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In our last article we ridiculed Courier-Mail journalist Michael Madigan for claiming that the Royal Commission emailed a Notice to Produce documents to ‘Queensland union bosses’. Well now we’re going to rubbish him some more, and throw his editor into the mix too, because only a few pages later in the same publication – Saturday’s Courier-Mail – Madigan’s fantastic tales told through his distorted lens get another run, this time as a double page feature.

But guess what? This time he actually gets the story about how the Notice to Produce was served right! It’s funny how you can say one thing on one page of the paper and another on the next, isn’t it; but I suppose when you are the only rag in town – and the biggest – you come to imagine that you can do whatever you like.


Which would explain the rest of the article, which is simply another pernicious tale about the CFMEU spun by a journalist who should and does know better. Let’s have a look at it and I’ll show you why.

Madigan leads off by claiming that a couple of 10-year-old girls were acting as secretaries shredding documents that CFMEU Secretary Michael Ravbar had ‘earmarked for destruction’.

They weren’t of course – they were just bored kids whose parents were working back late get the biannual accounts completed, and to make sure that the additional 15 staff that had come onto the payroll that day actually received their wages in the bank come the looming next pay-day.

The kids parents had simply given them some paper to shred to give them something to do, and to get them off their backs so they’d stop asking ‘when are we going home when are we going home?’ like broken records on a 30 second rotation.

It’s a tale familiar to any parent who’s has had to bring their kid into work when they were working back late, or on school holidays, and there’s nothing more to it. The grand conspiracy’s an invention, a product of Madigan’s febrile mind, and if he actually deigned to read the evidence that would become abundantly clear to him.


But ‘never let the facts get in the way of a good story’ is clearly the shrill, narrow-tubed trumpeters guiding dictum, and it’s one that he sticks by.

This is made obvious by the next the piece of fantasy he rolls out, when he tells the tale of how Ravbar was a day out on the date when he told the Commission about how he spent hours wading through all the old – but newly arrived – BLF files so he could pull out all the material that was past its use-by-date, or saved in electronic format, and throw the bloody space-wasting files in the bin (the 2 unions had just merged, and Ravbar had inherited the files as part of the amalgamation process).

Ravbar, who we learnt last week, is a meticulous micro-manager with a weakness for numbers – he had earlier given evidence that he doesn’t look after the accounts, for that reason – told the Commission that the date in question was the 28th of March 2014. When phone records were produced showing that he had been out of the office for most of that day, Ravbar appeared genuinely baffled, and suddenly there was a sniff of excitement in the air that after 18 months of trying the Salem crew had finally nailed the number-one on their most wanted posters.

But it proved to be a false scent, because shortly afterward Ravbar’s phone records and his diary – he had not had access to the diary prior to giving evidence as it had been seized by Royal Commission investigators some months before – were produced showing that Ravbar had simply recalled the date incorrectly, and that it was in fact the day before, the 27th, that heon which he had conducted his laborious examination of the old records.

This fact was accepted without challenge by Senior Counsel assisting Sarah McNaughton SC – again, check the evidence by reading the transcript – yet Madigan has eported that


This is not only errant nonsense, and totally untrue. It is an absolute bald-faced lie.

McNaughton had finished her examination by the time the revised evidence came to light, which was during the cross-examination of Ravbar by John Agius SC – the Maestro – the lead barrister for the CFMEU. Dyson Heydon offered McNaughton the chance to dispute the new evidence by re-examining Ravbar, but chose not to, thereby in legal terms accepting as fact the unchallenged evidence that Ravbar had simply mixed up the dates by a day.

This is what a goddamn bullsh*t artist Madigan is though.

McNaughton did not use the revised evidence to strengthen any imagined onslaught against Ravbar.

She never spoke another word to him.

His evidence ended immediately after it was established that he had made a mistake on the date, he was dismissed from the witness-box, and McNaughton turned her attention to absolutely demolishind the evidence of the crooked David Hanna. The discrited evidence on which so much of Madigan’s salacious story relies.

Never the truth get in the way of a good story. And never believe a word you read in the Courier-Mail.