Union Boss Denies ‘Concocting’ Plan

Sunday, October 26th, 2014
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Construction union boss Brian Parker has denied concocting a plan with a senior superannuation fund officer to obtain confidential member files.

Mr Parker, the NSW branch secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, told the unions royal commission on Friday he had no recollection of seeing files taken to his office by Cbus adviser Lisa Zanatta.

Ms Zanatta admitted in sensational circumstances this month that she had lied to the commission about a flight she took to Sydney from Melbourne on July 29, 2013.

Credit card and taxi records revealed she had taken documents with the contact details of Cbus fund members working for a Queensland construction company, Lis-Con, to the western Sydney office of the CFMEU.

The commission has heard the union was in a dispute with Lis-Con over unpaid superannuation entitlements.

Whistleblower Brian Fitzpatrick has testified Mr Parker gave him contact details to call Lis-Con workers and tell them about the arrears, and Mr Parker insisted the information be kept secret.

Mr Parker has denied Mr Fitzpatrick’s claims.

Mr Parker told the commission he was in Canberra on the day Ms Zanatta travelled to Sydney, and had not seen documents she left at the office when he went into work the following morning.

“I never seen those documents until I seen them with the lawyers, that’s it,” he said.

Counsel assisting the commission Jeremy Stoljar SC tendered phone records showing multiple calls between Mr Parker and Ms Zanatta, starting the day before the Sydney trip.

Mr Parker said he could not recall what the calls were about.

Referring to a July 30 phone call, Mr Stoljar asked: “You discussed, didn’t you, the fact that she dropped he documents off and what was happening with them?”

Mr Parker replied: “There’s a possibility that was the conversation but I can’t recall.”

Ms Zanatta has told the commission she lied to protect Mr Parker and others but Mr Parker said he did not know why she had said that.

He rejected Mr Stoljar’s suggestion it was because he and Ms Zanatta had “concocted a plan” to obtain the Cbus information.

“I’m the secretary of the branch, so possibly that’s the reason why,” he said.

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