A staff member of industry fund Cbus has admitted giving false evidence under oath in order to protect Cbus CEO David Atkin and union boss Brian Parker.
Cbus senior adviser, member relationships, Lisa Zanatta was called upon to give evidence before the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, following allegations that Cbus had leaked confidential membership data to trade union CFMEU to use in an industrial legal battle.
When asked by Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission Jeremy Stoljar SC about the purpose of a trip to Sydney, Ms Zanatta explained – under oath – that she had travelled to attend a meeting of Cbus Property at the industry fund’s George Street offices, which had subsequently been cancelled without notice.
Mr Stoljar put to Ms Zanatta that she had concocted this story and that the real purpose was to provide the leaked data in person to CFMEU state secretary Brian Parker, which she vehemently denied.
However, during further cross-examination - following a short recess in proceedings - Mr Stoljar made the submission a second time:
“Stoljar: I said to you that the evidence you gave to this Commission on your oath a few minutes ago about coming into George Street…was an absolute lie, wasn’t it?
“Stoljar: So you gave that evidence knowing it was false?
“Zanatta: I did.
“Stoljar: And you did that to conceal the role that Mr Parker had played in causing you to obtain [confidential] documents; that’s right, isn’t it?
“Zanatta: I did that to protect a number of people.
“Stoljar: One of whom was [CFMEU official Brian] Parker?
“Stoljar: And who were the other people you were protecting?
“Zanatta: Well, Cbus and the CEO [David Atkin].”
Asked whether the false evidence provided suggests a “cover-up”, Ms Zanatta disagreed, explaining her false testimony was about “protecting people”, although admitting that it was an “inappropriate release of personal details”.
Ms Zanatta has twice been a state parliamentary candidate for the Australian Labor Party.
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