A whistleblower who exposed links between the construction union and underworld figure George Alex has been called “a crusader” seeking to bring the union down by the union’s barrister.
Brian Fitzpatrick, a former official in the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), has given explosive evidence at the union corruption royal commission that he received a death threat after complaining the union was giving favourable treatment to companies run by Mr Alex.
During cross-examination on Wednesday, counsel for the CFMEU John Agius accused Mr Fitzpatrick of making up evidence, including his claim that union organiser Darren Greenfield threatened to kill him during an enraged outburst in a phone call.
“You see yourself as a crusader who can bring the union down?” Mr Agius asked.
“Is that what you want your legacy to be?”
Mr Fitzpatrick replied: “Don’t be so stupid. That’s exactly the opposite of what I’m about.”
Union staff have denied Mr Fitzpatrick’s claims before the commission, including his testimony that NSW branch secretary Brian Parker obtained confidential files on workers from the industry superannuation fund, Cbus, to wage an industrial campaign.
Mr Agius said Mr Fitzpatrick was “sour” because he had lost an internal election and had blamed his one-time friend Mr Parker for the Cbus files to cover up his own role in illegally obtaining the information from his Cbus “sources”.
The use of confidential superannuation files by the union is a key focus of the commission’s inquiries.
Mr Fitzpatrick, who had worked for the CFMEU for 25 years and described himself as a “staunch unionist”, told Mr Agius that witnesses refuting his claims, including former NSW secretary Andrew Ferguson, “took a shot for the cause”.
“They were prepared to put the union first and everything second,” he said.
The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption hearing continues in Sydney.