Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union
Known as
The Nine Brisbane Sites case
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

QUD755/2016

Applicant
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
Respondent(s) at time of filing
CFMEU, Matthew Parfitt, Justin Steele, Kurt Pauls, Edward Bland, Antonio Floro, Anthony Stott, Michael Davis
Date filed
28 September 2016
State/Territory
QLD
Breach(es) found
Coercion, Industrial action
Status
Finalised
Link to liability judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (No 2) [2017] FCA 565

Link to penalty judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (The Nine Brisbane Sites Case) (No 3) [2018] FCA 564

Full Court appeal Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

QUD324/2018

 

Link to Federal Court appeal judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (The Nine Brisbane Sites Appeal) [2019] FCAFC 59

 

Summary of court decision

On 12 April 2019, the Full Federal Court upheld the ABCC's appeal to increase penalties awarded against the CFMMEU over 16 strikes and work stoppages at nine Brisbane construction site in August and September 2016. Total penalties against the union and seven of its officials were increased from $522,000 to $668,000.

The ABCC appealed the original Federal Court decision that was handed down on 24 April 2018 arguing the Court had not imposed penalties for all the unlawful conduct committed by the CFMMEU.

The 2016 unlawful industrial action was aimed at coercing a major contractor to only employ subcontractors who had entered into an enterprise agreement with the CFMMEU or CFMMEU approved unions.

At the time CFMMEU officials Matthew Parfitt, Justin Steele, Kurt Pauls, Edward Bland, Antonio Floro, Anthony Stott and Michael Davis targeted nine sites, instigating strikes and disrupting work 16 times from 25 August 2016 to 27 September 2016.

The unlawful conduct impacted large scale projects including the Skytower Project and Newstead Central Apartment development. On a number of occasions, union officials told the contractor’s representatives the work stoppages were not related to the specific sites, but were aimed at the head contractor because it was not consulting with the CFMMEU and was using “non-EBA subcontractors”.

In one instance of strike action at the Hercules Apartments site, Mr Parfitt told the site manager “it’s bigger than you”, and that the head contractor was “f**ked and aren’t playing the game”.

The disruptions resulted in a number of concrete pours being cancelled and at the Opera Apartments site, Mr Steele told a site manager “Just call the concrete pour off and I will leave the site.”

At the time of the conduct in 2016, the ABCC sought an injunction preventing:

  • the CFMEU from instigating any further strikes or stoppages at any sites operated by the contractor;
  • from holding more than one union meeting every two weeks on any of the sites; and
  • from holding any union meeting under the EBA clause without providing 48 hours written notice to affected employers.

The ABCC also sought penalties against the CFMMEU and the seven officials for instigating unlawful industrial action.

In its judgment the Full Court said:

“The overall conduct involved a deliberate, premeditated and sustained campaign of unlawful industrial behaviour orchestrated by the union, including elements of intimidation, threat and coercion.”

The Court also found the “union intended that loss be suffered” and “…senior officers of the union orchestrated the campaign against Hutchinson.”

Penalties

Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded

CFMMEU

$432,000

Justine Steele

$30,000

Antonio Floro

$15,000

Kurt Pauls

$12,000

Edward Bland

$12,000

Matthew Parfitt

$10,000

Michael Davis

$6,000

Anthony Stott

$5,000

Total

$522,000

Total Penalties

$522,000

Related content

Media release: Full Court increases penalties in Nine Brisbane sites appeal

Media release: CFMMEU and seven officials penalised $522,000 for month-long work stoppages across Brisbane sites