Minns forces ALP to suspend NSW CFMEU officials

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns has forced his party to suspend the membership of the CFMEU’s NSW secretary and his son who have been charged for allegedly soliciting a series of $5000 kickbacks from a construction company.

© AAP NSW Labor leader Chris Minns.

The NSW branch of the CFMEU has also withdrawn from next month’s NSW Labor state conference after Darren Greenfield, 56, and Michael Greenfield, 36, the CFMEU’s assistant secretary, were arrested on Friday.

The arrest of the father and son came after a long-running investigation by a trade union taskforce involving the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police.

Mr Minns wrote to the NSW Labor general secretary Bob Nanva on Saturday, urging him to consider their memberships in light of the “alleged bribery offences”.

“While it’s important to note that due process must be followed I believe it’s important to take action now and suspend both members from the NSW Labor Party until these matters have been through the courts,” Mr Minns’ letter said.

Two senior Labor sources confirmed the ALP membership of both men has been suspended and the union has agreed to withdraw from the party’s conference. Darren Greenfield has previously been a union delegate to the annual ALP conference, which is the party’s main policy-making forum.

It will be alleged the men solicited and accepted payments from the owner of a building company in exchange for preferential treatment from the union and access to building contracts, police said in a statement.

The CFMEU’s national secretary Dave Noonan said the Greenfields both denied the charges, went to the offices of the taskforce voluntarily and would vehemently contest the allegations against them. Mr Noonan said both men had the full support of the union and were entitled to the presumption of innocence.

The pair were granted bail at Sydney’s Central local court on Friday, with strict conditions including a curfew and reporting to the local police station once a day. They are prevented from using encrypted communications, have to stay in NSW and must surrender their passports.

The Greenfields were targeted in dramatic raids across Sydney last November with 10 search warrants executed in Bradbury, Caringbah South, Pyrmont, Liverpool, Rhodes, Fairfield East and Surry Hills.

NSW Police organised crime squad commander, Detective Superintendent Rob Critchlow, said the investigation had “uncovered a significant amount of evidence suggesting the two men arrested today [Friday] benefited from illegal cash payments on more than one occasion in their positions as union officials”.

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