Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union
A public hearing of the Royal Commission is scheduled to take place on Level 5 of 55 Market Street, Sydney on Tuesday 28 October 2014.
The witness list is:
Tuesday 28 October (12.00pm – 4.00pm)
- Maria Butera
- Brian Parker
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
At 12 noon the Commission commenced its hearing.
Mr Agius made an Application to the Commissioner for reasons for his order of 23 October 2014 that a certain statement not be received into evidence. The Commissioner is now delivering the reasons.
I believe that the Commissioner has directed that his reasons for the order (which he is currently delivering to the internet) not be published.
The Commissioner has now revoked the confidentiality order on his reasons which will now be published in due course.
Maria Butera has been called and sworn.
Mr Stoljar took Ms Butera through this element of the transcript of her appearance last week, seeking her confirmation that her evidence to the Commission was complete and truthful.
Ms Butera was asked specifically about the content of her telephone call of 2.40PM on Friday, 26 July 2013.
Ms Butera now says she has no recollection of that call.
Ms Butera was asked if the following evidence was truthful evidence.
Ms Butera was referred to evidence given to the Royal Commission by former CFMEU official Brian Fitzpatrick on 15 July, 2014.
Ms Butera states that she had no conversations or communications of any kind with Ms Zanatta in relation to the unlawful leak of confidential CBUS member information to the Sydney office of the CFMEU.
The Commissioner spoke to Ms Butera to make sure she understood that Mr Stoljar was asking about any communications, text, email, phone, message at all. Ms Butera confirmed that she understood the nature of the question.
Mr Stoljar put to Ms Butera that she was actively involved in conversations with both Mr Parker and Ms Zanatta in order to coordinate the delivery of the unlawfully leaked confidential member information to Mr Parker. Ms Butera states that she had no such conversations or communications of any kind.
Mr Stoljar put quite specifically to Ms Butera that she had conversations with Ms Zanatta both to arrange the delivery to Mr Parker and to confirm that delivery had been effected. Ms Butera denied the allegation.
Mr Stoljar gave Ms Butera a document to read - I suspect a gotcha moment. Ms Butera is now reading the document.
Mr Stoljar, "I suggest to you that the evidence you have given today has been false and that you knew it to be false."
Ms Butera, "I don't remember any of this."
Mr Stoljar took Ms Butera to this record of her previous evidence:
Mr Stoljar, "I want to give you every chance to tell the Commission truthfully and fully everything that happened, do you want to take up that opportunity?"
Ms Butera, "You've heard my evidence."
Mr Stoljar, "I want to suggest to you that this is the truth, in July Mr McWhinney released information to Mr Fitzpatrick of the CFMEU, there wasn't enough detail to suit the CFMEU's purposes. On 18 July Mr Parker rang Mr Atkin and asked for detailed contact information. Ms Zanatta set about obtaining that information. On 25 July you had a conversation with Ms Zanatta about that information. Contrary to your evidence you organised the delivery of that information with Ms Zanatta. You organised that with Ms Zanatta, didn't you?"
Ms Butera, "No I didn't."
Mr Stoljar has produced a document that contains a record of the contents of Ms Zanatta's laptop, including i-messages between Ms Zanatta and Ms Butera. The contents of that document include this message from Ms Zanatta to Ms Butera, "I've made arrangements with Brian Parker's PA to drop off the information to Brian. He's expecting a call from you when you can."
Ms Butera is not taking up the opportunity to change her evidence.
At 2.43 on 26 July Ms Butera sent an i-message to Ms Zanatta, "Done. He understands completely and is committed to using the information very carefully.[or similar words to that effect]"
The Commissioner is now laying out directly to Ms Butera the truthful effect of the i-messages recorded on Ms Zanatta's laptop. He said, "I really think you should try and do yourself some justice, you have to consider your position as a witness to a body that is entitled to administer an oath to you. The time for protecting other people has ended."
Mr Stoljar, "Are you trying to protect other people?"
Ms Butera, "No."
Ms Butera contends that the package of information could have been to do with sponsorship or the "workplace data-base".
Mr Stoljar put to Ms Butera that she was involved in a remarkable situation, a situation where she had been scheming with Ms Zanatta to unlawfully deliver confidential information to Mr Parker of the CFMEU in Sydney. He stated that Ms Butera's claim that she can't remember what happened is fanciful.
The Commissioner re-read the message from Ms Zanatta, "I have made arrangements to drop off the information to Brian Parker's PA."
Ms Butera, "I can't be sure."
The Commissioner, "You're trifling with Mr Stoljar, aren't you?"
Ms Butera just can't remember.
The Commissioner is very clearly setting out the precise nature of Ms Butera's false evidence, the extent of it, the extent of her knowledge of its falseness and the difference between not remembering and denying that something happened. Ms Butera is yet to wake up to just how bad her position is.
On Monday 29 July, 2013 Ms Butera and Ms Zanatta had an i-message exchange, Mr Stoljar, "The reason that you contacted Ms Zanatta at 11.46 and 40 seconds to say 'Everything OK?' was that you wanted to know whether she had delivered the secret material to Mr Parker, that's true isn't it?"
Ms Butera, "I just wanted to make sure that she was OK."
Both the Commissioner and Mr Stoljar are doing their best to supress their incredulity.
Ms Zanatta replied to Ms Butera's i-message, "Yes all done, delivered".
Ms Butera is continuing with her earlier evidence that she had absolutely no idea that Ms Zanatta was in Sydney, that she had confidential member information or that she was delivering the confidential information to Mr Parker.
Mr Stoljar asked Ms Butera about the following message sent to her from Ms Zanatta, "Did BP call you back? MB". Ms Butera would not admit that it related to a query about Brian Parker.
The Commissioner intervened - "You are not doing yourself justice Ms Butera. You are an intelligent woman. Who do you think BP is? British Petroleum?"
Mr Stoljar pointed out that Ms Zanatta confirmed that Brian Parker did call. Ms Zanatta responded with a message to Ms Butera, "Everything is safe in his hands only."
Ms Butera will not admit that the message relates to the confidential information.
Mr Stoljar asked Ms Butera what her explanation was to explain away that exchange. Ms Butera said, "I don't have one".
Ms Butera states that she can't be sure what Ms Zanatta meant.
Ms Butera, "I didn't think he got the information from us, I thought it came from somewhere else".
Ms Butera was shown a letter from the CBUS lawyers Holding Redlich referring to the telephone calls made by CFMEU officials using the confidential information that Ms Zanatta had dropped off. He stated that the legal action and evidence of the phone calls to LisCon employees was the reason she was constantly exchanging messages with Ms Zanatta and expressing worry about whether the information was "safe in Mr Parker's hands.
Mr Stoljar took Ms Butera to this evidence given by her on 7 July 2014.
Mr Stoljar gave her every chance. Ms Butera still maintains that she was telling the truth then. He stated that she gave premeditated, false evidence, pre-planned lies to the Commission on 7 July, on 23 October and today. Ms Butera says that her evidence has been truthful.
Ms Butera says the following is truthful evidence.
The Commissioner took Ms Butera to this evidence given on 7 July 2014.
Ms Butera invented some story about speaking to Mr Parker "after the event".
Mr Stoljar, "You have told the Commission that the request he made to the CEO was being actioned, that's your evidence isn't it?"
Mr Stoljar took Ms Butera to this evidence of 23 October 2014.
Mr Stoljar referred Ms Butera to this evidence.
Ms Butera reiterated the manifestly false claim. She is compounding her troubles terribly.
Mr Stoljar referred Ms Butera to the CBUS Manual - we have referred to it previously here.
The CBUS Manual setting out the obligations of Responsible Persons (like Ms Butera) is here.
Ms Butera states that she understands her obligations under the Responsible Person provisions to act ethically and honestly.
Mr Stoljar asked Ms Butera to write down the PIN code for her mobile phone, presumably for the recovery of messages.
At 1.40 Mr Stoljar completed his examination.
Somehow Mr Morrison resisted the temptation to cross examine Ms Butera.
Ms Heath is now cross examining Ms Butera on behalf of her client LisCon.
Ms Heath quizzed Ms Butera about whether or not she routinely deletes i-messages from her phone, whether she backs up her phone to any other device and similar questions. Ms Butera states that she does, and in answer to Ms Heath's question she stated that she had "probably" deleted the i-messages between herself and Ms Zanatta.
Ms Heath asked who was Dave A "Mr Atkins the CEO" and Dave N "Probably Dave Noonan".
Ms Heath, "Do you have a work colleague who has the initials MR? Could it be Michael Ravbar?"
Ms Butera, "Possibly".
The Commissioner intervened - "Can you do better than possibly?
Ms Buter, "It's probable."
At 1.50 Ms Heath completed her cross examination. Mr Agius declined the opportunity to ask questions of Ms Butera.
Mr Stoljar has one further matter to put to Ms Butera, it relates to the timing of Mr Andrew Clark's appointment to CBUS. Ms Butera states that it was definitely 2013 that Andrew Clark joined CBUS.
Ms Butera has just given evidence that there were "suspicions" about Ms Zanatta's movements and requisitions of information by August/September 2014. She doesn't know whether anything was done about the suspicions or whether they were investigated. She really doesn't know when to shut up.
At 1.58PM Ms Butera was allowed to leave the witness box - but she has not been excused from attendance at the Commission for the day.