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


Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
  • CFMEU, Izmar Miftari, Theo Theodorou, Rob Graauwmans
Date filed
Breach(es) found
Date finalised
Link to liability and penalty judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (“Cardigan St Case”) [2018] FCA 957

Summary of court decision

Three CFMMEU officers-Theo Theodorou, Rob Graauwmans and Izmar Miftari-admitted that they stopped critical works and threatened subcontractors at the Cardigan Street site in March 2015. The Federal Court imposed total penalties of $142,000 on the three officers and the CFMMEU.

The Federal Court made findings that:

  • On 28 March 2015, Mr Miftari, the CFMMEU delegate for the project, approached a subcontractor during a critical three tonne crane lift and yelled: "put it down, you stop the f--king lift you put it down now". Mr Miftari stopped the lift mid-air because "there is a non-EBA [enterprise agreement] traffic company and there will be no lift".
  • Later that day, after Mr Miftari’s employment was terminated, Mr Graauwmans, approached the crane operator and warned him against performing any work at the site, saying "It is in your best interest to pack up and leave" and "This has got nothing to do with you at this stage but you don’t want to be doing any lifts".
  • Mr Graauwmans prevented three separate crane companies from attending the site in order to coerce the head contractor to re-employ Mr Miftari.
  • On 30 March 2015, Mr Miftari told a painting contractor that if they continued to work on the site they would not work "on any other project in Melbourne".

In imposing the penalty, the Federal Court observed:

"The CFMMEU has an extensive history of prior contraventions of industrial laws" and that it "is so egregious as to enable an inference to be drawn that the senior leadership of the CFMMEU…condones the breach by its officers or employees of industrial laws...

“An organisation faced with a litany of contraventions over an extended period of time, which repeatedly incurs not only significant financial penalties but also pointed judicial criticism, would necessarily put in place measures to change the cultural or normative conduct and the contravening behaviours of its officers and employees. Unless, of course, the senior leadership of the [CFMMEU] …condones such behaviour. I have satisfied that that is the position of the senior leadership …in Victoria."


Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded



Theo Theodorou


Rob Graauwmans


Izmar Miftari




Total Penalties


Historical content

22 Jun 2018 - Federal Court: CFMMEU senior leadership condoned lawbreaking; $142,000 penalty imposed