Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Parker [2021] FCA 704 (28 June 2021)

The Federal Court of Australia has ordered the CFMMEU and an official to pay $90,000 in penalties after directing workers to stop work on the Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project in 2019 due to alleged safety concerns, including that a first aid bed was “too high”.

In finding that the conduct constituted unlawful industrial action, the Court noted the officer’s lack of remorse and the CFMMEU’s long history of prior offending against industrial legislation. The Court likened the Union’s actions to the boy who cried wolf, and that such cries can lead to demands for safety measures being ignored even when they may be fully justified and need to be instantly responded to.