Australian law enforcement authorities have launched multi-state investigations into alleged criminal conduct by some of the senior-most members of the CFMEU.
According to Fairfax reports police in Queensland, NSW and Victoria are investigating a range of allegations against CFMEU chiefs based on evidence collected by the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.
The allegations range from the receipt of secret commissions and kickbacks to industrial blackmail and involvement with organised crime.
Fairfax reports that the criminal investigations have already toppled Dave Hanna, CFMEU national president and Queensland president, who is currently the subject of a joint state and federal police inquiry in relation to claims that he took secret commissions and mismanaged union funds.
Hanna has resigned from his official positions, after previously taking annual leave on the grounds of health problems incurred during a motorcycle accident towards the end of last year.
In statement made to Fairfax Hanna denied the allegations, and stated that his resignation was the result of health reasons stemming from the vehicle incident.
In NSW CFMEU secretary Brian Parker is under investigation by police for his involvement with organised crime figure George Alex, who is alleged to have run an illicit labour hire company. The investigation follows the release of phone taps at the union royal commission revealing Parker’s close association with Alex.
Further south CFMEU Victorian secretary John Setka and his deputy Shaun Reardon are facing blackmail accusations in relation to the union’s dispute with building materials giant Boral.
Victorian police taskforce Heracles has already collected witness statements from members of the construction sector, as well as completed a criminal brief against both Setka and Reardon.
The ALP and unions continue to lambast the royal commission as a politically motivated witch-hunt – claims that have received impetus from the revelation that royal commissioner Dyson Heydon accepted an invitation to deliver a speech at a fundraising event for the NSW Liberal Party.
Heydon has found himself compelled to delay his ruling following the submission of an “apprehended bias” application by the unions over his acceptance of the speech invitation.