CFMMEU official alleged to have threatened to grab a bat and swing it at a construction site

CFMMEU official alleged to have threatened to grab a bat and swing it at a construction site

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has commenced legal action against the CFMMEU, and three union officials, alleging contraventions of right of entry and OHS provisions at the upgrade of the Yatala South Interchange project, south of Brisbane.

The most disturbing claim is that one of the officials threatened to grab a bat from his vehicle and suggested he would swing it around the carpark of the site.

The three CFMMEU officials are Dean Rielly, Matthew Vonhoff and Margues Pare.

The ABCC has alleged, in their statement of claim, that the officials behaved unacceptably, including:

  • Upon attending the site on 25 October 2021, Mr Rielly and Mr Vonhoff repeatedly refused to complete the mandatory visitor register and site induction and present themselves to the Project Manager;

  • Mr Rielly and Mr Pare entered the site on 27 October 2021 in an unauthorised manner and again refused to comply with mandatory site safety requirements by failing to report to the site office and signing into the site register.

Of particular concern is the allegation that Mr Rielly engaged in the following conversation with site representatives on his second visit.

Mr Rielly – “You need to start by using our subcontractors. We wouldn’t have these issues if you had our guys”.

Site representative – “Who are your guys?”

Mr Rielly – You tell me who you need, and I will tell you their names. If you don’t start doing what I tell you, I will go to my car, grab my bat and start swinging it around”.

Site representative – “Are you saying you are going to hit me? Are you threatening me?”

Mr Rielly – “I never said I’m going to hit you. I might just start swinging it around the carpark”.

Site representative – “I am in the carpark, so are you still threatening me?’

Mr Rielly – “No, I would just swing it around the carpark”.

The ABCC alleges that the officials refused to follow reasonable requests to comply with health and safety directions and behaved in an improper manner, thereby contravening sections 499 and 500 of the Fair Work Act 2009.

The maximum penalty for each contravention of the FW Act is $66,600 for a body corporate and $13,320 for an individual.

Mr Rielly was previously fined $10,000 by the Federal Court and Family Court of Australia for threatening and inciting a contractor to sign a union enterprise agreement and encouraging the contractor to terminate a labour-hire contract as the company did not have a CFMMEU agreement at the Coffs Harbour Hospital Expansion project during January and March 2019.

CFMMEU official allegedly threatens to “grab my bat and start swinging it around” at the M1 Yatala South Interchange upgrade site

For questions about unions, membership, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 WAL LAW, 0417 622 178 or via email to

Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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