Full Federal Court decision shows FWBC case against CFMEU is without merit

Published: 29 Apr 2016

The Full Court of the Federal Court has comprehensively rejected an FWBC case launched against the CFMEU and its officials, in a unanimous decision handed down yesterday.

The case against the Queensland CFMEU and two of its officials was thrown out by the Full Court, finding that the officials had not breached workplace laws when they went on a site in Sydney in June 2013.

The Court found that the evidence relied on by Director of the FWBC, Nigel Hadgkiss was inadequate, and that the approach of the Director, in abandoning a claim he had relied on at first instance, was “unhelpful” and “misconceived”. The Court said that the case brought by Hadgkiss had been pursued under an ‘inappropriate’ statutory regime.

CFMEU Construction National Secretary Dave Noonan said this case is yet another example of the FWBC hounding the union at the behest of their political masters.

“There is an established pattern of the FWBC pursuing the union at every opportunity, dragging officials through courts without the necessary evidence to prosecute their case,” he said.

“They are using taxpayers’ money to mount case after case against the union in order to paint the picture of a crisis in the industry created by the CFMEU.

“The only crisis is that of the Turnbull Government that has no program for the election and is relying on the FWBC to do their dirty work, in the hope that their continued smearing of the union will validate their political platform.”

The decision by the Full Court yesterday followed another judgement by the Federal Court in Brisbane on April 7, where the FWBC Director’s case was criticised for being an ‘abuse of process’ and ‘unjustifiably vexatious and oppressive’ in an action against the union over an industrial issue with John Holland that had already been settled.

“It is clear that the FWBC is abusing process through false accusation and launching cases on spurious grounds – the very same cases that are used by the Prime Minister and members of his Government to justify the need for the ABCC.

“The public have a right to ask why their money is being used in this highly political way.”