 votes.
The WA nurses and midwives union’s general election vote closed on Monday, with results counted for the state secretary ballot on Tuesday morning. The final appointed committee is expected be revealed in the afternoon.
Ms Reah has been acting state secretary after Mark Olson stepped down from the position earlier this year following 24 years in the chair.
The outgoing boss has since moved to a newly created role of chief executive.
His preferred successor reportedly triumphed over rival registered nurse Samantha Fenn by 56 in the ballot for top job at WA’s powerful nursing union.
It’s understood about 4400 votes were counted despite there being more than 35,000 members eligible.
Voting to decide the state secretary and committee opened to nurses in late September.
But Ms Fenn told The West Australian she was seeking legal advice to dispute the result after receiving complaints that not all members received ballots.
“We’re seeking legal advice, disputing the validity of the election,” Ms Fenn said on Tuesday.
She claimed her campaign Facebook group “WA Nurses and Midwives Advocacy” had received complaints of missing ballots from “in excess of a hundred people”.
“That’s just a small sample size. We’ve had a communication from someone today in Broome who still hasn’t received their ballot,” she said.
“It’s not allowed all members to have their say, so we’ll seek legal advice then there’ll be calls to have a new election.”
She said postal issues delays through Australia Post should have been factored in by the WA Electoral Commission — who oversaw the election process.
Ms Fenn said she had been flagging issue with the ANF member contact data base since June.
It comes as Mr Olson on Tuesday morning threatened to continue rolling industrial action, which would include a week-long double-shift ban starting on Wednesday.
The threat on morning radio came despite receiving an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement offer from the State Government overnight.
The McGowan Government gave “in-principle support” to introduce ratios in State hospitals in the first EBA offer to the ANF submitted by the WA Health Department on Monday night.
The offer came after Mr Olson told The Sunday Times he would walk-back a 10 per cent wage demand if a compromise was reached on ratios.
Under the government’s “in-principle” offer, there would be nurse-to-patient ratios of 1:4 in the morning and afternoon shifts and 1:7 at night. The numbers would include enrolled and registered nurses and only be implemented in 2025.
Despite the new rostering pitch, Mr Oslon on Tuesday signalled the industrial action would continue, saying he was disappointed with the timeframe the Government offered to start ratios.
Ms Reah and Mr Olson will address the media on Tuesday afternoon.
Final results are expected to be published on the WAEC website by 5pm WST.