News National Unions commission targets CFMEU boss

Unions commission targets CFMEU boss

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The lawyer leading the trade unions royal commission has urged Commissioner Dyson Heydon to find that construction union boss Brian Parker gave false evidence to the inquiry and should face charges.

Counsel assisting the royal commission, Jeremy Stoljar SC, has released submissions recommending a finding against Mr Parker over his evidence about an alleged leak of confidential member information from a superannuation fund.

He is the secretary of the NSW construction branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).

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Mr Parker has denied seeking or receiving information from construction industry fund Cbus to use in an industrial campaign against a Queensland building company.

Mr Stoljar described Mr Parker’s evidence to the commission, delivered in June, as “unimpressive” and improbable.

Perjury charges have been recommended previously against two Cbus officers allegedly involved in the delivery of the member data to the CFMEU’s Sydney head office.

Mr Stoljar has also rejected the denials of Cbus chief executive David Atkin, who told the commission in June he knew nothing about the alleged leak of confidential information to the construction union.

Mr Stoljar said Mr Atkin had “a strong self interest” in denying the information leak and said “there are a range of compelling circumstances which make those denials difficult to accept”.

“The commission is not in a position to find, with certainty (that is, by reference to incontrovertible evidence), that Mr Atkin did know about and participate in the disclosure. However the available evidence does indicate that, on the balance of probabilities, he did,” Mr Stoljar wrote in his submission.

In response to the submission, Cbus chair Steve Bracks expressed full confidence in Mr Atkin.

“The CEO has done an excellent job maintaining the focus of the fund on the needs of our members,” told the Financial Review.

“No evidence has been provided in the commission that has altered the strong support of the board for Mr Atkin’s performance.”

Lawyers for parties before the commission have been given until Friday to make written submissions in reply.


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