A union official who was accused of bribery and making death threats in a royal commission has been elected as the new head of the NSW branch of the militant construction union.
Assistant secretary Darren Greenfield on Friday replaced Brian Parker, who is nick-named "sparkles", as state secretary of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.
"It's a privilege to be the secretary of the branch and look after the members," Mr Greenfield said.
After being involved with the CFMEU for more than 20 years, Mr Greenfield said he was not planning to take the union in a new direction.
"I don't think there will be any big changes," he said.
"We've got a good foundation and good grounds going forward, so I think we will be probably heading on the path we've been on."
Mr Greenfield said the accusations he faced before the Heydon royal commission into trade unions had come to nothing.
"There were no charges. That was a witch hunt on me," he said.
"I've got a good name out there in the industry.
"I hold my head up high when I walk around building sites with our members."
Mr Greenfield faced allegations of taking cash payments from construction underworld figure George Alex.
After hearing allegations that the CFMEU received a weekly kickback of $2500 from labour-hire companies linked to Mr Alex, the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption produced a string of text messages from Mr Alex's phone referring to cash payments of that same amount being left under his toilet sink.
Mr Greenfield strongly denied suggestions he had picked up any cash payments from Mr Alex's home, saying he had only ever picked up documents from a drawer in Mr Alex's toilet.
He denied any knowledge of a payment of $2500 "for Darren" which was referred to in a text message from Mr Alex to his wife Nectaria Alex, on April 24, 2013.
Mr Greenfield also denied allegations before the royal commission in 2014 that he had made death threats against his former union colleague, Brian Fitzpatrick.
Counsel assisting the royal commission, Jeremy Stoljar, submitted that Mr Greenfield should face criminal charges for the alleged offence of using a phone to make a death threat. But no charges were laid.
The royal commission heard an allegation that Mr Greenfield had made a "violent and abusive" telephone call to Mr Fitzpatrick, threatening to kill him after Mr Fitzpatrick raised concerns about the union's dealings with Mr Alex. Mr Greenfield admitted to making an abusive phone call to Mr Fitzpatrick, but denied making any threats to kill him.
Asked about the CFMEU's reputation, Mr Greenfield said the construction industry was a "rough and tough" industry.
"There are a lot of hard people in the industry," he said.
"You've got to have a thick skin and sometimes a bit of a tough attitude to do the job.
"But at the end of the day, all the people who work in the CFMEU are all family members. I've got eleven grandkids."
CFMEU president Rita Mallia said Mr Parker had announced on Friday he had decided to step down after 28 years' service in the union.
"He thinks it's time to hand over the reins to others. It's completely his decision. It's unanimously supported by the branch and Darren Greenfield will step up from the second of March as the secretary."
Ms Mallia said the royal commission's adverse findings against Mr Parker and Mr Greenfield and "nothing has ever transpired from them".
"From our perspective, the Heydon royal commission was a partisan process".
The Fair Work Commission on Friday reserved its decision on whether to approve the merger of the CFMEU, Maritime Union of Australia and Textile, Clothing and Footware Union. The Commission said it would make a decision as soon as possible.
Employer groups argued the Commission should take into account civil penalty proceedings against the CFMEU and MUA.