On 2 June 2021 the Fair Work Commission suspended for three months the federal entry permit of Jason Lawrence O’Mara, assistant secretary of the ACT branch of the CFMMEU.

The suspension means Mr O’Mara is not authorised to exercise entry rights for three months in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009.

Mr O’Mara is required return the suspended permit to the Fair Work Commission within seven days. At the end of the suspension period, the permit will be returned to Mr O’Mara upon application by the CFMMEU or Mr O’Mara.

The ABCC intervened in the Fair Work Commission’s proceedings arguing Mr O’Mara’s entry permit be revoked or alternatively suspended.

The Fair Work Commission’s decision follows the Federal Circuit Court’s decision in the Village Building Case delivered in September 2020.

The Court made findings that Mr O’Mara was one of six CFMMEU officials, who failed to produce federal entry permits when entering project sites, failed to comply with occupational health and safety requirements, hindered workers and acted improperly.

The Court penalised Mr O’Mara $12,000 for refusing to produce his federal entry permit at the Nexus project site in Franklin and failing to comply with an occupational health and safety requirement at a Harrison project site.

In commenting on Mr O’Mara’s behaviour, Judge Neville of the Federal Circuit Court said:

“As stated many times … bluster and ill-informed comments have no place anywhere. … To profess knowledge, and to act bluntly and forcibly upon it, when it is plainly wrong, is (and in this instance was) wilful and dangerous ignorance. This is especially so when one is in a position of authority, such as Mr O’Mara was. Ill-informed and misconceived “might” is never “right.”

In deciding to suspend Mr O’Mara’s federal right of entry permit, Fair Work Deputy President Gostencnik said:

“The contravening conduct was not trivial or inadvertent and was engaged in by a senior and experienced official who “should have set an example by their conduct on building sites – to be civil, properly informed and knowledgeable, and reasonably skilled in negotiation with on-site managers”.

Despite having since undertaken training on his responsibilities as a union official, Deputy President Gostencnik said:

“With only material showing that Mr O’Mara has undertaken training and no evidence of what has been learned, or without some indication of regret or remorse for the conduct resulting in triggering events, what confidence can be garnered that the kind of conduct which led to the triggering events would not be repeated?”

The Fair Work Commission also banned issuing any further entry permit to Mr O’Mara for a period of three months commencing 2 June 2021.

If Mr O’Mara attempts to exercise right of entry on any building site during the period of the suspension, you are advised to immediately contact the ABCC.