CFMEU official in Court over allegations of abusive behaviour

FWBC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against the CFMEU and its official, Richard Hassett, for allegedly acting in an abusive and intimidating manner towards site management at a Hobart construction site.

In its Statement of Claim, FWBC alleges as follows:

  • On 28 July 2015 Mr Hassett entered the Parliament Square Stage 1A project site to hold discussions with two workers. Mr Hassett did not provide an entry notice. When the site foreman told Mr Hassett that he could not talk to the workers as it was not break time, Mr Hassett replied, “You can’t f-cking stop me”.

  • During this visit, Mr Hassett also swore a number of times at the site Workplace Health and Safety supervisor after being informed that meeting with workers outside of break times would result in workers’ pay being docked. Mr Hassett then sought to intimidate the WHS supervisor by saying he would “tell the greater world that [you were] the one who wrote the CFMEU up” after the WHS supervisor said he would report the incident.

  • Mr Hassett again entered the site without providing an entry notice on 21 October 2015 and held discussions with workers outside of break times, in contravention of right of entry provisions.

  • On 5 November 2015 Mr Hassett again entered the site without providing an entry notice. When told by the construction manager that he would be trespassing if he did not leave the site and that police would need to be called, Mr Hassett responded by saying “f-ck off” and “just f-cking call them, go on just f-cking call them”. Mr Hassett left the site after the construction manager called the police.

  • Mr Hassett returned to the site later that day, this time producing an entry notice under the Tasmanian Work Health and Safety Act, specifying he was entering the site to conduct a safety inspection. During this visit, Mr Hassett spoke to the project manager in an abusive manner, calling him a “f-cking c-nt”.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss expressed concern at the alleged conduct, which he said demonstrated flagrant disregard for right of entry laws and saw those who were simply trying to follow lawful process being subject to obscene abuse.

“Right of entry laws were established to provide permit holders access to building sites to conduct legitimate business,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“The right of entry system is underpinned by a clear set of rules for lawful access and proper behaviour of permit holders while on site. The blatant abuse of these rules by permit holders, as alleged in this case, undermines productive and harmonious workplace relations in the building industry.”  

“This matter could not have proceeded to court without the use of the agency’s compulsory powers,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

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