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Click here to watch the TURC's TW-Ute-gate


Transcript from yesterday's hearing is here.

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The first witness is Ray McMillan

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Mr McMillan has given brief evidence about the conduct of certain BCOM meetings, Mr Scruby concluded his examination at 10.06AM.

The next witness is Michael John Connolly - he's been sworn, he's adopted his witness statement without amendment and it has been tendered and received into evidence.

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Mr Scruby and Mr Connolly are having a lovely chat about the relative merits of various utes.  Mr Connolly spoke about camping out in the bush a bit - sometimes on the beach.  Perhaps for the first time in this Royal Commission, Mr Scruby asked this question, "Did you tow a caravan?"

After Mr Scruby's intensive probing - we learned from Mr Connolly that all the gear in the Pilbara got there via some form of transport.

At 10.17 Mr Connolly was excused.

After some legal argument, the F350 luving Mr James McGiveron was called to the witness box at 10.22.

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Mr McGiveron swore his oath on the bible.

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Mr McGiveron agrees with Mr Scruby that he directed Mr Aslan to type up a redundancy policy, including its contents.

Mr Scruby asked Mr McGiveron if he had only come up with a particular document in the past 12 months in order to answer criticisms of the redundancy/car purchases.   Mr McGiveron answered, "For the past 12 months I've been in bits mate".   Mr Scruby did not follow up on the intriguing statement.

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Mr McGiveron was the boss of the TWU WA Branch.   He now says he had nothing to do with putting the redundancy provisions that he would benefit from together.   It must simply be a  coincidence that the unusually generous redundancy provisions that included allowances like a $9,000 meal allowance and a substantial car allowance (which was interesting given the fully maintained union vehicle, upgraded to the notorious Ford F350).   Mr McGiveron agrees that he participated in passing the resolution that approved the redundancy.   He had no idea that any resolution he passed or monies he approved would result in him obtaining a Ford F350.

He agrees that he sold the Ford F350 - he's been shown a copy of a letter he wrote to the branch after the sale. 

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In the letter Mr McGiveron states that he "wishes" to return the proceeds of the sale to the branch.   This is no doubt in the "post getting sprung" phase.  He said in the letter that "the cost was playing on his mind".   He stated that he was "humbled" that the union thought so highly of him as to gift him a vehicle, but on later consideration he thought it was a bit costly, so he sold it, and gave the money back.   Nothing at all to do with getting sprung pulling a swifty.

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When the transcript arrives, do a word check on "humbled".   Mr McGiveron has been doing a lot of  "humbling" he loves to humble.

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Mr McGiveron states that "it could happen either way" in relation to approval for the purchase of a motor car - it could be approved before or after.  Doesn't matter.   The Commissioner intervened to make sure this piece of incredible bullshit was accurately recorded by the Commissioner - and McGiveron confirmed that was precisely what he meant.   He could just go and buy a vehicle if he wanted and then get approval to purchase after purchase.   

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Mr McGiveron is in quite a bit of bother.   "I wanted the purchase of the vehicles to be on Burton's watch".   Even though he'd used TWU money to pay the deposit on the two vehicles, even though in the departure agreement he'd get to keep his TWU vehicle.   And he wanted a new one - a very expensive new one.

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McGiveron doesn't accept that he was putting his own interests ahead of the members interests when he bought the two Ford F350s.

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 The Commissioner is sadly (for Mr McGiveron) bringing logic from the real world to Mr McGiveron's bullshit story from the bullshit world.   Mr McGiveron looks very uncomfortable.   It is very sad to watch a grown man in these circumstances, he is sticking with his story, it's rather sad.

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Mr McGiveron is still streaming fantasy from his parallel universe.   He now reckons he had no idea that he would be the beneficiary of the generous redundancy scheme he had instructed Mr Aslan to type up.   He had no idea that the union might be able to get along without the "special projects officer" position he had engineered for himself as he was leaving the secretary position.   He should check out the corporate world more often - "special projects" indeed.



After the parade of two minutes witnesses, the Commissioner has just let us know that he is concerned that anyone should be flown over from Perth for a short time in the witness box.   The Commission is now hearing legal argument in relation to a witness statement and whether or not a particular witness should get on the plane in Perth or not.

Mr Scruby is now (Browne v Dunn) putting those matters which he will later allege constitute various offences to Mr McGiveron - that he knew he'd get the redundancy, that he' be the beneficiary of the redundancy program he designed, that he preferred and pursued his own interests to the detriment of the members etc.

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 Mr McGiveron has now resorted to the "I'm insulted by your question" routine.

(It was a tried and true technique of the Sydney CIB to deliver a similar sentiment to the owners of fine Chinese dineries, "thank you for that superb meal, your chef and sommelier's skills were of such high order that we couldn't possibly insult you by offering to pay".)

Mr Scruby has put to Mr McGiveron that McGiveron didn't actually do any work as "special projects officer".   "I did".   "Well where is that in your statement".   "It's not there, it's just a brief statement".

McGiveron has gone on to state that he was doing various worky things like "gearing himself up" and familiarising himself and stuff like that.   And that was work.   It was planning to do some work, but the actual work he was going to do was never put into effect because "we were expecting 6 and a half thousand jobs in Broome but they never happened".   No his fault.  But he was doing work - which he now says included "gathering information".   Probably by yarning at the pub.

Now talking about being honoured to be President of the union (refer to humbled as well).

It might be nice if this matter was put to Mr McGiveron:

Slush fund money helped fund TWU official's campaign, Ralph Blewitt tells royal commission 

Money from a secret ''slush fund'' controlled by two former officials from the Australian Workers Union was used to help fund an election campaign for an official from the Transport Workers Union, the royal commission on trade unions has heard.

Former Australian Workers Union official Ralph Blewitt, who has confessed to fraud, told the commission on Tuesday he withdrew about $5000 from the slush fund in 1994. He said he gave it to former TWU national president and WA branch secretary Jim McGiveron in a brown paper bag at a cafe in the Perth suburb of Northbridge to help fund his election campaign. Mr McGiveron has reportedly dismissed the claim as false.

He alleged he was acting under instructions from his former AWU colleague Bruce Wilson when he gave the money to a member from the Transport Workers Union in Western Australia in a Perth cafe.

The commission was told Mr Blewitt continued to control cash withdrawals from the secret fund and receive bank statements long after his resignation from the Australian Workers Union.

There is no need for the Commission to hear further evidence from Mr McGiveron - it's all set out by the TWU in this press release.

Jim McGiveron stands down as WA secretary


Jim McGiveron stands down as WA secretary

Jim McGiveron has done a mighty job for our union but he’s decided it’s time for a change of leadership After 18 successful years at the helm of the WA Branch of the Transport Workers Union Jim McGiveron will stand down as Branch Secretary on December 31.

Jim has been a full-time official of the union for 28 years after joining the union as a full-time organiser back in 1984. Prior to that he had been our convenor on BHP’s Mount Whaleback mine at Newman. Jim has done a mighty job for our union but has decided it is time for a change of leadership.

The union’s Branch Committee of Management has appointed current assistant secretary Rick Burton as Jim’s replacement. Paul Aslan will become Branch Assistant secretary.

Jim will continue in his role as the current TWU national president and will stay with the union for a period as a Special Projects Officer. His new responsibilities will include promoting and growing the TWU’s national interests in the oil and gas industry throughout Australia. His background and vast union experience will prove invaluable in this area.

When Jim McGiveron first took over the WA Branch in 1994 it was struggling financially and losing members. It is now in top financial shape and the union’s membership has grown in 16 of the 18 years he has been at the helm.

A recent audit of the Branch’s books shows we now have 10,076 fully financial members.
Strong membership density creates strength in the workplace and the Branch has also scored highly on the wages and conditions front.

Wages campaigns under Jim’s leadership have consistently delivered pay rises for members that are significantly higher than the rate of inflation.

The success of the Branch over almost two decades has come at a time when other unions have lost members.

Increasingly restrictive industrial laws such as John Howard’s Workchoices have made it a lot tougher for unions to organise and use industrial muscle to further work-related causes. Gone are the days when you could just walk off the job demanding a pay rise or the reinstatement of an unfairly sacked workmate.

These days’ huge financial penalties can be, and are, imposed on unions and workers who overstep the mark.

Soon after he became branch secretary, Jim McGiveron warned a large meeting of TWU members that the playing field was rapidly changing. And if the union was to survive we would have to adapt or die.
Throughout his leadership the union has adapted and today the WA Branch is a very well administered, modern and progressive organisation with a high priority on service to members.

As Jim McGiveron prepares to hand over the reins he can look back with pride on a record that includes many great achievements for members.

His stated aim after taking over the job in 1993 was to leave the Branch in better shape than he found it. He has certainly far exceeded that objective.



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Mr McGiveron said that he thought the F350 was a union car, bought for the union and for the use of the union.   He denied that he was going to get the car.

He said he didn't know it was purchased and registered in his own name.   Knew nothing about it.


"May I show you a document".   Counsel assisting produced the rego papers.   In McGiveron's name.  And signed by McGiveron.   Registering the car in his own personal name.

"Do you wish to give an explanation for why it's got your name on it?'

"I don't recall this document."

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"Do you accept that it was inappropriate for the vehicle to be registered in your name?"


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 Mr McGiveron is now waffling a lot.   About why he had a work car and also got a car allowance.

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At 2.30PM Mr Scruby concluded his examination of Mr McGiveron.

Mr McGiveron's counsel is now examining him.   His first best shot is the sympathy vote - how many years of service did you give to the union?

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