CFMEU calls for inquiry into AFP as 2015 Qld raids matter dropped

Published: 1 Feb 2023

The CFMEU is calling for an inquiry into the Australian Federal Police and the Joint Union Taskforce which arose from the discredited Heydon Royal Commission after yet another anti-union investigation was abandoned.

The AFP wrote to the CFMEU last week informing the union it has now closed an investigation of the union and its officers arising from the Royal Commission which led to the November 2015 raid of the Queensland Branch.

“Seven years after the AFP raided the Queensland offices of the CFMEU in a blaze of publicity and innuendo, the organisation has quietly abandoned its investigation,” said Dave Noonan, National Secretary, CFMEU Construction & General Division.

“The AFP’s handling of the matter and the inordinate resources involved in its fruitless pursuit of the CFMEU raise questions that should be explored as part of an official inquiry into the AFP and the Trade Union Joint Taskforce which arose from Heydon Royal Commission.”

“The union has been forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure that legal professional privilege was respected by the AFP in this matter. We can only speculate what the cost of the AFP’s investigation has been to Australian taxpayers.”

“This is the latest politicised investigation to end in failure for the Joint Taskforce, which was made up of the AFP, the ACCC, and the ABCC. The Task Force launched a string of high-profile investigations against the CFMEU and its officers that were ultimately withdrawn or collapsed at trial.”

“These include the failed blackmail case against John Setka and Shaun Reardon in Victoria, and the ACCC's failed cartel case against Jason O'Mara in the ACT, and the malicious prosecution of John Lomax - matters which raised serious questions about appalling behaviour and abuse of legal process by the investigating agencies.”

“The agencies involved in the Joint Taskforce were handed tens of millions of taxpayer dollars by the former Coalition Government to aggressively prosecute unions for doing their job. The documentary Lethal Bias: The War to Criminalise Australia’s Construction Workers, details the shocking behaviour of these regulators and investigators in their pursuit of working people.”

“A formal inquiry is now the only way for the Australian people to learn the full extent of the politicisation of these powerful bodies and to ensure it does not happen again.”