Former union boss Dave Hanna, pictured in happier times with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been jailed for rape. Picture: Glenn Barnes
Former union boss Dave Hanna, pictured in happier times with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been jailed for rape. Picture: Glenn Barnes

From union hero to jailed rapist

HE WAS once a kingmaker, a Labor powerbroker posing for photos with the state's most influential woman, dictating government policy and considering a run for the senate.

But today former CFMMEU boss Dave Hanna is a convicted rapist. The lowest of the low in the prison pecking order, one notch above the child killers and paedophiles he now lives with.

The former Queensland Labor vice-president, who once headed the influential "Old Guard" faction and whose members included Kevin Rudd and Peter Beattie, once wielded enough power to secure preselection wins for friends and land himself and those in his favour on government boards.

 

Former CFMMEU boss Dave Hanna is a convicted rapist. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Former CFMMEU boss Dave Hanna is a convicted rapist. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

 

Hanna, now 54, became an official with the Builders Labourers Federation in 1995 and stayed until the 2015 amalgamation with the Construction Forestry Mining, Maritime Energy Union, where he went on to became a national president.

Hanna enjoyed enormous influence - granted meetings with Campbell Newman and appointed to a Newman government panel advising on the construction watchdog's powers, sitting on the board of Stadiums Queensland under Labor and taking "selfies" with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

 

Dave Hanna was accused of corruptly receiving free work on his home in Cornubia.
Dave Hanna was accused of corruptly receiving free work on his home in Cornubia.

He was also a member of the Queensland Central Executive of the Council of Unions, which dictates Labor policy.

But Hanna's tenuous grip on power began to slip in ­September 2015 when the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption revealed startling allegations of corruption and cover-ups within the CFMMEU.

In August of that year, weeks before Hanna was due to be questioned by the Royal Commission, he resigned from his 20-year run with the construction union.

The following month in September, and just days after the explosive hearings which included allegations that Hanna corruptly accepted more than $100,000 of free building work on his luxury "dream" home at Cornubia, south of Brisbane, Hanna quit Labor after party bosses made moves to throw him out.

 

Hanna, now 54, became an official with the Builders Labourers Federation in 1995 and stayed until the 2015 amalgamation with the Construction Forestry Mining, Maritime Energy Union. Picture: Cameron Laird
Hanna, now 54, became an official with the Builders Labourers Federation in 1995 and stayed until the 2015 amalgamation with the Construction Forestry Mining, Maritime Energy Union. Picture: Cameron Laird

 

The commission also revealed allegations that Hanna had orchestrated the destruction of almost seven tonnes of union documents that may have been needed for the commission investigation.

Outside of work, Hanna's personal life was also crumbling. Defence barrister Mark McCarthy yesterday told Brisbane District Court Hanna's marriage ended around the same time as the royal commission hearings.

From that point, things went from bad to worse for Hanna, a father of three. Months later in March 2017, he was arrested for the rape of a "grossly" drunk woman he had met at a Brisbane nightclub.

Then in June 2017, he was charged with destroying ­tonnes of union documents the same day the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption was announced.

In December last year, Hanna was found guilty of the document destruction - the first person under the 116-year-old law to be convicted of the offence at trial - and sentenced to a $500 two-year good behaviour bond.

And on Friday, the heavyweight union boss turned humble builders labourer hit rock bottom when 12 jurors sealed his fate, finding him guilty of a horrific and degrading rape of a defenceless woman who sent her friends messages pleading for help in the moments before the assault in her own home.

The court heard that, by March 2017 when Hanna raped the woman 20 years his junior, the former kingmaker had been working as a labourer at the Rocklea fruit markets and was drinking with friends when he met the woman.

Even his own lawyer attested to Hanna's "spectacular" fall from grace, saying the former union boss had faced "intense scrutiny" over the royal commission revelations and rape allegations.

And the fall is not yet over for Hanna, who last night spent his first night in a prison cell coming to grips with life behind bars - a far cry from his luxury five-bedroom home.

He was sentenced to six years in jail and will become eligible for parole in March 2022, at which time he will have to convince the parole board he is a rehabilitated man worthy of release.



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