First court hearing in withdrawal ballot application

Published: 9 Jun 2021

The first court hearing for the Mining and Energy Division’s application for a member ballot to withdraw from the CFMMEU was held yesterday.
The Fair Work Commission heard arguments on the threshold issue of the relevant date of amalgamation for the ballot application.
Our legal team argued it is 2018, when the MUA and TCFUA joined to form the CFMMEU. The CFMMEU National Office legal team, who are fighting to prevent a ballot, argued we have to go back to the original amalgamation forming the CFMEU in 1992.
The Fair Work Commission’s decision on which is the relevant date will determine how our application proceeds, because under the Fair Work Act there are different rules for withdrawal if the amalgamation was within the last five years.
A decision based on today’s hearing is reserved and we will inform members as soon as we know the outcome.
General President Tony Maher said that while today’s hearing focused on technicalities around terminology, definitions and rules, the key take-out is the determination of the Construction Division to stop Mining and Energy members from having a say in their future.
“The Construction Division is using its numbers to dominate the amalgamated CFMMEU, that’s why we are seeking a pathway to independence.
“Through the legal process, the Construction Division has shown us it will throw everything at stopping a ballot from proceeding and preventing our members from voting to stay in the CFMMEU or form an independent union.
“It’s disappointing and unfortunately means that legal proceedings for our ballot application are likely to be lengthy and complicated.
“But our National Convention in March voted unanimously for a member ballot and we won’t give up until all members have had their say.
“Until then, we will keep operating independently in the interests of Mining and Energy members.”