Question Over Union Boss’s Legal Fees

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The construction union has declined to say whether it will pay the legal fees of the head of its NSW branch, Brian Parker, as he faces serious allegations before a royal commission.

Mr Parker has had to find new representation after the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union’s lawyers told him they could no longer act for him because of a conflict.

Slater and Gordon has previously represented all CFMEU officials before the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption.

It emerged in a hearing before the commission on Thursday that Mr Parker had not agreed to Slater and Gordon’s decision to no longer represent him.

Commissioner Dyson Heydon said Mr Parker’s new barrister, Tim Game SC, “has made it pretty plain Mr Parker does not consent to the present state of affairs and is not happy about it”.

Mr Game said Mr Parker had not been told by Slater and Gordon what the conflict was that prevented them from representing him.

A CFMEU spokeswoman told AAP on Friday Slater and Gordon made the decision to discontinue representing Mr Parker after counsel assisting the royal commission, Jeremy Stoljar SC, published his final submissions on October 31.

In those submissions, Mr Stoljar said Mr Parker had unlawfully obtained private information about members of the Cbus superannuation fund and given false evidence about his actions.

The spokeswoman said the decision for Mr Parker to have separate representation was a mutual agreement.

Asked if the CFMEU would pay Mr Parker’s ongoing legal bills, the spokeswoman said the union had no comment.

Mr Parker was given an extension to make any written submission to the commission in response to Mr Stoljar’s report by November 19.

 

By Peter Trute

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