Published: 23 Mar 2016
Three charges against Queensland CFMEU organiser Justin Steele, laid by the Trade Union Royal Commission Police Taskforce in May last year, have been dropped.
The CFMEU welcomed the news of what is now the fifth instance of failed charges by the Police Taskforce.
Ahead of his appearance today at the National Press Club where he will be debating with AIG head Innes Willlox on the federal election industrial relations battlefield, CFMEU Construction National
Secretary Dave Noonan said Mr Steele had endured a blaze of undeserved negative publicity the purposes of which was to advance the political agenda of the Federal Government.
“Mr Steele has maintained all along he did nothing wrong. He had a disagreement with a building developer over getting onto a site,” he said.
“The union has since uncovered this developer has a dodgy history and she failed to turn up to two Justice Mediations in relation to this case.”
In April last year, Mr Steele was taking photographs of unsafe practices on a building site, when the developer accosted him, demanding to give up his phone. A week later police visisted his home
in the early hours of the morning with a warrant permitting the seizure of his mobile phone.
“These were nothing but trumped up, politcised charges executed amidst hype and sensation, designed to paint the union in a negative light. Mr Steele was unnecessarily vilified in the press.”
Mr Noonan said this was yet another example of wasted police resources.
“The taxpayers are footing the bill to further the Government’s ideological agenda,” he said.
The decision to drop the charges against Mr Steele follows the dropping of charges against ACT Secretary Dean Hall, ACT CFMEU official Johnny Lomax, Queensland CFMEU Assistant Secretary Andrew
Sutherland last month and the Not Guilty verdict of New South Wales official Michael Greenfield.
“In all of these cases, it was obvious from the outset that there were no grounds for the charges laid and no chance of success.”
“There can be little doubt that the Turnbull Government is wasting public money to fulfill its political agenda of passing the ABCC bill.”