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CFMEU tips tens of thousands of dollars into Labor’s campaign

The union donated $14,000 to Labor on October 20, with the gift listed on the log as “monetary donation”, with no details about whether it was supposed to boost a particular candidate’s campaign.

Another donation, of $2745.60 on October 29, was described as a “monetary contribution” for a political marketing invoice.

There were two donations – totalling $10,809.38 – to the campaign for Labor’s Bonney candidate Ash Borg – a former CFMEU lawyer – who was unsuccessful in his bid for election.

Unsuccessful Labor candidate for Burdekin Mike Brunker, an ex-coal miner, was a beneficiary of the CFMEU Queensland’s generosity, with his campaign receiving $20,504 via payments for two political marketing invoices.

The CFMEU general division national office also gifted $5000 to Mr Borg’s campaign.

However, the union offered much less support compared with the 2017 state election, when its Queensland branches gave almost $190,000 to the party between July 1 and the November 25 poll.

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The construction union has repeatedly clashed with the Palaszczuk government over perceived failings related to its signature public transport project, Cross River Rail, which was overseen by Ms Trad and later Kate Jones.

Hundreds of workers from the CFMEU marched on Parliament in August last year demanding Ms Trad quit and the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority be scrapped.

It also launched a targeted campaign against Ms Jones in June, taking out full-page newspaper advertisements and dropping flyers into the letterboxes of hundreds of homes in her inner-west seat of Cooper.

Ms Jones has since retired from politics.

The CFMEU pulled support from Labor ahead of the 2012 election, when Anna Bligh and her government were decimated at the polls and retained just seven seats in Parliament.

A union representative said the CFMEU was happy to support Mr Brunker and Mr Borg, both union-affiliated candidates, but was unable to clarify details of the two donations which were not listed as designated for a particular candidate.

There were no moves from the union to rejoin the Left faction after the departure of Ms Trad, who lost her South Brisbane seat to new Greens MP Amy MacMahon.

Brisbane Times is not suggesting any impropriety in the union’s donations.

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