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

VID261/2016

Applicant

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

Respondent(s) at time of filing

CFMEU, Michael Powell, Peter Booth, Stephen Long, Derek Christopher, Bill Beattie, John Perkovic, Theo Theodorou, Brendan Murphy, Gerard Benstead, Joseph Myles

Date filed
24 March 2016
State/Territory
VIC
Breach(es) found
Industrial action
Status
Finalised
Link to liability judgement

Australian Building and Construction Commission v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (The Kane Constructions Case) [2017] FCA 168 (1 March 2017)

Link to penalty judgement

Australian Building and Construction Commission v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (The Kane Constructions Case) (No 2) [2017] FCA 368 (11 April 2017)

Summary of court decision

On 11 April 2017, the Federal Court ordered penalties totalling $590,800 against the CFMEU and ten of its officials for co-ordinated unlawful industrial action across multiple construction projects in Victoria on 2 April and 22 May 2014. On each of the sites, Kane Constructions Pty Ltd was the head contractor.

The coordinated unlawful action saw workers walk off the job at nine projects worth nearly a half a billion dollars, including four hospitals and an aged care centre across Melbourne and Geelong in April and May 2014:

  • $115m Epworth Hospital (Richmond)
  • $115m Geelong Hospital
  • $49m St John of God Hospital (Geelong)
  • $45m Geelong Library
  • $45m Aquanation centre (Ringwood)
  • $38m Emporia Apartments (Prahran)
  • $27m Owen Dixon Chambers (CBD)
  • $25m Mercy Hospital (Sandringham)
  • $20m BUPA aged care (Templestowe)

Justice Jessup found that at each of the sites, CFMEU officials convened meetings of workers, after which those workers walked off the job.

In relation to the seriousness of the conduct, Justice Jessup observed of the various work stoppages that:

“… in no instance was there any suggestion of an issue or grievance, specific to the site or the workers on it, that justified, or even explained, the organisation of industrial action. Rather, the pattern tended to be that one of the respondents would arrive at a site, presumably with some agenda external to the interests of those working there, and disrupt the performance of normal work. Commonly, this was done without apology or the slightest sense of obligation to the laws which regulate the conduct of industrial relations in Australia. At times, the attitude of the respondents could only be described as high−handed and arrogant. The inference is irresistible that the industrial action which was organised by the respondents had the explicit object of inflicting commercial harm on Kane.”

Penalities

Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded

CFMEU

$490,000

Peter Booth

$22,400

Derek Christopher

$15,200

Brendan Murphy

$11,600

Bill Beattie $8,400

Joseph Myles

$7,600

Michael Powell

$7600

Theo Theodorou

$7,200

Gerard Benstead $7,200

John Perkovic

$7,200

Stephen Long

$6,400

Total

$590,800

Total penalities

$590,800

Related content

Media release: $590,800 penalties against CFMEU after industrial campaign shut down 9 Vic projects