The ABCC* launched proceedings against the CFMEU, NSW State Secretary Brian Parker and Assistant State Secretary Rebel Hanlon in the Federal Court after they allegedly used unfounded immigration and superannuation concerns to get on site and sign up workers to the CFMEU.
The ABCC alleges as follows:
- In July and August 2014, Mr Hanlon entered the Ponds School Project in NSW, a $65 million tax-payer funded project that involves the constructions of three new schools including a specialist school for children with intellectual disabilities, without providing entry notice on three occasions and Mr Parker on one occasion.
- On the first occasion, Mr Hanlon told workers to stop work and go to the sheds where he enquired about the workers’ union memberships and handed them CFMEU membership forms.
- On the second occasion, Mr Hanlon unlawfully obtained induction records after telling the site WHS coordinator that the purpose of this request was an issue related to non-payment of superannuation. Mr Hanlon removed the records from the site and Mr Parker subsequently provided them to Channel Nine’s “A Current Affair” television programme.
- On the third occasion, both Mr Parker and Mr Hanlon entered the site and asked the project manager to round up the workers for a meeting. Mr Parker refused to show his right of entry permit when requested, saying “You will do what I f—king say and don’t f—k me around”. The officials then told the workers to stop working and proceed to the site sheds. Mr Parker said that the contractor was engaging illegal workers and told the workers “we want the Chinese to stop.” Mr Parker then told the workers “Go back to work and if we need to pull it up, we will pull it up.”
It is alleged that through the above actions the officials misused their right of entry privileges and impeded workers’ freedom of association.
*This matter was originally filed by Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC). On 2 December 2016, FWBC became the ABCC.