The transcript to today's proceedings is here:
The Commission heard no preliminaries after yesterday's apprehended bias drama, it was a decidedly pedestrian and uneventful start to the post-bias-clearance TURC.
The first witness was Clive Daish who appeared for cross-examination after first giving evidence to the TURC on 17 July 2015.
After a relatively uneventful cross-examination by Mr Agius, and no cross-examination by Mr Morison Mr Daish was excused at 10.22AM.
The next witness was the builder Donald McInnes who gave evidence in chief on 14 July 2015. He was recalled today for cross examination.
Mr Agius commenced by asking Mr McInnes whether he had been frank and truthful in his earlier oral evidence - Mr McInnes was certain he had. Always a nice way to start a friendly chat with a witness.
Mr Agius then referred to a meeting Mr McInnes made reference to in his witness statement - as Mr Agius was reading the details of the time, date and place of the meeting, the Commissioner intervened demonstrating the extraordinary memory and intellect he brings to the Bench.
THE COMMISSIONER: Could I just interrupt, Mr Agius. You
5 accurately put to Mr McInnes the proposition which is
6 recorded in type in paragraph 5 of Mr McInnes's statement.
7 That was corrected on page 91 of the transcript of 14 July
8 2015 to read:
Mr Mcinnes has given evidence to the Fair Work Building Commission recently, a 10 page statement was the result. That was produced at the TURC today and its production resulted in an adjournment while Mr Agius and the CFMEU team acquainted themselves with its content.
After the adjournment detailed and lengthy cross examination took place involving the production of reams of photographs and some video evidence. The questions were detailed and related to the photos - without which not a lot of meaning can be drawn.
Mr Agius objected to the tendering and receipt into evidence of Mr McIness's statement to the Fair Work Building Commission. He won.
At 12.23 the CFMEU organiser Anthony Vitler was called and sworn. He appears for the first time today.
Over the past couple of months Mr Vitler has prepared 5 witness statements.
He was a worker at TranGrid, an electricity company until leaving to work as a full time paid organiser at the CFMEU.
He gave evidence Fihi Kivalu was the 'lead" organiser at the ACT Branch of the CFMEU.
Mr Vitler stated that until Mr Kivalu gave evidence and was charged in relation to receiving money corruptly, he (Vitler) was not aware of any specific allegations of officials receiving money corruptly. He was aware of rumours and chit chat to that effect - he gave evidence that he brought those rumours to the attention of the organisers group but no action was ever taken.
He's not aware of any disciplinary action ever being taken against Mr Kivalu.
He was quizzed at length for most of the day by Mr Stoljar about the actions of Dean Hall, John Lomax and other CFMEU officials.
Mr Morison commenced his examination of Mr Vitler this afternoon.
Mr Agius (for the CFMEU) repeatedly objected to Mr Morison (for Mr Josifoski)'s question on the ground that they covered ground already covered by Mr Stoljar.
At 4PM the Commissioner gave a brief lecture to Mr Morison and gave him overnight to consider the form of his questions.
THE COMMISSION IS ADJOURNED UNTIL TOMORROW MORNING AT 10AM
Final observation goes to John Setka, CFMEU lingerie-tester in chief
Royal commission: Unionist denies seeking bribes
Allegations of bribery and intimidation against the militant construction union have dominated the trade union royal commission a day after Dyson Heydon rejected a union application to disqualify himself.
The royal commissioner yesterday resumed hearings with counsel assisting, Jeremy Stoljar SC, probing the conduct of a lead organiser with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union’s ACT branch, Anthony Vitler.
Tony Abbott welcomed the commission returning to “business as usual”. “Various union officials are being called. Rorts, rackets and rip-offs inside the union movement are being exposed,” the Prime Minister said.
However, Bill Shorten said the opposition would raise “matters of this shambolic and tainted royal commission” in parliament. Labor had zero tolerance for criminal and corrupt behaviour, “be it by employers or union reps in workplaces”, he said.
Mr Vitler took the witness box in Sydney and denied claims made during the commission’s Canberra hearings that he had tried to strongarm building firms into signing their workers up to union enterprise agreements.
However, he admitted hearing rumours up to a year ago that a CFMEU organiser “might be taking money”.
He said nobody had named Halafihi Kivalu, a former organiser for the ACT branch whom it was alleged had extorted at least $150,000. Mr Kivalu was arrested on blackmail charges in July.
Mr Vitler said it was standard practice to try to sign construction firms to the same terms and conditions. Signing a union agreement would help firms obtain work.
“Once they have got an agreement, we have a relationship with that company and we have regular follow-ups,” he said.