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CFMEU whistleblowers hauled before union disciplinary committee

CFMEU whistleblowers: Andrew Quirk and Brian “Jock” Miller. Photo: Peter RaeTwo men who blew the whistle on alleged misconduct within the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union are to be hauled before a high-level union disciplinary committee, charged with “damaging” its reputation.
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Organisers Andrew Quirk and Brian “Jock” Miller raised concerns with ABC TV’s 7.30 Report and Fairfax Media last month about what they claimed was a  “catastrophic  failure of governance” inside the union because of  senior officials’ alleged failure to investigate links between some elements of the CFMEU and organised crime.

Now both men have been “summonsed” before a meeting of the national executive of the union’s construction division on November 18, charged with “gross misbehaviour”. They face dismissal from their posts if found guilty.

“The statement that there are figures in the union not telling the truth to protect others is unsubstantiated”, the  summons document claims. It says Mr Quirk made comments about the union which were “false and/or adverse to the union” and that the union had not “been silent” on matters raised by the pair.

The union’s move against the men risks being seen as a signal to others not to speak publicly about its internal affairs. The timing is sensitive because of the recent decision by the Abbott government to extend the term of the Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption, where the union has been dragged uncomfortably into the spotlight.

Counsel assisting the union, Jeremy Stoljar SC, has singled out several CFMEU officials in recent submissions to Commissioner Dyson Heydon, who will hand down an interim report in December.

Two of the officials adversely named are state secretary Brian Parker and state president Rita Mallia, who are understood to be on the national executive of the construction division before which Mr Quirk and Mr Miller have been summonsed. A  union source said “anyone involved in individual cases must absent themselves”.

Mr Stoljar has recommended that Mr Parker be charged for giving false evidence to the commission over the leak of personal details of members of the union superannuation fund Cbus.  He says Mr Parker wanted to use the information to cause employees of a company called Lis-Con to ” make trouble with their employer” and that he gave “obviously perjured evidence.”

Mr Stoljar has also submitted that Mr Parker and Ms Mallia “shied away” from rigorously investigating an allegeddeath threat made by one union official against another, Brian Fitzpatrick, who had rung alarm bells about CFMEU links to alleged Sydney crime identity George Alex.

“Mr Parker and Ms Mallia set about marginalising and attempting to remove Mr Fitzpatrick from the CFMEU after he complained about the way in which the incident had been handled and about the nature and extent of the union’s dealings with companies associated with Mr George Alex,” Mr Stoljar said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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