Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) NSW Construction Branch secretary Darren Greenfield and branch deputy Michael Greenfield have rejected police allegations that they received illegal payments from a building construction company.
They were charged with allegedly soliciting a corrupting benefit, as well as making a false declaration after attending the offices of an Australian Federal Police-NSW Police joint taskforce on September 17.
Police raided the CFMEU NSW headquarters last year, along with the Greenfields’ homes in western and southern Sydney.
CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan said the two officials have denied the allegations and will “vehemently contest the charges”. He said they had voluntarily assisted the inquiry’s taskforce and pointed to the previous failure of the same taskforce to convict union leaders of wrongdoing.
“The CFMEU Construction Division unequivocally supports Darren and Mick, and asks that like all Australians they be entitled to the presumption of innocence while the legal process takes its course”, Noonan said. “It should be noted that this police taskforce exists as an outcome of the [John Dyson] Heydon Trade Union Royal Commission and on three previous occasions charges laid against union officials after investigations by this same taskforce were withdrawn before trial.”
Noonan said the ongoing witch-hunt has damaged the reputations of innocent people “victimised for doing their jobs”. It has caused their family “unwarranted distress”. He called on the media to “not let this become a case of trial by media”, but “to allow the legal process to take its course”.
Former Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney Branch secretary Paul McAleer has posted his support for the Greenfields on social media. McAleer said on September 18 that the attacks on the Greenfields and the CFMEU leadership was “politically motivated” and “opportunist”.
He described a federal police raid on his family home, witnessed by his children. “The [police] raided my home, based on allegations of extortion related to a charity fight night where wharfies ... raised money for the children’s hospital.
“Bosses get away with paying small fines for killing workers and using gangsters to intimidate workers into subservience and compliance, and [they are] getting away with it because they are the referees of our lives. “To say the raid [on the CFMEU] was anything other than an attack on all people fighting against oppression and exploitation would be a slight on the truth.
“All working class people should support the Greenfields and the CFMEU construction & general NSW [branch] in their fight for working class justice against the ruling class.”
McAleer said the “dishonesty meted out against our union” is there for anyone interested to see. “Don’t swallow the lies of government” and “support union leaders that defend and advance the interests of the workers that rely on their democratically-elected leadership”.