Cahill v Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and Robert Mates

Applicant: ABCC Inspector Chris Cahill

Respondent(s): CFMEU & Mr Bob Mates

Date filed: 2 March 2006

Court Findings:

The Federal Court of Australia found the CFMEU and Mr Mates contravened s43 of the BCII Act arising out of Mr Mates’ actions at a construction site in Heidelberg, Victoria in February 2006.

On 2 March 2006 the ABCC successfully obtained an interlocutory injunction to stop the CFMEU and Mr Bob Mates from taking industrial action at a Heidelberg building site.

At the time of seeking the injunction, there was no productive work being carried on at the site. Several days prior, on 21 February 2006, Mr Mates attended the site and told the crane crew to shut down the only crane that was on site and leave site.

The court subsequently found that Mr Mates contravened s.38 and s.43 of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (BCII Act by engaging in unlawful industrial action and taking action with intent to coerce a person to employ, or designate particular duties to a building employee in relation to a site at Mount Street, Heidelberg, Victoria.

Court Outcome:

The Court imposed total penalties of $24,000 on Mr Mates for contravening s43 of the BCII Act on three occasions, 15 and 17 February 2006 & 21 February 2006. Total penalties of $180,000 were imposed on the CFMEU for contraventions of s43.

The CFMEU appealed the findings of the court. The appeal was heard by the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia on 19 February 2010.

On 18 May 2010 the appeal was dismissed.

On 17 June 2010 the CFMEU and Mr Mates applied for special leave to appeal the decision of the Full Federal Court of Australia in the High Court of Australia.

On 10 December 2010 the High Court rejected the application

view the reported case at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCA/2009/52.html

view the appeal at: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCAFC/2010/39.html