The Australian Building and Construction Commission spent $710,000 on a dismissed prosecution of Construction Forestry Maritime and Mining Energy Union officials over a blockade at a Canberra dance school.
The Australian reports Freedom of Information documents reveal the ABCC spent $666,050 in legal costs on the original court proceedings and a further $44,881 on an unsuccessful appeal.
The Federal Court last week rejected the ABCC appeal of last year’s court decision dismissing their case against the CFMMEU.
In that case, the ABCC had claimed the blockade at the Dickson project was designed to pressure a builder into signing an enterprise agreement, claiming the union‘s safety concerns were manufactured.
The ABCC relied on evidence from former union organiser Fihi Kivalu, who had been arrested outside the trade union royal commission and later pleaded guilty to blackmail, avoiding jail.
The court found Kivalu’s evidence could not be relied upon.
It said Kivalu had been facing criminal charges for blackmail and entered into an arrangement with the prosecuting authorities, which included an agreement to give evidence on behalf of the ABCC.
Dave Noonan, the national secretary of the CFMMEU’s construction division, said the ABCC had wasted $710,000 on a “hopeless case which was always doomed to fail”.
The ABCC declined to respond to the criticism. On legal costs, it would only confirm that $633,498 had been spent on the case as of May last year.