A FEDERAL Court Judge has dismissed a challenge to an enterprise agreement on Melbourne’s docks, ruling the application was from a “front man” for the MUA/CFMMEU.
The applicant was Richard Lunt, a former wharfie at Victoria International Container Terminal, whose sacking in late 2017 triggered large protests at Webb Dock.
The MUA had sought to overturn the VICT enterprise agreement which it did not negotiate and regarded as undermining workers’ conditions.
The Fair Work Commission and the Australian Maritime Officers’ Union were also respondents.
After hearing evidence, Justice Darryl Rangiah dismissed the case.
“I am satisfied that Mr Lunt has not brought the current proceeding for the predominant purpose of vindicating his own legal rights,” Justice Rangiah said.
“Instead, Mr Lunt has brought the proceeding for the predominant purpose of enabling the CFMMEU to obtain relief which it was unlikely to obtain if the proceedings were brought in its own name.
“In my opinion, that is an illegitimate and collateral purpose.”
The judge said the CFMMEU was the “true moving party”.
“It is the true moving party because it has used Mr Lunt to seek the relief that it fears it would not obtain if it brought the proceeding in its own name,” Justice Rangiah said.
“Through the device of the CFMMEU using Mr Lunt as a ‘front man’, VICT has been deprived of the opportunity to defend the proceedings on the basis that the MUA acquiesced in the approval that is now sought to be quashed.”
Justice Rangiah dismissed the case on the basis of it being “an abuse of process”.
VICT has indicated it intends to seek costs. Mr Lunt was represented in court by one of Australia’s foremost barristers, Herman Borenstein QC, who acted for the Maritime Union against Patrick during the 1998 waterfront dispute.