Diana Asmar

Secretary of the Health Workers Union

Like you, Health Workers Union Secretary Diana Asmar is a health worker, in pathology. Diana Asmar 

Diana commenced her working life as a volunteer at the Red Cross Blood Bank in 1992 as a laboratory assistant, while also undertaking an Associate Diploma of Applied Science at RMIT. 

Diana then worked as a phlebotomist, clerical worker and courier at Panch Hospital (Preston and Northcote Community Hospital), before the hospital was sold and transferred to what is now the Northern Hospital, conducting home visits collecting blood from the elderly and people with disabilities. She’s also worked in pathology at Royal Melbourne Hospital, as a night-shift laboratory assistant at Sunshine Hospital (Western Health), and at the Melbourne Rehabilitation Centre in Parkville.  Diana understands the unique pressures shift-workers face.

It was during her time at Northern Hospital, however, that Diana Asmar first became an active unionist, regularly standing up to her direct employer, Dorevitch Pathology, a company regarded then and now as notoriously anti-worker.

Diana Asmar has been a member of Health Workers Union since 1998. Between 2000 and 2004 Diana served as HSU delegate, Health and Safety Rep and Chair of the HSU Delegates Committee at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. It was in this role, helping her work colleagues stand up against bad managers, that she understood the importance of collective strength. Workers that stick together win!

Diana also undertook Union training through the ACTU and completed the Anna Stewart Memorial Internship at Victorian Trades Hall Council.  In 2004, Diana became a HSU Industrial Organiser, helping empower workers to know their rights and entitlements, and to join the union. She fought hard in tribunals to uphold her member's rights and negotiated for better pay in enterprise agreements.

Diana also has extensive community involvement, both in local government and fund-raising for the Diana Asmar MS Research Fund at Monash University.  She was recognised for her work in the community with the Centenary of Federation Medal in 2001, as a baton relay runner during the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and received the Australian Fundraising Institute Volunteer of the Year Award (Victoria/Tasmania Chapter 1) in 2007.

She also gained further experience working as the first female industrial organiser at the Transport Workers Union. She decided to leave the TWU to focus on rescuing the HWU from its then leadership which had left the Union in chaos and scandal.

Working with grassroots HWU members, Diana was elected to the position of Health Workers Union Secretary in December 2012, and was re-elected to the same position in 2014 with over 93% of the vote, having restored decency, industrial smarts and financial stability to your Union. Diana is a mother of two.

Rhonda Barclacy
PresidentRhonda Barclacy
I commenced working first as a cleaner and then as a PSA at the Austin Hospital in 1987. I joined the union two years later in 1989, where I became a workplace delegate. In 2012 I was elected to the position of Junior Vice President and member of Branch Committee of Management at the HWU and at the following election I became President.
David Eden
Assistant SecretaryDavid Eden
I commenced work as an enrolled nurse in March 1988 at the Queen Elizabeth Centre (Aged Care) in Ballarat where I continued to work as a qualified enrolled nurse until 1998. I joined the Union in March of 1988 when the HWU (Known then as the Hospital Employees Federation) delegate spoke at our induction. I became a delegate in 1990 and was approached by the HWU (Then known as HSU Vic No. 1 Branch). I worked for the Health Services Union for 5 and a half years before returning to a nursing position within the public sector. At the end of 2004 I commenced work for St. John of God Healthcare working in both acute and community care. I was voted in as the president of the Health Workers Union in 2012 and was voted in as the assistant secretary at the following election.
Lee Atkinson
Senior Vice PresidentLee Atkinson
I started working in the Health Industry at the Western Hospital in 1989, beginning as an orderly and then completing my division 2. In 1999 I became regional organiser for the Health Services Union and was elected to the position of Senior Vice President in 2013 and as organiser for Barwon and known troubleshooter for Victoria.
Sherida Jacks
Junior Vice President/ BCoMSherida Jacks
I began working in the Health Industry in 1990 as a ward clark at St. Vincent’s Hospital before moving on to the Austin Hospital for 22 years. I became a member of the union in 2004. As of 2012 and after re-election in 2014, I serve as a member of Branch Committee of Management, a delegate and Junior Vice President of the Health Workers Union.
Nurije Alimi-Arslan
Branch Committee of ManagementNurije Alimi-Arslan
I commenced working for the Royal Melbourne Hospital in 1994, my duties included housekeeping and cleaning support services. I signed up for the union in 1994 and shortly after I served as a workplace delegate for 10 years. In 2012 I was elected to a position within the Branch Committee of Management and again re-elected in 2014. The former HSU officials left the HWU in ruins. Countless expired EBAs, our finances were a mess and all of our members documents had been put through the shredder. With my vast experience as union delegate and in my position on the Branch Committee I have made it a mission of mine to right the wrongs of the former union management and to ensure our members receive the representation that they deserve within the workplace.
Nick Katsis
Branch Committee of ManagementNick Katsis
  • Background: Union Organiser
Velda Mitchell
Branch Committee of ManagementVelda Mitchell
In October 1993 I commenced my career in the Health Industry as a ward clark at Echuca Regional Health in the emergency department. I then worked as a PCA in the Lumeah nursing home in 1993, then again as PCA at the Glanville Village Hostel from 1994-2004 and as a courier and mailroom clerk from 2004-2005. I joined the Union in 2001, becoming a delegate and then being elected to a position in Branch Committee of Management in December of 2013.
Lisa Fisher
Branch Committee of ManagementLisa Fisher
  • Background: Food Services Assistant
Andrew Hargreaves
Branch Committee of ManagementAndrew Hargreaves
I first started out in the Health Industry as an orderly at the Grace Mckellar Centre in Geelong in 1989, afterwards I worked as a theatre technician at Bellarine Private Hospital and then in Werribee. I joined the union in the year 2000. In 2012 I was elected as a member of Branch Committee of Management and again re-elected in 2014. I am also chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committee, a union trustee and a workplace delegate.
Lance Smith
Branch Committee of ManagementLance Smith
  • Background: Kitchen Hand
Caroline Fischer
Branch Committee of ManagementCaroline Fischer
  • Background: General Services
Susan Stone
Branch Committee of ManagementSusan Stone
I got my start in the Health Care industry in 1987 as a cleaner at Austin Health and now as a Patient Services Assistant at the Austin. I first joined the union in 1989 and my roles within the union now include serving on the Branch Committee of Management, the Finance Committee and as trustee.