EXCLUSIVE: Former Liberal MP and billionaire pub baron Craig Laundy is alleged to have engaged in coercive control, domestic violence and stalking as well as revenge-seeking activities after a former girlfriend discovered the powerful businessman had lied to her about his marital status for two years, according to witnesses under oath this week. Serkan Ozturk reports.
An unfair dismissal case at the Fair Work Commission this week transformed into a high-stakes political melodrama where it was alleged that former federal Liberal MP and billionaire pub bloke, Craig Laundy, had “used his position of power and privilege” to engage in coercive control, stalking and revenge-seeking behaviours against a former girlfriend, Natalie Baini.
During the hearing in Sydney on Thursday, March 17, it was alleged Laundy even sought to destroy Ms Baini’s burgeoning political career after she discovered that he had been lying for two years about the true nature of his marital status and their own relationship.
Also at the centre of attention during the hearing was True Crime News Weekly in regards to an exclusive investigation into the matters published last year that resulted in Laundy as well as Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s principal private secretary, Yaron Finkelstein, threatening this publication with defamation. At this week’s hearing it was alleged Finkelstein sexually harassed Ms Baini while alone together after he too got involved in the aftermath of Laundy’s affairs.
It was further alleged that Laundy had used his influence within the Liberal Party to derail Ms Baini’s preselection for the inner-west Sydney electorate of Reid and had helped Dr Fiona Martin to be installed as the Liberal Party’s candidate, after having engaged in a sexual affair with her too.
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Of great concern, it was also alleged that Laundy had also used his connections within NSW Police to prevent an AVO being issued against him by Ms Baini.
The sensational claims were made by one-time Labor staffer, Pierce Field, during his unfair dismissal case brought against his one-time boss, Labor Senator Kristina Keneally.
Senator Keneally had instantly terminated Mr Field’s employment in October of last year, following a short call from Laundy after Mr Field had contacted Laundy about his behaviour in the aftermath of his affair with Ms Baini.
Mr Field is a longtime friend of Ms Baini.
The former Labor staffer told the Fair Work hearing that he was motivated to act as a “private citizen” in a “private matter” after Laundy had allegedly ignored previous attempts by Ms Baini and others to resolve the issues between the pair.
Mr Field further alleged: “He had engaged in a series of behaviors since the end of their relationship in 2018 that I thought was pretty ordinary.
“There were threats made to Ms Baini from Laundy and his children, with his children assuming Natalie was still in a relationship with him.”
When questioned by lawyers representing Ms Keneally about whether he was trying to extort Laundy, Mr Field was adamant that was not the case.
“This was about a woman being lied to for two years about [Laundy’s] marital status,” he said.
“I wasn’t calling about an affair, it was his actions that were of concern. He was using his position of power and privilege.
“I wanted to have a private conversation and get to a proper resolution … a public apology.”
Ms Baini also gave evidence in the hearing in favour of Mr Field.
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Senator Keneally meanwhile was admonished by Fair Work Commissioner, Ian Cambridge, for electing not to provide any evidence about her reasons for firing Mr Field, or choosing to appear in front of the hearing.
Commissioner Cambridge noted it was odd “the person who made the decision to dismiss” was missing and seemingly “didn’t have the courage” to “give evidence to support the decision they’ve taken”.
The only witness to take the stand to defend the decision to sack Mr Field was Senator Keneally’s chief of staff, Chris Owens.
Mr Owens in his testimony and evidence attempted to maximise minor work issues, such as swearing in text messages, to portray Mr Field as a low-performing employee.
Mr Owens claimed Mr Field had gone against the Labor Party’s Code of Conduct by contacting Laundy, and that all staff within Senator Keneally’s office had been trained by him personally in the code’s contents.
When questioned though, Mr Owens admitted he had skipped over the parts covering sexual harassment and the code’s “active bystander” clause, where people who are aware of sexual harassment or abuse related to the workplace are urged to bring such issues to their employers’ attention.
Mr Field, who says he brought the allegations about Laundy to Owens’ attention in May 2021 but was ignored, however claimed during his testimony that the true reason for his sacking was because he had earlier brought up allegations of poor treatment and bullying within Senator Keneally’s office.
“I was being unfairly targeted due to the Senator and Mr Owens’ reputation for their treatment of former staff,” Mr Field told the hearing.
“I wasn’t terminated for contacting Laundy … I was sacked for raising the bullying allegations.”
Earlier this week, it was revealed by media outlets that Senator Keneally was a member of the Labor Party’s “mean girls” clique.
Last October, True Crime News Weekly was threatened with defamation by Senator Keneally and her well-connected political family after we exclusively revealed that her NSW police officer son, Daniel Keneally, had acted corruptly by lying and getting an innocent man placed in solitary confinement in jail for three weeks.
Mr Field was represented in his Fair Work hearing by Tom Hakkinen, from Canberra legal firm Adero Law.
The workplace specialists are the same firm which recently took out a $129 million class action against another billionaire pub bloke, Justin Hemmes, over his company Merivale’s long-term failure to pay thousands of employees proper award wages and overtime.
Mr Field’s unfair dismissal case has been adjourned for a month until late April.
True Crime News Weekly has contacted Laundy and his public relations representatives for a response to Mr Field and Ms Baini’s allegations made while under oath this week.