Whilst covering the hearings of the Royal Commission that involve the Health Services Union this week some disturbing events occurred.
Some of you may have read reports in Fairfax, or News Ltd some of which I have been named in that refer to attempts to intimidate various people by Marco Bolano who is the staunch ally of Kathy Jackson and the man stood down from his position as Secretary of the HSU Number 1 branch by a Federal Court Judge.
Bolano is reportedly unemployed at present however allegedly earns a tidy income of approximately $2,000 a week via QBE Insurance in workers compensation for being completely incapacitated by stress.
Despite Bolano’s complete incapacitation he managed to make it Sydney to testify before the Royal Commission.
So remarkable has been Bolano’s recovery that he decided he’d stay in Sydney for the week rather than returning home after he testified.
Kimberley Kitching who is the current General Manager of the HSU #1 Branch has alleged that she was spat on, harassed and intimidated by Bolano. After making a complaint to police it was recommended by police that it may be in her best interests to hire a security guard which she then did.
On Thursday Kitching came to the hearing with a rather burly looking bodyguard by her side.
On the Tuesday that Kitchings problems first occurred Ben Schneiders a Fairfax journalist also had issues with Bolano.
Shneiders was allegedly chastised and harassed in the café next to the Royal Commission venue as he sat down for lunch with Kitching. Among other things Bolano kept taking photos of the pair without asking permission.
That afternoon when Craig McGregor was testifying I was in the Commission hearing room after the feed to the media room went down and witnessed first-hand Bolano attempting to intimidate Schneiders whilst the hearing was in session. Bolano repeatedly referred to Schneiders using unflattering terms and made faces and gestures towards him, all of these were unprovoked as Mr Schneiders was clearly trying to follow McGregors testimony.
On the Wednesday at the first break in proceedings I went to grab a coffee at the café next door in the State Theatre.
After having a coffee I was standing in a laneway that runs between the Royal Commission venue and the café with three others when we were approached by Marco Bolano.
Bolano came over and after saying he didn’t know who I was proceeded to try to intimidate me by telling me that he knew who my sources were because the police had been keeping them informed. Not bad for someone who didn’t know who I was.
One of those with me was Andrew Casey who tried his utmost to placate Bolano politely.
However Bolano seemed incensed that he did not know who one of the two ladies was, he demanded to know who she was repeatedly before putting his phone within inches of her face threateningly and taking her photo saying “ We’re gonna find out who you are” “We are gonna get you”.
The woman who has asked not to be identified was shaken but determined to see that Bolano was not to get away with such behaviour.
With that in mind all four of us reported the matter to the Royal Commission security and were individually interviewed.
The irony of being intimidated and stood over at a Royal Commission that was set up to stop this kind of behaviour was not lost on me.
Later at lunch I went to a sushi restaurant around the corner from the commission with the lady who does not want to be named and Kimberley Kitching.
We had only been seated for about five minutes when Marco Bolano appeared next to us at the table taking photos of us uninvited.
Kitching told us that it was ridiculous what he was doing and took photos of Bolano in action, some of which are below.
After harassing us and taking photos he promptly left, he did not dine at the restaurant.
Later that afternoon there was another incident where Bolano grabbed Andrew Casey around the waist and dragged him away from the media pack whilst yelling at him.
Marco Bolano is the man who people like Mike Smith, Ray Hadley, Chris Smith, Andrew Bolt and others like them would have you believe is a saint.
The Royal Commission is an important legal process which should be above this kind of behaviour.
With any Royal Commission it is vitally important to maintain the integrity of the Commission and efforts should be made to ensure that members of the press and members of the public are not subject to bullying and intimidation.
I also hope that the Royal Commission were not paying for Marco Bolanos stay for the entire week given his testimony finished on the Monday as there are far better uses for taxpayers money.
The police have been notified of events, as has the Commission.
Let’s hope this is the last we see of this disgraceful behaviour.Follow @madwixxy