The Courier-Mail

Hey­don re­turns to con­tinue hear­ings

- MATTHEW BENNS

ROYAL com­mis­sioner Dyson Hey­don was back in busi­ness yesterday look­ing into the al­leged in­tim­i­da­tion, stan­dover tac­tics, cor­rupt pay­ments and kick­backs of the con­struc­tion union in Can­berra.

The day prior, Mr Hey­don dis­missed sub­mis­sions by the unions that he should step down for agree­ing to give a le­gal ad­dress or­gan­ised by the NSW Lib­eral Party.

La­bor is vow­ing to take a pe­ti­tion to the Se­nate, when it sits next Mon­day, for Gover­nor-Gen­eral Peter Cos­grove to re­move Mr Hey­don from his role as head of the com­mis­sion in­ves­ti­gat­ing union cor­rup­tion.

But yesterday’s hear­ings put the spotlight firmly back on the unions and al­le­ga­tions of price-fix­ing and dodgy prac­tices of of­fi­cials of the Con­struc­tion Forestry Min­ing and Energy Union in the ACT.

Hear­ings in Can­berra in July led to the ar­rest of for­mer CFMEU of­fi­cial and ex-ALP branch pres­i­dent Fihi Ki­valu im­me­di­ately af­ter he ad­mit­ted to the com­mis­sion that he had taken $60,000 in bribes from a Can­berra form­work con­trac­tor. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of black­mail as the ALP sus­pended his mem­ber­ship.

Another CFMEU of­fi­cial, for­mer Can­berra Raiders rugby league player Johnny Lo­max, has also been charged with black­mail. He is ex­pected to give ev­i­dence to the com­mis­sion later this week.

CFMEU of­fi­cial An­thony Vitler was the first mem­ber of the union called be­fore the com­mis­sion af­ter Mr Hey­don dis­missed the al­le­ga­tions of bias lev­elled by the unions against him.

Mr Vitler said he had heard ru­mours “from a guy in a shed” that a union or­gan­iser might be “do­ing some­thing that is not right, might be tak­ing money”.

It was 12 months be­fore Mr Ki­valu was ar­rested, how­ever Mr Vitler said he did not re­port the al­le­ga­tions, did not know who was al­legedly tak­ing the money and the union took no ac­tion against Mr Ki­valu.

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