Union super fund leaks information to union

Who would have thunk it?  A union controlled superannuation fund, Cbus, leaks information to the CFMEU in order for the union to intimidate the non-union workers of a construction company and damage the company.

Surely the government must now act on industry superannuation funds, in particular their privileged position as nominated default funds in Modern Awards as well as their obvious governance flaws.

Recall also that the CFMEU tried to intimidate its members to quit Cbus a while back, because the industry superannuation refused to give into the union’s demand that all investment interests in Grocon be withdrawn and no new investments be made involving the company.

Note also that the union-funded news website, New Daily, is not covering this story – suprise, surprise.  After all, CFMEU  is one of the sponsors of the site.  Unemployed editor, Bruce Guthrie, who has found a new home at the New Daily maintained that “the new online entrant is offering a quality product”.  Moreover, the sponsoring unions – CFMEU, AustralianSuper and Industry Super Holdings – were required to enter into an editorial independence compact with the staff.  No need really, because there would never been any stories run that are hostile to union superannuation funds or unions in general.

(Can someone tell me if anyone reads the New Daily.  What a dud of an investment out of superannuation members’ funds!)

Here’s the story from The SMH:

The private financial details and home addresses of hundreds of non-union workers were allegedly leaked by one of the nation’s biggest super funds to building union boss Brian Parker as part of an industrial campaign.

The allegations will be forwarded to the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Privacy Commissioner by Lis-Con, the construction company targeted by the campaign.

'The alleged breach will spark debate about unions' control of industry funds.'

A Fairfax Media investigation has obtained a leaked database with the private details of more than 400 CBUS superannuation fund members – most of whom are not union members – which was allegedly given to the NSW Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union branch secretary without the knowledge of the workers involved.

A signed statutory declaration, provided by a union whistleblower who assisted Mr Parker after he allegedly obtained the leaked information, states it was used to help formulate an industrial campaign against a company that had been fighting the CFMEU in legal cases in several states.

“State secretary Brian Parker told me that he had a contact in CBUS who could discreetly … leak him the information he asked for,” the statutory declaration says. “A short time after this, he came to my office and gave me a printed copy of the information he said was supplied to him. He said to me to keep this document secret and not tell anybody else.”

It has been confirmed the database was used by the NSW CFMEU to call the private phone numbers of South Australian, Queensland and NSW employees of construction company Lis-Con.

The NSW CFMEU branch allegedly received the information from CBUS after senior union leaders met in Sydney last year to discuss ways to attack Lis-Con. Relations between the company and the union became extremely hostile when the company’s management lodged defamation writs against the CFMEU in Queensland and Western Australia.

The union whistleblower said: “They were a company the union wanted to squash. The leaked information was intended to put enough pressure on them so the word would get out that they were not a company contractors should use.”

The construction workers were quizzed about their entitlements to get them to put pressure on the company’s management. In a small number of cases, the workers allegedly were falsely told the call was being made on behalf of CBUS.

Sources close to the workers said the unsolicited contact had deeply unsettled them and some suspected CBUS had leaked their details, which ”shocked and upset” them. A Lis-Con spokesperson said the company would refer the allegations to the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Privacy Commissioner.

Mr Parker has issued a statement denying any knowledge of the allegedly leaked database or how it arrived at the CFMEU.

The huge alleged privacy breach will spark debate about unions’ control of industry funds and raise serious questions for Mr Parker’s fellow union officials on the CBUS board.

The CBUS board is chaired by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks. Also on the board are Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney, CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan and NSW CFMEU president Rita Mallia, who works closely with Mr Parker and is now obliged as a fund director to act on the alleged leak to the CFMEU.

There is no suggestion the CBUS board knew of the leaking of the members’ details and a CBUS spokesman says the allegations will be the subject of an internal investigation.

“The sole purpose of the disclosure of any personal information [of workers] … is to ensure the payment of fund members’ superannuation entitlements,” the spokesman said. “Any disclosure made or used for purposes other than this would be of serious concern to CBUS.

“The fund has only recently become aware of the specific allegations raised. They are currently subject to investigation and review at a number of levels, including being subject to internal investigation.”

It is understood at least 80 per cent of Lis-Con’s workers whose details were leaked from CBUS are not members of the CFMEU.

Furthermore, it is understood most Lis-Con employees who had their details leaked worked outside of NSW. None consented to having their personal information provided to the union.

The whistleblower said he decided to confirm the alleged leak involving Mr Parker because he believed inappropriate conduct at the NSW CFMEU had gone unchecked by the union.

The revelations put intense pressure on Mr Parker and come after he and his union faced allegations earlier this year about its ties to alleged corrupt building company owner and organised crime figure, George Alex.

The CFMEU’s national office is already investigating allegations Mr Parker covered up a death threat made by another senior union official to a CFMEU staff member who had spoken out about the NSW branch’s support of Mr Alex’s allegedly corrupt operations.

The revelations of the alleged CBUS leak is likely to fuel concerns already held by senior federal government ministers and industry figures about the union movement’s control of industry super funds, including CBUS. It is the 11th biggest fund in Australia, manages more than $20 billion and represents almost 700,000 members.

Last year, the CFMEU’s Victorian boss John Setka revealed he and other CFMEU bosses were considering telling their members to pull billions of dollars in funds from CBUS because of the fund’s financial ties to building company Grocon, which has waged a fierce industrial war with the CFMEU.

A senior building industry executive said it was widely suspected that CBUS’ close ties to the union had led to several cases of inappropriate information sharing between the fund and the union, which is only entitled to limited information from CBUS to check on workers’ entitlements.

The information allegedly leaked to Mr Parker contains personal details that cannot be shared under Australian law.

CBUS has launched an internal inquiry into the database, which is more than 130 pages and lists 400 workers’ names, home addresses, personal emails, tax file status, personal phone numbers and monthly superannuation contributions over a six month period.

//

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57 Responses to Union super fund leaks information to union

  1. Ant

    New Daily?

    Never heard of it.

    Sure it’s not a laxative required to be administered each morning?

  2. stackja

    A Fairfax Media investigation has obtained a leaked database with the private details of more than 400 CBUS superannuation fund members – most of whom are not union members – which was allegedly given to the NSW Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union branch secretary without the knowledge of the workers involved.

    Below this is not as expected. Copy/Paste again!

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” John Acton

    Age Tapes revisited?

  3. Rabz

    Gee, that Brian Porker looks like a quiet, studious sort of chap.

  4. stackja

    Ant
    #1302465, posted on May 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm
    New Daily?
    Never heard of it.
    Sure it’s not a laxative required to be administered each morning?

    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2014/05/12/gillards-ex-lashes-photographer/

  5. Ant

    I’ve never worked out why Labor didn’t give Brucey a nice federal seat.

    He seems eminently qualified for high office.

  6. Andrew

    New Daily?

    Never heard of it.

    APRA has.

  7. Tim of Kilsyth

    Clear breach of the Privacy Act I would have thought. Throw the book at them and make an example of CBus and CMFEU . Foisted on their own petard of a piece of ALP enacted legislation.

  8. Big_Nambas

    The New Irrelevant left rag, can’t be bothered. As for the CFMEU (the new BLF) thugs and crooks, the more things change the more they stay the same.

  9. cohenite

    Gee, that Brian Porker looks like a quiet, studious sort of chap.

    Yep, just the sort of avuncular person you could have a reasonable chat about the pros and cons of being a union member.

  10. Dave Wane


    Surely the government must now act on industry superannuation funds, in particular their privileged position as nominated default funds in Modern Awards as well as their obvious governance flaws.

    Yes, in the interim, they must act. But what is a “Modern Award” exactly? The Award System does not seem in any way, shape or form to be “modern”. It is archaic, even if it has been “modernised” to take account of government-imposed superannuation.

    Obviously it is our antiquated and highly government regulated labour structure and the crazy award system that goes with it that is such a large part of the root cause of the Industry Super Fund problem, and similarly the cause of our pathetic productivity and poor competitiveness.

    Let us hope Tony Abbott and more of his wiser free-market people are working hard on some kind of serious-but-saleable labour market reform to take to the next election. Obviously some kind of “opt-in-or-opt-out” system is the way to go – where workers can do their own deal with employers if they wish. And therefore the more productive workers are potentially able to earn far more money.

    We simply cannot continue with the world’s highest wage rates, corrupt unions and union-controlled super-funds; especially when we also have amongst the world’s highest electricity and fuel prices.

  11. boy on a bike

    I’m sure the Human Rights Commission or the Privacy Commission or some other leftard sheltered workshop will be all over this in a flash.

  12. .

    This is gold. Bracks and Kearney are going down!

  13. tgs

    Very dodgy, hope heads will roll because of this.

    On another note this reminds me I really need to get around to rolling the funds out of my AustralianSuper account. I’ve been putting that off for too long.

  14. .

    Not for everyone.

    Not truly SMSF, but where I parked my funds. Going okay., beating the market.

    https://www.ingdirect.com.au/superannuation/living-super.html

  15. Petros

    Thanks once again for following this stuff, Judith. Please clarify for us laypeople, is it the federal government that must change the law so public servants can put their super into any fund they like? It’s not a state thing?

  16. mark

    On that ING super deal what are the ETFs?

    Do you have access to Vanguard, Ishares etc?

  17. Walter Plinge

    Having seen Bourkes and ACTU-Solo go down the tubes I reckon anyone who gets involved with a union financial venture needs their head read.

  18. mark

    Don’t worry, found it.

    Looks interesting, will have to run some calculations on what I’m paying now.

  19. .

    Yep. Vanguard, Magellen, Russell, iShares, gold, silver…

  20. gabrianga

    “New Daily”? Last chance saloon for Seccombe?

  21. Andrew

    LOL CBUS has made a statement on it.

  22. johninoxley

    I doubt if any memberof a union could read.

  23. Andrew

    Relevant point by Dot too – these days there’s so many platforms for self-directed investment that SMSF really isn’t about making investment selection any more. The people who want to trade their own shares, buy T/Ds, include fund managers and ETFs have a huge range both in and out of industry funds. I use an SMSF only to access investments that are WAY left field that aren’t available on existing platforms.

  24. frederic

    Andrew it looks like CBUS are somehow trying to defend this. I started my SMSF purely because Michael Williamson was one of the trustees of my industry fund, even after it was clear he should have left. You have to have some red lines in life. Am yet to roll over into it.

    I use an SMSF only to access investments that are WAY left field that aren’t available on existing platforms.

    I am buying my office to rent to my business which is useful in a number of ways. What left field are you talking?

  25. Andrew

    Fred, mine has included
    - London-listed closed end funds (I’ve bought Russian stocks, Russian mutual funds, frontier markets funds and Indian infrastructure but there’s much more exotics out there like Turkish credit funds)
    - Italian REIT
    - Leveraged note over syndicated loans
    - ASX LICs
    - microcap equity funds that aren’t on most menus
    - various wholesale hedge funds
    - CLO funds
    - BHP / RIO plcs
    - ASX-listed fixed interest

  26. .

    Crap in biscuit. You must be making some serious ROI with that gear!

    All of which makes the corrupt, criminally run Industry Super Funds utterly irrelevant.

  27. Andrew

    The levered syndicated loans (2.5x) made me about 70%. Start of buying to realisation was about 18 months. The I-REIT is +55% net of brokerage in a year. The largest hedge fund about 16% YoY. The frontier about 40% in a year or so (sold it when EM collapsed and FM was unchanged). One LIC made 60% in a month (deep discount, unwind announcement). The microcaps around 30%. The CLOs about 70% in 2 years. The plcs a quick +20% trade. The Russian stuff only low teens. The Indian shit is down a half (didn’t have a lot in that one, and have a lot less now).

  28. Andrew

    Industry funds not entirely irrelevant though. I retain 2 because they buy insurance far cheaper than I can, especially income protection. (I’m with a fund where I know the management personally and can vouch for their character.)

  29. thefrollickingmole

    I refuse to believe that super funds should be managed by people who can manipulate stock prices by calling strikes or similar actions.

    Not saying that has been happening, but FFS the potential is enormous.

  30. James B

    Lol, this shit hole gets worse every day. Now we’ve got corrupt union thugs entrenched in the management of our retirement savings.

    Just nuke this country, please.

  31. john of dandenong

    What on earth is going on in this country? Every second day there is a new story re corruption, footy, judiciary, unions, business, medicos, politicians, religious orders, etc., etc., etc.. Has it always gone on in so wide spread a manner and not been reported or is modern media making it easier to ‘spill the beans’? The Gillard/Wilson issue. What an absolute disgrace for the PM of this country to have been involved in such sleazy deals. Whilst the police busy themselves locking up Sunshine mothers with 4 kids hanging off them for shoplifting $10 of food these university educated thieves soldier on sucking on the public teat and lecture to we, the tax payers, on how we should conduct our lives.

    If a communist stood for parliament in my electorate I would vote for him/her. Reason – they are absolute pricks, make no bones about it, and therefore I know exactly what I’m voting for.

    The country cannot stand another 10 years of this deceitful, incompetent, arrogant and privileged
    baby-boomer nit-wits in positions of authority. For example, Napthine has approved the blithering, and devisive, idiot Shaw to use public money to visit USA to study abortion issues. I’m an anti-abortionist, however, publicly, this shocking issue was, in my opinion, ‘won’ by the abortionists 30 years ago. A country cannot progress if it is continually fighting lost battles of years ago. Nothing more than a baby-boomer indulgence authorised by a weak baby-boomer premier.

  32. Frederic

    Industry funds not entirely irrelevant though. I retain 2 because they buy insurance far cheaper than I can, especially income protection.

    Yeah I have had an application to increase insurance in process for around four months. It was approved by the actual insurers two months ago and no-one at the industry fund can progress it further. But yes when they approve it it will be useful

  33. cynical1

    I’ll bet that fat fuck is the World’s only punch drunk secretary…

  34. lem

    If a communist stood for parliament in my electorate I would vote for him/her. Reason – they are absolute pricks, make no bones about it, and therefore I know exactly what I’m voting for.

    A communist did stand for PM. They stuck lipstick on her and tried to airbrush her past, and let her loose to wreak havoc on the country with her marxist agenda, whilst her pretorian..er union..guard milked the taxpayer for all it was worth (refer Ludwig and his famous photo with Gillard, his trophy). And they left land mines all around ready to blow up well into the future…NDIS, Gonski, NBN. But my understanding is that the real money and the real drama is with industry superannuation. It’s enough to make you puke, when you see who’s sitting on those boards. They go bust, and the country, which thinks it has future proofed itself against old age pension dependency, is stuffed.

  35. Andrew

    For example, Napthine has approved the blithering, and devisive, idiot Shaw to use public money to visit USA to study abortion issues.

    He isn’t trying to stop abortion. He’s trying to stop some of the more disgraceful abuses of fully grown babies. If you haven’t got around to your abortion by the time it’s old enough to be shaving and dating then you’ve got to expect some questions to be asked.

  36. Dan

    Andrew- how and where do you buy the exotic stuff?

  37. john of dandenong

    lem – thanks for comment. She was not a candidate in my electorate.

    Andrew – also thanks for comment and I comprehend you reply. I was actually trying to say Shaw’s trip was a wasteful indulgence.

    cheers

  38. daggers

    Shaw speaks for thousands of people who don’t swallow the bullshit about abortion plugged ceaselessly by The Age in particular. Most politicians are intimidated. He’s not, and good on him.

  39. Johno

    The CBUS board is chaired by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks. Also on the board are Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney, CFMEU national secretary Dave Noonan

    Remember those names the next time pop up on the tele.

    The President of the ACTU is a Board member of a company that gave out private information about workers to assist a union’s industrial campaign.

    The trade unions aren’t there to help the workers, they are there to help themselves.

  40. duncanm

    (Can someone tell me if anyone reads the New Daily. What a dud of an investment out of superannuation members’ funds!)

    You misunderstand.. the New Daily $$, as was explained to me by my super fund, was from administrative fees. The members would get many benefits from this wonderful font of union propaganda.

    so its all ok then.

    I’m busy looking for a new fund.

  41. .

    This shit is right out of Atlas Shrugged.

    Rand was prophetic, not philosophical.

  42. hzhousewife

    Industry funds not entirely irrelevant though. I retain 2 because they buy insurance far cheaper than I can, especially income protection.

    Yeah I have had an application to increase insurance in process for around four months. It was approved by the actual insurers two months ago and no-one at the industry fund can progress it further. But yes when they approve it it will be useful

    Hubby and I have had claims on our insurances in the past year due to illness while running our own business. In our case Income Protection was not worthwhile but the Critical lllness part of Life Insurance was brilliant.

  43. Jessie

    Closing the Gap COAG
    Cbus may/was also used for the Aboriginal fellas that signed up for all the federal $>5.5billion pumped in for Aboriginal housing. And then the fellas, if determined by Councils to ‘work’ had to sign up for OHS training courses, and many only worked for a short time.
    National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing signed off by Rudd in 2009 with State/Territory Ministers argy-barging from 2008 in talks. 10 year funding agreement. Competitive bids processes were re-established late 2009 allowing ‘up to 25 per cent of a jurisdiction’s capital works funding to be redistributed to another jurisdiction if targets are not met.’
    A variation was signed off in 2010. But dead link at COAG.

    The housing is crap. And many worse than crap. Link to be provided to the ‘evaluation’ when this is found.

    Garnault/Fitzgerald 2002 review of Commonwealth-State funding proposed a separate jurisdiction for remote Australia for distribution of Commonwealth Grants Commission funding.
    In addition:

    Specific Purpose Payments should be packaged into three broad national programs:Health and Aged Care, Education and Training and Indigenous Community Development, with the states responsible for the first two and the Commonwealth for the third.

    And so the Land Councils and academics possibly aided by others pursued the yellow brick road of carbon under various schemes for the mostly poverty-stricken, illiterate and unknowing peoples of the collective community gulags. The scene has been set for a ‘entrepreneur’ so it seems.

  44. Dan

    Hubby and I have had claims on our insurances in the past year due to illness while running our own business. In our case Income Protection was not worthwhile but the Critical lllness part of Life Insurance was brilliant.

    Friend actually found the critical illness part of their IP policy was good, with a big cash payout (1 month wages) when they broke their leg. Self-employed.

  45. Andrew

    Andrew- how and where do you buy the exotic stuff?

    The funds – like any managed fund purchased in trustees name except need a sophisticated investor cert for most.

    The rest – Comsec International (Pershing) account.

  46. .

    Fark, I looked at their US/Shanghai/Taipei brokerage once at it was $80 a trade or something (Comm Suck).

  47. Andrew

    I was actually trying to say Shaw’s trip was a wasteful indulgence.

    More so than Combet’s study tour with his g/f just before retiring, or Windbag’s month in Spain learning how we can be more like them?

  48. Crossie

    As for the CFMEU (the new BLF) thugs and crooks, the more things change the more they stay the same.

    CMFEU should suffer the same fate as the vile BLF.

  49. Crossie

    It’s enough to make you puke, when you see who’s sitting on those boards. They go bust, and the country, which thinks it has future proofed itself against old age pension dependency, is stuffed.

    Abbott and Hockey are so exercised about the retirement age when the security of the super funds should interest them much more.

  50. johanna

    Very sound point, Crossie. For a start, the billions siphoned off the top in “management fees” would go a considerable way towards giving members better retirement incomes.

  51. Paul

    Our Mr Parker looks like he’d be baffled by a spreadsheet, what with all those numbers and things.

  52. Combine_Dave

    Abbott and Hockey are so exercised about the retirement age when the security of the super funds should interest them much more

    What changes could be made here?

    My suggestion would be to ensure all boards members on superfunds are ‘fit and proper persons’ thus excluding a large portion of unionists, and NSW Lib-Lab politicians.

    It seems criminal the way superfunds monies are invested in renewables and infrastructure projects with dodgy ROI.

  53. Andrew

    Boards do already have fit and proper rules, as do mgt, consultants, actuaries etc. unfortunately they don’t define SLFs as automatically unfit and improper.

  54. johanna

    It’s not just the boards, Andrew. The union funds are packed with highly paid executive “mates” whose generous salaries and minimal contribution to members’ welfare is just another sinecure. What’s more, as we find in this case, it provides an avenue for improper behaviour in unions’ interests which the Board can claim to have no knowledge of.

  55. srr

    He isn’t trying to stop abortion. He’s trying to stop some of the more disgraceful abuses of fully grown babies. If you haven’t got around to your abortion by the time it’s old enough to be shaving and dating then you’ve got to expect some questions to be asked.

    Yes, like how many Union Super Funds and Self Managed Super Investments by Unionists, are being pumped into IVF, Eugenics, Abortion and Killing other unwanted most vulnerable human beings (‘euthanasia’), Industries.

  56. George of Adelaide

    What about all the severence schemes unions are on the board of, portable long service leave schemes, income protection schemes (how much do unions get) etc that have the potential for lists to be provided to the unions

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