by Ewin Hannan
11 June 2015
Australian Financial Review
A second senior employee with superannuation fund Cbus has been sacked for leaking private information of fund members to the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.
Senior counsel assisting the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, Sarah McNaughton, said on Wednesday that Maria Butera’s position as a Cbus manager has been terminated. It follows the sacking of Lisa Zanatta who, with the knowledge of Ms Butera, hand-delivered the private information to the CFMEU.
A Cbus spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that Ms Butera and Ms Zanatta has been sacked for breaching the fund’s code of conduct.
The leaking of the information was designed to assist the CFMEU, which has been involved in an aggressive national campaign against Lis-Con Concrete Constructions, over the company’s allegedly late superannuation payments to Cbus.
The commission’s interim report found the then CFMEU’s NSW secretary, Brian Parker, requested Ms Butera and Ms Zanatta to “act improperly” by handing over the personal details of Lis-Con employees so that the union could contact the workers and encourage them to harass the company over unpaid entitlements
The commission found that Ms Butera and Ms Zanatta embarked on “a covert exercise to obtain the information and deliver it to Mr Parker, knowing that what they were doing was improper”. The information was given by Mr Parker to a CFMEU organiser who rang Lis-Con employees in 2013 pretending to be a Cbus representative.
The interim report concluded that Ms Zanatta, Ms Butera and Mr Parker each gave false evidence to the commission about their involvement.
After Ms Zanatta’s “entirely fictitious account” of a trip she made to Sydney to hand documents to the CFMEU was exposed, she admitted she had committed perjury to protect Mr Parker and others.
Appearing before the commission on Wednesday, Cbus chief executive David Atkin acknowledged that he had concerns about whether Ms Zanatta had leaked information to Mr Parker, but initially accepted her denials.
Mr Atkin told the commission last year it had been “completely surprising” to him to find that Ms Zanatta had admitted delivering records of Lis-Con employees to the CFMEU.
Under cross-examination, he acknowledged that at the time he gave the evidence he had seen phone records showing calls between Ms Zanatta and Mr Parker, as well as the record of her flight to Sydney.
Mr Atkin said he had concerns but they had been “responded to in a very confident and clear way back to us, and it was incomprehensible to us that we would have two senior managers that were prepared to put themselves at risk and to lie to a royal commission”.
“We thought that it was incomprehensible, unbelievable, just unfathomable that we would have two of our senior managers that would lie to us, to our lawyers, to their peers, to the royal commission,” he said. “We accepted that they were telling us the truth.”
Mr Atkin was quizzed about a 14-minute telephone call he had with Dave Noonan, the national secretary of the CFMEU’s construction division, prior to the forwarding of an email relating to Lis-Con by Mr Noonan to him. Mr Atkin said he had no memory of the conversation.
Original article here