Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Anor
Known as
Geelong Grammar
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link


Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
Respondent(s) at time of filing
CFMMEU, Brendan Murphy
Date filed
19 May 2016
Breach(es) found
Non-compliance with right of entry laws
Link to liability judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (Geelong Grammar School Case) [2018] FCA 1698

Summary of court decision

The ABCC* commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against the CFMEU and its official Brendan Murphy alleging that they breached a right of entry provision of the FW Act and delayed construction work being undertaken at the Geelong Grammar School on 3 December 2014.

In its statement of claim filed in the Federal Court, the ABCC alleged:

  • Mr Murphy entered the construction site, located within the School grounds, saying he wanted to hold discussion with workers. Mr Murphy was repeatedly asked by the site manager to present his right of entry permit but refused to show his permit to the site manager. When the site manager said he would have to call police if Mr Murphy did not produce an entry permit, Mr Murphy responded by saying: “Go ahead” and “you know better than that”.
  • Mr Murphy then proceeded to conduct a meeting with workers where he sought to ascertain if they were covered by an enterprise agreement with the CFMEU and Incolink (an insurance and redundancy fund). Mr Murphy told the workers who attended the meeting that he was closing the site down.
  • The workers that attended the meeting then ceased work and left the site for the remainder of the day. As a result, works scheduled for that day were not completed. By closing down the site, Mr Murphy hindered and obstructed the head contractor and subcontractors engaged on the site.
  • Mr Murphy later phoned both the general manager and the project manager of the head contractor to complain that the subcontractors were not covered by enterprise agreements and that the CFMEU had not been informed that the project had commenced. Mr Murphy told the project manager words to the effect that “You’re sh*tting in my backyard… I’m going to shut down this site.”

The ABCC alleged the conduct in this case is a breach of a right of entry provision of the Fair Work Act.

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