Two whistleblowers at the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) are being vilified by the CFMEU management for doing what they should be congratulated for which is blowing the whistle on corruption at the CFMEU. This is not unusual as it is well known when people become whistleblowers more often than not they get shafted by the organisation that they are blowing the whistle on.
Vilifying whistleblowers is not unique to unions and happens everywhere. A well known example is federal MP Andrew Wilkie who blew the whistle on the lies the John Howard government used to justify Australia’s involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Mr Wilkie was vilified and had lies told about him by the government at the time. But what does make this situation unique is that it is happening in the middle of a Royal Commission who are investigating the CFMEU for corruption.
But back to CFMEU whistleblowers Andrew Quirk and Brian “Jock” Miller who have been charged by CFMEU National Secretary Dave Noonan for “gross misbehaviour”. The charge sheet can be seen on Michael Smith’s website who broke the story on Wednesday. (Click here to read) Thursday the Herald Sun wrote a story (Click here to read) and Friday the SMH followed (Click here to read)
The Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption is investigating numerous unions including the CFMEU. Andrew Quirk and Brian Miller who are both CFMEU officials gave interviews with Fairfax Media on the 16th of October (Click here to read) and the ABC’s 7.30 Report the same day (Click here to read or watch). During both interviews they made allegations of corruption within the CFMEU.
Dave Noonan issued Summons and Charge Sheets on the 5/11/14 against Mr Miller and Mr Quirk and for them to appear at a meeting at the CFMEU on the 18th November to answer the charges.
If found guilty they can be removed from office which means they will be sacked and without a job and highly likely black banned from working in the construction industry.
To me that is an open and shut case of intimidating a witness. Not only is the CFMEU trying to intimidate Mr Quirk and Mr Miller, they are sending a loud message to anyone else at the CFMEU that is thinking of blowing the whistle or giving evidence at the Royal Commission.
Dave Noonan – Criminal offence of intimidating a witness and possible other crimes
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and to me the above picture of Dave Noonan and NSW CFMEU Secretary Brian Parker says plenty more. I took the picture just after Brian Parker had given evidence where he had clearly perjured himself and he sat there afterwards chatting with Dave Noonan like it was just another day at the office, no big deal. In fact it has been recommended by the barrister assisting the Royal Commission, Jeremy Stoljar, that Mr Parker should be charged with perjury. Why all the perjury by Brian Parker? One reason was clearly to protect Dave Noonan and that is why Mr Noonan has taken no action against Brian Parker yet is taking action against Mr Quirk and Mr Miller.
The actions of Dave Noonan and the CFMEU are the actions of desperate people with nothing to lose. They must know judgement day is coming and do not care. But all they have really done is shoot themselves in the foot by making it obvious what they are up to and how much corruption they must have to hide give their desperate actions.
What will the Royal Commission do?
The Royal Commission should take action immediately and subpoena the CFMEU senior management and make them give evidence under oath to justify their actions. The bottom line is they couldn’t justify it and would only dig a bigger whole for themselves.
Another option the Royal Commission might take is that they will wait to see what happens with the dodgy charges the CFMEU have laid first before they take any action. That way they have further evidence of intimidating Royal Commission witnesses. But I don’t think they should wait as they already have enough evidence.
If the Royal Commission takes no action it will undermine their authority for the next 12 months so they really have no choice but to act fast and hard.
Where’s Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Gerardine (Ged) Kearney hiding?
In a situation like this the ACTU could and should take action because it brings the whole Union movement into disrepute. Why have they done nothing? One reason might be because Ged Kearney is on the payroll of CFMEU controlled Industry super fund Cbus ($46,781) as a director.
There are not many lower acts than attacking and undermining a whistleblower who is trying to make the world a better place. But with today’s technology whistleblowers are getting louder and louder so it is pointless in trying to stop them. I am sure we will hear a lot more about the above story in the near future.
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Categories: Royal Commission