Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Anor
Known as
Brooklyn on Brookes Apartment
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link


Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
  • CFMEU, David Hanna
Date filed
Breach(es) found
Adverse action
Date finalised
Link to liability judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Anor [2016] FCCA 3265 (15 December 2016)

Summary of court decision

The ABCC* brought proceedings against the CFMEU and former CFMEU Divisional President David Hanna in the Federal Circuit Court over allegations Mr Hanna threatened to prolong industrial action at a Brisbane construction project unless a construction firm agreed to sign a Deed of Settlement. The Deed sought to release the union from all claims of liability arising out of ongoing industrial action on the project.

The Federal Circuit Court handed down penalties totalling $37,500 against the CFMEU and its former Queensland President David Hanna.

Six working days were impacted by unprotected industrial action at the Brooklyn on Brookes Apartment project in Brisbane in April 2014, prompting the issue of a return to work order by the Fair Work Commission.

Instead of ending the action Mr Hanna admitted that he arranged a meeting with the contractor and threatened continued strikes unless the contractor signed a deed with the union.

At a meeting with the contractor Mr Hanna said words to the effect that the union was “prepared to fight”… “even if it takes as long as the Children’s Hospital”, a reference to the Queensland Children’s Hospital site, which had been impacted by 12 weeks’ of industrial action in 2012.

In handing down the decision, Judge Jarrett emphasised the seriousness of the conduct and absence of remorse on the part of either Mr Hanna or the CFMEU.

Judge Jarrett also highlighted the significant need to deter unlawful conduct by the CFMEU given its “egregious record of repeated and wilful contraventions of all manner of industrial laws”. He referred to the CFMEU’s “long and sorry history of industrial disputation in which its willingness to disregard the industrial laws of this country seems to know no bounds.”

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


Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded



David Hanna




Total Penalties


Historical content

15 Dec 2016 - CFMEU penalised $37,500 for demanding contractor sign secret deal to avoid ongoing strikes