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Cbus boss under fire over union leaks

The chief executive of industry fund Cbus has been chastised during a royal commission hearing for failing to inform his members about the leaking of private information to the trade union CFMEU.

Cbus CEO David Atkin appeared before the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption yesterday, following his former staff member Lisa Zanatta's admission of lying under oath about the leaking of member information to Cbus-aligned union, the CFMEU.

The information was subsequently used by the CFMEU in an industrial campaign against construction company Lis-Con, the commission has heard.

Mr Atkin confirmed during questioning yesterday that Ms Zanatta’s employment with the industry fund has since been "terminated".

Lis-Con solicitor Valerie Heath asked Mr Atkin if he was aware that member information had been leaked by Cbus prior to 3 October.

“Yes, but it was not clear until 3 October that that was information that came from Cbus,” he said, “but we had no evidence that the fund itself had released that inappropriately.”

Asked why Cbus failed to write to members the week before Ms Zanatta’s appearance before the commission, Mr Atkin said he “did not want to interfere with the commission’s proceedings”.

“We were also in dialogue with the Privacy Commission around the complaints,” he said.

“So the view was, while there was those proceedings occurring and while it was unclear [the member information] had actually been released from the fund, we were not in a position to directly communicate with the members,” Mr Atkin said.

Ms Heath produced evidence that Mr Atkin knew CFMEU official Brian Fitzpatrick “was calling members and impersonating Cbus employees”.

Asked why Cbus failed to communicate with members so “they can tell a true Cbus call from a fake call”, Mr Atkin repeated that the industry fund was “reluctant to cross over with anything that the commission was dealing with”.

The hearing continues today.