The head of the construction union embroiled in corruption
claims says bikies could be working within his organisation,
but there's nothing he can do about it.
A joint ABC-Fairfax Media investigation claims union
officials are making corrupt deals to help companies linked
to organised crime secure construction contracts.
Bikies are also alleged to have been called in help secure
Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)
national secretary Dave Noonan says there are about 100,000
members in his union.
"Some of them will inevitably be members of motorcycle clubs,
and some of those clubs may be, if you like, outlaw
motorcycle clubs," he told the Nine Network.
He said the union will sack anyone who has acted corruptly,
but can't fire someone just for being a bikie.
"The union does not have the ability or indeed the desire to
interrogate everybody about their associations," he said.
The latest revelations about alleged bribery and corruption
in the trade union movement has bolstered calls for a royal
commission and the return of the Australian Building and
Construction Commission (ABCC).
Victoria's desalination plant and Sydney's Barangaroo South
development are among a number of projects with which
companies connected to major crime figures are reportedly
Mr Noonan, however, stressed that the police are best placed
to investigate such claims.
"I think that the proper place to test the truth of
allegations is through a full police investigation and a
court process," he said.
He noted that past allegations made by the ABCC a few years
ago proved to be false after court proceedings.
He has also found no basis for recent claims of corruption on
the Barangaroo site.
"I have been unable to find any evidence," he said.
Former CFMEU official Brian Fitzpatrick also told ABC's 7.30
on Tuesday that he received a death threat from another union
organiser for raising concerns about union corruption.
But Mr Noonan said both the union and police investigated
that allegation and found it couldn't be substantiated.
"I would urge everybody to treat his words last night with
great caution," he said.
ACTU President Ged Kearney said she's 100 per cent confident
in Mr Noonan's leadership.
"They are handling this very well," she told Fairfax Radio.
"These are sensational allegations that haven't been proven."