Heydon resumes probe of militant CFMEU

Dyson Heydon, a day after dismissing attempts to have him relinquish his post at the helm of the royal commission into trade union corruption, has resumed hearing allegations of intimidation and price fixing on the part of the CFMEU.

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The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union was one of a number of unions that had made an application for the former High Court judge to stand down as commissioner over perceived bias after his acceptance of an invitation to speak at a Liberal Party function.

Mr Heydon on Monday afternoon took just five minutes to deliver a comprehensive rejection of claims of bias brought by the unions, ruling there was no “rational basis” for concluding apprehended bias.

On Tuesday, the commission resumed hearing evidence in relation to the CFMEU’s ACT branch, including allegations of corrupt payments, standover and intimidation tactics, and the apparent establishment and promotion of cartels for key trades.

When previously raised in hearings in Canberra, the allegations lead to charges being laid against a number of union officials.

At least seven CFMEU officials are listed to appear this week, including ACT branch secretary Dean Hall.

The ACTU on Tuesday told AAP it was still considering its legal options after Monday’s decision by Mr Heydon to reject calls for him to disqualify himself as commissioner.

The unions had argued Mr Heydon’s acceptance of an invitation to speak at the Sir Garfield Barwick Address – a Liberal Party fundraiser – from which he subsequently withdrew, gave at least a perception of political bias.

Mr Heydon has said he was not aware the function was a fundraiser.