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The dreadful lawlessness exposed by Dyson Heydon

In late 2014 Dyson Heydon sent requests to various police forces to form a multi-state law-enforcement taskforce to investigate suspected ties between organised crime and union officials.

Fairfax media reported that:

“federal and state police, as well as tax office personnel, have been asked to contribute to the taskforce, which could have as many as 35 members. The taskforce will cross state borders but be under the direction of the royal commission. Mark Ney, a former Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner, is expected to be in overall command of the unit.”

They are called Taskforce Heracles (that paragon of masculinity).

In December 2015, Prime Minister Turnbull issued a media release:

“The Royal Commission has revealed allegations involving multiple examples of bribery, extortion and blackmail in the nation’s construction industry.

Taskforce Heracles – the existing Federal and State Police Taskforce attached to the Royal Commission – will be funded to continue its work investigating referrals and to ensure the very serious criminal allegations that have been identified are dealt with.

A specialised Interim Working Group of regulators will be established to deal with civil referrals made by the Royal Commission. This working group will include the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Crime Commission, ASIC and the ACCC.”

With an ongoing commitment to devoting these sort of resources to union corruption there must be some serious shit going down – Dyson Heydon told us so ages ago.

In his interim report released in August 2015, Heydon listed four arrests.

Halafihi Kivalu, a former CFMEU official in the ACT, has pled guilty to two charges of blackmailing formwork subcontractor Elias Taleb.

In one case he asked for money (possibly $50,000) to be paid to assure Mr Taleb would get a contract, indicating that, if he didn’t pay, a competitor would and the work would go to them. From one side that does sound like blackmail. But, from the other, it also sounds a lot like a bribe.

The second instance involved a CFMEU shut down at Mr Taleb’s development. When questioned about the shutdown, Kivalu is said to have replied; “Don’t worry, we’ll sort it out.”

He called Mr Taleb later and, according to court documents, said “Look I sorted it, but you are going to have to give me some money, let’s do the deal.”

Mr Taleb then paid Kivalu $20,000, according to a police statement of facts.

The next person arrested had nothing to do with unions. Tuungafasi Manase was an employee of Mr Taleb’s.

Mr Taleb gave the commission a note – allegedly written by Manase – that contained a list of alleged bribes paid to Mr Kivalu. But Manase, while giving evidence before commissioner Dyson Heydon, denied being the author.

Manase was later arrested and charged with perjury.

The third person named for prosecution was CFMEU organiser Justin Steele.

The complaint, made by a developer, was that Mr Steele had assaulted the developer while attempting to enter a Brisbane construction site to investigate complaints on matters relating to safety.

Mr Steele was taking photographs of unsafe practices on the South Brisbane site when the developer stopped him from entering, demanding he give up his phone. Mr Steele walked away, with the developer following him. An argument followed. The incident was recorded by both sides, with the footage showing the developer striking at the defendant, but providing no support for the claim that Mr Steele assaulted the developer.

This matter was first referred for mediation in June 2015. The developer cancelled the mediation and the matter was listed for trial. Following extensive preparation for trial, in December 2015 the developer agreed to mediation again which was set to take place in February, only for the developer to cancel again.

On 23 March 2016 the Queensland police dropped all charges against Mr Steele; police prosecution offered no evidence upon the common assault and associated charges.

Luke Tiley, Principal at Hall Payne Lawyers, said he is not surprised that the TURC police taskforce was unable to persist with the charges against the organiser.

“This is another example of inappropriate use of police resources to regulate the conduct of industrial relations. It is the second time in as many months that the TURC police taskforce has had to discontinue charges against officials of our client, the Queensland Branch of the Construction Division of the CFMEU”, he said.

The fourth person arrested and referred for prosecution for blackmail was CFMEU official John Lomax.

The charge stemmed from evidence at the commission, where it was alleged that Mr Lomax blackmailed a Canberra painting company and its principal into signing a union enterprise bargaining agreement.

The business owner alleged the EBA forced him to pay much higher wages to workers, $26 an hour instead of $17.

In October last year, the DPP formally dropped the charges. Mr Lomax is now considering a malicious prosecution lawsuit.

If, after devoting all the resources of a Royal Commission and a dedicated multi-state police taskforce for two years, a specialised Interim Working Group of regulators from the ATO, ACC, ASIC and the ACCC, and hundreds of millions of dollars, that is the worst corruption and criminality they can come up with, then I fail to see why we are going to an election based on this drivel.

As I pointed out in my last article, corruption in business, tax avoidance, bribes, and questionable political donations go unpunished.

People like Malcolm Turnbull with FAI and Arthur Sinodinis with AWH settle out of court. Michael Lawler resigns to avoid scrutiny. Reports from ICAC and FWA are withheld. And Kathy Jackson continues on her merry way hiding her assets – well the financial ones at least.


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  1. keerti

    I am waiting for the announcement of enquiries into business corruption in Australia….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

  2. Steve Laing -

    Unfortunately the commission had two objectives. The first, public one, was to highlight corruption in the union movement. Clearly, with the benefit of time, this has clearly failed. The second, private one, was to smear both the current Labor leader, and previous Labor leaders, and by association, the whole union movement and Labor party. And on this count it has succeeded admirably.

    Yet I’ve read many Labor supporters suggest that Bill shouldn’t do the same to the LNP if/when he gets into power, which I find astonishing. Bill could almost guarantee getting elected just by making a federal ICAC, and Royal Commissions into the Banking Industry, and party funding, a priority! The electorate are heartily sick of it.

  3. kerri

    “Manase was later arrested and charged with perjury.”
    And Sinodinos walks free???
    And Sinodinos is the tip of the iceberg!
    And Canberra claims the polity is fairly honest while the NSW ICAC proves Libs in state power were more bent than Uri Geller’s cutlery.
    And where did most of the current crop and Abbott’s buddies mostly come from????

  4. Sir ScotchMistery

    I agree Steve. In fact to save money we could call it the ABCC still. All Businesses Corruption Commission. Unions are businesses let’s face it.

    They will have to fund it however, unlike Queensland where they hamstring the CCC by not funding it.

  5. Clean livin

    Maybe another commission instigated by The next Labor PM may sort this out, along with the Slipper affair, and numerous others!

    Now there is a point, an RC into an RC instigated by an RC!

    Whilst the Labor Party would typically avoid many such commissions, (as they don’t know the outcome), a RC into attempting to bring down a government would seem relatively safe!

    It would be a delicious irony to see a Politician behind bars, and the electorate may start having faith in our pollies, but I doubt it.

  6. Jack Russell

    Bill and team have a LOT of dismantling to do but, from what I can gather, it seems they’ve got their act (and a much needed set of priorities) together. If there are some knocks for them to take on the chin as well, then I’m sure they are well aware that now is the time to bite that bullet in order to deliver good, ethical government to the Australian people. I hope…

  7. Terry2

    I wonder, Kaye, if you submitted this piece of research in the form of a letter to the Editor at the Australian whether they would publish it ?

    Not holding my breath !

  8. Kaye Lee


    By the time I finish an article I have read so much stuff, I am so angry, that I spit it out at you guys and then try to move on. I rely on others to pass on things they find worthwhile. It;s like doing a tapestry – the doing is fun but you sure don’t want to hang it on your wall by the time you have completed it.

  9. diannaart

    As stated by other AIMers, unless the ABCC’s commission is broadened to include all industry and by relation, unions – can we revise reasons for DD’s being declared? Could Labor get on board with that?

    The current proposal, as so clearly scrutinised by Kaye Lee, is so weak as to mock any idea that Turnbull is in power for the advancement of all Australia.

  10. Kaye Lee

    “It was the day before Easter in Drake, a sleepy village in northern NSW, when the peace was interrupted by a helicopter depositing Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on a sporting field behind the popular local pub, the Lunatic Hotel.

    Drake is just a 40-minute drive from Mr Joyce’s second electorate office in Tenterfield but his office insists a helicopter was the best option to avoid a four-hour drive from his home base in Tamworth. It was his second chopper ride to the village in less than a year.

    The latest Drake visit, which will cost the public almost $4000, happened two days after the Turnbull government released a long-awaited review into parliamentary entitlements sparked by the “choppergate” scandal that engulfed former speaker Bronwyn Bishop and sent Tony Abbott’s prime ministership into a final nosedive.

    The review called for clear guidelines so the “use of charter transport must constitute value for money, and in particular that, in the absence of compelling reasons, helicopters cannot be chartered to cover short distances”.

    During the three-hour visit he launched a Telstra mobile tower – first announced in June 2015 – and visited the school, a local blueberry farm and inspected a bridge in need of an upgrade.

    At $136,000, Mr Joyce’s charter air travel bill for the current term of Parliament is second only to Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion. The VIP air travel of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is not recorded as entitlements.

    Mr Windsor spent $10,488 on charter travel during his last three years in Parliament, according to entitlements records.
    Liberal MP Tony Pasin, whose South Australian seat of Barker is almost exactly the same size as New England, has spent $13,000 on charter flights this term while Andrew Broad, whose Victorian seat of Mallee is larger than both, has spent $10,374.”

  11. Dave

    But, Kaye, didn’t I see Nodding Nellie Cash ranting (and nodding) about more than a thousand charges involving more than a hundred union officials resulting from the b/s TURC! Wouldn’t be telling fibs would she?

  12. David

    Kaye Lee I usually do forward anything I believe will attract the attention of the appropriate shadow Minister and to ALP HO. I usually never get a response. No prob, not expected they are busy men and women however it doesn’t deter me so I have sent this link to Mark Dreyfus and Brendan O’Connor who are close to the appropriate fields being discussed.
    Great investigative work as usual, thanks

  13. mark

    An article of substance,thanks.mark

  14. lawrencewinder

    Lucid article… this mongrel ruling rabble has to be brought to its knees, and soon!
    I first saw the chopper flight of Barnyard on FB and assumed it a piece of fictional satire…. oh, dear I’d forgotten that this lots interpretation of Orwell’s ’84 is to replicate Kafka.

  15. Jexpat

    Speaking of icebergs and tips, I’m looking forward to seeing some of our leading “business” and legal figures on the initial list of 800 in the Panama Papers.

  16. ImagiNation

    Speaking of dreadful lawlessness, the speculation that the Panama Papers were a calculated release intent to further demonise Putin (and others) and punishment for Iceland’s ex-PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson for daring to put banksters in prison (the only country in the world to do so) for crimes resulting from the GFC just gained credibility. Just two days after Gunnlaugsson was forced to step down as PM, the three banksters from the defunct Iceland bank Kaupthing are to be released today, serving just one year of their five year sentences. Just proves who’s really in control of the world and shows how the so far unreleased papers will be used for blackmail, manipulation and control.
    Don’t you just love it…

  17. ImagiNation

    Iceland update –
    The newly enacted legislation in Iceland on maximum sentences for criminal activity was passed yesterday. George Soros strikes again…

  18. paul walter

    Glen Lazarua has suggested there be an ICAC set up to investigate all forms of corruption instead of just fixating on those crumbs at the bottom of the food chain involving ordinary workers imitating their bosses just to keep a roof over their heads.

    He put his case well at a Press Club function, yet even the usually awake Xenophon couldn’t grasp this idea, let alone the sour Murdoch hacks cavilling away in the murky depths of the hall.

    Only take a stroke of the pen, he’d support it!

    The silence was deafening..

  19. Sir ScotchMistery

    Maybe another commission instigated by The next Labor PM may sort this out, along with the Slipper affair, and numerous others!

    Now there is a point, an RC into an RC instigated by an RC!

    Close but no pomegranate Cleanlivin.

    How about an RC into an RC conducted by an RSole.

  20. Lee

    “Yet I’ve read many Labor supporters suggest that Bill shouldn’t do the same to the LNP if/when he gets into power, which I find astonishing. Bill could almost guarantee getting elected just by making a federal ICAC, and Royal Commissions into the Banking Industry, and party funding, a priority! The electorate are heartily sick of it.”

    @Steve Laing
    Bill doesn’t want a federal ICAC either.

  21. Kaye Lee

    Bill has announced an RC into banking. If they just would stop defunding ASIC and the ATO etc and made the penalties fit the crime we would be well on the way. We certainly need some oversight over our politicians.

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