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Listening Device Found in Maritime Union Office

Story by The Sydney Morning Herald - Maritime Union investigates staff after office bugging

The Maritime Union of Australia has found a listening device at its Queensland state headquarters and begun investigating its own staff over the incident.

The union does not know who planted the bug and has appointed an external investigator to examine where it came from.


consider this matter extremely serious, as the discovery of any illegal surveillance is," the union's national secretary Paddy Crumlin said in a statement. "The bugging investigation was commenced following the discovery of a suspect device."

In an internal letter reported by the Australian Financial Review the union's state secretary Stephen Cumberlidge said all union staff at the Queensland office would be "investigated about this discovery", which was made by a security contractor.

"Once the investigation has been completed, the report with its recommendations will be presented to the branch secretary and national executive to determine if there's probable cause that any staff or officials were involved in the placement or were aware that such device was present in the building before it was discovered," Mr Cumberlidge wrote. Mr Crumlin denied the union suspected any of its staff, saying that was why it had started the investigation. He refused to rule out corporate or government involvement in the bugging. Sally McManus, the Australian Council of Trade Union's secretary, has previously said many union leaders presume their communications are being intercepted by the government. Barrister Travis O'Brien, named as the person conducting the Queensland union review by the Financial Review, said he could not talk about clients. "There's nothing I can say," said Mr O'Brien, a former union official with the CFMEU.

Security breaches have happened before in the union's Queensland office. It installed security cameras after the office was vandalised and graffitied last year by "unknown persons". The militant union has a fractious relationship with authorities and a Queensland Police spokeswoman said the force could not disclose whether the bug had been reported without further information. Christy Cain, the union's national president and its Western Australia state secretary, said he had not heard anything about the listening device. "There's no bugs over here," he said.


If you believe your office or work area has been compromised with a hidden camera or listening device then please contact the team for a confidential discussion.

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