Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commission v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union
Known as
80 Elizabeth Street Hobart
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link


Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
Respondent(s) at time of filing
CFMMEU, Richard Hassett, Kevin Harkins
Date filed
Alleged breach(es) at time of filing
Non-compliance with right of entry laws
Summary at time of filing

The ABCC has commenced Federal Court action alleging the CFMMEU and two of its Tasmanian officials breached right of entry laws during construction of serviced apartments in Hobart in 2019.

The ABCC is alleging CFMMEU official Richard Hassett unlawfully entered the project site at 80 Elizabeth Street on 23 and 28 May, 2019 because he did not have a valid federal right of entry permit.

ABCC is also alleging that on 28 May 2019, fellow official Kevin Harkins acted in an improper manner by:

  • intimidating and abusing the head contractor’s staff;
  • held discussions with workers about matters unrelated to safety without complying with the statutory requirements; and
  • made misrepresentations to Tasmanian Police officers and the builder that Mr Hassett was authorised to exercise a State entry right.

In its statement of claim the ABCC is alleging:

  • On both 23 and 28 May 2019 Mr Hassett made misrepresentations that he was authorised to enter under State Occupational Health and Safety laws.
  • At the time of the unlawful entries, Mr Hassett had returned his federal right of entry permit to the Fair Work Commission.
  • On 28 May when asked to leave the site, Mr Hassett refused and said: “I can do whatever I f**king like.”
  • When the site foreman asked the officials to identify the equipment they claimed was unsafe Mr Harkins responded by saying:

“Don’t get smart with me a***hole. I’m almost at the end of my career I don’t give a f**ck what happens to me, but that bloke over there will be on to you [pointing to Hassett].”

  • When again asked to identify any safety breaches Mr Harkins responded: “You don’t fucking pay me, so I’m not going to tell you.”

The ABCC alleges the CFMMEU officials’ conduct contravenes the right of entry provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009.

The maximum penalty for each contravention of the Fair Work Act is $63,000 for a body corporate and $12,600 for an individual.

Historical content

14 Apr 2020 - CFMMEU officials allegedly breach right of entry at Hobart construction site