Con­victed union­ist on an­other as­sault charge

The West Australian - - NEWS - Sarah Martin Fed­eral Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

A youth or­gan­iser for the construction union in WA who the union said de­served a “sec­ond chance” in Perth af­ter a string of crim­i­nal con­vic­tions in­ter­state, is fac­ing a new as­sault charge.

Luke Col­lier, one of the Construction, Forestry, Min­ing and En­ergy Union’s most mil­i­tant of­fi­cials, will ap­pear in Fre­man­tle Mag­is­trate’s Court next month to plead not guilty to the charge of com­mon as­sault.

Mr Col­lier came to WA af­ter be­ing con­victed in the East­ern States of mul­ti­ple of­fences go­ing back to at least 2004, in­clud­ing theft, crim­i­nal dam­age and four charges of as­sault — one of which re­sulted in three months jail in Queens­land.

He was charged with ag­gra­vated as­sault against a for­mer girl­friend af­ter she re­ported to po­lice she had been beaten on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions, in­clud­ing suf­fer­ing a bro­ken arm. Charges were with­drawn when she failed to ap­pear in court.

Mr Col­lier is on WA’s No Per­mit list, mean­ing he is banned from work­sites, but is still one of the union’s few paid or­gan­is­ers on a salary es­ti­mated to be at least $100,000 a year.

Union in­sid­ers say that there is con­cern within the CFMEU and the Mar­itime Union about Mr Col­lier’s pro­mo­tion, par­tic­u­larly given his record of vi­o­lence against women.

One con­cerned mem­ber of the CFMEU as­sis­tant State sec­re­tary union told The Week­end West that Mr Col­lier did “not rep­re­sent union val­ues” and ques­tioned why he re­mained em­ployed in the State di­vi­sion.

“Peo­ple are ques­tion­ing how they can be spend­ing their union’s money on a bloke who can’t go on to a job and do any­thing, and ask­ing why we have in­her­ited a bloke from the east coast who has got a track record,” the in­sider said.

Mr Col­lier has also faced mul­ti­ple al­le­ga­tions from the Fair Work Build­ing and Construction Com­mis­sion, in­clud­ing that he spat on and called one of the reg­u­la­tor’s fe­male in­ves­ti­ga­tors a “f ...... slut” at a Syd­ney work­site.

It was al­leged he also asked her if she had bought her kneepads to work be­cause “you are go­ing to be suck­ing off th­ese f ...... dogs all day”. The intimidation charge on this case was dis­missed be­cause the wo­man was not in­tim­i­dated.

Mr Col­lier could not be reached for com­ment.

CFMEU as­sis­tant State sec­re­tary Cam McCul­lough said the mat­ter was be­fore the courts and the charge was un­re­lated to his union work. “As far as we are con­cerned, ev­ery­one is in­no­cent un­til proven guilty,” he said.

‘As far as we are con­cerned, ev­ery­one is in­no­cent un­til proven guilty.’

Pic­ture: Twit­ter

CFMEU or­gan­iser Luke Col­lier faces an as­sault charge.

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