Union donation claims draw heat

CFMEU’s Steve Smyth.
CFMEU’s Steve Smyth. Tony Martin

A POLITICAL war of words is heading towards a defamation lawsuit.

Liberal National Party sitting Mirani MP Ted Malone recently hit out at Labor's Mirani candidate Jim Pearce and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union in relation to a CFMEU donation of over $1 million to independent, community advocacy organisation GetUp!

The CFMEU, through solicitors, has sent Mr Malone a letter, which outlined the possible defamation case and asked for an immediate and comprehensive retraction, plus $10,000 to be given to the RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter.

However, Mr Malone has vowed not to back down.

Mr Malone confirmed he had received a solicitors' letter.

"I'm not about to be threatened and bullied by Jim Pearce and the CFMEU or anyone else," he said.

"I've been in public life many years and I fully intend to stand up for my constituents and keep asking legitimate questions and press for decent answers which are in the public interest.

"Instead of coming out and explaining the donation to the radical, left-wing group GetUp!, a group which is committed to shutting down Queensland coal mining and exports and the thousands of jobs mining underpins, Jim Pearce and the CFMEU have chosen to hide behind solicitors and threaten me with actions."

CFMEU mining and energy Queensland district president Steve Smyth said the CFMEU decided to take action to get the message to Mr Malone, and others, that they can't go around publicly attacking members and their families with no proof and no justification.

"We are going to go as far as we need (with the legal action)," he said.

Mr Smyth said the $1.12 million GetUp! donation was made by the construction sector of the union towards an advertisement campaign against LNP Federal leader Tony Abbott during the 2010 Federal election campaign over Mr Abbott's comments about women.

He said not one cent donated had been spent towards any anti-mining campaign.

Both Mr Smyth and Mr Pearce said Mr Pearce was not part of the legal action.

Topics:  cfmeu getup! jim pearce queensland election 2012 ted malone

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