Public hearings into Defence Force mental health underway in Canberra
TURC hearing into CFMEU officials and their apparent destruction of evidence subject to TURC's Notices to Produce

TURC CFMEU Brisbane corruption hearing underway - former union chief David Hanna in the witness box


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At 10AM The Commission's session began.

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Mr Hanna was quizzed about his various property holdings and bank borrowings in the lead up to commencing works on his Cornubia property.

He said he was not particularly concerned as to whether he held or had access to sufficient capital to complete the house, he states there was an existing farm house and sheds on the property at the time.

He told the Commission the merger of the BLF and the CFMEU triggered payments to him of various entitlements including long service leave and the like and those funds were available for the construction works at Cornubia.

He delivered his story in relation to the initial meeting with Mr Moore at Southbank.  It was identical in the details that corroborated Mr Moore's account of the meeting, uncannily, almost collusively so.  He had a slight mis-step in the initial element of the meeting at SouthBank, Hanna stated first up that he passed by Moore, then corrected his "recollection" to say Moore passed by him while he (Hanna) was seated at a coffee shop.   He then arranged to meet with Moore at Moore's office  - he had in his mind the need for a meeting for the purpose of obtaining a price on windows.   He described a brief meeting in which he said he wanted a quote for windows, he added that he subsequently paid for the windows, he didn't say to whom.

Ms McNaughton gave Mr Hanna a series of questions that were pretty simple and sensible - whey did you need a meeting just to get a quote etc, subsequent questions elicited Hanna's answer that he met with Moore personally because he wanted to give him the plans for the property.

Ms McNaughton, "Why did you want to give him the plans?"

Hanna, "Because I wanted to."

The above exchange was repeated at least 6 times.   It was excruciating.

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Ms McNaughton pressed the series of questions about whether there was another reason for the meeting, i.e. that Hanna wanted to sound out Mirvac to attempt to have Mirvac pay for the building costs.   Hanna said that was not the case.  Quite sternly.   Ms McNaughton commented on the "stern look" Mr Hanna was giving her.

Hanna now says, "I took the plans with me to show him the layout of the house and I ended up leaving them there."

Hanna said, "I had one copy of the plans with me and I left it with Mr Moore."

He states that Mr McAllum's involvement was not discussed with Mr Moore, just the window prices.   And maybe an interior designer too.

He states that McAllum subsequently rang him out of the blue to volunteer assistance to Mr Hanna.  Hanna told the Commission that at no time did he ever ask for Mirvac or any other party, other than himself, to pay for the works.

He states that he said to McAllum, "As long as I get invoices for the work done" he (Hanna) was happy to accept Mr McAllum's out of the blue and unsolicited offer of help in getting the Hanna house built.

He states that he ended up not getting invoices from the plumber and the electrician and others too.   Ms McNaughton pointed out that the electrician in particular was a personal friend of Mr Hannas, "Why didn't you just go to your mate and say, hey, where's my bill mate?"

Hanna stated that in the normal course of building a house you don't pay until the house is completed.   He must have a lot of mates in the construction caper.   He said he was surprised not to get invoices for the work.   But not surprised enough to email Mr McAllum about the bills or quotes but "I'm not big on emails, I'm a verbal person".

He has been caught out a little bit, he said initially that he was waiting until the house was completed, then later said that he was following up McAllum during 2013 to ask for the invoices.

Ms McNaughton, "What did you say to Mr McAllum?"

Hanna, "I don't recall."

Eventually Mr Hanna did recall that he said, "Mate I've got to get my finances sorted, can you get those invoices to me""

Hanna said McAllum told him, "I'll get back to you".   But he never did.   To this day.  Except for giving evidence to the Royal Commission that the intention was for the trades to absorb the costs themselves.   That apparently came as a huge shock to the beneficiary Dave Hanna.

Ms McNaughton, "Did you really call Mr McAllum about the bills?"

Hanna, "Yes I did."

McNaughton, "How many times?"

Hanna, "I don't recall".

McNaughton, "More than once"

Hanna, "I don't recall".

McNaughton, "Did you call him about the work that was being done, the trades that he was directing?"

Hanna, "Yes I did do that".

In answer to Ms McNaughton's observation that as the chief of the BLF it could be seen to "look bad" if Hanna received about $100.000 in work on his house for which there was never any bills, Mr Hanna said, "No.  It's not my problem if people don't send me bills".

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Mr Hanna can't explain how a simple meeting with Mr Moore about quotes for windows morphed into a dedicated project manager (McAllum) ringing him up out of the blue with this act of magnanimity in offering both his project management services and the services of a range of tradespeople.   In the case of the electrician a tradesman who was coincidentally Mr Hanna's mate.   He just can't explain it.

As it turns out Mr Hanna isn't always just a verbal person either who doesn't do emails.   Ms McNaughton pulled out at least one email Hanna sent to Mr McAllum on a Sunday afternoon directing Matt McAllum to get in touch with Shane (Dalby the builder) about the windows.

"How did you get Mr McAllum's email address at Mirvac?"

"I don't recall".

 Ms McNaughton then referred Mr Hanna to another email in which McAllum clearly was running the Hanna house project.   Hanna just can't explain how that arrangement came to be.

Hanna admits that he personally typed the emails in question.   He still claims that he has no idea as to how McAllum came to be involved as his project manager.   Must be ESP.

The ""I'm not big on emails, I'm a verbal person" statement from Hanna is now getting a bit of a flogging with Ms McNaughton conjuring email after email from and to the not-big-on-emails Mr Hanna.   One of them was from McAllum in which McAllum said that he would take on the job (unsolicited) of arranging for ducted vacuum cleaning quotes, installation and the invoices/quotes would be "put on your file for payment' or similar words to similar effect.   But Mr Hanna never queried why all this help was being volunteered, how much time Mr McAllum was putting in to the Hanna house or how much his services might eventually cost.

Ms McNaughton couldn't resist one more try, "How did it come to be that Mr McAllum would send you an unsolicited email in which he volunteers to get ducted vacuuming systems quoted for and installed at your house?"

Hanna, "I don't recall."

Ms McNaughton, "If you compose all of those emails, why didn't you send a single email asking how much anything would cost?"

Hanna's Counsel perceived in  that question.   The Commissioner didn't, but Ms McNaughton changed the form of the question to this zinger, "You say you were continuously chasing up and asking  for invoices during 2013, you've written all these emails about other arrangements, why didn't you mention anything about the money side of things?"

Hanna went back to the "I'm a phone(y was tempting) sort of guy."

Hanna is on another planet, he just said in answer to Ms McNaughton's observation that $10K was not an unreasonable amount for air conditioning units to cover a big house like the Hanna mansion, "it's not that big!"

Even though the invoice for the AC units is for supply of the equipment only, Mr Hanna has conjured the belief that the supply only invoice should have morally included the labour, wiring and other elements of the costs of installation.

When Mr McAllum left Mirvac, Hanna agrees that he made no effort to keep in touch with Mr McAllum.   He states, however, that he didn't think Mirvac had anything to do with the work getting done on his house, nor did he think Mirvac had any role in paying for McAllum's time.   He agrees that he didn't know all of the tradespeople who worked on his property, who did?   Mirvac.   He states that he didn't try to find out who did all the work either, even though he was desperate to pay the tradies.

He's put the earnest-honest-guy glasses on now.

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While I'm typing away and moderating comments with just the audio to refer to it's hard going to listen to the litany of lies.   But watching it is a different story altogether - it's almost mesmerising to watch Hanna's performance, the body language, the contempt for Ms McNaughton, the head-shaking, facial expressions and contrived efforts at expressing surprise at seeing emails he wrote himself.

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Ms McNaughton referred to a Mirvac employee who in email correspondence made clear that he would be providing or supervising certain works/services for and at the Cornubia Hanna house.

Ms McNaughton, 'Why would he do that?"

Hanna "Because he wanted to".

Repeat 3 or 4 times - honestly, hard to believe but that's what this grown up man Hanna said to the Commission.  He then changed his "Because he wanted to" to "Because I'm a good bloke and he's a good bloke".

Ms McNaughton said, "Do you think it has anything to do with you being the head then of the BLF?"

Hanna still can't see that as a possibility.

Ms McNaughton, "Why did Mr McAllum come up with these cement renderers, why did he select them and contract manage them to completion on your behalf?"

Hanna, "Because he's a good bloke".

Mr Hanna said that he knew Dave Mullan the tiler "from the industry".   He states that he spoke to Mr Mullan several times about the bill for the tiling.   He states Mullan said, "yeah mate, I'll send it to you, I'll get onto it".

Ms McNaughton, "He really said that to you did he?"

Hanna, "Yes."

"How many times did you ask him?"

"I can't recall etc.   Ms McNaughton dwelled on the conversations with Mr Mullan for a while.   Hanna can have no self-respect.  He is able to sit in front of the Commission, Commissioner, media, cameras and us and conduct himself like a 3 year old child whose face is covered with the remnants of a packet of hundreds and thousands while he denies involvement in the disappearance of the contents.   I can't resist this video. 

Mr Hanna states that Mr McAllum was a huge help, a wealth of information, an incredible boost to the quality of the construction in his Cornubia house.   He states he had numerous, perhaps innumerable conversations with Mr McAllum about the progress of the house.   But he never brought up money, not once, in all those conversations.   Nothing about bills for McAllum's time, nothing about bills for the work he'd arranged, nothing about the hundreds and thousands all over his face - it is that juvenile watching this toddler in man's clothing in the witness box.

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We're now at page 1,001 of the pages of Exhibits - it's an email from Mr Pearson (a BLF organiser0 who writes to Mr Hanna's project manager at Mirvac Matt McAllum - the email gives permission for Mirvac to have its workers work on an upcoming RDO rather than have the day off.   There was a house to be built after all, stuff the workers and their RDOs, bludgers, Dave Hanna had interior design thematic tonal imaging consultancy design proposals to peruse.

He now says that he said to Dave Mullan, "Just put Di's bill in with yours mate" in relation to the interior design person Di Graham.   But he didn't really follow it up.   And he didn't follow up with his mate the electrician whether or not he got paid, even though his mate the electrician had to invoice another electrician company which was the approved contractor for the Pad Two project and while Dave wanted his mate to get the work on Dave's house, he never once checked whether the mate got his money through the convoluted process.   One thing Dave knew for sure, Dave didn't pay.

When you distil this apparently cloak and dagger dodgy deal down to its essence, Dave has the complete picture for you.  It all happened because Dave is a "good bloke" and the people who did the work for free are "good blokes" too.

A little before 11.30 Ms McNaughton apparently decided it was futile to persist in seeking the truth from Mr Hanna.   Never mind the truth, even common sense, remote plausibility or answers remotely consistent with the written records of the time would have done.  But they never came.

Tellingly, no party wanted to waste further time on cross examination of Mr Hanna.   Even his own Counsel had nothing to say.

Just before the morning tea adjournment The Commissioner advised Mr Hanna that he could leave the witness box but would not be excused from further attendance on the Commission's Summons, the Commissioner mentioned there was a further matter pending before the Commission in which Mr Hanna's personal recollections, inventions and sundry fables might be called for.

Mr Hanna responded to this news by swigging noisily from a bottle of water.

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Ms McNaughton called the next witness, Jenny Hanna.

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After 5 minutes I can't help but feel for Ms Hanna.   Ms McNaughton came straight to the point of the proceedings with her first question.

"You know why are here.  What did you know about the arrangements for the construction of your house at Corubia?"

Ms Hanna said she didn't know much, she wasn't involved in much - just the kitchen, and the bathroom, and the fittings, the front door, the carpets, the colours - but not much else.

Dave handled all the finances, Ms Hanna wasn't involved in the money side at all.

As to the process involved in turning the Hanna-dream into the physical construction of a house - Ms Hanna states that the Hannas engaged Mr Dalby "and things just progressed from there".

Ms Hanna recalls meeting with the interior design consultant at Mirvac - she recalls meeting with the head of construction for the entire Mirvac company Mr Adam Moore at Mirvac.  She thinks David set the meeting up but she's not sure.

Ms Hanna explicitly denied having any knowledge of any request being put to Mirvac for the provision of free works at the Hanna house.

Ms Hanna states that her husband Dave told her that there were several contractors who had failed to render invoices in respect of works done at their home.   She told the Commission that Dave regularly said he was following them up to make sure the Hanna household got the bills in order to pay them.

Ms Hanna recalls that she signed papers from the bank for the provision of a $150,000 facility towards the end of 2013 which was approved and she believes paid to the account of the Hannas for the purpose of paying the subcontractors but she's to sure what happened to the money.

Ms Hanna states in answer to questions about her knowledge of Mr McAllum's involvement in the construction of their home, "One day he was just there".

"He was there to manage the tradesmen and subcontractors".

Ms McNaughton, "Were you aware that you had engaged a project manager to supervise the overall construction of your house?"

Ms Hanna, "Not officially, no".

"Were you surprised that Mr McAllum was out at your house?"


"Why not?"

"I just wasn't".

Ms Hanna states that she had no idea that Mr McAllum worked for Mirvac.   She didn't know the terms of his retainer as her project manager for her home.   She didn't really know that much about the scope of Mirvac's operations.

Then when Ms McNaughton brought to Ms Hanna's attention the fact that substantial email exchanges are recorded between her and Mr McAllum, Ms Hanna became very vague, finding relief and refuge in the apparently comforting and possibly rehearsed phrase "I don't recall".

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Ms Hanna can't recall any conversations about her house with the builder Shane Dalby.   She recalls seeing him a lot with the kids at school and the like - but nothing about engaging Mr Dalby.

Ms McNaughton had Ms Hanna shown a copy of the contract she signed with Mr Dalby the builder, "Does this assist your recollection?  ls that your signature on the second page there, have you seen this document before?"

Ms Hanna states she must have seen the document, that it was her signature on the contract but she can't recall anything about it, even now as she appears before the Commissions having been advised for some time that she'd be summonsed and served with all the relevant evidentiary documents.

Ms Hanna can't recall an emailing about her home with her email address and Mr Moore of Mirvac's addresses in the header.

kooka said:

Brings back memories of Ms Gillard not knowing how much her renovations cost, except of course, she did remember paying for them herself,all by herself. There are many similarities between Ms Gillard and Ms Hanna,one is that the money source was never a problem. Gee, how lucky are these women to have Union men as their partners!
Ms Hanna volunteered that she purchased the light fittings for their house, using her credit card to settle the bill. In answer to follow up questions Ms Hanna stated that she "would have' told Dave about the fact that she had paid for the light fittings.   She stated that she made sure that the things she ordered were paid for.  Ms McNaughton brought up the interior design services from Ms Graham, "Did you arrange to pay Ms Graham?"   "No".
Nor did she discuss with her husband how Ms Graham was to be paid.   Likewise Mr Mullan the tiler.   Ms Hanna states that she made no efforts to find out how they would be paid, nor how much they would cost, nor did she discuss whether her husband Dave had attended to the matter of payment for those bills.
Implausibility stacked upon improbability with a coating of impossibility.  Ms Hanna paid for some things on her credit card but didn't tell Dave, ever, what she'd paid for and what she hadn't.   Never asked him if the designer had been paid, likewise the tiler, never made enquiries about the disposition of the apparently borrowed money from the bank in which she was a co-borrower.
Ms McNaughton, "Did you not make enquiries about payments because you knew you were going to get, or you wanted to get free stuff from Mirvac".
Ms Hanna has no doubt about the answer to that question, rapid fire, definitive staccato delivery of "Absolutely not!" followed with an air of injury that so insulting a proposition might have been put to her.
Ms Hanna said she thought the bill from Daikin Air and attendant email correspondence that referred to the supply only of air conditioning units, including a request that Ms Hanna nominate a time and date for the delivery to site of the units included installation.   She forwarded the email chain to her husband and he sent it to Mr McAllum, arrangements then followed for the installations.  But that didn't refresh Ms Hanna's memory, she still says she paid for the installation and McAllum.Mirvac didn't.
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I don't know how Ms McNaughton SC maintains her composure.
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Ms Hanna states that she did not at any time make any enquiries about how much or how in any case Mr McAllum was to be paid.   Never.   Occasionally Ms McNaughton asks common sense questions like, "It was your house being built, didn't you ever wonder about the role of this person who was attended at your house regularly and directing the construction project?"

One has to stifle a shudder in anticipation of the answer, but nothing can stop or alter it,  it comes like clockwork in all its dissembling glory, "No".

"Did you compose this email to Matt?"  "Yes, I must have, it's from my email address."

"And you typed in [email protected]?"

"I must have."

"And that didn't alert you to the involvement of Mirvac in the construction of your home?"

"No, I didn't get involved in any of the finances, Dave did that."

McNaughton, "Except in those cases where you did get involved" like the instances that show an attention to detail from Ms Hanna which one would expect from the expectant owner of a putative dream home.

Faced with the choice of defending the indefensible or acknowledging the undeniable Ms Hanna consciously chooses the former.   She sits there, looks her inquisitors in the eye and bullshits her brains out.   It's tragic to watch her.

Ms Hanna leans down towards the correspondence Ms McNaughton asks her to comment on - as if by affecting a countenance of concentrated effort towards the paper, the words on the pages might animate and reform in a way that lends her unwise corroboration of the Union Chief's fantasy some support.   She seems frustrated when the records refuse to change themselves to suit her unlikely story of wanton incompetence in those financial matters that were settled by Mirvac while simultaneously maintaining a normal ability to manage the details of those transactions - like the light fittings - for which she paid herself.

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Poor Ms McNaughton just had another go, at 12.50PM, her demeanour changed, her tone of voice changed, she seemed to be willing Ms Hanna to save herself, "Did you ever discuss Mr McAllum's role with your husband at all?"

Alas, she might just as well have asked if Ms Hanna ever asked her husband if he'd ordered the delivery to their home of sufficient aviation gas to power a 747 flight to London, "No, (why on earth would I ask my husband something like that)?"

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At 12.56 Ms Hanna was excused.

Ms McNaughton informed the Commission that as a result of its enquiries and the evidence heard during the Cornubia Hanna house case study, Mr Vieusseux of Mirvac has been called to give evidence.   He is overseas and not available until October which is when he is expected to answer his Summons.  We came to a similar conclusion in relation to MR VIEUSSEUX on Friday night.

With that exception the Cornubia Hanna House case study's public hearing is now complete.

The Commission will move to examine allegations that Commonwealth Offences (presumably against the Royal Commissions Act) involving the destruction of evidence by persons associated with the CFMEU may have been committed around the time the Commission issued Notices to Produce to that entity.


Here are the witnesses for the next few days

The list of witnesses (in alphabetical order) that will be called to give evidence between 21 and 24 September 2015 is below:

  • Hollie Bradshaw 
  • Leanne Butkus 
  • Michelle Clare 
  • Jacqueline Collie 
  • Brian Humphrey 
  • Jessica Kanofski 
  • Danica Leutton
  • Paula Masters 
  • Kath Nettleton 
  • Michael Ravbar
  • Cherie Shaw 
  • Megan Shulze 
  • Leo Skourdoumbis 
  • Bob Williams 
  • Nicholas Williams 
  • Katrina Wright