10 July 2014Judge finds CFMEU’s actions represent “gross failure of corporate governance”

Federal Circuit Court Judge Burnett has said the actions of CFMEU officials Kane Pearson, Joseph Myles and Shane Treadaway on a Brisbane construction site represented a “gross failure of corporate governance on the part of the CFMEU and its affiliates”.

In  February this year, Judge Burnett penalised the CFMEU and the three men a total $38,500 for hindering, obstructing and acting in an improper manner on a Brisbane construction site on 11 February, 2010.

The Court found that Mr Pearson acted in an improper manner by being rude and offensive, including by swearing at and insulting a site foreman: “you’re a d***head, I’m not dealing with you I want to talk to the [project manager]” and by calling the site foreman a “f***wit”, “deadbeat” or “d***head”.

When Mr Myles was reminded about protective clothing he should have been wearing, he replied: “I don’t have to answer to you, you f***ing little grub”. Mr Myles said to workers, urging them not to return to work: “One in all in, we’re not going back to work.”

Mr Treadaway walked around the site with an EFTPOS machine.

In Judge Burnett’s written reasons released this week, he said there was “ample evidence of significant contravention by the CFMEU and its ideological fellow travellers”.

“The CFMEU, as a holistic organisation, has an extensive history of contraventions dating back to at least 1999. The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that the organisation either does not understand or does not care for the legal restrictions on industrial activity imposed by the legislature and the courts.”

Fair Work Building & Construction Director, Nigel Hadgkiss, said he respectfully agreed with Judge Burnett’s judgment.

“We should have the same expectations of the CFMEU as we have for large corporate bodies,” Mr Hadgkiss said. “There is little excuse for repeated contraventions.”

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