Royal Commission tensions continue between the CFMEU and the AFP

Nic Crowther
Thu 03 Dec

Despite the previous Prime Minister now watching from the sidelines, fallout from the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption continues. While plenty will contest the actual premise of the commission and politicization of the process, there an be no doubt that some of the outcomes have been explosive.

This week, Canberra was back on the front page with a determination from the ACT Supreme Court that the AFP had breached legal requirements when searching the CFMEU’s Canberra offices in August. As part of the decision, Justice Richard Refshauge stated that the magistrate who granted the search order had not been fully-informed of the nature and purpose of the raids, and therefore the AFP was required to return thousands of pages of documents to the union.



It’s all rather technical – especially since the warrant was technically an extension of one previously gained. Police were at the union headquarters for 13 hours and it appeared likely that they wouldn’t get what they wanted before the order expired. It is this second warrant that has been challenged by the CFMEU.

The union is certainly embracing the opportunity to put the boot into the Royal Commission, with CFMEU Branch Secretary, Dean Hall commenting, “What we see in this case is a clear politicisation of the Australian Federal Police. That such substantial resources were devoted to this raid smacks of overkill for purely political purposes.”



"This is solely about people overstepping, and unfortunately it's about the good name of the federal police being dragged through the mud in a politicised way by the Liberal government in attack on unions and workers in this country.
“I think the community should be concerned that the police are being tied up to further the anti-union agenda that is the legacy of Tony Abbott, when there are more pressing, serious crimes that need their attention.”

The Commissioner, Dyson Heydon, is due to hand down his final report on 31 December 2015.