Full Federal Court rejects “factually confused” evidence in latest ABCC fail

Published: 12 Apr 2022

The conduct of the ABCC and its use of conflicting and inconsistent evidence has again been criticised by the Federal Court in an appeal won by the CFMEU yesterday.

The CFMEU successfully appealed an earlier decision against the union after one of its officials was accused of making physical contact with a manager on a construction site on the Monash Freeway in south-east Melbourne in 2017.

The Court ruled that the inconsistencies in the evidence against the official could not be logically reconciled and questioned the credibility of the witness accounts against the union, noting that the manager who claimed he'd been pushed by the official failed to make any record of that happening at the time. 

The court criticised the ABCC's conduct of the case:

[89] On our review of the evidence, we conclude that the Commissioner prosecuted a factually confused case.

The evidence was not sufficient to establish a contravention of the FW Act, there being no single cohesive account of what in fact occurred.

Quotes from Dave Noonan, CFMEU National Construction & General Division Secretary

“Once again, we have the Federal Court rejecting claims made by the ABCC long after the damage has been done to the reputation of the union and its officials.”

“This continues a long pattern of behaviour where the ABCC files proceedings and immediately goes to the media with lurid and sensational claims that are eventually walked back at trial or dismissed by the courts.”

“It is not how a responsible and unbiased regulator behaves.”

“The Federal Court has been increasingly critical of the conduct of the ABCC and has called out the agency’s misuse of media releases to publish bogus claims against the union and its officials.”

“The ABCC is a corrupted and rogue agency which has the powers of a Royal Commission to pursue workers and unions in service to the Coalition and their property developer donors.”

“It has no place in a modern construction industry and must be abolished.”