Having only recently been given the all-clear over a heavily-scrutinised $75,000 payment while at the CEPU, former Unions Tasmania secretary and political aspirant Kevin Harkins will face a Federal Court judge next month as the ABCC pursues him over "abusive" entry breaches.
Over four scheduled days before Justice Richard Tracey – who in a 2016 case related to the 2008 'redundancy' payout said it "may well be correct" Harkins wasn't entitled to it (see Related Article) – the now-CFMEU organiser will need to fend off allegations he and fellow official Richard Hassett contravened entry rights during a confrontation at Hobart's $21.8 million Elwick Road Project in late 2016.
The ABCC alleges that, upon being told by site management that they needed to follow Fair Work Act provisions, Harkins said "words to the effect: 'You know we don't do that'".
"My boss is bigger than your boss," Harkins allegedly continued.
"This is a bullshit law and why would we comply with it?
"We can get around it.
"We can be a pain in the arse.
"You are stupid. . . look at all the trouble you have caused this job now, you dickhead."
According to the ABCC, Hassett backed up his colleague with a similar tirade, calling a site manager "a fuckin' incompetent cunt" before warning "you don't want to get on the bad list".
In commencing the case last year, then-acting ABCC Commissioner Cathy Cato said it was "unacceptable for people on worksites to be subjected to abusive or aggressive behaviour".
A "pugilist": RuddIn February, the Registered Organisations Commission decided not to lay charges against former CEPU officials Harkins and Nicole Wells after concluding its investigation into a total of $125,000 in payouts (see Related Article).
Harkins told Workplace Express no redundancy payment was ever made or received and that he "only received legal employee entitlements".
In 2007, Harkins withdrew as the Labor candidate for a Tasmanian Federal seat after controversy over alleged involvement in earlier unlawful industrial action.
He was then in 2010 blocked by the ALP national executive as a Labor Senate candidate after his candidacy was opposed by then Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who in parliament described him as a "pugilist" with "Buckley's" chance of winning preselection (see Related Article).
Harkins was subsequently elected as the ETU's Tasmanian branch secretary before becoming secretary of Unions Tasmania in 2010, where he remained until 2014.
The ABCC case is set down for hearing between June 5 and 8.
The maximum penalty for each breach of the Fair Work Act in this case is $54,000 for bodies corporate and $10,800 for individuals.