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CFMEU Dave Hanna convicted over corrupt secret commissions from building company

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A Brisbane District Court jury handed down the guilty verdict for former CFMEU Queensland senior vice-president David Arthur Hanna, 55, but found his co-accused, former Mirvac project manager Mathew Jason McAllum, not guilty.

The court had heard Mirvac's sub-contractors were told to bill work like concreting, bricklaying, plastering, tiling and interior design at Hanna's Cornubia house to a large shopping centre development using false invoices.

Mirvac is a large-scale property developer, with projects across Australia.

The court heard the charge stemmed from $290,000 worth of building works done between February and November 2013, after a family friend of Hanna's built part of the 480-square metre home.

The court heard a second former Mirvac executive, Queensland commercial construction boss, Adam Moore, was also involved in the scheme but has since died.

Decisions related to construction activities at a cost level equivalent to Hanna's home would have been handled by Mr Moore, the trial was told.

Mirvac's general manager of project design and construction, Jason Vieusseux, said during the trial Mr Moore was also responsible for the management of Mirvac's interaction with unions in Queensland.

Hanna will be sentenced next Friday.

ENDS

Here's the CFMEU's response.

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The CFMEU and other unions have quite selective morality on matters like this.

John Setka seems to fit in quite nicely with a charge sheet running to 60 odd entries.

And there's no union or Labor appetite to get to.the bottom of Bruce Wilson's secret commissions deal with Thiess Contractors - In fact it's the opposite with aggressive coverups and attempts to defeat any enquiry.

Dave Hanna was no rogue, lone wolf operating outside the CFMEU's gaze.  He was the senior guy, right in the heart of deal-making between Labor, Unions and the multi-billion $$$ construction industry.

Dave Hanna was the CFMEU Queensland President.

He also rose to be the Vice President of the Queensland branch of the Labor Party - pictured here with the Queensland Premier.

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The road to Hanna's conviction commenced with police and the Trade Union Royal Commission.

(The TURC had no difficulty believing Mirvac was contributing to.Hanna's house.  Shame it didn't apply the same open-mindedness and due diligence to Thiess's contribution to Julia Gillard's building program.)

Here are some of our reports of Hanna and friends appearances at the TURC.

CFMEU Brisbane Corruption hearing at the TURC now underway

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Mr McAllum remains in the witness box.

After yesterday's elicitation of further expansive answers from Mr McAllum by Mr Stewart Counsel for Mr Moore, Ms McNaughton tendered into evidence Mr McAllum's interview with the police and the audio of that interview.

Ms McNaughton followed up this morning with a few questions - "Mr McAllum did you give a full and frank account of your involvement with the Cornubia house to the police".

McAllum "No".

McNaughton, "And were you protecting others by not talking about their involvement?"

McAllum, "Yes".

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McAllum admits he lied to the police about the extent of his involvement in the Cornubia house.

He has been asked to examine a number of documents and transcripts in this very effective cross examination.   

Implausibly, Mr McAllum states that spoke with Mr Moore and was told "there was a house that needed work" he adds "Mr Hanna was to pay for some of the work" and various trades were to pay for other elements.

Mr Stewart, "there was no mention of how much the Hannas were to pay?"

"No".

Mr Stewart, "There was no mention of how much time you could spend on the project?"

"No".

Reader Jack adds this extract from yesterday afternoon's session:

Jack said:

This was the quote of the day:
 
 
Q. Can you help us by giving us an estimate of the value of the work that the Hannas got for free at the Cornubia house, just approximately?
A. It'd have to be in the area of $150,000.
Q. Had you ever heard of anyone getting favours to that extent before April 2013?
A. I've heard of people having their whole houses built.
 
page 105 in Transcript www.tradeunionroyalcommission.gov.au/Hearings/DocumentsThirdQuarter/Transcripts/Transcript-17-September-2015.pdf
 
At 10.30 Mr Stewart acting for Mr Moore formerly of Mirvac) finalised his examination.
 
Mr McAllum was then cross examined by Counsel for (Mr Hanna?) who asked how long he had known Mr Moore formerly of Mirvac.
 
Question, "How well did you know Mr Moore?"
 
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Mr McAllum became very emotional.
 
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There was a long pause in which he apparently was choked up and unable to answer.
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The Commissioner offered a 5 minute adjournment for Mr McAllum to compose himself - the offer was accepted on the nod of Mr McAllum's head.
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When the Commission resumed Mr McAllum explained that he'd known Mr Moore since he started work as a Cadet with Mirvac.  Mr Moore was his mentor.  In answer to questions from Counsel for HANNA he answered that everything he did concerning the Cornubia house was done at the direction of Mr Moore.
 
At 10.44 the cross examination was completed.
 
Ms McNaughton has a few questions in follow up.
 
The Australian reported on yesterday's proceedings here:
 

CFMEU boss David Hanna got $150k worth of work free, Heydon told

  • THE AUSTRALIAN
  • SEPTEMBER 18, 2015 12:00

Former union official Dave Hanna at the trade union royal commission hearing in Brisbane.

 

Former Labor powerbroker and construction union heavyweight David Hanna has quit the party after revelations in the trade union commission this week that construction giant Mirvac helped pay for $150,000 of free work on his luxury home. 

 

Queensland ALP state secret ary Evan Moorhouse confirmed to The Australian last night that Mr Hanna had resigned from the party after he was asked to show cause why he should not be stripped of his membership.

Premier Annastacia Palasz czuk told the state parliament yesterday that Labor had begun disciplinary action against the one-time boss of the small but powerful Old Guard faction, whose members have included Peter Beattie and Kevin Rudd. State Treasurer Curtis Pitt is another member.

It is understood Mr Hanna, who is expected to give evidence before the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption today, said he was making the decision in the best interests of the labour movement.

His wife, Jenny, has also been called to give evidence today.

In the commission yesterday, former Mirvac project manager Mathew McAllum estimated the company and its contractors had paid for about $150,000 worth of work — including wiring, tiling and air-conditioning — on Mr Hanna’s house in Cornubia, in Brisbane’s south, in 2013.

Mirvac footed the bill for about $70,000 worth of the work, while contractors — mostly involved in Mirvac’s Orion shopping centre project in Brisbane’s south — absorbed the rest. It was “general practice” for Mirvac to disguise the costs of everything from union donations to “favours” through invoices , Mr McCallum said.

 

At 1055 Mr McAllum was excused.

The next witness is Adam Moore.

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Ms McNaughton's first few questions elicited this evidence from Mr Moore in summary:

  • Mr Moore started with Mirvac around 1996, he parted company with Mirvac on good terms in 2013
  • He first heard about the Cornubia house from David Hanna whom he knew from the BLF
  • Mr Hanna had a chance meeting with Mr Moore at Brisbane's Southbank in April 2013
  • Mr Hanna asked for a meeting with Mr Moore where the house was first brought up

Mr Moore states that "in the majority of cases" Mirvac's projects had BLF workers employed under the terms of a BLF EBA.  He first knew Mr Hanna as an organiser involved with those EBAs.

Prior to 2011 Mr Moore and Mr Hanna were involved in negotiating new EBAs.  In 2011/12 Mr Moore and Mr Hanna were jointly involved in rebuilding a house burnt down in a family tragedy where 11 people were killed.  Mr Hanna came to Mr Moore's office, Hanna in his role representing the BLF. Mr Moore was Construction Director in Queensland for Mirvac at the time - early in 2012 responsibilities for Western Australia were added to his responsibilities.

Mr Moore checked with the CEO of Mirvac Queensland who spoke in turn with the overall Mirvac CEO.   After approval for the project Mirvac put a site manager on site, bought materials and assisted in supplying skills and labour in building the house.   The project took around 12 weeks.

Mr Hanna and Mr Moore conferred during the project and appeared at two ceremonies involving media.

After completion of that house in 2012 Mr Moore met with Mr Hanna at "boxing events" or "mates in construction" involving the BLF/CFMEU.  

Ms McNaughton, "Do you know how your tickets were covered for those events?"

Moore, "Yes I do, subcontractors would buy tables or Mirvac would buy tables.   After May 2013 that changed.   Under our old CEO if we wanted to attend we would buy the table directly.   In May 2013 the Mirvac policy changed and we were no longer permitted to buy tables."  After further questions he stated the policy was changed in 2012.

He now states that after the policy change the Mirvac practice was to "get the subcontractor to buy the table and invoice Mirvac for it".   He knew those invoices were false.  He states that a Jason Vieusseux the National Construction Manager made a "direction" that Mirvac would get subcontractors to pay for tables.

Moore states that Mr Vieusseux told Moore that "we were to get subcontractors to pay and then we'd pay their invoices but we had to make sure the invoices didn't say it was for union events, because we couldn't be seen to be paying money to unions".

He's singing like a canary.   He states the Mirvac Chairman questioned a payment from Mirvac to a charity event that turned out to be associated with the CFMEU - it turned out the event was prior to the policy change.

He states that after Federal and Victorian Government scrutiny there was a focus from the Mirvac Chairman on rooting out the practice of paying money to unions.   The reaction of Mirvac management was to find a way to conceal the payments by asking subcontractors to submit false invoices.   

Moore, "There was no issue with us attending union events, it was just that Mirvac couldn't be seen to be paying for it."

Ms McNaughton, "In your discussion with Mr Vieusseux  was there any discussion about concealing the payments>"

Moore, "Yes."

McNaughton, "From who?   Conceal it from whom?"

Moore, "From the public."

Jason Vieusseux was National Construction Manager and Moore's boss.

Mirvac wanted to move from  a CFMEU EBA based relationship with its workers to a non-EBA relationship.   He states that the company's profitability was significantly affected by the costs associated with EBAs.

He states non-EBA companies would not attend union functions.   Mirvac, a public company did not want to be seen to be supporting the union.   Mirvac did not succeed in becoming a non-EBA company.

He states that a non-EBA costing on the Pad one and Pad Two projects showed a 12% cost advantage over the EBA cost plan.

Mirvac wanted to go ahead with the non-EBA approach and did so "on a particular project".   The BLF attended and said, "You've got non-union workers, non-EBA workers on the project".

AT 1130 THE COMMISSION ADJOURNED FOR 10 MINUTES

At 1140 THE COMMISSION RESUMED

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Mr Moore states that the BLF organiser Mr Pearson approached Mirvac to express concerns about the Pad One and Pad Two sites because of the presence of non-EBA sub-contractors on site.

Separately Mr Moore was walking with friends at Southbank, Brisbane around that time.  He walked past a coffee shop where Mr Hanna was seated, Hanna called him over and asked for a meeting with Moore who agreed. 

Hanna attended at the arranged time, signed in and was taken to Mr Moore's office by Mirvac staff.

Hanna said he was impressed with Mirvac fittings and finishes and said he thought Mirvac had done a great job on the house built for the family that suffered the tragic fire.   He was building a house himself and he wanted contact with a Mirvac interior designer as he was "no good with colours himself".

Mr Moore said he knew of Di Graham, Mr Mullan's wife who had specified certain finishes for several apartments that her partner the tiling contractor Mr Mullan bought.

Mr Hanna also asked for assistance with sourcing windows for the house and asked for Mr Moore to assist with obtaining a price for Mr Hanna to procure windows.

Ms McNaughton expressed incredulity at the proposition that Mr Hanna would attend, in person for a meeting with the State Construction Director of Mirvac for so minor a request, i.e. a contact for an interior designer and a quote for windows.   Mr Moore states that he asked Mr Hanna to forward the plans for the house which he did.

Moore states as a result he went to see Matt McAllum with the plans and contact details for Di Graham, he states that he asked Mr McAllum to get in touch with contractors beyond the windows and interior design.   He can't recall why he asked Matt to get in touch with contractors.

Moore said he didn't want to deal with the Hanna matter, he was too busy.  As McNaughton said, the head of the BLF in Queensland comes to the head of Mirvac in person to ask for an interior designer's contact details and window prices - and that's all?

Mr Moore says now that the fact that Mr Hanna was the head of the BLF "probably" had something to do with Mr Moore telling Mr McAllum to "look after him".

Mr Moore states that he reported the Hanna meeting to his superior Mr Vieusseux on 17 April 2013.

Ms McNaughton asked him how he could be so sure of the date.   He reached down, grabbed what appeared to be a diary with a zip-up cover and loudly unzipped it.

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I would have expected the Commission to have issued Mr Moore with A NOTICE TO PRODUCE any documents related to this matter, it seems strange he'd have this new information still in his possession.

Moore states that he reported contact with unions to his superior Mr Vieusseux by phone rather than in writing.   Why?   "Because that's what I did".

Retract singing like a canary - insert starting to fray at the edges.

Mr Moore offered the dubious proposition that he spoke to Mr McAllum only once about the Hanna house.   Ms McNaughton thought it risible and said so, she noted Mr Moore was "looking at her sternly as he spoke.

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The normally impassive commissioner apparently thought so too.

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AFTER THE LUNCHEON BREAK

Ms McNaughton completed her examination.

I lost internet connectivity for a frustratingly long period until 2.48PM.

Mr Agius had only one question in cross examination.

Mr Glynn asked for a 10 minute recess to prepare his questions which was granted.

At about 3PM Mr Glynn's cross examination commenced.

Mr Glynn's line of questioning relates to Mr Moore's proposition that Mirvac staff were permitted to attend union functions and were told to have sub-contractors submit false invoices to recover payments made on behalf of Mirvac staff for their attendance.

Mr Moore strongly defended his position that Visseux told him to arrange for payments in that fashion.

Mr Glynn put to Mr Moore that his evidence stating that Mirvac wanted to establish a non-EBA construction company was false.   Mr Moore stood by his evidence.

At 3.33PM Mr Glynn completed his cross examination.

Mr Stewart had a few questions for his client.

At 3.36 Mr Moore was excused.

The next witness is Dave Hanna.

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After Mr Hanna was sworn the Commissioner made certain confidentiality orders in relation to children and other details.

Ms McNaughton questioned Mr Hanna about the history of his employment, starting at a fruit market, working in construction then the unions, rising to the Secretary of the BLF in Queensland and his appointment as the national president of the CFMEU after the 2014 BLF/CFMEU merger.   We learn the BLF looked after the non-trades in construction and the CFMEU the trades.

In 2011 Mr Hanna purchased the Cornubia property.   At the time he sold his own previous residential property and a second investment property he owned.   That left some excess of funds after the Cornubia purchase.   He can't recall how much excess funds/redraw ability on his mortgage facility.

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Mr Hanna determined to build a new house on the Cornubia property.

He decided to engage Mr Dalby as his builder.   He gave "some drawings" to Mr Dalby in order for Mr Dalby got provide a price.   He gave no budgetary indications to Mr Dalby, rather he used the draftsman recommended by Mr Dalby to draw up his plans for Dalby to quote on.   He did not give any budgetary indication to the draftsman either.   He gave the draftsman a "wish list" for his house and Mr Dalby gave him a price to construct that wish-list-dream-home.

Hanna was shown an April 2012 bob-cat excavation invoice.  He states that had nothing to do with the new house, rather it was related to removal of leaking water tanks and placement of gravel for car parking.

He was shown bank statements including a home loan repayment of $11,000 and a $12,000 payment marked as "Bob Cat" which Hanna states was for the purchase of a back-hoe

Mr Hanna stated that he had no idea about how much the construction of his house would cost.   He stated "I didn't believe it would cost over a million dollars".

AT 4PM THE COMMISSION ADJOURNED UNTIL 10AM MONDAY 

MR HANNA ROSE DISPLAYING HIS UNTUCKED SHIRT

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