When you first appeal to the Queensland Labor Government organisations that are supposed to deal with Bad Apple Bullies - the Queensland Ombudsman, the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC), the Anti Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ), etc. - you will find that you are advised that there is no hope of justice.
The words "justice" or "truth" will not actually be used, you will just be told - before any investigation has even started - that there is no hope of "an outcome pleasing to you".
A veteran Queensland public servant has explained the "bleeding obvious" -
Mark Lauchs used to work as a Queensland public servant in the state integrity unit.
Since 2004 he has been working at the Queensland University of Technology School of Justice, studying accountability in the public service.
Mark Lauchs says that there is no real transparency and accountability.
Governments will endeavour to balance a public perception of being accountable with an actual unaccountable regime.
Government "accountability institutions" are set up to create an illusion that masks bad management or corruption.
They are not intended to work properly.
They are not intended to encourage disclosures.
They are not intended to protect whistleblowers.
Freedom of Information is abused to conceal sensitive documents.
Transparency or just an illusion? Des Houghton, p.34, The Courier-Mail, 24/03/2007.
Rational Avoidance of Accountability : Chapter one, Mark Lauchs, Law, QUT : http://www.law.qut.edu.au/ljj/editions/v7n2/pdf/9_Rational_avoidance_of_accountability_LAUCHS.pdf
So the Queensland public servants who tell you - before any investigation has even started - that there is no hope of "an outcome pleasing to you" are telling you the truth.
The official processes do not work.
You will waste five years of your life writing letters before an investigation will even begin.
And in the meantime the Bad Apple Bully-Mob will be continually "losing" their documents, "forgetting" what they did and why they did what they did, promoting each other, changing jobs and changing their "story", refining, refining, refining till they finally develop an allegation that you cannot disprove.
One or two good-hearted public servants will suggest that you "find another way" (far, far away from their desk) to deal with the situation.
Bullying and Mobbing are probably against the law (stalking, victimisation, etc.) but the advice of a solicitor will cost you $350 an hour.
It can cost as much as $1000 to have a solicitor read one document.
The Queensland Department of Education employs lots of people with legal training and the department also has a bottomless pit of taxpayers money to waste on defending legal action.
The Department of Education will almost certainly win any legal battle simply because they will run you out of money.
Do you really want to lose your home as well as your job?
The experience of one Queensland woman whose husband was wrongly accused of child s-x abuse will give you an idea how the life of an ordinary, innocent Queenslander can be destroyed by Queensland public servants -
This woman's husband was wrongly accused of child s-x abuse.
The Families Department illegally shredded the child abuse investigation documents.
His wife lost her job.
After investigating for three and a half years, Fred Albeitz, the Ombudsman, recommended that she be compensated.
She has been waiting for this compensation for more than ten years.
She believes that she will get justice.
She has spent $117,000 on legal costs.
She may lose her home.
In September 1998, Peter Beattie said that he would be an "honest broker" and bring a speedy resolution to the matter.
Anna Bligh was Families Minister.
Allan Male was Director-General.
Ken Smith was the next Director-General.
He unreservedly apologised.
Her Supreme Court application seeking leave to proceed with her case was unsuccessful.
An appeal in 2003 was unsuccessful.
The Queensland Government employed Queen and Senior counsels to fight the case.
She is now communicating with Linda Apelt, the Director- General of the new Communities department, which is now responsible for the Families Department files.
Not only do senior public servants and ministers continually change jobs, they also change the names of their departments.
It is very hard to hold anybody responsible for anything.
Fight to right legal bungle, Margaret Wenham, The Courier-Mail, 26 December 2006.
As this Queensland woman's experience demonstrates, the law does not work well for ordinary, innocent Queenslanders.
Are you an Australian public servant or a retired Australian public servant?
Do you work at Westmead Hospital?
http://www.westmeadhospitalwhistleblowers.com/ is a website for health professionals concerned about the situation at Westmead.
Another Queensland teacher has set up a petition, protesting about her experience of workplace bullying.
Teachers may be afraid to sign this petition themselves because of Code of Conduct issues - but you can ask your husband, mother, friends, children, etc. to sign on your behalf.
If you are being bullied into ill health at work, you might want to consider setting up a similar petition, protesting about the bullying.
Do you work in an Aged Care Facility?
Karen Smith has launched a new website about the way that elderly people are treated in Queensland aged care facilities:
Are you an Australian teacher?
The Bad Apple Bullies story is told in the January 2007 edition of The Whistle, the newsletter of Whistleblowers Australia.
http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/dissent/contacts/au_wba/ (scroll down to page 7).
More anti-bullying and mobbing websites :
Tom Robinson, a professor at the University of Lethbridge, set up One Banana Short of a Republic :
to challenge institutions to perform in line with accepted standards of fair play, due process and natural justice.
The Lamp Post : http://www.lamp-post.info/category/pr-29th-may-2008/
Setting up your own website is easy - much easier than you think!
Take a look at:
Hint: decide on your Domain Name before you begin because you will have a website in a moment or two.
The basic Freewebs site is free of charge but you will probably soon want to have your own Domain Name.
It costs approximately AUS$ 100 for a year.
The Freewebs company are very reliable.
Think of it as an inexpensive hobby.
Don't name names on your website.
Just describe the Bad Apple Bullying in general terms.
Contact the media
Set up a Facebook Page.
Brodie Panlock worked in a cafe in Melbourne Victoria.
She was 19 years old.
Brodie was bullied so relentlessly that she jumped off a four story parking lot, she passed away in hospital three days later.
Two mothers, one from Queensland and one from Victoria, were disgusted at the sentences the men who bullied Brodie received.
So they organised a petition for a change of law relating to workplace bullying -
Run in a union election.
Recent research suggests that as many as 99.8% of teachers have experienced workplace bullying.
Unions can't afford to support the numbers of members who are being bullied.
And the Queensland Teachers' Union (QTU) has a policy of not getting involved with member-versus-member issues - like workplace bullying.
Some union members resign in disgust.
But there is a better way.
The QTU runs regular elections.
Nomination forms are published in the Queensland Teachers' Journal.
Nominate in an election and you can talk about your experience of workplace bullying.
You'll never get elected because the union will not "endorse" you.
But you can raise awareness of the problem.
The Bad Apple Bullies website endorses candidates who are prepared to speak up about workplace bullying.
Make a video of your complaint and put it on YouTube.
Listen to Cynthia Kardell protesting about the public service process of slow, insidious torment that is designed to shut whistleblowers up :
Suggest a "story tip" to a newspaper
Take control of the news yourself:
Write an article about your experience of workplace bullying and publish it on Indymedia.
Members of Bullied Academics have used Indymedia to protest about unjust treatment by university administrators -
Bullied Academics is a blog by a group of academics who are protesting about workplace abuse.
Teacher Bullying in Queensland Schools - The Bad Apple Bullies Blog.
For you to comment on your own experience of workplace bullying, harassment, mobbing, discrimination, stalking, victimisation or "payback" etc.
On the "contacts" page of Bad Apple Bullies http://www.badapplebullies.com/contact.htm there are links to more blogs.
Organise letters of Support
Write a draft letter describing the basics of your case.
Send the draft to people you know, asking them to write to your employer on your behalf.
Leave it to them to argue your case in their own words and based on their own life experience.
At the very least it will raise awareness of the problem of workplace abuse.
Organise a Mailout
You can fight back against workplace abuse with the help of www.vistaprint.com.au/
Please note that I have no personal or commercial relationship with Vistaprint or any other business mentioned on this website.
I honestly like Vistaprint products.
Mail out postcards or business cards that explain your concern in a few words.
www.vistaprint.com will print fridge magnets, postcards and business cards to your own design.
The design and ordering process is very simple.
Dealing With The Mob has placed many orders with the American branch of this company.
And three orders with the Australian branch www.vistaprint.com.au/
There have been no problems with payment or delivery, and the products are of an excellent quality.
Design a Protest T-Shirt and Become a Walking Bill-Board.
Vistaprint are now offering T-Shirts.
It is easy to select a design and write your own protest message.
The T-shirts are very reasonably priced.
The first one is often free and then they cost about US $9 each.
The quality is excellent.
www.vistaprint.com.au/ is the Australian branch of this company.
Vistaprint now offer vinyl banners - the quality is wonderful.
The small size is perfect for one person to carry.
These banners really are a useful product for protesters.
They can be rolled up and are light to carry.
They can be used over and over again.
And the price is very reasonable.
Take your car on a protest march.
This idea has been contributed by a teacher who was driven out of work by a local Bad Apple Bully-Mob.
She was ill because of the stress of the bullying and she didn't want to do anything that would be stressful in case it made her more ill.
But she did want to protest about the bullying.
First she displayed protest signs inside her car and proped them up in the windows when she parked around town.
But then somebody twisted all of her windscreen wipers.
So that, when it next rained, the windscreen wipers cut circles into her windscreen.
And the windscreen had to be replaced.
And the local council made a new law that ratepayers could not 'proselytize' - execise their right to freedom of speech - on any council roads, pavements, etc.
So she had four large www.vistaprint.com T-Shirts made.
The T-Shirts showed the head of a very shocked young man.
His hair is sticking up in shock.
Beside his shocked face she printed the words:
"97% of teachers are bullied!"
She uses the T-Shirts as car seat covers.
It looks pretty good.
It looks like four very shocked young men are sitting in the car.
People laugh when they see the car.
The four T-shirts cost very little, less than $10 each.
And nobody has attacked the car or the "car-seat covers" to date.
Because the general public have sympathy for shocked young men.
And there seems to be a growing level of public awareness that teachers are being abused at work.
And a greater level of support for teachers in the community.
And the wonderful thing about this form of protest is that it takes so little effort.
Your car protests while you are doing your shopping.
Run an Advert in Your Local Paper.
The Vistaprint cards can be "scanned" by your local paper and turned into adverts.
The Cairns Post, for example, charge $80 to run such an advert in their TV Guide.
When you compare this $80 for an advert in your local paper with $320 to talk to a solicitor for an hour, it seems like good value.
Start a Petition
Petition OnLine explain how to organise a free on-line petition -
London Met academics organised the petition below using Petition OnLine -
Deliver a Big Letter to the Minister
This is an effective strategy to use if you are living in Brisbane or visiting for a day or two.
Many of your letters, documents and emails will be "dealt with" by Department of Education officers by simply being lost.
It is the quickest and easiest way for the Bad Apple Bully-Mob members to deal with your complaint.
Then they can be found guilty of having a poor filing system but not of actual corruption.
A good way to deal with the "we have lost all of your documents" strategy is to prepare a Big Letter for the Minister, the Director General, the Premier, the head of the CMC, the Ombudsman, etc.
You do this by making a protest poster as above, with one big sentence in the middle that can easily be read by passers-by.
But you make the big sentence part of a letter, for example -
* * * * * * * * * *
I wrote to you on July 4 2002 about the fact that Queensland teachers are being bullied at work.
I told you that I had been bullied and that my complaint was simply being lost.
You said that it would not be proper for you to intervene and that it was the job of the CMC to deal with my complaint.
But the CMC are refusing to read my letters.
They tell me to write to Education Queensland.
Education Queensland have lost almost every document that I have sent them for the past five years.
Who should I write to next, Mr Beattie?
* * * * * * * * * *
Hopefully the Bad Apple Bully-Mob will find it more difficult to claim that they have lost a Big Luminous Letter.
On the back of your Big Letter you can stick copies of recent letters that you have sent to the Department, Ministers or the CMC, as appropriate.
Take a spare sheet of blank card to cover these letters so they are not visible to the public.
Prepare about four of these Big Letters for a day-long demonstration.
You can stand outside the Mary Street Head Office of Education Queensland (stand on the edge of the pavement, not on their property) but a better spot is at the end of that road, where George and Mary Streets cross.
There is a building with a big overhang on that corner and it gives you shade from the sun.
Shade is very important when you are protesting.
Stand by the side of the level crossing and hold your Big Luminous Letter so that people using the crossing can see it, and also the cars turning down into Mary Street.
A good few of them will be Department of Education cars.
People from the Department will come along and invite you in to Head Office to have a cup of coffee.
They are just trying to get you off the street.
Talk to them in the street.
Hold the Big Luminous Letter so it can be seen from the entrance and the windows of the building opposite called the Queensland Government Executive Building (or similar).
You will see the security guards watching you.
After a couple of hours deliver one of your Big Letters to the security desk just in the entrance of that building and ask them to give your Big Letter to the appropriate Minister, etc.
Many Queensland Government Ministers have offices in that building.
After you deliver each Big Letter you can roll up your posters and go to one of the nearby hotels to have a comfortable morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.
* * * * *
The Information Commissioner and the Ombudsman work from the same offices in Brisbane at 288 Edward Street (fairly close to the new David Jones).
There is a small overhang at the entrance to this building.
You are allowed to stand under it because you are standing on the public footpath.
If the Ombudsman invite you inside the building to discuss your concerns, you might find it interesting.
The Ombudsmen are public servants of the old kind - very, very intelligent and tricky.
Talking to them is a bit like finding yourself in the middle of an episode of Yes Minister.
But it is an interesting experience.
* * * * *
The CMC have offices at 140 Creek Street, on the corner of Creek and Adelaide Streets.
This is not a very good place to demonstrate because there is no shade.
But you can demonstrate for a while at the corner of the street, opposite the coffee shop.
A lot of public servants go by, so it is worthwhile.
The best times to demonstrate here are early in the morning as the public servants are going to work, at lunchtimes, and after about 3:30 PM as they begin to go home.
You can also stand by the entrance to the public service garage just around the corner of Adelaide Street and wave your Big Luminous Letter at the Government cars going in and out.
But actually the CMC don't seem to care if you demonstrate as their office is well inside the building and so it doesn't really affect them.
After a couple of hours demonstrating you can carry your Big Letter up the escalator and give it to the security guards at the entrance to the CMC offices.
Ask them to deliver your Big Letter to a senior CMC officer.
Anthony Nock, a 57-year-old English schoolteacher, adopted this sort of demonstration strategy with interesting results:
Mr Nock had been a Maths teacher at Downsend School.
He was dismissed in December 2005.
He staged a three-day protest outside the school.
He said that he had not been paid properly.
A parent complained that he was scaring the children.
The police arrested him and locked him up for 13 hours.
He was charged with harassment.
He was banned from going within 500 yards of any entrance to the school.
In March the Crown Prosecution Service lifted the ban.
The police put up CCTV at the school at Mr Nock's request.
Mr Nock carried out his protest four more times.
Because he wanted to provide as much evidence of his behaviour as possible.
Then on August 31 2006 Mr Nock arranged for his case to be brought before Redhill Magistrates Court for the second time.
Because he wanted to show the court that he was not causing harassment.
The Crown Prosecution Service declared that there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.
They declared him innocent.
Mr Nock says he will be back outside the school at the beginning of term.
He says that he is a law-abiding citizen and he has been a teacher for thirty-five years.
Protesting teacher is cleared of harassment, Nicola Rider, IC Surreyonline.co.uk 7 September 2006
Don't you just love the way that Pommie teachers stand up for their workplace rights?
Brian Martin has written a new article on "other ways" to deal with workplace bullying -
And finally, if all else fails-
Turn your experience of abuse into an asset.
One Queensland teacher says, "I responded to workplace bullying by using Education Queensland's "official chanels".
Almost seven years later, I am still knee-deep in the sludge that fills those "official channels".
My progress has been very, very slow."
"Meanwhile, another teacher who was attacked at work began a PhD in workplace abuse.
She is now finishing her PhD.
And I am still hopelessly struggling my way through the Departmental sludge."
Other ideas suggested by bullied teachers are -
This may be your best option.
One young male teacher was bullied out of work in Queensland during his first year of teaching.
He moved to London, got a well-paid teaching job and had the time of his life.
If he had not been bullied out of work he would probably still be living and working in Hervey Bay.
Or maybe somewhere even more remote.
This teacher cried when he was bullied out of work in Queensland - but he's laughing now: http://www.theteachersareblowingtheirwhistles.com/teachersstories.htm