The Federal Court’s Justice White has penalised the CFMEU and 10 of its current and former officials a total of $205,100 for illegal activity on four Adelaide construction sites, describing their behavior as “coordinated and strategic” and the CFMEU’s record in the courts as “dismal”.
The penalty includes $5000 for CFMEU organiser John Perkovic, who tried to physically intimidate a Government employee, including calling the Government employee a “f**king piece of sh*t”, at the Ibis Hotel construction site.
The Court found Mr Perkovic’s conduct as “particularly egregious”, with Mr Perkovic found to have “instigated the incident and engaged in sustained intimidatory and abusive conduct…”. Importantly, in relation to Mr Perkovic’s conduct, the court said:
“In the criminal sentencing context, assaults against members of the police force and others involved in law enforcement are regarded as serious criminal offences warranting severe penalties. The Courts recognise that they should do what they can to protect those who, like police officers, are engaged in the protection of the community itself…In my opinion, similar considerations should inform the fixing of penalty in relation to conduct in contravention of Section 500 of the Fair Work Act which is directed at a FWBI (Fair Work Building Industry) Inspector.”
Master Builders fully endorses this view. It is high time the CFMEU was held fully to account for its continued contempt for both the rule of law and those tasked with enforcing it. This should also include accountability for any cynical (ab)use of safety to justify such thuggery.
No one is above the law. An organisation that continues to consciously and flagrantly breach the Fair Work Act 2009 should lose the privileges afforded to them under that legislation.
Master Builders strongly supports the FWBC in its efforts to hold the CFMEU to account for its unlawful actions and calls upon the cross-bench senators to pass the legislation necessary to reinstate the ABCC, in order to better equip the regulator in its pursuit of this objective.