Bolano is, of course, a 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. Though unemployed at present, he 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 alleged incapacitation, he managed to make it Sydney to testify before the Royal Commission. Even more remarkable, the ailing Bolano decided he’d stay in Sydney for the week rather than returning home after he'd testified earlier in the week.
The current general manager of the HSU #1 Branch, Kimberley Kitching, has alleged that she was spat on, harassed and intimidated by Bolano. After making a complaint to police, they told her it may be in her best interests to hire a security guard, which she did.
On Thursday, Kitching came to the hearing with a rather burly looking bodyguard by her side.
It was Tuesday that Kitching's problems first occurred; on the same day Fairfax journalist Ben Schneiders also had issues with Bolano.
Schneiders 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, while 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 McGregor's testimony.
On the Wednesday at the first break in proceedings I went to grab a coffee at the café in the State Theatre next door.
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.
The Commission venue is on left, the cafe on the far right and the laneway in the middle, next to underground car park entrance.
Bolano came over and, after saying he didn’t know who I was, proceeded to try to intimidate me by telling me he knew who my sources were, because the police had been keeping them (that is, Bolano's crowd) informed.
One of those with me was Andrew Casey, who tried his utmost to placate Bolano politely.
Bolano, however, was incensed 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 lady, who has asked not to be identified, was shaken but determined to see that Bolano was not allowed to get away with such behaviour.
With that in mind, all four of us reported the matter to Royal Commission security and were individually interviewed.
The irony of being intimidated and stood over at a Royal Commission ostensibly set up for the purposes of stopping this sort of behaviour was not lost on me.
Later, at lunch, I went to a sushi restaurant around the corner from the Commission with Kimberley Kitching and the lady who does not want to be named.
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 him that it was ridiculous what he was doing and took photos of Bolano in action, two of which are below.
After harassing and taking photos of us, he promptly left, without dining at the restaurant.
Later that afternoon, there was yet 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 conservative foghorns such as Michael Smith, Ray Hadley, Chris Smith, Andrew Bolt and others would like to 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 its integrity of the Commission and efforts should be made to ensure members of the press and public are not subject to bullying and intimidation.
I also hope the Royal Commission was not paying for Marco Bolano's accommodation 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 sort of disgraceful behaviour.
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