Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Bradley Upton and Anor
Known as
Gorgon LNG Project
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link


Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
Respondent(s) at time of filing
CFMEU, Bradley Upton
Date filed
Breach(es) found
Adverse action, Coercion, Non-compliance with right of entry laws
Date finalised
Link to penalty judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Upton (The Gorgon Project Case) (No 2) [2018] FCA 897

Summary of court decision

The Federal Court penalised the CFMMEU and its official Bradley Upton $51,300 for abusing and threatening construction workers on the Gorgon LNG Project in Western Australia.

The ABCC launched legal action in the Federal Court against both the CFMMEU and Mr Upton following the 2015 incident in which Mr Upton abused workers for not being members of the union and called them ‘f***g dog c**ts’.

The threats directed at employees included:

“We’re going to put your names on the back of toilet doors.”

“This is a f***g union site, we have other union sites starting up next year and if you’re not in the union, you can f**k off too, you are not welcome.”

In a decision handed down on 14 June 2018, Justice Barker said:

Mr Upton’s behaviour and conduct at the meeting of employees on December 2015 was quite appalling.

The language used was intended to intimidate employees into accepting that they must be union members if they wanted work.

It is common, it seems, for some members of unions to believe that any manner of foul language or intimidatory conduct is par for the course at a union meeting…It is precisely that sort of conduct that gives unions and union representatives a bad name.

There is no warrant or excuse for the sort of behaviour that Mr Upton engaged in.

the CFMEU… has to take responsibility for the conduct of its officials and surely, at one point or another, must begin to take positive steps to educate its officials not to contravene the law and as to proper standards of conduct.

Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded



Bradley Upton




Total Penalties


Related content
Media release: Court penalises CFMMEU and official for threatening and abusing workers