Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Brian Parker & Ors
Known as
The Barangaroo South Case
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

NSD467/2016

Applicant
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
Respondent(s) at time of filing
CFMEU, CFMEU NSW, Brian Parker, Richard Auimatagi, Luke Collier, Peter Genovese, Michael Greenfield, Darren Greenfield, Robert Kera, Danny Reeves, Tony Sloane, Darren Taylor
Date filed
5 April 2016
State/Territory
NSW
Breach(es) found
Coercion, Failure to comply with a term of an enterprise agreement, Industrial action
Status
Finalised
Link to liability judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commission v Parker & Ors [2017] FCA 564

Link to penalty judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Parker (No 2) [2017] FCA 1082

Link to Federal Court appeal judgment

Parker v Australian Building and Construction Commissioner [2019] FCAFC 56

Summary of court decision

On 5 April 2019, following an appeal by the CFMMEU to a November 2017 penalty judgment, the Full Federal Court imposed penalties totaling $1.7 million against the CFMMEU and a number of its senior officials, including its former and current State Secretaries Brian Parker and Darren Greenfield, for unlawful conduct at the Barangaroo site.

In re-imposing penalties, the Full Court ordered the CFMMEU’s national office to pay 75 per cent of the maximum penalties available. The CFMMEU’s NSW’s office was ordered to pay 40 per cent of the maximum penalties available. 

Facts

In May 2017, Justice Flick of the Federal Court found that nine of the ten officials—Parker, Kera, Reeves, Collier, Darren Greenfield, Michael Greenfield, Auimatagi, Sloane and Taylor—along with the CFMEU national body and its NSW branch, contravened various provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 that prohibited the organisation or taking of industrial action, and prohibited coercion.

The unlawful conduct in this case involved the organising of unlawful industrial action by 600 to 1000 workers on the Barangaroo site, and several instances of offensive and derogatory conduct aimed at both those who sought to do work and at ABCC inspectors.

Justice Flick found that when Parker addressed workers after the Fair Work Commission had issued orders to stop the industrial action and for work to resume, Parker attempted to "incite or encourage" workers to stay out.

The judge also said a "revealing exchange" between Mr Parker and a female police officer “expose[d his] objective of presenting to the workers in the vicinity that the union would even take on the police to achieve [its] objectives".

The judge made a number of factual findings including:

  • that Luke Collier attempted to intimidate inspectors who attended the site, including by calling out an inspectors’ mobile phone number to a crowd over a loudspeaker and inviting them to call the inspector; and
  • employees who sought to go to work were called: “F****ing dog” and “scum
  • Mr Parker addressed workers on the site through a loudhailer and described ABCC inspectors as: “sorry excuses for human beings”
  • A number of CFMEU officials repeatedly referred to ABCC inspectors as “dogs”.
  • An ABCC inspector reported that Collier said: “We’re starting a dog wash over here.”
  • Darren Greenfield said: “Don’t stand too close Mick, they have fleas. They’re dogs.”

calling out: “You’re a f***ing grub, why are you here, go away. You’re lower than a paedophile you grub.”

Justice Flick also accepted the evidence of a female police constable in relation to her interactions with Mr Parker. The female police constable described Mr Parker’s “body language” as “standing tall, he had broad shoulders, he was leaning down and toward me, his eyes were wide as if he was trying to stare me down”.

She described Mr Parker’s body language as follows:

“He made sure that I was feeling either intimidated or scared.”

“…in my line of work we deal with people like him a lot.”

“When someone is trying to intimidate another person they do certain actions to intimidate a person.”

About the approach to the police officer, the Court found:

“The exchange with the police Constable formed part of the background factual context in which it can readily be concluded that Mr Parker was deliberately setting out to create an atmosphere of defiance, even as against those charged with enforcing the law.”

*This matter was originally filed by Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC). On 2 December 2016, FWBC became the ABCC.

Penalties

Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded

CFMMEU

$1,007,250

CFMEU NSW

$510,000

Brian Parker

$45,400

Robert Kera

$41,250

Danny Reeves

$41,000

Luke Collier

$40,400

Anthony Sloane

$5,500

Darren Greenfield

$5,000

Darren Taylor

$4,500

Richard Auimatagi

$3,000

Michael Greenfield

$3,000

Total

$1,706,300

Related content

Media release: Full Federal Court imposes $1.7M in penalties against CFMMEU for “executing illegal industrial activity” at Barangaroo site

Media release: Court to impose maximum penalties of over $1 million for “worse union behaviour” and refers CFMEU officials to DPP for investigation into false testimony