Sued for site visit over suicide prevention and EBA vote – trial against CFMEU commences in Adelaide Federal Court today

Published: 2 Sep 2015

The Abbott Government – through its partisan building industry watchdog, the FWBC - is pursuing the CFMEU at a four day trial starting in Adelaide today, for going onto a work site to conduct an EBA ballot and assist a worker at risk of suicide.

CFMEU National Construction Secretary, Dave Noonan said the Government was conducting a taxpayer-funded assault on union and workers' rights, which he has dubbed "lawfare".

Senior CFMEU official Dave Kirner is being sued in the Federal Court by the Fair Work Building Commission's Nigel Hadgkiss, because he conducted an enterprise bargaining ballot at an employer's request, and helped a CFMEU member who was at risk of suicide.

The site visit, to the South Australian Medical Health and Research Institute, was in November 2013.

The case has been listed for a four-day trial in the Federal Court in Adelaide, starting on September 1st 2015.

The union estimates that hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money is being spent in attempts to fine CFMEU official Dave Kirner and the union as part of an integrated and calculated campaign.

The FWBC has taken the case to court, almost two years after the incident occurred, potentially in breach of its own legal guidelines.

"This latest FWBC attack on workers' rights is all about supporting the Abbott Government's political agenda. They are trying to undermine and ultimately destroy industrial, OHS and right of entry laws in the building industry - in concert with the Government," Dave Noonan said.

"The ideologically biased Fair Work Building Commission Inspectorate and the discredited Trade Union Royal Commission are working hand in hand with the anti-union Abbott government to attack and demonise unions, using taxpayers' funds to advance a partisan Liberal Party industrial agenda. 


Authorised by Michael O'Connor, National Secretary,165 Bouverie Street Carlton 3053