The head of the trade unions commission says a serious attack on a solicitor was not related to her work for the corruption inquiry.

There is no indication an attack on a senior solicitor in Melbourne is linked to her work for the trade unions corruption inquiry, Commissioner Dyson Heydon says.

The commissioner told a hearing in Sydney on Monday that staff at the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption were hoping for a full recovery of their colleague who was bashed in a street attack.

The solicitor suffered severe injuries after being attacked while walking home from a dinner with colleagues on Thursday.

Commissioner Heydon said there was “no indication” the incident was connected to her work with the inquiry.

He said while the commission’s staff had been operating under great pressure, “Thursday’s incident is a reminder that there are some things which are even more important than day-to-day pressures”.

“All those that work for the commission are distressed about what has happened and hope that there will be a full recovery,” he said.

A man faced Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on Saturday on a charge of intentionally causing serious injury in relation to the attack.

The commission is investigating allegations relating to the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in Sydney this week.

Eoin O’Neill, a consultant for construction and concreting company Lis-Con Group, denied that his company had used Irish backpackers as “sham contractors” on labouring jobs in Queensland.

Mr O’Neill told the commission previously that Lis-Con had been targeted by the union after refusing to make corrupt payments.

Mr O’Neill told the commission CFMEU officials told him “we expect to be taken care of”.

Under questioning from counsel for the CFMEU Mr O’Neill denied his company required Irish backpackers to operate as private contractors in order to avoid paying them superannuation and other entitlements.

Mr O’Neill said union officials had raised the issue of unpaid superannuation but he dismissed the claim as “propaganda” and said the company had received no complaints from workers.

The hearing continues.