JM Kelly exec called worker a 'real arse'


A top executive at a failing Queensland building company described a worker as a "real arse" when he complained his super was not being paid, a court has heard.

The Federal Court heard that JM Kelly Group, which collapsed last year owing $50 million, started receiving complaints from workers in 2017 about unpaid super.

Barrister Craig Wilkins told the court that JM Kelly financial controller Elizabeth Murphy said one worker who complained was "turning into a real arse" in an email sent to her brother John Murphy, who was the director of the group.

Ms Murphy told the court that she could not recall the context of the email and that the worker "'may have been an arse for other reasons."

Mr Wilkins said that when another worker complained to the Australian Tax Office about unpaid super Ms Murphy told her brother that "we need to get rid of him."

Mr Wilkins said that by 2018 the ATO was conducting several audits into the unpaid super, which totalled more than a million dollars.

Mr Wilkins said that in an email to her brother Ms Murphy said that the company could not pay its Telstra bill let alone superannuation. He alleged that the company's practice was to partially pay unpaid super of workers who complained with John Murphy providing a colour coded list of employees who were likely to "whinge and those that were not." Ms Murphy told the court that an effort was made to pay all employees' super but conceded it was several months behind in 2017 after several firms in the group had been earlier put into liquidation. The case continues.