Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union & Ors
Known as
Bendigo Theatre Case
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link


Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
  • CFMMEU, Nigel Davis, Alex Tadic
Date filed
Breach(es) found
Non-compliance with right of entry laws
Date finalised
Link to liability judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (Bendigo Theatre Case) [2018] FCA 122

Link to penalty judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (The Bendigo Theatre Case) (No 2) [2018] FCA 1211

Summary of court decision

The Federal Court imposed penalties totaling $271,500 against the CFMMEU and two of its officials after they refused to show their right of entry permits and were abusive when asked to do so at the Bendigo Theatre site in Victoria.

Background Facts

Earlier this year the Court found Mr Davies acted in an improper manner when he refused to produce his entry permit when asked to do so on 22 July 2014 and 29 July 2014.

During the 22 July site entry, Mr Davies, after refusing to show his entry permit, told the project manager to “f**k off” on one occasion and “go away” on another occasion.

Mr Davies also held his mobile phone in close proximity to the project manager’s face while taking photos of him and refused multiple requests to leave the site. Victoria Police were subsequently called to the site.

Mr Tadic was found to have engaged in a “lengthy and foul-mouthed tirade” when asked to explain his presence on the site on 1 August 2014 and told the project manager words to the effect: “I’m not dealing with a f***ing pen pusher.”


The CFMMEU was penalised $245,000 while its officials Nigel Davies and Alex Tadic were penalised $19,000 and $7,500 respectively for contravening right of entry laws at the site in July and August 2014.

In his reasons for the penalty decision, Justice Tracey of the Federal Court made the following findings:

“Mr Davies had his permit with him and could … easily have produced it upon request. He was determined not to comply with those requests… He was defiant and dismissive in the face of lawful directions that he leave the site.”

“Mr Tadic contravened section 500 of the Fair Work Act by acting in a loud, rude, aggressive and abusive manner and by using profane and indecent language towards the authorised representative of the occupier of the site for between three and five minutes.”

"The CFMEU has failed to acknowledge any wrongdoing or take corrective steps to ensure that such conduct ceases. These failures lead to the irresistible inference that the officials are acting in accordance with the instructions or policies adopted by those responsible for the governance of the organisation. The union has adopted the attitude that it will not comply with any legislative constraints, placed on its operations, with which it disagrees. Such an approach is an anathema in a democratic society."


Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded









Total Penalties


Historical content

14 Aug 2018 - CFMMEU and two officials penalised $271,500 for 'defiant' and 'disgraceful' conduct on Bendigo site