The Federal Court has penalised the CFMMEU and three of its officials $292,200 for attempting to shut down construction at the Palmerston Police Station site in May 2018.

At the time, the three CFMMEU officials demanded work stop on the $30 million law and order and community safety facility.

The Court found that when NT Worksafe officers arrived at the site, two of the CFMMEU officials – Arturo Menon and Roland Cummins behaved in an improper manner towards the officers.

In attempting to shut the site down Mr Menon falsely told workers they were entitled to go home on full pay.

In commenting on Mr Menon’s improper conduct towards the WorkSafe inspectors, Justice White stated:

“Such officers should be able to discharge their duties without being subject to aggression or any form of intimidation.”

Justice White also went on to say of the three CFMMEU officials:

"They could have addressed those safety concerns with civility, without engaging in foul-mouthed language, without making threats, and without making statements which were false or misleading. Their improper conduct arises from the way in which they chose to deal with the matters of concern.

“There is no evidence of any contrition or regret by any of the respondents for their conduct. Apart from the formal admissions in the pleadings, there has been no acknowledgement by any of the respondents of the wrongfulness of their conduct.”

Justice White also commented on the behaviour of the CFMMEU:

“…The very persistence of the CFMMEU in the course of conduct indicates that its contraventions should be viewed seriously. This is reinforced by the fact that it sought by its course of conduct to achieve its objective of closing the Site by multiple means over an extended period. In addition, for the reasons given earlier, account is to be taken of the additional gravity of the conduct of the CFMMEU by reason of the increased culpability of its contraventions indicated by its long history of prior contraventions."

ABCC commissioner Stephen McBurney said it’s imperative that independent WorkSafe inspectors who have responsibility to regulate the health and safety on building and construction sites are permitted to carry out their important work free from aggression and intimidation.

“The facts in this case highlight just how inappropriate it is for union officials to threaten the contractor and its employees in an attempt to force their will upon them,” Mr McBurney said.

“Regrettably, this is not an isolated case, it is the continuation of a pattern of behaviour replicated now in every State and Territory in Australia. Since the commencement of the current iteration of the ABCC on 2 December 2016, the Courts have imposed penalties of $10,682,595 on the CFMMEU, its officials and representatives for 1459 contraventions of the law. [see below table]

“Many of these cases have been characterised by a lack of contrition and remorse, with no indication of an intention to address or rectify this unlawful behaviour.

“The obvious conclusion to be drawn from the history of contravening is that the unlawful conduct has occurred with the sanction and endorsement of the leadership of the CFMMEU across the country.”

 

State

Contraventions Found

Penalties Imposed

VIC

200

$2,999,200

NSW

148

$2,866,200

QLD

906

$2,768,505

WA

34

$573,600

TAS

18

$394,500

SA

30

$384,040

ACT

28

$361,100

NT

95

$345,450

Total

1459

$10,692,595

 

 

 

Penalties

CFMMEU

$270,000

Arturo Menon

$10,700

Roland Cummins

$6,300

Paul Taylor

$5,200

Total

$292,200

Media Release
2 October 2020

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