11 June 2014Ex-CFMEU organiser Matthew Balde convicted and fined for obstructing FWBC investigator

Former CFMEU organiser Matthew Balde pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court to obstructing a Commonwealth public official. Balde was subsequently convicted and fined $1000 and ordered to pay costs.

On 18 July 2013, two FWBC investigators attended the $1.2 billion Perth New Children’s Hospital project site to investigate alleged industrial action. A crowd of construction workers had gathered in a small park near the site and several CFMEU officials were standing on the back of a ute in the park addressing the crowd using a loud speaker. Several people in the crowd were waving CFMEU flags.

The government officials were standing in a nearby public car park when Balde, wearing a CFMEU jumper, approached one of the government officials and asked him what he was doing.

Balde was standing so close to the government official that his chest was touching him.

Balde continued to obstruct the government official after he was told he was interfering with him lawfully doing his job. The government official was gathering evidence of possible unlawful activity by videoing the activity with a digital camera. He was standing in a public place and was in clear view of the gathered workers.

A police officer approached and repeatedly told Balde to step away. Balde refused.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said behaviour like this was appalling. “It is absolutely disgraceful that government officials are subjected to this kind of behavior in the course of going about their job. Unfortunately this is not uncommon and we have several similar matters currently with police,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

FWBC has launched four other court proceedings in relation to alleged unlawful conduct at the Perth New Children’s Hospital site.

The New Children’s Hospital will provide 298 beds dedicated to caring for sick children and state of the art emergency care.

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