Liberal Party donor’s company faces WorkSafe prosecution after worker’s death


Mr Hanssen’s company has been prosecuted multiple times under workplace laws for refusing entry to the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union’s safety inspectors.

Labor MPs called for Mr Hanssen to be removed from the Liberal Party in July, a move dismissed at the time by the government as an attempt to distract from the pressure the ALP faced to expel CFMMEU Victorian construction secretary John Setka.

Gerry Hanssen, pictured in 2006, has been accused of breaching occupational health and safety regulations.Credit:Andrew Burrell

Federal Labor will seize on the latest proceedings to attack the government on industrial relations at a crucial point in its negotiations with the Senate crossbench over its union-busting legislation, framing Mr Hanssen as an “industrial law breaker”.

The Morrison government is negotiating with Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie and Centre Alliance senators Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff over its Ensuring Integrity Bill, which would make it easier to ban law-breaking union officials and deregister unions.

The regulator investigated the building site after Ms Heumann’s death, but did not lay charges against the company over the fatality itself.

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CFMMEU WA secretary Mick Buchan said this was “an absolute disgrace” and that industrial manslaughter laws were needed in every state.

The union argues that the company breached its duty of care to the young worker, but Mr Hanssen says the worker did not follow safety protocols.

In July, the Federal Circuit Court fined Mr Hanssen and his company $62,000 for blocking union officials from entering the same Perth worksite where Ms Heumann had died just weeks earlier.

Judge Sandy Street found Mr Hanssen’s action had been driven by a “blind hatred” of the CFMMEU.

Mr Hanssen said at the time the reason he locked the union organisers out was “because of their despicable behaviour after the accident accusing our workforce of being murderers”.

“It was a truly unfortunate accident with all safety precautions in place,” he said in July.

Mr Hanssen has been approached for further comment.

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