Lisa Zanatta admitted to premeditated perjury in the witness box at the Trade Union Royal Commission in what could be regarded as the Commission’s best day so far. Ms Zanatta said she lied under oath to protect her boss David Atkin who is CEO of the $23 Billion industry super fund Cbus and Brian Parker NSW State Secretary of the CFMEU.
Ms Zanatta’s admission to perjury was a real game changer as far as the Royal Commission is concerned and will not only destroy Zanatta’s career but also likely the careers of the many people who have colluded with her.
It was announced today that the Royal Commission has been extended by 12 Months and Zanatta’s admissions in the witness box on Friday (3/10/14) alone would justify the extension.
Who is Lisa Zanatta?
Her job title is Senior Adviser – Member Relationships at Cbus and she is also a former employee of the CFMEU and current member. She is a former candidate for the Victorian government in 2006 (Click here to read more). She also ran for Labor Party pre-selection with the support of the CFMEU in 2009 against Lynne Kosky who was then Victorian Transport Minister. (Click here to read more)
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union CFMEU managed to obtain personal data which included contact details for the customers of Cbus (Construction and Building Unions Superannuation) who worked for the company Lis-Con. The CFMEU wanted the data to use in an industrial battle with Lis-Con. It has been alleged that the CFMEU wanted to contact the employees and make trouble for Lis-Con.
As the facts show Cbus employee Lisa Zanatta who lives in Melbourne had the data printed out and couriered to her house on a Friday. The following Monday she flew to Sydney and hand delivered the data to the CFMEU Lidcombe office at the request of Brian Parker who wanted the data. She flew to Sydney to try and make sure they did not get caught as email is traceable and normal mail might have ended up in the wrong hands.
Lisa Zanatta was questioned about the trip while giving evidence and she said she went to Sydney for a meeting at Cbus’s Sydney office in the City. She gave a false story of how she could not find the office and how her mobile phone was dead and she called the office from a pay phone and the meeting was cancelled and she went back to Melbourne.
What brought Zanatta unstuck was GPS tracking of her taxi and Google Maps. The Royal Commission produced the data for the taxi trip she took as she paid for it by credit card so they could find which taxi she took. From there they asked the taxi company for the data which showed she did not go to the City at all but went to the CFMEU Lidcombe office. Ms Zanatta had no option but to admit committing perjury.
Lisa Zanatta – perjury (Click here for the transcript of Lisa Zanatta’s evidence on the 3rd of October 2014)
When Zanatta’s lawyer knew the game was up he interjected and there was a 5 minute adjournment to the hearing and when it resumed the following took place.
“THE COMMISSIONER: Ms Zanatta, when people are asked questions in a court or in other proceedings, normally they’re entitled to refuse to answer the question if it might incriminate them. That’s called the privilege against self-incrimination, but it has been abolished for royal commissions….” (Page 749)
Any evidence that you give at a Royal Commission hearing is inadmissible against you in evidence in a later civil or criminal case. The exception being if you perjure yourself at a Royal Commission. The penalty for that is up to 5 years jail or a fine of up to $20,000. (See pages 749 and 750 of the Transcript)
And from page 750: (Q is Jeremy Stoljar, barrister for the RC) (A is Lisa Zanatta)
Q. I said to you that the evidence you gave to this Commission on your oath a few minutes ago about coming into George Street and ringing from a phone booth at York Street was an absolute lie, wasn’t it?
Q. So you gave that evidence knowing it was false?
A. I did.
Q. And you did that to conceal the role that Mr Parker had played in causing you to obtain Lis-Con documents; that’s right, isn’t it?
A. I did that to protect a number of people.
Q. One of whom was Mr Parker?
Q. And who were the other people you were protecting?
A. Well, Cbus and the CEO.
Q. Mr Atkin?
And on page 761:
Q. You’re just evading the question now, aren’t you? See, you’ve engaged in a deliberate and prolonged cover-up, haven’t you, Ms Zanatta; that’s right, isn’t it?
A. I wouldn’t call it a cover-up. It was about protecting people and it was an inappropriate release of personal details, but again, I say that it wasn’t the type of data that I would normally operate with and use.
And on page 762:
Q. You had deliberately concocted your false story before you came here; that’s right, isn’t it? You’d gone through the records and you’d worked out a story; that’s right, isn’t it?
A. Correct, but not in relation to this issue.
Q. No, but I’m talking about the delivery of documents on 29 July. You have come to this Commission with that plan in mind; correct?
Q. To tell a false story; that’s right, isn’t it?
A. Well, to protect people, yes.
Q. But you had come to this Commission with the intention, the premeditated intention, of giving false evidence; that’s right, isn’t it?
The last two lines of the transcript are the most damaging for Lisa Zanatta because she admitted to premeditated perjury and no one can defend that. Ms Zanatta clearly continued to perjure herself about other issues but her credibility is gone and so is her career.
Possible Criminal Charges
Lisa Zanatta should be charged and found guilty of perjury given her admission at the Royal Commission that she deliberately gave false evidence. There are possible other criminal charges as well given the data she took to Sydney was in effect stolen data. The fact that she flew the data up to Sydney instead of email or mail itself says that she knew what she was doing was corrupt.
Others who would want to be very worried include Cbus CEO David Atkin and NSW CFMEU Secretary Brian Parker. Mr Parker also gave evidence on Friday before Ms Zanatta and denied knowing how the data ended up in Sydney, instead Mr Parker and the CFMEU blamed whistleblower Brian Fitzpatrick. (Click here to read more)
Then there are CFMEU National Secretary Dave Noonan and NSW President Rita Mallia who are also both Directors of Cbus. They both have plenty to answer for as well and have a fiduciary duty as Directors
The scope and time of the Royal Commission has been extended for 12 months from a reporting date of December 2014 to December 2015. It will deliver an interim report on December 14 this year.
One interesting part of the new scope being reported is “it would be “desirable” to close a gap in the commission’s terms of reference to ensure actions such as interfering with witnesses could be examined.” (Click here to read more)
I have written about the intimidation of witnesses a number of times including on the 24th of September in the post titled “The Bill Shorten Crew stalks and harasses witnesses and journalists at the Trade Union Royal Commission” (Click here to read more) It is worth reading again with the new broader scope of the inquiry.
For some reason Lisa Zanatta and her perjury has not received a great deal of media attention which is maybe because it was on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend. But I suspect it will receive plenty of attention when she is charged with perjury which is almost guaranteed.
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Categories: Royal Commission