Another failed charge from Trade Union Royal Commission Police Taskforce

Published: 8 Feb 2016

The CFMEU has welcomed a decision by the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions not to pursue charges against Queensland official, Andrew Sutherland over an industrial issue from three years ago. The union also renewed calls for the Government to stop wasting police resources over purely industrial matters.

The charge that was laid by the Trade Union Royal Commission Police in mid 2015 related to an incident in November 2012 that was dealt with at the time by the Fair Work Building Commission. The Commission decided not to pursue the matter. The union was informed by the Commonwealth DPP this week that the prosecution against Mr Sutherland will be discontinued.

National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said there is a blatant abuse of taxpayers' money when they are footing the bill for the police to further the Government's ideological agenda.

"This is another example of wasting police time and resources. The Fair Work Building Commission saw there was nothing in it back in 2012 and didn't pursue it. No new evidence was presented to prompt the charges last year," he said.

Mr Noonan said there were striking similarities between the actions of the police in this case and those made against ACT CFMEU official Johnny Lomax.

"In both cases, it was obvious from the outset that there were very spurious grounds for the charges laid and little chance of success.

"These actions seem to be designed to create a storm of negative publicity for the union without amounting to anything.

"It should be a concern to the community that the Turnbutll Government is directing the police to pursue matters which are nothing but attacks on workers and unions.

"Taxpayers need to ask if their money is being well spent. The Royal Commission cost the community in excess of $60 million. Federal Police officers were employed to raid offices in Queensland and the ACT after the union complied with every single notice to produce.

"We respect the important work of the police in protecting the community.

"But at a time when the world is on heightened terror alert and we require protection from drug dealers and organised crime, it is a disgrace that scarce police resources are being used in this highly political way."