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Qld union official blows whistle on widespread corruption

Qld’s CFMEU is under siege after a former senior union official publicly came forward yesterday with serious allegations concerning widespread corruption, vote-rigging, cover-ups and bullying in Qld’s resources and mining sector.

Stuart Vaccaneo, a former executive senior vice-president of the Qld branch of the CFMEU spoke to The Australian about his decision to blow the whistle on senior union officials after more than 30 years battling big mine companies and organising strikes, including the long-running picket at Gordonstone Mine near Emerald in Central Queensland in the 1990s.

“It is my firm intention that the CFMEU will be investigated along with the Australian Workers Union and the Health Services Union by the royal commission because the only way the organisation is going to be cleaned up is for someone to have a very hard look and force these people to answer questions,” Mr Vaccaneo told The Australian.

“There have been elections for full-time officials that have been run corruptly, the results overturned, positions then remain unfilled.

“There are threats through the email system to ‘get jobs done’ on members who have queried (officials). I expect they will now threaten me for breaching confidentiality, but all of this should be in the public domain.

“There are elements in there who are nothing but a mob of standover merchants.”

Mr Vaccaneo alleged bullying and harassment perpetrated by very senior union figures led to him having a nervous breakdown.

The Australian article says “(Vaccaneo) said a union boss who gave wrong advice that led to 23 members being suspended and disciplined over alcohol and drug testing at a mine was backed by the union’s hierarchy, who wanted to conceal the error rather than face the embarrassment of admitting they had been in error.”

“Mr Vaccaneo said one of the union’s officials subsequently and wrongfully shut down all coal operations in Queensland by BHP Billiton-owned BMA, exposing the union to legal action and disastrous consequences of potential damages amounting to millions of dollars.”

In response to the allegations, CFMEU senior vice-president Mitch Hughes told The Australian that he looks forward to having the case heard.

“I know the case will be heard because we see the allegations as baseless,” Hughes said.

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