Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple Bully school principals and departmental officers can bully Australian teachers into ill health - and out of work!

News about teachers and other Australian public servants who disclose corruption in their workplace.

What happens to Australian public servants who try to disclose corruption in their workplace?

Could Australia really be the "least corrupt country in the world"?

Australia has been declared the "least corrupt country in the world" by other nations.

Other countries believe that Australia is capable of forming the foundations of a new global anti-corruption group.

This new global anti-corruption body will be announced in London during the week beginning 8 May 2016, at an anti-corruption summit chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"We have a robust approach to dealing with corruption (in Australia)," said Justice Minister Michael Keenan. 


The Website Editor says : As an English-born-and-raised Australian, I find this article astonishing. 

I have lived in England, New South Wales and Queensland.

I had no experience of corruption before I came to live in Queensland.

Is it really true that there is less corruption in Australia than in the whole of the rest of the world?

Or is it that the Aussie mateship code discourages Australians from disclosing the  corruption?

And that the consequences for Whistleblowers are so severe in Australia (see below) that most Australians do not dare talk about the corruption?


World finds a hero in Australia, P. 19, The Courier-Mail, 8 May 2016 

Australian airman Nathan Moore blew the whistle on illegal drug use ... and was severely bashed in his defence force home.

In 2002 Nathan Moore was stationed at the Royal Australian Air Force Amberley Base.

He blew the whistle on illegal drug use at the Base.

"I swore an oath to uphold the laws of this country , which I took seriously," Mr Moore said.



Mr Moore's identity as the whistleblower was revealed.

He was called a liar and threatened with death.

He was severely bashed in his defence-force supplied home.

His jaw was broken.



In 2016 Mr Moore still has difficulty chewing food.

He is on a soft food diet.

He developed post traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

He still suffers anxiety attacks and has trouble being in public.



"14 years of my life have been taken away from me," Mr Moore said.

" I thought 'look what I did and look what happened'.



In 2004 Mr Moore received a formal letter of appreciation for his bravery from then Chief of Air Force Air Marshall Angus Houston.

The letter detailed Air Marshall Houston's regret that Mr Moore's whistleblowing resulted in considerable stress and injury.



In April 2016 Mr Moore received a second letter from current Chief of Air Force Leo Davies.

Air Marshall Davies apologised for the way in which Mr Moore was managed.

"It is my hope that ... all our personnel will have the courage to make the choice you made."



Editor's comment : Would you blow the whistle and risk being attacked in your own home?

I think any Australian airman reading this story will take it as a warning not to blow the whistle.

I wonder if that is the real purpose of this publicity.


Whistleblower rewarded for courage after 14 years of hell, Stuart Cumming, Sunshine Coast Daily, 20 April 2016

Anthony Whealy QC  : the taint of corruption is ruining Australia's international reputation.

Anthony Whealy has written an important article in The Australian today.


Mr Whealy's main points are -

Australia is gaining a reputation for corruption.

In 2012 we were seen to be the sixth cleanest country in the world. 

In 2016 we are seen to be the 13th.

This reputation for corruption will affect Australia's prosperity.

We need a strategy to improve our reputation.

The strategy should not be piecemeal.

We need to create an Australian Serious Fraud and Corruption Office.

We need independent investigations (something the editor of this website has said in many submissions to government).

We need an independent body to deal with public sector corruption and misconduct.


Anthony Whealy QC is chairperson of Transparency International Australia.


The Bad Apple Bullies website supports Anthony Whealy's suggestions.


Taint of corruption ruining Australia's reputation, Anthony Whealy, The Australian, 15 April 2016

Premier Palaszczuk thinks that public service misconduct may be going undetected in Queensland.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says public service misconduct may be going undetected in Queensland.


Editor's comment : I agree with Annastacia Palaszczuk on this issue. Totally.


The latest Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CCC) annual report reveals that complaints to the CCC have dropped by 40 per cent.

The previous LNP government tightened the definition of corruption and required people with information to sign statutory declarations.


The CCC / CMC policy of allowing Queensland government departments to investigate 98 per cent of their own corruption seems to have been a dismal failure (based on my own experience with Education Queensland).

So maybe people have just given up all hope of any justice in Queensland.

But requiring whistleblowers to sign statutory declarations could discourage faux disclosures, made for malicious purposes.


Now Labor premier Palaszczuk says she will remove these LNP changes.


In my experience the CCC / CMC were useless before these LNP changes.

So what is to be the real purpose of the CCC?

To create the illusion of justice in Queensland?



Whistleblowers 'scared off', P. 2, The Courier-Mail, 19 November 2015

IBAC warn that public servants may be cultivated by organised crime groups.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) advise public sector employees that they may be at risk of being cultivated by organised crime groups.

Council workers, departmental officers and law enforcement employees are at particular risk. 

They may be cultivated (while at their gym, etc.) and manipulated to gain access to information, influence decisions and manipulate systems.

The public servant may then find themselves vulnerable to threats, etc.


Useful information for any Australian public sector employee :

Queensland Police Sergeant Flori - not a whistleblower, a whipping-boy.

In post-Fitzgerald era Queensland, two things should remain paramount.

Firstly people aware of possible official misconduct must feel confident that they can come forward without fear of retribution.


(Editor's Note : FAIL).


Secondly, allegations of substance which warrant further investigation must be acted upon by the bodies we have established to ensure the systemic abuses of power that occurred in Queensland in the past are not repeated.


(Editor's Note : FAIL).


So it is good (maybe) that the CCC are finally launching a review of the Southport Police Station bashing incident.


(Editor's Note : But why not an investigation? Based on my own experience, a review just means a re-reading of the possibly falsified documents by an Aboriginal trainee with no qualifications in education, law or psychology.)


It took more than three years to prompt this review.


(Editor's Note : It has probably taken them that long to find the right trainee with no qualifications.)


The man who Queensland Police allege leaked the bashing video, Sgt Flori, has really been put through the mill - suspended and charged with official misconduct.

Sgt Flori denies responsibility for leaking the material to the media.

Now he is fighting a criminal case to clear his name.

Why are the Queensland Police hounding this man?


(To me it looks like the police are using Sgt Flori as a whipping boy - torturing him in an attempt to drive the real whistleblower out into the open.)


Don't shoot the messenger, P.26, The Courier-Mail, 20 August 2015.

Terry O'Gorman : "You can't have police investigating other police."

Gold Coast police Sergeant Rick Flori is alleged to have leaked a video of four uniformed police colleagues assaulting a hand-cuffed prisoner in the basement of Surfers Paradise police station.

The Courier-Mail published the video.

Two of the four officers involved in the bashing incident were disciplined through an internal Ethical Standards Command investigation.

They were stood down on full pay.

One bashing incident officer has now returned to active duty.

Another bashing incident officer has retired.

"Whistleblower' Sergeant Flori, however, now faces criminal charges.

He could be jailed for seven years if he is found guilty.


Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman will today ask the CCC to take over the investigation.

(Editor's note : my own experience of the CMC suggests to me that this will make little difference to the outcome of the investigation.)

Mr O'Gorman says the whole matter has been botched from the start.

"You can't have police investigating other police. It is a throwback to the pre-Fitzgerald days".


Case of cops and dobbers, CCC urged to take over 'botched' investigation, Jeremy Pierce, p.2, The Courier-Mail, 13 August 2015.

Ozcare whistleblowers "threatened with Supreme Court action".

Ozcare is one of Queensland's biggest charities.

St Vincent de Paul is Ozcare's sole shareholder. 

Ozcare has an annual revenue of more than $200 million.

It employs almost 3000 staff across 60 branches, providing aged care, nursing, respite, homeless and other services.

Documents sighted by The Sunday Mail show that Ozcare board members Mel Breen and Mike McCabe raised serious concerns about the way Ozcare was being run.

Issues raised included concerns over a lack of transparency in tendering and contract processes, big cost blowouts in IT, allegations the directors were kept in the dark about the CEO's salary and claims that complaints from staff and clients were not adequately investigated.

Mel Breen and Mike McCabe  were asked to repay thousands of dollars in expenses after an audit.

They both refused.

Mr Breen was also accused of leaking a whistleblower letter making serious allegations about operational matters.

Both men strenuously deny any wrongdoing.

They were threatened that if they refused to resign voluntarily, they would face supreme court action. 

They would risk massive legal costs.

So Mel Breen has stepped  down.

Mr Breen's resignation letter repeated his calls for a forensic audit into Ozcare finances.



Charity Challenge, under-attack board members call for Ozcare audit,  Daryl Passmore, p.7, The Courier-Mail, 9 August 2015.

R-pists may have risen to senior ranks in the ADF.

181 serving members of the Defence Force, reservists and employees have been accused of s-x abuse, cover-ups or mismanagement of allegations.

Allegations of matters involving r-pe (involve) 22 members currently serving or employed in Defence. 

A report into s-x abuse prepared by the law firm DLA Piper has previously raised the prospect that r-pists have risen to senior ranks in the ADF.

The Defence Force's Abuse Taskforce has referred 201 complaints of r-pe and offences such as s-x assaults, threats to kill and intimidation to police for investigation.

To date, nobody has been suspended from duties.


Military assault, accused r-pists remain in uniform, ADF reveals, Samantha Maiden, The Courier-Mail, 9 August 2015

RAAF whistleblower is accused of making a bomb threat and faces a military trial.

In February 2015 a whistleblower sent an anonymous disclosure to military police, claiming senior members of a RAAF unit had ordered junior members to strip insulation from copper wire at a Townsville base so it could be sold to recyclers.

The orders were alleged to have been made on the promise that money raised would be used for a Christmas party.

Unit members came to question what had happened to the money, after the social club's Christmas party was held at a no-frills bowls club with only $1000 put on the bar.

Claims emerged that $3500 had gone missing from a safe.

The Sunday Mail was told that the whistleblower's disclosure was referred back to the unit to conduct its own internal investigation, and that senior members came to suspect a tradesman of being the whistleblower.

At a meeting with a senior ranking unit member the tradesman complained about his treatment and added : "I could launch a cannon of equity issues here but I choose not to."

He was then charged with making a bomb threat.

He will face a military trial on Wednesday 22 July 2015.



RAAF unit accused of copper racket, David Murray, p. 7, The Courier-Mail, 19 July 2015

What can we learn from Pat Comben's story?

The Editor of this website writes : I met Pat Comben in the mid-1990's, towards the end of his time as Minister of Education in Queensland's Goss government.

Mr Comben impressed me greatly when he explained that he was giving up his high-powered (and highly-paid) role as a politician to train for the priesthood.

He struck me as a very sincere man.

I wondered if he had been disillusioned by politics.


Twenty years later, in 2013, Mr Comben gave evidence at the Royal Commission into Child S-xual Abuse over the abuse of orphans at the North Coast Children's Home in Lismore.

Mr Comben had been registrar of the Anglican Church's Grafton diocese.

He was the first to hear the allegations and was central to the hardline approach taken against 42 people seeking apologies and compensation for beatings and r-pes.

The diocese cast doubt on some of the claims, disputed liability and pleaded poverty, despite having almost $200 million in assets.

Mr Comben told the commission he had no idea why he did not inform police of the serious allegations.

Mr Comben later stated that after 50 years in the church, "I do not know if I can even say I am a Christian" and said he was quitting the clergy.

This week the Anglican church stripped Mr Comben, 65, of his  holy orders.

Under Anglican church law, there is no avenue of appeal.


What conclusions can we draw from this situation?

How could a man who seemed to mean so well fail so badly?

Is this a case of Australian social values changing under a man's feet?

Was Pat Comben's loyalty to the church so great that he felt no compassion for the victims of abuse?

I am publishing this story here because it really shocked me.

Does it tell us something about the abuse of power in Australia?

How difficult it is to "rock the boat"?

How tempting it is to "go with the flow"?



Pushed from the pulpit, Greg Stolz, p.3, The Courier-Mail, 16 July 2015

Onshore and Offshore detention facility teachers, doctors, social workers, etc. are threatened with two years jail.

Hundreds of doctors have rallied in Sydney against the federal government's newly introduced Australian Border Force Act.


Under this new "gag law", any doctor (teacher, social worker, etc.) working directly or indirectly for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is threatened with two year's jail if they disclose what happens inside offshore detention facilities.



Hundreds of doctors and health workers rally in Sydney against Border Force Act secrecy provisions, Melanie Kembrey, The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July 2015 

NSW Police whistleblowers allegedly targeteted.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas met privately with NSW MP Robert Borsak to ask for his help in relation to a secret multi-million-dollar NSW Ombudsman's Inquiry.

"He ... asked me to try to help him and all of his colleagues who have been victimised by this whole process over the years," Mr Borsak said.

Just days later, Mr Borsak set up a parliamentary select committee to investigate concerns the NSW Ombudsman's inquiry had been derailed and was unfairly targeting the whistleblowers rather than the alleged corruption within the NSW police.

Deputy Commissioner Kaldas is one of a number of senior and former police who have contacted politicians to discuss their concerns over the Ombudsman's inquiry.

The Ombudsman's inquiry was established in 2012 to investigate allegations that about 100 NSW Police officers had been unlawfully put under surveillance by their colleagues more than a decade ago.

Deputy Commissioner Kaldas is one of those who were wrongly placed under surveillance.

Another NSW Police Deputy Commissioner, Cath Burn, worked in the police unit responsible for the surveillance operation at the time.

The select committee's deputy chairman , Mr Shoebridge, told the NSW parliament that the Ombudsman's report into the surveillance operation is actually a secret investigation by the NSW Ombudsman into whistleblowers.

"Why is it delayed for two years?" Mr Shoebridge asked.

"Well, it probably takes two years to run to ground every whistleblower you can."



"Cop, MP in secret inquiry talks, Dan Box, P11, The Weekend Australian, 15-16 November 2014

The royal commission into Bad Apple unionists.

The royal commission into union corruption will not be a story about the odd bad apple.

This story will be about the apple orchard, how it is organised and where the distribution chain leads.

So many Bad Apples end up in so many powerful places.

A class of professional enablers will be revealed : the people in law, finance and superannuation who help unions to do dodgy deals.

We will see ALP-affiliated unions for what they are : a tax-exempt business empire, our very own legalised mafia, geared to feed cash and candidates to the Labor Party machine.


Inside the ALP there must be some good people.

Why do they insist that there is no need for a royal commission into union corruption?

They are like the wives of cashed-up gangsters.

They want the good life - but they don't want to know how it is paid for.



Hang on to your hat : union corruption probe will be a wild ride, Grace Collier, Commentary, p.22, The Weekend Australian, 15-16 February 2014.

During 2012 : Bullying was a factor in more than 2000 Australian suicides.

It has been revealed that bullying was a factor in more than 2000 suicides in Australia during 2012.



PM urges nation to dob in a bully, p. 20, The Courier-Mail (I think), 24 March 2013.

Australians who work hard enough to gain a university degree may find that they have more to lose at work.

According to the Black Dog Index - an initiative of the Black Dog Institute and The Australian, powered by Newspoll - some 1201 people were asked to rate, on a scale of one to 10, to what extent work affects their health and well-being.

The mean result was 3.9, arguably below the mental tipping point, but still a bubbling pit of anxiety and concern.

There were also some significant differences depending on who was answering the question -

Those with a university degree rated it 4.4, almost a full point more than those with lesser qualifications.



Which suggests that the more you put in, the more you hope to get back, and the more you have to lose.



Working on it, Sean Parnell, Health Editor, The Australian, 6 December 2013

Sydney Airport security (accused) whistleblower Allan Kessing loses his home.

On Thursday 17 October 2013, whistleblower Allan Kessing was engulfed in flames driven by what he described as a whirlwind.

His modest house at Mount Victoria was destroyed, leaving him with only the clothes he was wearing, his mobile phone and his car.

He had been saving up to pay for insurance.

Mr Kessing has spend years fighting whistleblower charges.

His finances had already been depleted.

The Blue Mountains bushfires have come close to wiping him out.

He plans to live in his garage.


Six years ago Mr Kessing was convicted of leaking long-ignored Customs reports to The Australian newspaper.

The reports revealed criminality and security flaws at Sydney airport.

The leak triggered a federal government inquiry and $200 million worth of security improvements.


Mr Kessing denies being responsible for the leak.

But he says that he did leak the reports to a staffer for federal Labor's Anthony Albanese.

In November 2012, former Labor justice minister Jason Clare rejected Mr Kessing's application for a pardon.



You might conclude that the Australian Labor party have behaved pretty shamefully towards Allan Kessing.

And that only the very, very rich can hope for justice in Australia.



Whistleblower Kessing loses fight to save home, Chris Merritt, p. 4, The Weekend Australian, 19-20 October 2013.

Labor members of the Victorian parliament seem to be trying to workplace-bully-harass the Speaker to a breakdown.

Amidst chaos in the Victorian parliament, Premier Denis Napthine continued to support the Speaker, Ken Smith.

Mr Napthine blames the chaos on the Labor Party.

He says the Labor Party were bullying Mr Smith.

Opposition leader Daniel Andrews denied that Jacinta Allan and James Merlino deserved to be expelled for goading the Speaker.

While Mr Andrews admitted that "what happened yesterday didn't bring credit to anyone," he blamed the previous day's disruption on the Speaker.



Editor's Comment : To me these parliamentarians looked like a bunch of out-of-control schoolchildren, trying to drive the speaker to a heart attack.

What a horrible group of people.


Premier Denis Napthine accuses Labor of 'workplace bullying' , Michelle Griffin, The Age, 27 November 2013 :

How the officers of the Australian Labor Party and the unions work for ... their members.

On 15 October 2013 Michael Williamson pleaded guilty to three fraud charges and one count of attempting to recruit a former associate to obstruct police.

The charges carry a potential prison sentence of up to 34 years.

Mr Williamson, 60, was general secretary of the Health Services Union from 1995 to 2012.

Mr Williamson also served as national president of the Australian Labor Party.


The charges in brief -

a) The $600,000 envelopes scam

Mr Williamson reaped $600,000 by commissioning a businessman, Alfred Downing, to inflate the cost of printing union books in exchange for a share of the profits.

Mr Downing withdrew the cash in amounts of less than $10,000 to avoid alerting financial authorities, and delivered the money in envelopes to Williamson's "close friend" Cheryl McMillan over coffee.

McMillan kept some of the money she received from Downing and gave the rest of the cash to Mr Williamson.

This system took place on at least 300 separate occasions" between December 2006 and February 2010, including when Williamson was national president of the Australian Labor Party.


b) The CANME Services 'shell' business.

$338,470 in HSU funds was funnelled to CANME Services, a 'shell' business, for non-existent work.

The money was spent on credit cards, clothing and beauty purchases, as well as mortgage payments and private school fees.


c) The Credit Cards.

In 1998, Mr Williamson and McMillan pressured the owners of a publishing company, Carron and John Gilleland, to open American Express credit cards in their own names so that the pair could disguise spending on election expenses.

A credit card was later issued to Mr Thomson.

The Gillelands agreed because they feared their company, Communigraphix, could lose union contracts worth $300,000 a year.

When Williamson urged them to destroy the credit card statements amid police investigations in April last year, the conversation was covertly recorded and the statements were saved from destruction.


Mr Williamson's HSU salary ballooned from $290,000 to $513,000 in the six years to 2011.


Former Health Services Union national secretary Craig Thomson is strenuously defending criminal and civil charges for allegedly rorting thousands of dollars of union funds, including for paying prostitutes.


Whistleblower HSU national secretary Kathy Jackson urged Tony Abbott to order a judicial inquiry to root out further corruption.


"Many officials are busy trying to reinvent themselves as cleanskins when they must have or ought to have known what was going on but did nothing."



$600,000 cash in 300 envelopes: former Labor Party president Michael Williamson's fraud exposed, Jared Owens, additional reporting Joe Kelly, Mitchell Nadin, The Australian, 16 October 2013

Victims of CSIRO : The Story of A ...

Scroll down this Victims of CSIRO webpage to "The Story of A  : 16/07/2013" :


And yet another story of the difficulties faced by migrants to Australia.

Cynthia Kardell : the Public Interest Disclosure Bill 2013 is a milestone - of sorts.

On Tuesday 25 June 2013 the federal Labor government kept its 2010 promise when the Senate quietly passed its Public-Interest Disclosure Bill 2013 as amended by the Greens into law. 
You can be forgiven if you missed it, given the mounting tensions that erupted the following day when Julia Gillard lost to Kevin Rudd in the Labor leadership ballot.

The Public-Interest Disclosure Bill 2013 joins existing state & territory legislation put in place over the twenty-year period from 1993, and it can be seen as a bit of a milestone, although opinions might differ as to why.

Notably it does make it possible for a whistleblower to restrain their employer from taking retaliatory action and to be compensated for any loss, whether still employed or sacked, by using the 'adverse action' provisions under the Fair Work Australia Act. 
But it does not oblige the employer to prevent retaliation from taking place from the outset. 
All it requires is for the employer to put the processes in place to facilitate the disclosures being made.
Experience tells us this is not enough.

Cynthia Kardell, President of Whistleblowers Australia says :  "Yes, I do see the Public-Interest Disclosure Bill 2013 as a milestone - but a milestone marking the beginning of another decade of reform to make it obligatory for an employer to prevent retaliation from the outset, so that whistleblowing can be the workplace norm."

Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission review : bad news for whistleblowers, bad news for Right to Information applicants.

Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) was established to investigate major crime and to review complaints of misconduct amongst public officials.

A review, by former High Court judge Ian Callinan, makes 17 proposals including changes to right to information laws.


In most circumstances, Queensland Public Service departments would not have to explain their decision not to release RTI documents for nine months!


Editor's Note : in my experience, the release of RTI documents may be delayed till a CMC / Ethical Conduct Department investigation is well under way or completed. So whistleblowers may not realise that the records of their disclosure have been falsified till the investigation based on these falsified documents has been completed.

If the release of the RTI documents is delayed for another nine months, that will be nine more months that the whistleblower will suffer with their disclosure "not substantiated" and with no idea that their disclosure and their documents have been extensively falsified.


Liz Cunningham, an independent MP and chair of the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (PCMC), says she supports some of the recommended changes.

She agrees the CMC has been used as a political football.

"That was clearly evident the last election when the former premier Anna Bligh reported Campbell Newman, who was the candidate for Ashgrove at the time, to the CMC and then referred to that reference over and over again in political campaigning," she said.

But she is concerned about changes to the complaints process, with a call to prosecute people who make baseless complaints could deter whistleblowers from coming forward.

"This recommendation says not only you can't you say that you've reported something to the CMC, these recommendations are there be significant penalties attached."


Editor's Note : When disclosures to the CMC are returned to Public Service Ethical Conduct Departments to be investigated, and when these Ethical Conduct Departments 'set up' investigations to fail to 'substantiate' whistleblowers' allegations - this new CMC policy will put any Queensland Public Service whistleblower at significant risk.


Australian Council for Civil Liberties (ACCL) president Terry O'Gorman says he is deeply concerned some of the recommended changes will deter whistleblowers from airing complaints for fear of prosecution if their concerns are found to be baseless.

"Once you have a complaint process that has that sort of negative factor in it, that sort of chilling factor, then the complaint process itself starts to break down," he said.

"The proposal there be a new offence introduced to make it offence to make a baseless complaint will have a chilling effect on making complaints.

"People will think once, but twice or three times, and they will say to themselves 'well, if there's a risk I could be prosecuted, then I'm not going to make a complaint'."


Queensland University of Technlogy lecturer Dr Mark Lauchs says he is concerned a proposed crackdown on frivolous complaints to the CMC could backfire.

"That's going to mean that anonymous complaints aren't going to occur," he said.

"The other thing is you need to be directly witness to the things you are talking about so you can't use hearsay evidence.

"I'm assuming that someone like [former Queensland MP] Rob Messenger wouldn't be able to make a complaint on behalf of someone else."


Fears CMC recommendations will discourage whistleblowers, Andree Withey and Jesse Dorsett, ABC News, 4 April 2013

Terry Sweetman : a brief history of the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission.

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) exists because the traditional avenues for complaint and investigation simply did not work in the years leading up to the Fitzgerald Commission.


The villainy of some of our elected representatives went largely unhindered by the political process.

The exercise of brute parliamentary numbers, bolstered by a long-perfected gerrymander, prevented the exposure of criminality and the punishment of its practitioners.

Our legal apparatus was unable or unwilling to rein in those who became partners in that criminal behaviour through bribery or patronage.

Our police force was corrupted from the top and its machinery of discipline and punishment was ineffective.


Those who suffered or chafed under corruption or the wilful misuse of power faced dire consequences at the hands of a vindictive government and a police force beholden to it.


Their only avenues of redress were through their often feeble, sometime untrustworthy, parliamentary representatives and a media that, until it muscled up in the 1980s, failed its readers, viewers and listeners.

There was no independent body to which aggrieved citizens could have taken their concerns and been guaranteed anonymity and protection.

The rot stopped only after the Fitzgerald Commission played out to its bitter end.


Today's CMC, despite its blunders and its ponderous processes, is the strongest weapon Queenslander's have when it comes to keeping our institutions accountable.


That's how important it is.

Some have suffered at its hands.

But making the CMC even more secretive in its operations won't make it more accountable to its brief.


One of the great things about the CMC - in theory - is that it can be an avenue of complaint for those of limited legal knowledge and experience, those with just a half glimpse of the truth and those who are honest in their mistaken beliefs.


The CMC is now being invited to treat these folk with the full force of prosecution.

The mere possibility of specific punishment beyond existing constraints must make it even more difficult and fraught for whistleblowers.

The proposed CMC "reforms" seem to open up a yawning gop between the CMC and citizens of Queenslander with no other avenue of redress.


Proposed reforms pull up the welcome mat at the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission, Terry Sweetman, The Sunday Mail, 7 July 2013

Liz Cunningham : the Queensland Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Commission has concerns about the "reform" of the CMC.

‘‘In the experience of this committee, some who feel that they have a genuine complaint to make to the CMC, despite that complaint being baseless, will not be deterred by the requirement of providing a statutory declaration.

‘‘...Conversely, the committee considers that this requirement may deter a person who holds a genuine complaint which could expose corruption but feels vulnerable in making that complaint due to the requirement to sign a statutory declaration and disclose their name.’’ Ms Cunningham wrote in the PCMC’s response to the inquiry’s recommendations.


The PCMC were also concerned a proposal that only people who had directly ‘‘seen or heard’’ official misconduct could make complaints to the CMC could ‘‘hamper the effectiveness’’ of the crime and corruption watchdog.

‘‘The committee notes that there are a number of significant investigations undertaken by the CMC which were commenced following information heard or seen by someone other than the person making the complaint and subsequently resulted in criminal convictions for official misconduct,’’ she wrote.

‘‘There needs to be a balance between the public interest in protecting the privacy of those persons subject to a complaint to the CMC and the public interest of ... applicants under the Right to Information Act receiving reasons for the decisions of those agencies,’’ Ms Cunningham wrote.

‘‘This recommendation may impact upon the rights of those individuals to appeal against such decisions, or may negatively impact upon other matters relating to that individual in relation to the information they seek.’’


Editor's Note : in my own experience, the RTI process was the only Queensland government process that worked in any way effectively.

If my RTI documents had been delayed for nine months, it would have been even easier for public servants to run faux investigations into my disclosures and find them "unsubstantiated".

Because RTI worked for me, I realised that my disclosure and documents had been falsified.


My emails complaining about this situation were disregarded, but at least I knew what was going on - and how the departmental 'investigations' were going wrong.


Changes will silence whistleblowers: MP, Cameron Atfield, Bayside Bulletin, 6 July 2013 :

Bil de Maria : the changes to the Queensland Right to Information laws are "a perfect storm for secrecy".

Bill de Maria is Queensland's leading ethicist
Dr de Maria describes the Queensland Government's proposed changes to Right to Information laws as a "perfect storm for secrecy".

Dr de Maria said plans to allow decision makers to refuse the release of information without explanation for nine months - which have been accepted "in principle" by the State Government - will undermine openness and accountability and prevent scrutiny of elected officials.

Dr de Maria said the change undermined the central tenets of public administration.

"It's undergirded in the Judicial Review Act, for example, and in all the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act - the decision makers are required to stand in front of the public and explain why they are making decisions," he said.

"This releases them from that responsibility, and that means it's a retrograde step and not good news for openness."

There will be no community consultation.


Storm over 'secrecy' as ethicist blasts changes to Queensland's Right to Information laws, Alison Sandy, The Courier-Mail, 5 July 2013  :

Queensland public service Ethical Conduct Departments may be abolished!

The Queensland government is considering the abolition of its departments' ethical standards units.


Editor's Note : This is a terrific idea.

I suggest they begin by abolishing the Department of Education Ethical Conduct Department.

My experience suggests that it is impossible for a "Director of Ethical Conduct" to find any evidence of his peers not doing their jobs properly.

He may even be allowed to investigate his own actions when he was Director of another Department.

These Ethical Conduct Departments seem to me to be a waste of Public Money.

And the government has accepted a recommendation to make it a condition of employment that all senior staff within the public service “take all reasonable steps” to ensure there are no official acts of misconduct on their watch.

Failure to do so would be grounds for termination.


Government cracks down on CMC, Amy Remeikis, The Brisbane Times, 3 July 2013

The federal Labor Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying seems to have been a trojan horse.

Federal Labor's Fair Work Amendment Bill the anti-workplace bullying bill - is a GOOD THING - right?

Well maybe not.

Maybe federal Labor is using Workplace Bullying as a trojan horse.


And what is hidden in the belly of the federal Labor Workplace Bullying Trojan Horse?

New right of entry powers to allow unions to hold lunchroom meetings with workers!

Fancy that!


And what do unions actually to to help bullied workers?

In this workplace-bullied-Queenslander's experience, they advise members to 'accept the things that cannot change'.


And then, if that doesn't work, they threaten to take action against them if they complain about their bullying fellow union members.


But see how clever federal Labor are.

If the opposition refuse to pass the trojan horse, federal Labor can claim that the opposition will not support the anti-workplace bullying bill!


So was that what the federal inquiry into workplace bullying was all about?


Building a federal Labor trojan horse - at vast public expense?


Union begs independents on workplace laws, AAP, 5 June 2013

Lawrence Springborg - thank goodness for a Minister who has the courage to deal with problems.

Toni Hoffman, Christine Cameron  and Jo Barber are three Queensland Health whistleblowers who suffered and continue to suffer because of their courage :


But their selfless endurance has had a good outcome at last.


Queensland LNP Health Minister Lawrence Springborg is the man we have been waiting for - a Minister who is unafraid to show leadership.


Lawrence Springborg gave the Queensland medical board 14 days to show cause why they should continue in the role.

And the majority of the Queensland medical board resigned today.


Queensland medical board members resign following Health Minister's show-cause notice, Janelle Miles, The Courier-Mail, 26 April 2013

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox : has "no regrets whatsoever" about his decision to whistleblow.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox alleged in an interview with Lateline last year that the Catholic Church hierarchy protects paedophile priests, silences investigations and destroys critical evidence to avoid prosecution.

One week later Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a wide-ranging royal commission into the institutional responses of organisations to child sex abuse.

On the eve of the royal commission, Chief Inspector Fox told the ABC's 7.30 program that NSW Police have informed him that he will not be considered a whistleblower.

Chief Inspector Fox said that decision leaves him open to litigation because he now has no public interest immunity.


However, a NSW Police spokesman says Chief Inspector Fox is protected under the NSW Public Interest Disclosures Act for some of his statements.

"The officer sought to make several disclosures under the NSW Public Interest Disclosures Act," the spokesman said in a statement after Chief Inspector Fox's interview with 7.30.

"One disclosure was declined because it didn't meet the requirements of the legislation.

"The remaining matters were deemed to be protected disclosures, meaning the officer is afforded protection under the Act.

"In addition, the officer is automatically afforded protection for information disclosures, under the NSW Police Act and the force's own internal policies.

"The officer has been informed of these outcomes."


After first making the allegations on Lateline last year, Chief Inspector Fox said he had been the victim of an internal police smear campaign.


But Chief Inspector Fox says he has "no regrets whatsoever" about his decision to speak out.

"That's something I can say without even pausing to consider the question.

"It was the right decision. Yes, it might have a bit of a cost at the end of the day, but I will never have a regret about the fact that it ended up leading to this royal commission."


Preliminary hearings for the royal commission begin tomorrow in Melbourne, where the commission's chair Justice Peter McClellan will provide information on how it will conduct its private and public hearings.

Cop who exposed abuse denied whistleblower status, ABC, 3 April 2013 :

Brian Martin : review of 'Deadly Healthcare'.

Brian Martin of Whistleblowers Australia : has reviewed the book Deadly Healthcare, which takes a broad view of the Jayant Patel issue :

Victims of CSIRO - online petition.

CSIRO have announced an 'independent' investigation into workplace bullying - but it is quickly becoming apparent that this investigation is anything but independent.

At Senate Estimates, CSIRO Deputy CEO, Operations, Mr Mike Whelan made some astounding statements to the effect that CSIRO would be involved in a vetting process whereby they would determine which submissions were handed on to the independent investigator

Mr Whelan also prejudged the investigation by questioning the veracity of some of the complainants.

Victims of CSIRO have commenced an online petition through requesting that the Solicitor-General, Attorney-General and responsible minister intervene to ensure that the investigation is conducted in a truly independent manner and that CSIRO is prevented from interfering in the process.

Please support the CSIRO workers by signing this petition :

Miranda Devine : in Australia, victims are essentially told to shut up.

Miranda Devine makes a good point in her article in The Sunday Mail on 13 January 2013.

She observes that whenever a major catastrophe occurs in Australia, the victims are essentially told to shut up.

It happened after Victoria's Black Saturday fires in 2009.

It happened after the Canberra bushfires, 10 years ago on Friday.

And it's happening now in Tasmania.

"Now is not the time for that conversation," says the Tasmanian Minister for Emergency Management, David O'Byrne, avoiding questions about why adequate hazard reduction burns were not done in cooler months to remove fuel from the path of inevitable summer fires.

And I remember myself, after a cyclone south of Cairns, watching an elderly couple weep as they us that many of the things we were reading in the newpapers were not true.

The help they were supposed to be getting from the government, they were not getting.

But they felt unable to complain about the situation because they had been told that "we" did not complain.

"We" just quietly got on with putting our broken lives together again.

Without drawing any conclusions about our experiences.

Without complaining.

In particular, without complaining about the government.

And it is the same at work, in Australia.

Talking about workplace bullying is "against the Code of Conduct".

So the problem is not the workplace bullying.

The problem is you talking about the workplace bullying.


Because in Australia we have a "shut up about it" culture.

It is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to deal with any problem.


Now's the time for a hot debate, Miranda Devine, Agenda, P. 47, The Sunday Mail, 13 January 2013


Allan Kessing demonstrates how disgracefully whistleblowers are treated in Australia today : he whistleblew about security flaws at Sydney Airport, had his life effectively ruined, his reports were not acted upon - and now ...

Federal independent Senator Nick Xenophon has called for convicted whistleblower and former Customs officer Allan Kessing to be pardoned, in light of the corruption allegations engulfing the Customs service.

On Thursday 20 December 2012, a 7.30 and Fairfax investigation revealed that a cell of suspected corrupt Customs officers allegedly helped smuggle drugs through Sydney Airport.

Mr Kessing compiled two reports on security flaws within Customs operations at Sydney Airport.

The information was leaked in 2005, and Mr Kessing was convicted over the leak!

"The scandal here is that this man, who deserves a medal for the work that he did 10 years ago, was actually persecuted through the courts, had his life effectively ruined by virtue of being charged under section 70 of the Crimes Act," Senator Xenophon said.

He say if the reports were acted on 10 years ago, Customs would not be facing such serious issues.

Mr Kessing told The World Today that many Customs officers are decent people, but are reluctant to complain.

He is sceptical about Customs' ability to change its internal culture.

"If the culture does not permit an honest person come forward and call their bluff, blow the whistle as it were, then no, nothing will ever change. It needs root-and-branch reform," he said

"It wouldn't be difficult at all if there was the will from above but it's the Peter Principle - people rise to the level of their incompetence, and once there, they do what they can to maintain the situation."


CSIRO : Comcare has issued the CSIRO with an "improvement notice", saying its response to workplace bullying, etc. is not good enough.

The federal work safety authority, Comcare, has officially ordered the CSIRO to protect its staff against psychological injuries caused by bullying and harassment.

The federal workplace insurance authority has issued an ''improvement notice'' to the science and technology organisation, saying its responses to bullying, misconduct, workplace conflict, psychological stress or injuries were not good enough.

A group of 12 former and serving employees, represented by law firm Maurice Blackburn, who are pushing for workplace reform were told last month the notice had been served on the organisation after a Comcare investigation.

The notice asks for ''the review and improvement of CSIRO's governance systems around the management of workplace misconduct and of allegations of bullying".

"The provision of training to CSIRO staff regarding misconduct, bullying and workplace conflict."

... "The notification of incidents of bullying to Comcare.''

Maurice Blackburn principal Giri Sivaraman said the improvement notice was ''quite extensive and quite broad''.

''There are very serious consequences if CSIRO doesn't comply with that notice,'' Mr Sivaraman said.

''All of them [the clients] simply want to see the standards of CSIRO improve and a stop to workplace bullying at CSIRO.''

Former employee, Sylwester Chyb, who is taking court action against the CSIRO, said workplace bullying problems existed throughout the organisation.

''It happens across many divisions, all locations, it's pervasive,'' Dr Chyb said. ''I was a senior scientist but this happens to junior research staff, technicians, to administrators and people in IT.

''In a lot of cases it's payback for whistleblowing.''


CSIRO ordered to act on bullying, Noel Towell, 4 December 2012 :

Victims of CSIRO :

CSIRO : Deep Space Bosses allegedly sack Jack Hoffman for eating a Big Mac on his way home from work.

Jack Hoffman alleges that his bosses at the Deep Space Communications Complex south of Canberra stood him down after he treated himself to a Big Mac on the way home from work one evening in May.

The 10-year CSIRO veteran was driving a work car when he bought his burger.

He was spotted by fellow workers, “dobbed-in” to management and stood down for misconduct; the private use of a company car.

The 49-year-old was re-instated in early June but he resigned a month later, claiming he was subjected to a concerted campaign of bullying and harassment.

He is now trying to get his job back, claiming constructive dismissal.

Mr Hoffman said he was forced out of the job he loved.

“It was a constructive dismissal; I was forced to resign from my position as I could not tolerate the bullying, victimisation, harassment, humiliation and ridicule that I was forced to suffer in my workplace,” the application reads.

He told The Canberra Times that he was simply hungry when he pulled into the Conder branch of McDonalds for a burger.

“I hadn't eaten all day at work, I was hungry and I was very tired after a very difficult week at work,” he said.

 “When I stopped at McDonalds, which was on my direct route home, I wasn't thinking and I simply reacted instinctively and this was not deliberate conduct on my behalf.

“Can you believe I lost my job over a Big Mac?”


Sacked over a Big Mac, Noel Towell, Canberra Times, 4 December 2012 :

State Police Officer : submission 272 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

A State Police Officer made submission 272 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : D.H (PDF 962KB)

This submission tells a story that will resonate with any whistleblower - you try to do the 'right thing', the 'payback', the faux investigation process and the total failure of all of the official processes.

State Police Officer 272 was seconded to the Australian Federal Police in late 2006 to work at an un-named Australian airport as part of the Federal Government Anti-Terrorism Strategy.

He observed significant security deficiencies at the airport.

He raised these security issues with AFP Management and also with his State Police Force Management.

He was verbally abused, harassed and bullied by AFP Management staff.

Threatening stickers and messages were left in front of his locker. The lock was tampered with. Items of clothing were stolen.

Rumours concerning him were spread around the workplace.

State Police Officer 272 describes the very poor standard of investigation that was conducted into his complaint about the bullying.

He concludes the the official processes are dysfunctional.

He asks how the State Police Force can protect the rights and well-being of average everyday Australians when politicians and senior public servants cannot or will not protect State and Federal Government employees from workplace abuse.


Editor's Comment :

Many Australian teachers are asking these same questions.

Why do our senior public servants turn a 'blind eye' to workplace abuse?

Why are the 'official processes' so useless?

Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation member : submission 177 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

Submission 177 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Byllying seems to be by a member of the Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation : M.C (PDF 1,228KB)

ASMOF member 177 writes that institutions that claim to have a 'Zero Tolerance Policy to workplace bullying' may actually tolerate workplace bullying.

This is only possible when there is active or passive support for workplace bullying by the Senior Managers and / or the Human Resource Officers.

If internal investigations into workplace bullying complaints are undertaken by bully-friendly senior officers, there is no accountability.

Senior officers may, for example, ignore the substance of a complaint, but claim that 'all matters have been dealth with in accordance with procedural fairness and Policy'.


Unions like ASMOF are active politically.

Experience in the UK suggests that this may be a conflict of interest when it comes to representing their members who have been bullied.

The husband of a Queensland child care group leader : submission 140 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

The husband of a Queensland child care group leader made submission 140 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : M.S (PDF 794KB)

140.1 Supplementary Submission M.S (PDF 472KB)

The husband had to write the submission himself because his wife, who had allegedly suffered long-term workplace abuse, had a nervous breakdown on 15 February 2012.

The husband writes that his wife had been bullied by management with false allegations.

The bullies have suffered no consequences for their abuse.

His wife's WorkCover claim was rejected.

Then her Q-Comp claim for a review was also rejected.

Crucial evidence was misunderstood or overlooked by Q-Comp, but the husband and wife are now reduced to one income, so they simply cannot afford to appeal the Q-Comp decision.

His wife feels that everything that she has worked for has been taken from her, no-one cares, and the bullies will continue merrily on their way.

Keryl Egan, Clinical Psychologist : submission 126 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

Keryl Egan, Clinical Psychologist, has made a very interesting submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : Keryl Egan & Assocates Pty Ltd (PDF 990KB)

Ms Egan suggests that 5-15 per cent of the population may be sub-clinical psychopaths.

She quotes Dr Mitchell Byrne (UOW 2011) who states, "white collar psychopaths are ... smooth-talking, energetic individuals who easily charm their way into jobs and promotions but who are also exceedingly manipulative, narcisistic and ruthless."

They "thrive on chaos and risk-taking".

Keryl Egan states that, in her opinion, sub-clinical psychopaths "will not engage in any mutual purpose to improve or change, even though they may appear to do so, nor will they respond to coaching and counselling unless this is carefully structred specifically to deal with intransigent behaviours and unless behavioural accountability is actively designed and enforced."

A total systemic approach will be necessary.


Editor's comment : Keryl Egan's submission really rang true to me.

From the start, my bully seemed to have a mental health problem.

Every day she would produce a new 'story'.

And she never acknowledged that she was changing her 'story', so you never knew where you were.

That's why I began keeping notes on her behaviour.

But there is no 'official process' for reporting that you think your school principal might have a mental health problem.

Robina Cosser : Submission 110 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

The workplace culture of the Queensland Department of Education facilitates the abuse of classroom teachers.


A submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

By Robina Cosser.

29 June 2012


Queensland Principals are able to bully classroom teachers because of systemic problems -

a) The promotion system

b) Their poor training.

c) A lack of intelligence / literacy skills.

d) Falsification of the official records.

e) Classroom teachers are given poor and even harmful advice when they are bullied.

f) Conflicts of Interest.

g) The failure of the CMC / Department of Education "Devolution Policy", and the corruption of the investigation process.

h) Abusive principals just make up their own policies.

i) Principals and public servants who bully teachers, or who facilitate the abuse of teachers, are given promotions and awards.


(The details of my submission 110 have been made confidential, at my request.)


My message to Julia Gillard, Bill Shorten and the members of the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying is that listening to the stories of suffering workers, hugging people and being sympathetic, is not enough.

We, the bullied workers, need real action to be taken to protect us from workplace abuse.


Recommendations -

There is a need to establish the minimum OP standard that must be achieved before a student is accepted into any Australian teacher-training program.

Queensland teachers need to be tested on their capacity to read, comprehend and to apply departmental policies before they are promoted or appointed to acting positions.

Queensland principals need to be held responsible for complying with the official policies.

Queensland teachers need printed information on how to protect themselves from workplace abuse. Teachers should be told about their right to make a WorkCover complaint. They should have free access to the DWP policy and the Grievance policy. If the QTU will not provide this information, it should be provided by the department.

The Queensland Department of Education must demonstrate that their Grievance process works. Data must be collected and published.

Queensland teachers must be given written copies of all allegations concerning them. They must be allowed to respond to allegations in writing.

All investigation reports / Briefings for the Minister, etc. must include a statement by the person writing the report / briefing that they have no conflict of interest in the situation.

All investigation reports/ briefings must have a bibliography listing all of the documents that were used in writing the report / briefing. This will a) raise the professional standard of these briefings / reports and b) facilitate the Right to Information process. It will also significantly reduce RTI costs.

Education Queensland must stop wasting public funds on investigations that have been 'set up' to fail.

Devolution is not working. All Queensland public service Ethical Conduct Departments should be closed. All Ethical Conduct staff should work under the direct control of the CMC.


I would draw your attention to the website of Robert E. Bartholomew, PhD, whose experience of workplace abuse in a Northern Territory school was very similar to my own experience in Queensland :


Robina Cosser M.Ed

Editor : The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles

Editor: Whistleblowing Women

Catherine Gillespie, Director, Workplace Conflict Resolution : submission 100 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

Catherine Gillespie, Director of Workplace Conflict Resolution, has written an interesting submission (number 100) to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : Workplace COnflict Resolution (PDF 566KB)


Catherine writes that bullying happens in workplaces because management allows it to happen.

She says that policies do not prevent bullying.

Childhood experiences predispose some people to become bullies.


Catherine writes that managers -

 must be aware of workplace bullying,.

 must speak up,

 must take complaints seriously.


Catherine suggests that more resilient people tend to be promoted and do not tend to notice workplace bullying.

Victoria Police Fairwork Network : submission 93 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

A Senior Sergeant in the Victorian Police has made submission 93 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : D.B (PDF 1,601KB)

The Senior Sergeant represents a group of Victoria Police members who call themselves "VP Fairwork Network".

The network was formed because of concerns about the detrimental actions experienced by VP Fairwork Network members who have reported workplace bullying.

The Police Association of Victoria, their union, has given them lttle support on this issue.

The submission concerns the lack of capacity among higher ranking Victoria Police officers to deal with workplace bullying.

This inability to deal effectively with workplace bullying often becomes a bigger issue than the bullying itself.



Queensland Police learn useful skills 'on the job' and so they can fight back when they are bullied at work.

Burleigh Heads detective Dave Whyte raised allegations including the use of fabricated search warrants at Burleigh Heads CIB, and management bullying and favouritism.

Mr Whyte alleges he was bullied out of work after speaking out about the alleged corruption.

In 2007 Mr Whyte made a WorkCover claim for "stress and anxiety" he said he suffered as a result of harassment by colleagues.

WorkCover rejected his claim.

Mr Whyte has won a five-year battle for compensation.

The Gold Coast's most senior magistrate has criticised the Queensland Police Service's failure to investigate Mr Whyte's allegations, and its decision to launch an 'inappropriate' internal investigation against Mr Whyte himself.

Mr Whyte now plans to sue the QPS and seek a fresh Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation.

"The QPS, through its criminal and negligent conduct, has destroyed my career. They need to be held accountable," Mr Whyte said.


Editor's Comment : I quite envy Dave Whyte because he had the skills to take on the Queensland Police Service and WorkCover.

Policemen seem to get very useful training 'on the job'.

Teachers are much more vulnerable to abuse, because they do not have this legal training.

Teachers expect their union to support them - and then find that they have no support when they are bullied by a fellow union member.

Teachers work in a bully-friendly environment.


Cop wins compo battle, P.10, The Courier-Mail, 16 October 2012

Dr Donna-Louise McGrath : Submission 87 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

Dr Donna-Louise McGrath : Submission 87 to the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : Dr Donna-Louise McGrath (PDF 900KB)


This really is a good submission, well worth reading in full.


Dr McGrath writes -

... all bullying is characterised by an abuse of power; wherein vulnerable victims are pushed into powerless positions from which they have no avenue of escape.

Workers in superior positions (e.g. managers) can disguise and embed bullying within legitimate workplace rules and procedures.

There is an association between workplace envy and workplace bullying.

"At present, many perpetrators are able to bully without fear of punishment."

Brodie's Law may be a deterrent to perpetrators of bullying because they may now have a greater fear of punishment.

Many covert behaviours (e.g. the spreading of rumours) rely on group collaboration, or 'mobbing', particularly where there is a shared (albeit unspoken) envy toward the victim and there are personal benefits for aligning with a chief perpetrator in a superior position.

In Australia,  McGrath (2010) found a relationship between workplace envy and workplace bullying, suggesting that a worker's possession of comparatively superior traits to those of the perpetrator or group - such as being better qualified than the perpetrator(s) - can be a risk for bullying.


McGrath, D-L (2010). The relationship between envy and workplace bullying, 7th International (Biennial) Conference on Workplace Bullying and Harassment, Transforming Research : Evidence and practice. 2-4 june, Cardiff, Wales, UK.

National Network of Working Women's Centres : Submission 86 to the Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

National Network of Working Women's Centres ( NNWWC) : Submission 86 to the Australian National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : National Network of Working Women’s Centres (PDF 989KB)


Some NNWWC clients who were affected by workplace bullying have committed suicide.

Many of these clients have made no workers' compensation claim.

Their injuries and / or death does not register on any OHS data.


Women tend to question themselves when they are bullied.

They may work harder or longer hours to try to appease the bully.

They may give the bully extra ammunition for continuing the bullying by confiding personal information about illness, etc. to the bully.

Rather than this information raising some compassion, it is used as a further reason to bully.

Workplace bullies intimidate, isolate, humiliate and demean their targets.


Victims of CSIRO : Submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

Former CSIRO employee Andrew Hooley, who was made involuntarily redundant last year after nine years at the organisation, told OHN he had formed a group of 10 former CSIRO scientists who had placed pressure on Comcare to formally investigate CSIRO’s workplace practices and management culture.

He said they had submitted 54 cases of alleged bullying of current and former staff to the parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying.

“We would receive one to two complaints a week from former and current staff,” he told OHN.

He claimed bullying and harassment of staff was “rampant” at the CSIRO, generally stemming from “high-level public servants in positions for a long time with no accountability for their actions”.

Hooley, a former CSIRO health and safety rep, said some employees were on suicide watch as a result of being bullied.

He had established a website for victims of CSIRO bullying and estimated up to 100 cases had emerged involving bullying of current and former staff.

“A lot of the difficulties people have encountered started off as a result of questioning the legitimacy of processes,” he said.

Hooley said staff who reported illegal activity under the organisation’s whistleblower provisions were not protected and many were made redundant.

The submission called for tighter national laws, an independent body to investigate workplace bullying claims and stringent whistleblower protections.


Dr Sylwester Chyb, a leading entomologist who travelled from Britain for a job with CSIRO, has alleged he was harassed, bullied and unlawfully terminated by the CSIRO (OHN 929).

Editor's Note : Migrants from England, Scotland, America and Canada need to be warned about working conditions in Australia - they seem to be very vulnerable to workplace abuse.


CSIRO attacked for bullying culture – OHN, Occupational Health News, 3 August 2012 : Victims of CSIRO :


The Victims of CSIRO group would personally like to thank all those who have contributed and continue to contribute to our campaign. 

Your sharing of your own personal experiences, assistance with media contacts, legal advice and an ever increasing number of other ways in which you contribute has enabled us to build a significant profile as an advocacy and support group for victims of workplace bullying, harassment and victimisation.

The volume and quality of information we have received has allowed us to analyse and understand some very specific patterns in relation to workplace bullying within the CSIRO, and has enabled us to identify a number of key individuals who it is alleged have engaged in bullying behaviour towards a number of different employees. 

We have also identified a number of patterns relating to the way in which complaints of bullying and other examples of serious misconduct are addressed that would not have been possible without the considerable efforts of a large number of contributors.


A personal Thank you from the Victims Of CSIRO, 3 August 2012 :

Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : Submission 68 : The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union.

Submission 68, the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying is really well written : Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) (PDF 2,303KB)

The AMWU submission raises several issues -

Official processes dealing with workplace bullying take too long.

Investigators can be unwilling to take action to stop / prevent bullying.

There is a failure to deal with systemic problems.

There is a need for impartiality - the person in charge of an investigation must never be someone who was directly involved in the incident.


The AMWU submission is well worth reading in full.

Evelyn Field : Submission 58 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

Evelyn Field (PDF 331KB) 

In submission 58 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying, Evelyn Field writes that many bullied workers do not realise that they are being bullied.

And this was my own experience.

I knew that one person was making false allegations about me, but I thought that once I had explained what was going on, the rest of the workplace mob would realise that she was misleading them and would stop what they were doing.

It was not till I discovered the Bully OnLine website that I realised that there was no misunderstanding.

I was being bullied (or mobbed, to use the correct term).


Evelyn Field says that bullying is exacerbated by -

Weak Unions

I agree.  Unions have let bullied workers down badly for many years.


Employers who refuse to deal with the risk factors in their workplaces, so the bullied workers remain at home, slowly deteriorating.

I agree.

My employer promoted the bully and the members of the mob, gave them awards, etc. The disease was spread around other workplaces. Other workers were deliberately placed at risk.


Poor access to help for workers in remote areas.

I agree. Teachers working in remote schools have very poor access to support when they are bullied.

They only have mobile phones, so phone calls are very expensive.

Their access to the internet may be monitored and even cut off.

They have limited access to medical advice.

And one person told me that, when a group of teachers at a remote school phoned the union for advice, the principal found out about the phone call and threatened the teachers.


Employers who pretend to be 'good employers' and build up the expectation that they will respond properly to a complaint  - then retaliate and injure the bullied person even more.

I agree. My employers' policies were a sham. The bullies just did as they liked.


Dr Penny Webster: submission 48 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

Submission 48 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying is by Dr Penny Webster and it is really interesting : Dr Penny Webster (PDF 1,466KB)

Dr Webster writes :

"The systemic failure (of grievance resolution systems) ... leads to underreporting and implicitly encourages bullying behaviour."

"There is considerable potential for harm to occur if the substance of the grievance is not adequately attended to."

And when an organisation's response to a bullying complaint is not congruent with the organisation's published stance (for example, when a complainant is scapegoated and their career destroyed) the collateral damage compounds the initial damage from the bullying behaviour.


'In a multicultural society not everyone knows what is expected of them in every situation."


Editor's Note : This particular point had resonnance for me because I felt that my English values (Tell the truth and shame the devil, A man is as good as his word, etc.) placed me in conflict with FNQ values (Don't rock the boat. Go with the flow.).

I think age is another factor - people of different ages have different values.

Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : Submission 44 : Moving to a new job in Far North Queensland.

Submission 44 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying concerns a person who moved to a new job in Far North Queensland : C.V (PDF 960KB)


" My first day ... several people ... asked me point blank, "How long do you think you will last?" Of course I didn't understand the implications of these types of comments at first as I didn't believe for a minute that I would not last at this job."

"This was not the start of my new journey; this was fast becoming a nightmare."

"In the short time I was there I went from a functional human to a nervous wreck."

"While I was having a panic attack my boss continued to harrass me and watched me unable to breathe."


This bullied worker now has a Total and Permanent Disability.

He is financially ruined.

But the perpetrators are still working and paying off their mortgages.


Editors' Note : This submission interests me because I also found some of my co-workers in Far North Queensland very hostile when I first arrived from New South Wales.

They seemed to be especially hostile to my degree from Sydney University.

And, shortly after arriving in FNQ, I was also told to go back to where I came from.

Another employee, who had arrived from the Northern Territory at the same time as me, left after one year of workplace hostility.

Moving to a job in a new area of Australia seems to put you at risk of workplace abuse.

Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : Submission 43 : Problems with a Tasmanian Union Secretary.

Submission 43 to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying concerns problems with "the ultimate workplace psychopath" - a Tasmanian union secretary - and his immediate staff : R.G (PDF 917KB)

A large group of ex-employees of the union call themselves "The Survivors" and give support to the growing number of union employees who end their employment with this union in a very stressed and unhappy state.

... "the perpetrator ... is clever to realise that individual retaliation is not feasible as the majority are so emotionally affected they simply want to start a new life".

The difficulty of finding employment after whistleblowing is also discussed.


Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying : Submission 14 : A young chef suicides after prolonged workplace bullying.

This is a very harrowing story of a young chef being bullied at work.

He - and his sister - were slowly driven to suicide : A.M (PDF 920KB)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister Bill Shorten announce a parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying around Australia.

PM: I am here today with Minister Bill Shorten ... and we’re here today to talk about bullying in our workplaces.

I feel very concerned that in workplaces around the country there are people ... who are being bullied at work.

... (I am worried that) there’s a silent epidemic out there.

There are people who are being bullied who aren't feeling that they can raise their voices and report their experiences.

... We, today, are here to announce a parliamentary inquiry into bullying around the nation.

 ... If we have a national parliamentary inquiry, it will enable people to come forward, tell their stories, help us work out the prevalence of bullying in work places and also help us add to what we are doing now.

And one way we could add to what we are doing now is ... to have common national laws to deal with bullying at work.


House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment  - Committee Members - 43rd Parliament :

Ms Amanda Rishworth MP (Chair) (Australian Labor Party, Kingston, SA)

Mr Rowan Ramsey MP (Deputy Chair) (Liberal Party of Australia, Grey, SA)

Mrs Karen Andrews MP (Liberal Party of Australia, McPherson, QLD)

Mrs Yvette D'Ath MP (Australian Labor Party, Petrie, QLD)

Ms Deborah O’Neill MP (Australian Labor Party, Robertson, NSW)

Mr Mike Symon MP (Australian Labor Party, Deakin, VIC)

Mr Alan Tudge MP (Liberal Party of Australia, Aston, VIC)

Frank Furedi blames the victims of workplace abuse for not dealing with the abuse 'creatively'.

Back in the early 1980s virtually nobody talked about adults being bullied, writes Frank Furedi.

What has happened to our quality of life?
Why have Australian workplaces become so unpleasant?


According to the Australian Psychological Society, a staggering 70 per cent of employees are, or have been, bullied.

In May, research published in Bullying of Staff in Schools found that 80 per cent of the teachers interviewed stated they had been bullied by parents.

70 per cent of them were bullied by their principals.

In a staff survey at the University of NSW, published in May, 68 per cent of respondents said they had been bullied and 83 per cent had witnessed workplace abuse.

The Australian government has signalled its intention to expand workplace bullying laws.

But Frank Furedi claims that a close inspection of the claims made about bullying indicates that what they refer to are 'everyday troubles of human existence'.


When I first arrived in Far North Queensland, my 'Team Leader' had a habit of creeping up behind me and hitting me hard in my back, so that I fell forward.

And he would continually shout 'Who's arsey?' at the end of meetings - because my initials were RC.

I had never had to deal with this sort of professional conduct before.

This was not an 'everyday trouble of human existance', it was workplace abuse.


Frank Furedi says that in most instances 'bullying' it refers to the normal tensions and conflicts integral to the life of work.


Frank, these behaviours are not 'normal'.

These behaviours are not 'integral to the life of work'.

Dealing with abuse drains your time and energy.

It reduces your capacity to work.


Frank Furedi says that experts have redefined elementary forms of unpleasant and insensitive behaviour as bullying.


The point is, Frank, why do so many people in our society need to behave so unpleasantly?

How did these people become so disturbed?

And why are so many people with disturbed behaviour being promoted?

Is there a significant problem with the promotion system?


Frank Furedi argues that one of the long term consequences of society's obsession with the threat of bullying is that it is likely to diminish the capacity of its people to deal with the uncertainties of life.


So, was it good for my health for my 'team leader' to creep up behind me and hit me hard in my back?

I do not think so.

Not in any civilised society.

I think Frank Furedi is trying to normalise abuse.


Frank Furedi says that 'for someone who is confronted with adversity at work, bullying provides a personal story through which they gain meaning of their predicament by blaming it on others'.


I certainly blamed my 'Team Leader' for hitting me in my back, but I didn't 'gain' any 'meaning' of his abuse by thinking he was an abuser.

What gibberish.


Frank Furedi says that once people are 'incited to regard themselves as lacking the capacity to deal creatively with negative encounters' they will perceive an ever-expanding variety of experiences as bullying.


So Frank Furedi feels that the problem is not that my 'Team Leader' was hitting me in the back, the problem was that I was not dealing with the situation creatively?


Frank Furedi lives in England.

But he writes - with great confidence - about workplace bullying in Australia.


Very odd.

Does Frank Furedi really understand what has been going on in Australian workplaces?


Entrenched in a culture of workplace politics, or could it be you're picking on me again?, Frank Furedi, The Australian, 7 July 2012 :

Senior Sergeant Mick Isles - did workplace bullying drive him to suicide - or was he murdered?

Senior Sergeant Mick Isles was accused of money laundering and drug trafficking.

He was eventually cleared of wrongdoing.

He wanted to return to work.

Sergeant Isles was on his way to Townsville for a training course.

His car and neatly folded uniform were found five days later along a little-used track near Ravenswood.

Extensive searches failed to find any trace of him.

His son, Steven Isles, named four officers - whose details have been suppressed - who had issues with his father, including one who he said had threatened to shoot him.

He told the inquest the officers had never been investigated.

Steven Isles said his father's disappearance was "foul play", possibly at the hands of other police.
Foul play by police feared over disappearance of Sen Sgt Mick Isles in 2009,  Kate Kyriacou, The Courier-Mail, 9 July 2012 :

Des Houghton : Toni Hoffman, Christine Cameron and Jo Barber are three courageous Queensland Health whistleblowers.

Des Houghton says that Toni Hoffman, Christine Cameron and Jo Barber have done us all an invaluable public service by lifting the lid on scandalous medical treatment suffered by the people of Queensland in the past decade.

Toni Hoffman and Christine Cameron are career nurses while Jo Barber is a health investigator and former detective.

These courageous whistleblowers knew they would harm their careers by speaking out about failures in the Queensland medical system.

They have all been vilified by those who believe medical malpractice should be discussed in the closed rooms of boards and tribunals away from the prying eyes of the media.


Queensland Health was not aware when it employed Jayant Patel that he had been struck off in the US following issues of gross negligence and that his past record had not been checked.

Toni Hoffman exposed Patel - and was then ostracised and suffered severe stress.

Hoffman's lawyer, Peter Koutsoukis  from Maurice Blackburn, said she "suffered financially, professionally and personally".

The damage done to Toni Hoffman was finally acknowledged by the Queensland Government earlier this year.


Christine Cameron dared to report all was not well at Bundaberg hospital in the years after the Patel tragedy.

Her allegations were contained in a series of statements and papers tabled in State Parliament by former MLA Rob Messenger.

Cameron went for years without receiving a proper response from the investigating agencies.

Her complaints, she said, were circulated between Queensland Health's Ethical Standards Unit, the Health Quality and Complaints Commission and the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

"I'm now convinced we have created a number of investigative bodies who spend much time writing letters back and forward to each other in an attempt to shift responsibility somewhere else," Cameron told me at the time.

"In my view they ignore their own guidelines."

An interim report by Queensland Health attempted to discredit many of her allegations.

Christine Cameron feared a whitewash.

Disillusioned, she fled overseas.


Jo Barber arrived at the ethical standards unit in June 2010 and was shocked when told Christine Cameron's complaints were unworthy because she was a "serial complainer, a nut case and a whinger".

"They had no intention of taking her complaints seriously," Barber said.


Jo Barber and Christine Cameron are calling for a royal commission.


Paying a price for lifting lid, Des Houghton, The Courier-Mail, 23 May 2012,

Labor unions do not seem to be functioning in the interests of their members.

In the main, the HSU membership is made up of those who empty the bedpans, clean the vomit from soiled sheets, and generally perform the most unpleasant tasks in the hospital system.

HSU members get paid $50,000 or $60,000 a year.

Members pay their union dues to ensure their lot in life gradually improves.

But the HSU officials developed a sense of entitlement to members' funds.

HSU New South Wales chief, Michael Williamson, has done particularly well for himself.

Apart from being paid more than $300,000 a year, he has organised for companies in which he or other members of his family have the sole or controlling interest to supply IT services to the HSU and, now it has been revealed, secretarial services as well.

The police are yet to report on the allegation that the printer massively overpaid to produce the union magazine also provided credit cards to Williamson and Thomson.

At best, a pathetically low standard of HSU accountability meant that hundreds of thousands of dollars have found their way into officials' pockets improperly.

At worst, HSU members have been robbed, pillaged and defrauded.


And Julia Gillard's Fair Work Australia has taken three years to prepare a report on the situation that for all intents and purposes is utterly useless.


Another example of Labor looking after ... the workers.


Foul stench from snouts in HSU trough, Graham Richardson, The Australian, 9 April 2012 :

How Labor looks after ... the workers.

Peter Beattie retired as Queensland premier in 2007.

He will receive $160,000 in superannuation every year for the rest of his life.

In addition to this annual $160,000, after his retirement, Mr Beattie was made Queensland's trade commissioner in Los Angeles on around $200,000 a year, tax-free.

Plus accommodation and a car.

Then, when he returned to Australia, Mr Beattie was given a part-time, $1000-a-day taxpayer-funded gig working for a federal ALP initiative to promote Australian-made products to the mining industry.


Labor Premier Anna Bligh gave her long-serving director-general Ken Smith a five-year contract as Queensland's Agent-General and European trade commissioner in London.

All previous agents-general and trade commissioners were given three-year contracts.

It is understood Mr Smith's lengthy contract does not include a 30-day termination clause like all other overseas trade representatives.

This means he could be eligible for a massive payout if the LNP want to remove him.

Ken Smith's salary as Queensland's Agent-General and European trade commissioner, will be $411,000 annually, including a $29,000 vehicle allowance.


Thanks, Labor.


Ken Smith given plum Agent-General job in London - and it's virtually impossible for the LNP to sack him, Steven Wardill, The Courier-Mail, 15 July 2011 :

Beattie drum in ALP call to arms, Mike O'Connor, PP 18-19, The Courier-Mail, 2 April 2012.

Queensland police : Cooktown police whistleblower threatened with sudden death by an unknown person in the Cairns police station.

Whistleblower Sen-Constable Richard Fry, 46, made a complaint to the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) about fellow police officers at Cooktown.

He accused the Cooktown officers of bullying, racism and fraudulently claiming overtime.

A police internal investigation found the Cooktown officers had no case to answer.

The police internal investigation was rubber-stamped by the CMC.


Then Sen-Constable Fry received a phone call on his mobile phone on 18 March 2009 from an unknown person saying the words "You’re going to be a 501", which is a police term for sudden death.

Sen-Constable Fry reported the matter.

The lead investigator allegedly told him some months later the death threat had been made from inside Cairns police station on Sheridan St.

Sen-Constable Fry believes Queensland Police failed to investigate the death threat against him appropriately.

Sen-Constable Fry is suing the Queensland Government for almost $450,000.
He claims he suffered psychological damage after receiving the phone call.

He claims that he has lived in fear of his life ever since as he still holds electronic recordings of alleged wrong-doings by fellow officers.


"As a result … the plaintiff is very concerned that an attempt may yet be made upon his life," the statement of claim lodged this week alleges.


Far Northern police whistleblower suing State Government for $450,000 over death threat, Melanie Petrinec, The Cairns Post, 24 March 2012 :

ANSTO technicians suspended "based on the findings of an inacurate, biased and partially fabricated in-house report".

David Reid, a former technician and staff-elected health and safety officer, is seeking compensation for harm he claims he suffered after raising health and safety concerns about contamination incidents at ANSTO, Australia's radioisotope production facility, between 2007 and 2008.

Mr Reid was was suspended in June 2008 and fired in June 2011.

Two Comcare investigations found ANSTO -

  • did not investigate Mr Reid's allegations of bullying and harassment,
  • ordered him to attend a health program deemed inappropriate by Comcare's Claims Services Branch
  • and denied him procedural fairness.


Mr Reid's allegations resemble those raised by technicians Jason Howe and John Bourke.

Workplace regulator Comcare found ANSTO administrators suspended Mr Howe and Mr Bourke based on findings of an inaccurate, biased and partially fabricated in-house report.


Third nuclear worker in bullying claim, Leigh Dayton, Science writer, The Australian, 22 March 2012 :

Robina Cosser says : The Queensland Labor Government, the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the various Directors-General are useless. We need change.

I was a Queensland teacher.

I taught Indonesian to several classes.

I tried to discuss the numbers of Grade 7 children who were missing from their classrooms, roaming about the school in unsupervised groups.

I was worried about their safety.

I was worried about the continual disruption to the other classes.

I was worried because I could not teach Indonesian very effectively with so many children missing from the Grade 7 classrooms.


The acting principal ruled that the children would continue to wander about.

And my career was destroyed.


The Queensland Teachers Union's only advice to me was to 'accept the things that cannot change' because the Education Queensland Grievance process did not work, and teachers who 'fought it' were driven to mental and physical breakdown.


And so it came to pass - the CMC  'devolved' the investigation into my complaint - as they devolve 98 per cent of all disclosures.

The workplace bullies were allowed to investigate their own behaviour and 'find no evidence' of their own workplace bullying.


Well something was substantiated.

The CMC / Education Queensland investigation process demonstrated that the Queensland Labor government, the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the Public Service Director-Generals are useless.

They are taking our taxpayers' money and they are useless.


We are Queenslanders.

We have suffered enough Labor government incompetence.

Our Labor government is useless.

We need change.

Never, ever Labor again.


Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson is hunting for police whistleblowers.

Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson has pledged an inquiry into how the Courier-Mail obtained the CCTV footage of the alleged bashing of 21-year-old chef Noa Begic in the bowels of the Surfers Paradise police station.

Noa Begic had his hands cuffed behind his back when police officers were seen kneeing and punching him.

Queensland Civil Liberties Council vice-president Terry O'Gorman said Mr Atkinson should be more concerned with the behaviour shown in the video than in how it went public.


Robina Cosser says : I have a lot of respect for the Queensland Police. The ones I knew on Thursday Island did an amazingly good job. You had to admire those young policemen working in a different culture with limited resources and often alone. I find it quite hard to criticise the police now, because I saw what a great job they did in the islands. And when I see a Cairns policeman standing in the middle of the road in pouring tropical rain, directing traffic. And when I remember the wonderful policeman who helped me after I had an accident. And when I know that our Cairns and Gold Coast police men and women are regularly attacked and abused by drunks.

But some police do seem to 'go bad', maybe from the stress of their work.

Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson - send a message to your officers that police whistleblowers will be respected.

It is the only way to maintain your standards.


Police whistleblowers in fear after Bob Atkinson vows to track down source of alleged Surfers Paradise bashing video, Jeremy Pierce and Greg Stolz, The Courier-Mail, 17 February 2012

Burleigh Heads CIB : 'secret santa' dog food for whistleblower.

Burleigh Heads CIB whistleblower was given a can of dog food as a "secret Santa" gift by a colleague.

The present, handed out at an office Christmas party, was given after he was suspected of "dogging" a workmate over disciplinary matters.

Queensland Police whistleblowers are said to work in a culture of fear.


Police whistleblowers in fear after Bob Atkinson vows to track down source of alleged Surfers Paradise bashing video, Jeremy Pierce and Greg Stolz, The Courier-Mail, 17 February 2012

Queensland Police Ethical Conduct Standards Command - inspector leaves a can of dog food on a whistleblower's desk. How was this less-than-ethical twit selected for the Ethical Standards Command?

Last November, an inspector from the Queensland Police Ethical Standards Command, the internal affairs division which investigates allegations of police misconduct, was stood down after he left a can of dog food on a colleague's desk allegedly to reprimand him for being a "snitch".
Police whistleblowers in fear after Bob Atkinson vows to track down source of alleged Surfers Paradise bashing video, Jeremy Pierce and Greg Stolz, The Courier-Mail, 17 February 2012

Is this payback? Heroic whistleblower Constable Bree Sonter has been under Queensland Police investigation!

Queensland Police Constable Bree Sonter was labelled "heroic" by the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
She blew the whistle on former colleague Benjamin Price, who was jailed after he assaulted prisoners.

But now The Courier-Mail understands that Constable Sonter has been under investigation for why she allegedly did not alert authorities earlier about Benjamin Price's behaviour.


Police whistleblowers in fear after Bob Atkinson vows to track down source of alleged Surfers Paradise bashing video, Jeremy Pierce and Greg Stolz, The Courier-Mail, 17 February 2012 :

What is this about our super funds? Secret fee structures? Is that what our superannuation is really all about?

Australian trade unions are awash with cash and largely unaccountable, except to Fair Work Australia, which is stacked with ex-union apparatchiks.
The Putinesque alliance between Australian trade unions and Labor is welded by money -
- $230 billion from the cash cow of union-controlled super funds, with their secret fee structures.

The union power grab over the past four years has nothing to do with the welfare of workers.

Julia Gillard, a former union lawyer, who owes her prime ministership to the faceless men of unions, hasn't a chance of stopping the rot.

Kevin Rudd, at least, was clean of union roots, which was his undoing.

The Australian Workers Union launched his 2010 overthrow, aided by its former National secretary, the Employment Minister Bill Shorten, and other union plants in caucus.

Like too many women catapulted into political leadership, Prime Minister Julia Gillard was handed a poisoned chalice, Miranda Devine, The Sunday Telegraph, 5 February 2012 :

Two Queensland public service whistleblowers seek compensation under new Queensland whistleblowing laws.

Two Queensland public servants have lodged compensation claims.

They allege that they were victimised for exposing wrongdoing by their colleagues under new Queensland public service whistleblowing laws.

They have taken their compensation claims to the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission using a new safeguard designed - we are told - to protect Queensland public servants who speak up about misconduct.

Acting Commissioner Neroli Holmes confirmed that both cases remained in the 'initial conciliation phase'.

Acting Premier Andrew Fraser said that the new Queensland whistleblowing laws were designed to encourage those who witnessed wrongdoing to step forward and have their health and career destroyed, whoops no, to expose themselves to the Queensland Labor government's investigation process.

The investigation last year into the actions of one of Queensland Health's employee-princes demonstates how well the Queensland public service investigation process is functioning.

No evidence was found to support the whistleblower's allegations.


Exposed informers seeking payouts, Koren Helbiq, P7, The Courier-Mail, 6 January 2012.

The ACTU speak up about workplace bullying - at last.

The government's Safe Work Australia has drafted a model code of practice on bullying.

Unions say the model code falls short.

The ACTU has told Safe Work Australia that it is "essential" that the code is changed as it suffers a "fundamental flaw" of "the failure to address workplace bullying in the same framework as any other workplace hazard / risk".

The debate is set to rage for months.

Last night, Safe Work Australia spokeswoman Ingrid Kimber said more than 70 submissions had been received on the draft code, many of which "expressed substantial concerns" and "it is clear that to address these concerns the code will require significant revision". The draft was based on codes in place in NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

Victoria has legislated for criminal penalties of up to 10 years' jail for serious bullying.


Editor's Comment : When I rang the ACTU some years ago to complain that the QTU just told bullied Queensland teachers to 'accept the things that cannot change', the ACTU told me that so many union members were being bullied that unions did not have the resources to give them any support.

So it is good to see that the ACTU are doing something about workplace bullying at last.


Bosses and unions to spar over bullying as ACTU pushes new curbs, Annabel Hepworth, The Australian, 5 January 2012 :

Anna Bligh - show some guts - sack the Directors-General of all of the failing Queensland Government departments.

The faux prince who has allegedly defrauded the Queensland Government of $16 million has hopefully done us all a favour by putting the final nail in the Bligh Government's electoral coffin for the looming state election.

That it occurred in Queensland Health, whose faulty payroll system has meant that many ancillary hospital, medical staff and administrative staff have not been paid, is upsetting enough.

That it happened in the same department found by a 2005 royal commission to have employed unqualified overseas doctors and having manipulated hospital waiting lists is even more upsetting.

Will anyone in government take responsibility for this latest shambles?

Probably not - in Queensland, no Minister, Director-General or senior public servant ever seems to be held responsible for anything.

This latest episode in Health is just one more example of Queensland government maladministration, incompetence and waste.

We do not want to have another "apology" if it means the same people continue on in the same jobs, on the same pay, presiding over the same mess.

Premier Bligh, on the verge of losing office, should exit government on some real principle - it is called Westminster ministerial responsibility.

Prove to us that Queensland's Government has integrity - sack the Director-Generals and the Directors of all of the failing Queensland Government departments.

Let's have a good clean-out and start over again.

The people of Queensland deserve a government that works to a professional standard, not this incompetent and / or corrupt shambles.

Accountability axe needs wielding, Scott Prasser, The Courier-Mail, 13 December 2011:

Whistleblowers are threatened with "Performance Management".

Toni Hoffman is the senior nurse at Bundaberg Hospital who put her career on the line to expose killer surgeon Jayant Patel.

Yesterday she revealed how Queensland Health and the Bligh Labor government had treated her "like a leper" since she blew the whistle.

"Queensland Health wants me to feel guilty -- they ostracise me, treat me like a leper and want me out," Ms Hoffman said yesterday.

Maurice Blackburn's Brisbane partner, Peter Koutsoukis, said: "The message she constantly gets is 'we do not want you in our organisation'."


Ms Hoffman received the Order of Australia medal and Local Hero recognition in 2006.

But she was allegedly threatened with "performance management".


Jayant Patel whistleblower 'treated like a leper' by Queensland Health, Hedley Thomas, The Australian, 16 December 2011 :

The Queensland Labor Government - dumb and dumber.

Queenslanders have a faux Tahitian prince to thank for demonstrating how utterly useless the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission 'devolution strategy' really is.
A whistleblower told the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission last year that the faux Tahitian prince's story needed to be investigated - but the investigation was 'devolved' by the CMC and the whistleblower's allegations were found to be 'not substantiated'.
As they always are.
Nobody would believe such stupidity could be sustained for so long.
Unless they lived in Queensland.
Queensland voters will laugh like drains while casting ballots, probably in late February, to remove the Labor government and relegate it to opposition for what will hopefully be a long, long stretch.

The timing for the election is important for a few unelectable ministers who need to get past early February to achieve permanent entitlement to a generous parliamentary pension.

The Queensland Labor government is out of all credibility.


A cavalcade of incompetence, Hedley Thomas, The Australian, 14 December 2011 :

Suffering in Silence : a film by Stehen Limkin about the suffering of the patients and nurses at Bundaberg Hospital.

Stephen Limkin's film Suffering in Silence : concerns the on-going problems at Bundaberg Hospital and the efforts of patients, nurses and Rob Messenger, the Local Member, to get something done about the situation.

The problem seems to be systemic - foreign doctors are employed, they can't speak English very well so they can't communicate with patients very effectively, they do not seem to have been properly trained in Australian hospital procedures, the hospital administrators do not seem to care, when complaints are made the records seem to be falsified- and doctors are moved about so nobody can be held responsible for anything.

Rob Messenger asks - have Queensland Health learned anything from the Jayant Patel experience?

The only thing they seem to have learned is to make a better job of the cover-up.

Christine Cameron says how much she loved her job, how seriously she took her job - and how little that fitted her for work at Bundaberg.


And it all reminds me so much of my own experience with Education Queensland.



Is 'Performance Management' being abused by Australian public service managers to bully their subordinates into ill health and out of work?

Sworn statements reveal that the situation led to the departure of talented staff - but the manager appointed in January to manage the Intelligence Unit, was kept in her job until October despite her superiors being made aware of allegations that her treatment of staff was intimidating, could lead to bullying claims and was in breach of the organisation's code of conduct.

A statement sworn by an OPI tactical intelligence support officer lleges that the OPI manager, who had an army background, would address staff meetings in terms such as:

"I'm the manager and what I say f . . king goes. You're either with me or not. And if you're not, I'll f . . king performance manage you out of the f . . king organisation.
The manager allegedly indicated to staff that taking issues higher up the hierarchical chain of command would be perceived as bullying and disloyalty.

At one office meeting called by the manager, only four of 14 staff turned up.

The rest were either at home sick or on other leave.


Victoria's Office of Police Integrity let toxic culture of bullying flourish, Chip Le Grand, The Australian, 10 December 2011 :

Anyone making a false complaint to the CMC can be prosecuted for wasting public resources.

Anyone making a false complaint to the CMC knowing it to be untrue can be prosecuted, since it wastes public resources and can unfairly damage reputations.

In 2004, then-CMC chairman Brendan Butler said during some previous election campaigns, some candidates had announced allegations against political opponents would be referred to the CMC "for investigation".

"Often the complaint was never actually made, or if it was made, was found to be baseless," Mr Butler said.

"However, the publicity generated by such allegations during an election campaign can be very damaging if there is not enough time to undertake an investigation before the election, even if the complaint is ultimately shown to be baseless."


Editor's Note : This article interests me because I have often wondered if it was possible for a malicious school principal to make or to claim to have received a faux 'allegation' against a teacher and to send the faux allegations to the CMC or the police or children's services as a 'protected disclosure'  - ensuring that the faux allegations will always be on the teacher's file, but the teacher will never be allowed to see a copy of the 'protected disclosure' and never have an opportunity to disprove the allegations.


Politicians caught wasting CMC time, Bridie Jabour, 9 November 2011:

Canberra : workplace bullying is probably the most common workplace hazard.

''(Canberra) is a public service town where, for a large part of the workforce, bullying is probably the most common workplace hazard," alleges Greens MLA Amanda Bresnan.


Work safety commissioner Mark McCabe told the Legislative Assembly last week that some victims were afraid to speak out because they feared retribution in a ''small town'' environment such as Canberra.

The ACT Greens want the Australian Government to hire bullying specialists to discourage harassment in Canberra workplaces.

The party is drafting legislation that would require WorkSafe ACT to employ at least three inspectors who specialise in psychosocial issues.

Under ACT law, workers who recklessly fail to prevent behaviour that causes serious harm to another can be fined $220,000 and jailed for seven years.
Editor's Note : that sort of law, if passed and enforced in Queensland, would offer Queensland teachers some protection from workplace abuse.


Greens push for bullying watchdog, Markus Mannheim, public service reporter, 7 November 2011 :

Not much interest in Martin Moynihan's 'poisonous' job.

Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission chairman Martin Moynihan QC said he took leave last month after he had an accident that had continued to affect his health.

"Stability is important for the CMC. The impact of the accident has meant I can't dedicate the necessary time to ensure the important work of the CMC continues," he said.

Mr Moynihan oversaw a controversial period during his two years at the CMC, including the sacking or forced retirement of several long-serving senior staff and a public brawl with the commissioner of police, Bob Atkinson.


There is not a lot of interest in the job of replacing Mr Moynihan. 

A senior Queensland legal identity, who declined to be named, said he would not consider the job until later on his career.

"It is a poisonous job," he told The Australian. "It courts constant controversy and is something you could only consider in the twilight of your career."


Editor's Note : I agree. Mr Moynihan has had a very hard time.

He has had to battle corruption in Queensland with very little support.

And it must be a bit depressing for him to cut out some of the bad wood and then to see it springing up again in another place.



Role call as CMC chief set to quit, Michael McKenna, The Australian, 9 November 2011 :

Martin Moynihan, Chairman of the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission, resigns because of poor health.

The Queensland Opposition today expressed its thanks to Martin Moynihan for his service as Crime and Misconduct  Commission chairman.

LNP Shadow Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said Mr Moynihan had presided over a difficult two years for the CMC and the LNP wished him well for the future.

Mr Bleiijie said that, because Queensland was on the cusp of an election which will almost certainly sweep the Labor government out of power for years, it was important for the appointment of Mr Moynihan's replacement to be bipartisan, open and transparent.

Mr Bleijie said the new CMC chairperson would certainly have their work cut out for them with the most recent annual report showing 40 per cent of investigations took more than a year to complete.


Editor's Note : I have the impression that Mr Moynihan is a very decent man who has 'sorted out' some of the problems with the Queensland CMC.

The greatest problem, however, seems to be the policy of denying the CMC the funds to investigate complaints - forcing the CMC to 'devolve' 98 per cent of disclosures to Labor family and friends festering public service departments that then investigate themselves and 'find no evidence' of their own corruption.


LNP thanks CMC chair for his service, Jarrod Bleijie, 8 November 2011 :

Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission - senior staff sacked - but given glowing references to help them apply for senior roles interstate!

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission is in turmoil from a mass exodus of senior staff - and no permanent replacements.

The CMC has lost a combined 70 years of experience with six key staff, including a very senior misconduct director, either sacked or walking in recent months including:


Peter Scanlan, Executive Director, terminated and escorted from the premises;

Greg Rigby, Director of Information Management, retired early;

Russell Pearce, Director of Misconduct Investigations, had his contract paid out, now employed as Deputy Director of the new Tasmanian Integrity Commission;

Helen Couper, Director of Integrity Services, refused an extension of her contract;

Margot Legoz, Director of Research, remains suspended on full pay since February 2010; and

Sharon Loder, Assistant Director of Misconduct Investigations, resigned in June 2011, and now employed as Executive Director, Operations with ICAC in New South Wales.


LNP Shadow Attorney-General Jarrod Bleije attempted to seek answers from CMC Chairman Martin Moynihan at the Estimates hearings at Parliament on 19 July 2011, particularly why Russell Pearce, Director of Misconduct Investigations, had his contract terminated.


On question after question, Mr Moynihan was vague – mostly saying he couldn't recall or didn't have details or reasons for the dismissals and contract terminations of senior staff.

Mr Bleijie said serious questions needed answering on how senior staff could be sacked - but at the same time issued with glowing references to help them apply for senior roles interstate.


CMC chairman vague on sackings, Jarrod Bleijie, LNP, 19 July 2011 :

WorkSafe : allegations of a culture of fear.

In September 2011, an investigation by The Age revealed allegations that WorkSafe had a culture of widespread bullying, sparking calls for an independent inquiry.

There were accusations of a toxic environment, with staff complaining of being bullied by their bosses and a culture of fear.

Senior WorkSafe staff know of eight bullying-related complaints that are before, or heading to, Fair Work Australia.

An inspector told The Age that one WorkSafe department contained ''the biggest bullies in the organisation''.

The authority has previously denied that it has a bullying problem.

It has described its internal dispute processes as robust.


Jillian Ramsden, a former WorkSafe commercial health adviser, claims she was subjected to relentless bullying over several months, including the withholding of crucial work information, exclusion from workplace events and verbal abuse in front of other employees.

''I had no support and there is a widespread culture of fear if you speak up,'' she said.

Ms Ramsden was sacked in July 2011, hours after she lodged a WorkCover stress claim for bullying.

She is seeking compensation in the Federal Court after settlement negotiations broke down.

Ms Ramsden said she was taking WorkSafe to court to expose its toxic workplace culture, saying the bullying had left her depressed, humiliated and anxious.


Maurice Blackburn lawyer Emeline Gaske said Ms Ramsden had a legitimate right to lodge a claim because of the stress she suffered at WorkSafe.


Another bullying claim at agency, David Rood, The Age, 24 October 2011 :

Fair Work Australia : it is not OK to punish workers for making comments that are true.

Hippity Hop childcare worker Tara Davies complained to the centre’s director about one of the employees.

The employee was the director's sister.

Nothing was done about Ms Davies's complaint.

But Ms Davies was then sacked for 'backbiting'.

Fair Work Australia ruled that Ms Davies had been illegally sacked.

Fair Work Australia’s ruling stated the centre’s policy on 'backbiting' made no distinction between comments which are true and comments which are untrue and malicious.

Fair Work commissioner John Ryan awarded Ms Davies $9480 in compensation.


Workplace gossip turns nasty as woman unfairly sacked for alleged backbiting, Jane Lee and Edmund Tadros,, 8 February 2011 :

Several Victorian police officers are complaining of workplace bullying and mistreatment. One young female officer has suicided.

A young Victorian policewoman suicided on Saturday 3 September 2011.

A source aware of concerns held by the junior policewoman's friends said the constable had privately complained about the way she was being treated by other police.

It is understood that friends of the woman, who was of Turkish background, had concerns that it took up to three days for senior police to order an 'independent and exhaustive' inquiry into the bullying allegations.

A police spokesman said that an inquiry was being ''led by an independent police team'' and was being overseen by the Ethical Standards Department and the state's police watchdog, the Office of Police Integrity.


Editor's Note : Which, based on my experience with Education Queensland, suggests to me that the investigation is being conducted by local officers, possibly the officers involved in the alleged bullying, or friends of the officers involved in the alleged bullying.

In the Queensland public service, 'independent' seems to mean 'the bully', 'the bully's old mate' or 'the bully's husband's old workmate'.


A senior policeman will also oversee the police inquiry and report to acting Chief Commissioner Ken Lay on its findings.

''As part of its inquiries, the force will investigate claims that the police member was a victim of bullying,'' the police spokesman said.

It is likely the investigation will examine whether the constable had previously made any complaints to other police about her treatment and, in the event other police knew of bullying allegations, whether the claims were handled appropriately.


There are believed to be several other Victorian police on sick leave after alleged bullying or mistreatment by their fellow officers.


Police to examine bullying in suicide of constable, Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker, The Age, 10 September 2011 :

How do union officers use your union dues?

Bill Ludwig is boss of the National Australian Workers Union.

He is also a director of Racing Queensland Limited.

It is understood Mr Ludwig is eligible for an income of at least $50,000 for his RQL duties.

Mr Ludwig took defamation action against former Supreme Court judge Bill Carter in relation to Mr Ludwig's duties as an RQL director.

Bill Ludwig personally signed two Australian Workers Union cheques worth almost $45,000 combined for his legal expenses relating to his position as a director of Racing Queensland Limited. 

Mr Ludwig said he had done nothing unusual.

He said union officials lost their private identity when they took on the job of union representation.

"Any attack on them becomes an attack on the union," he said. "That is why their costs are covered."

The AWU did not return The Courier-Mail's calls to answer whether a damages payout from a successful action against Mr Carter would have been given to the union.

No one from the Australian Council of Trade Unions was available for comment on whether unions routinely pay the legal costs of union officials involved in private disputes.


Editor's Note : Ask your union organiser -

Which officers of my union also hold directorships of other organisations?

How much do they earn from those directorships?

Should union officers take highly-paid directorships in addition to their union responsibilities?

Or should they put all of their time and energy into working for their union members?

Who are union lawyers really employed to protect - the union members or the union officers?

Who actually gets union legal support? Teachers? Principals? Administrators? Union officers? What is the breakdown each year?

How many members of my union are threatened by the union lawyers each year?

On whose behalf are they threatened?


Union funds paid boss's bills, Michael Madigan, The Courier-Mail, 7 September 2011

WorkSafe : Josh Bornstein of Maurice Blackburn lawyers says WorkSafe is unfit to fulfil its charter.

Jillian Ramsden, 46,  moved from Queensland in May to take up a $105,000-a-year job with WorkSafe as a health adviser.

She was promoted after just one month.

She received no warnings about any problem with her work.

But Ms Ramsden alleges that three days after she started work, months of relentless bullying began.

A female colleague allegedly screamed at her, criticised her work and constantly undermined her.

On July 27 2011, Ms Ramsden lodged a successful WorkCover claim - which is administered by WorkSafe - after her GP advised she was too stressed to work.

On July 28 2011, she was told she was sacked in a letter delivered by express courier at 8am.

The letter claimed Ms Ramsden had been dismissed for "performance accountability",

Ms Ramsden yesterday lodged a claim with Fair Work Australia alleging she was sacked because she lodged the WorkCover claim.

Ms Ramsden said she was humiliated.

"I'm suing because I want the truth to come out. There is a toxic environment at WorkSafe. There's a wider cultural issue there," Ms Ramsden said.

After being sacked, Ms Ramsden said she was unable to cope for almost two weeks and became suicidal.

"I had no support. There is a total culture of fear there. God help you if you speak up to complain," Ms Ramsden said.

Maurice Blackburn lawyer Josh Bornstein said WorkSafe - which is running a poster campaign encouraging employees to report workplace bullying - was unfit to fulfil its charter.

Sacked staffer talks of 'toxic environment' at WorkSafe, Padraic Murphy, Herald Sun, 3 September 2011 :

Maurice Blackburn employment lawyers call on the federal government to introduce national laws to tackle workplace bullying.

A Facebook page : has been set up to support a call for federal laws to tackle workplace bullying across Australia.

Employment law firm Maurice Blackburn has today called on the federal government to introduce national laws.

Maurice Blackburn employment lawyer Josh Bornstein said workplace bullying was not specifically addressed by any federal law.

"Workplace bullying involves degrading, belittling, humiliating and threatening behaviour; in some cases it spills over into violence," Mr Bornstein said.

"It is devastating for victims and their families."


Push to make Brodie's Law national, Michelle Ainsworth, The Herald Sun, 30 August 2011 :

ACT : Chief Minister Katy Gallagher advises all staff to put their heads in a noose.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said she told her mandarins to spread the word in all ACT public sector workplaces that staff should speak out against unacceptable behaviour.

But in the wake of the edict from the top, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, representing a high profile bullying victim, has warned against mobbing - a sinister form of harassment that is not covered by any protocols currently in place.

''Mobbing'' is described as a particular type of harassment that is different from the traditionally understood definition of bullying as the abuse of power.

According to union spokeswoman Jane Timbrell, mobbing begins with innuendo, rumours, and public discrediting.

A hostile environment is created in which one individual gathers others to take part in malicious actions to force a person out of the workplace.

Jane Timbrell said the ACT anti-bullying policy did not cover mobbing.

''Therefore the AMWU requests that incidents of mobbing be taken out of the department and referred to the Human Rights Commission.''

Editor's Note : If mobbing - bullying by a group of people - is not covered by workplace bullying policies, this could explain how the Queensland government are able to claim that they have very little workplace bullying.

Most workplace bullying in the Queensland public service would be mobbing, because the psychopaths groom senior public servants to support them. 

Do the Queensland government call workplace bullying 'mobbing' and use this strategy to side-step dealing with workplace bullying?


A spokeswoman for Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said that a ''whole-of-government approach'' had been put in place to prevent workplace harassment.

''This includes ... prevention guidelines to ensure ACTPS agencies are meeting their ethical and legal obligations in preventing and responding to complaints of work bullying. It is important that employees are encouraged to speak up about workplace bullying.''

The spokeswoman said all levels of ACT public service management were expected to encourage workers to raise a workplace issue with their manager.


Editor's Note : raising a workplace bullying issue with your manager would be very, very unwise.

All would be smiles, charm and re-assurances - till the payback begins.

First Katy Gallagher needs to improve the public service promotion system to filter out the psychopaths, incompetents and Labor party 'good haters'.


Bureaucrats told to dob-in bullies, Noel Towell, Chief Assembly Reporter, The Canberra Times, 1 September 2011 :

Is Labor becoming the party for feral animals, good haters and spade-carrying thugs?

The once basic principle of the ALP was that it looked after the workers.

That principle has been abandoned.

There is clear evidence that tens of thousands of dollars of HSU funds went missing under Thomson’s reign as secretary.

But the most senior Labor figures in the country, including Julia Gillard, are trying to save their own bacon - instead of doing their utmost to recover the bacon lost to the workers.

Gillard looked like a feral animal in parliament on Thursday when she verbally attacked Opposition leader Tony Abbott for asking what and when she knew about the allegations against Thomson.

Her anger should have been directed at those who were responsible for the money going missing from the HSU and to those who have been dragging their feet at the investigation into the HSU being run by Fair Work Australia (FWA).

FWA was set up as a toothless tiger by Julia Gillard after abolishing the more effective Industrial Relations Commission.

Why won't Julia Gillard stand up for the workers that she claims to represent?


Editor's Note : My workplace bully also behaved like a feral animal.

You have to wonder if people with really poor moral values are attracted to the Labor party because their feral animal / good hater / spade-carrying thug sort of behaviour seems normal in a Labor context.

20 per cent of Australian workers suffer from mild levels of depression because of workplace bullying and work pressure.

Experts say workplace bullying and harassment, as well as heavy workloads, are leading to a rise in mental stress claims.

Research indicates that about 20 per cent of the working population experience mild levels of depression.

Workers off sick with a job-related mental disorder take an average of 10.8 weeks off.

About 4.8 per cent of compensation claims compiled by Safe Work Australia - about 61,600 workers - were for mental disorders.

The median payout for psychological injury was $16,300.

Separate data for federal public servants show there has been a 54 per cent increase in mental stress claims in the past five years.

Comcare, the federal work health and safety regulator, said it is concerned at the growing proportion of claims for workplace stress.

Maureen Dollard, an expert in work stress and director of the Centre for Applied Psychological Research at the University of South Australia, said the main factors leading to stress are work pressure and bullying.

Jeannene Frosch : My life has been ruined.

Bullying happens when team leaders do not perform the duties that they are paid to do.

And anyone who is abusive is obviously suffering a mental illness.

No normal healthy person gets joy out of screaming abuse at others humiliating others etc.


Editor : I think this is a really important point.

My own bully seemed to me to have a mental health problem.

That seemed to be the problem from the start.

But there was no official way that a classroom teacher could report a concern about the mental health of a school principal.

And when I did report it to the Director-General and the Director of Ethical Conduct, they just 'lost' my letters.


Employers have a reponsibility to ensure that employees work in a safe environment.

There are always complaints that workplaces need efficiency gains, I say get rid of the deadwood abusers & the workplace would become efficient overnight.

I was bullied in the workplace for a period of more than 2yrs.

By the time I escaped I was very very ill.

I didn't realise how ill I was.

The bullying continued for that period because I wanted & needed my job & thought that eventually they would stop. I was so very wrong.

I still cannot believe that adult people can be so very cruel & lie to cover up their wrong doings.


Editor: No. Where did these horrible people come from?

What sort of person makes their living out of driving other people into ill health? 

How do they live with themselves?

How do we get them out of the public service?


It is now 13 yrs ago & it is like it happened yesterday. 

My life has been completely ruined.

Sorry it is still so raw & upsetting.

Australian public service whistleblowers are still waiting for new whistleblower laws.

When the Rudd government was elected in 2007, it promised new whistleblower laws would be in place by Thursday 21 July 2011.
That deadline has quietly passed without any new laws in sight.

The case of former Customs analyst Allan Kessing, who was convicted of leaking reports revealing flaws in the security at Sydney Airport, received widespread publicity in the lead-up to the 2007 election.

His case was seized upon by journalists, civil rights campaigners and politicians as proof the laws surrounding whistleblowers in Australia were flawed.

In a statement, the minister responsible for the laws, Special Minister of State Gary Gray, said the Government was currently finalising the Public Interest Disclosure Bill with the agreement of the independent MPs.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who is himself a former whistleblower, says he and the Government are keen not to be rushed and instead want to be careful to get the legislation just right.

Griffith University professor of public law in Brisbane, AJ Brown, says it is very challenging to come to grips with the issues surrounding whistleblowing.

"It requires a really clear vision on the part of government to put in place the rules that enable us to differentiate between what is leaking potentially irresponsible leaking, and what is public interest disclosures that we can acknowledge to be in the public interest."

Chris Warren, Federal secretary of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance union, says he has not seen any difference in the way the Rudd and Gillard governments treat whistleblower legislation compared to the government of John Howard.

"The practice that was adopted under the Howard government of almost automatically referring any leaking of confidential information, which is really just about any information, ended up being referred to the Federal Police for investigation," he said.

"Now frankly that's a waste of police time ... but worse it's about sending a message throughout the public service that whistleblowers will be hunted down and prosecuted."

Another group disappointed with the Government's progress is Whistleblowers Australia, which is an organisation dedicated to helping public servants who want to expose improper government dealings.

The group's national president, Cynthia Cardell, says until laws are passed, whistleblowers remain vulnerable.

"We're increasingly telling our members and people who come to us that the safest way to whistleblow is to find ways of doing it from behind a shield, whether that's your solicitor, whether it's anonymously through WikiLeaks, or Openleaks, some of the other websites, or through a journalist," she said.

"But you need to stay out of the line of fire because all of the legislation that currently exists."

Cynthia Kardell speaks at the Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning rally.

Bradley Manning is perhaps the greatest whistleblower of our time, and the one facing the worst treatment.
Cynthia Kardell spoke about Bradley Manning's situation at the Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning rally in Town Hall Square, 10 April 2011 : 
Cynthia Kardell is a former whistleblower, a lawyer, and national president of  Whistleblowers Australia.
Whistleblowers Australia is an association for those who have exposed corruption or any form of malpractice.

United Kingdom : school principals can now press criminal charges against pupils who make false allegations against teachers.

Ros Bates : another bullied Queensland nurse has beaten Queensland Health and WorkCover.

Ros Bates told the Queensland Parliament :

Yet another bullied nurse has beaten Queensland Health and Work Cover by having her claim overturned by QComp.

The reviewer "was satisfied that the applicant's injury arose out of actions taken in an unreasonable way and as such has set aside the decision by Work Cover to reject the applications for compensation, and to substitute another decision that the Applicant's application is one for acceptance."

All of the nurse's sick leave, annual leave and long service entitlements were used up because of the callous nature by which her supervisors dealt with this atrocious situation.

QH have been forced to reinstate all leave entitlements because they should have stood both staff down on full pay whilst this issue was investigated.

The nurse said :  I was a hard-working, dedicated nurse for Q Health for 9 years.

And then when I was suffering through one of the worst events of my life, I was treated like nothing more than a nuisance and a problem by them.

I begged and pleaded for them to stop, and told them I could not cope and they just continued to treat me this way.

I told them I was struggling to deal with the assault that had occurred to me and I asked them to be understanding and compassionate.

I asked them to place me in a less stressful environment and all my requests were ignored.

Even the HR department failed to help me when I called upon them.

It seems that there are no systems in place to protect staff, only ones in place to allow managers to bully their staff and then make excuses for it.

My career has been destroyed within Q Health.

I loved my job, and now because of my managers I feel I can never return to that job.

I lost a lot from this ordeal.

All I will now get back is my leave entitlements.

So people may ask, am I happy about this decision?

In a way, yes. I'm happy that there has been some vindication.

I am happy that finally someone has properly acknowledged that the way I was treated was unfair and wrong.

But to be honest, nothing about this situation makes me happy.

This should never have happened. None of it.

I should never have had to fight and stand up against these managers.

I should never have had to go through this process - this long, stressful and soul destroying process to stand up for myself and protect my pride as a nurse.

This should never happen to anyone.

And something has to be done about this Queensland health system that allows its managers to treat its staff like this.

And the other staff need to stop turning a blind eye- we all need to stand up and say no to this, we all need to stop allowing this to happen.


Adapted from a speech made by Ros Bates to the Queensland Parliament, 22 March 2011 :

Dr John Clarke : the best way to deal with a workplace psychopath is to leave. People who stay become more and more traumatised.

John Clarke is the author of Working with Monsters, which provides readers with information on how to protect themselves from workplace psychopaths.

James Adonis asked him whether workplace psychopaths are aware they’re psychopathic.

“They wouldn’t recognise themselves as a psychopath but the behaviour is always conscious and intentional,” he says.

“Some of the ones I’ve spoken to don’t really see why it’s such a big issue because they see it more as a strategy they need to use to survive. It’s survival of the fittest.”

What makes this condition even more twisted is that workplace psychopaths consider themselves to be smarter than everyone else precisely because of their crafty techniques.

Psychopaths act deliberately. When their victim publicly suffers, the psychopath derives enjoyment from seeing evidence they’re able to hurt and conquer another person.

Dr Clarke adds: “There’s an absolute lack of conscience, lack of remorse, and lack of guilt. They’re manipulative, superficially charming, and pathological liars. They like conning people and there’s a grandiose sense of self-importance.”

Their key tactic is this: win the important people over first.

Psychopaths can’t be cured.

The only thing you can change is yourself and where you work.

So leave.

People who don’t leave when they should become more and more traumatised.


Dr Anne Wyatt has written a book with her colleague, Dr Carlo Caponecchia, titled Preventing Workplace Bullying.

They’re opposed to the term psychopath and see it as “problematic” because it seeks to blame the individual rather than the system.


Editor's Note : I blame the psychopath.

Dr Clarke's comment -

“There’s an absolute lack of conscience, lack of remorse, and lack of guilt.

They’re manipulative, superficially charming, and pathological liars.

They like conning people and there’s a grandiose sense of self-importance.”

 - describes my psychopath exactly.

But I also blame the system that selected the psychopath - and then supported and protected the psychopath.


Readers's Comment on this article :

If you want to examine some true psychopaths, include Victorian school principals in the mix.

I am sure the diagnostic criteria for "psychopath" would apply to many in this occupational group.

Perhaps it is the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development's narcissistic principal selection process or just the nature of of a very difficult job that breeds so many deviants.

Whatever the reason things need to change and quickly.

Australian Defence Force Academy - the official records seem to have been falsified to conceal workplace bullying and harassment.

Twenty-two years ago, I graduated from a prestigious all-boys school where I had played 1st XV rugby, rowed in a winning Head of the River crew, had been a school prefect and a cadet under-officer in the school cadet unit. 

I had the world at my feet.

I had always been interested in a military career and the army readily offered me an Australian Defence Force Scholarship to the recently opened Australian Defence Force Academy.

So in January 1989, aged 17, I was sworn in as an officer cadet at the ADF academy.

What followed was a descent into a world of bullying and harassment that few outside the defence forces can imagine.

I know I am not alone and that there are hundreds of others who have lived through the same mistreatment and carry the same scars.

After 20 years, I can now speak out and describe the physical, s_xual and psychological abuse I was subjected to, and the inappropriate culture that existed, and still lingers, in the ADF.

It was made clear to me that if I complained, my career would be irreparably damaged.

I would be stigmatised by the s_xual nature of the assault.

Even though I was the victim, it seemed to be my fault.

Shortly after I was attacked, the same gang attacked and gang-r_ped a female cadet in my division.

No one was charged and nothing was done about it.

This group of men who would go on to be commissioned officers in the ADF.

No one ever told them : "What you did to other cadets at ADFA was wrong."

After I left the ADF and graduated from law school, I wrote to the defence minister and outlined what had happened to me.

The Grey review investigated my allegations and many others and found: "On occasions, DO (divisional officers) have not kept a record of a significant incident which affected a cadet.

On other occasions, a record has been kept which does not accurately reflect the true nature of an incident, or alternatively, an accurate record has been kept but it is not held on an official file.

There is therefore no record of it on either the cadet's training file or an official academy file."

Editor's Note : This falsifying of the official records seems to be a common practice in the Australian public service.

Is the whole history of Australia being falsified in this manner?

Unlike the half-hearted Defence investigation, the Grey review examined my medical records, which revealed hospitalisation as a result of injuries inflicted by other cadets.

Workplace bullies are simply moved to another workplace - and may even be promoted - but the effect on their target is life-changing.

'Mrs X' from Albury Wodonga was verbally abused and physically threatened by the head of the education organisation she worked for.

"I was finally diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and went through hell for three years while I took that person to court and my case was finally proven."

She said while the bully was simply shifted 'sideways' to another area of the department, the impact on her was life-changing.

"I went to psychologists. I had a stint down in Melbourne at a hospital there coping with post traumatic stress disorder, and medication for several years. I had to select a new career path."


Bullying expert and author Evelyn Field said Mrs X's experience is common.

"It is soul-destroying and currently the bully gets off scot-free."

Evelyn Field hopes the new legislation will make employers more accountable for the way they manage bullying cases  - that now we might look at the organisation that's allowing the bullying to continue.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith supports ADF academy cadet who took her allegations of workplace abuse into the public arena - what a very decent man!

6 April 2011

An 18-year-old female Australian Defence Force academy cadet went public on 5 April with the claim that vision of her having consensual s_x with a male cadet had been broadcast to six other cadets via Skype without her knowledge.

The young woman said when she was told what had been done she was so shocked she vomited.

She said still images taken from the footage had also been distributed around the academy.

A male cadet who was appalled by what had been done reported the episode to ADFA staff on the night of March 31.

The female cadet has told friends that she is now the target of a slur campaign.

She is being verbally abused with taunts of "sl_t" from fellow students.

Shaving cream was sprayed on her door in what was thought to be retaliation for her decision to go public with her allegations.


Allegations have emerged that she was threatened with disciplinary action for speaking out

The young cadet agreed to go ahead with disciplinary proceedings on a separate matter of drinking and absenteeism.

She pleaded guilty.

She was fined and confined to base in a manner which created the impression that she was being punished for speaking out about s_xual abuse, Defence Minister Stephen Smith says.

The female cadet has now requested and been given compassionate leave.

ADFA insiders say that could well signal the end of her brief military career.


Defence Minister Stephen Smith says ADFA cadets at ADFA were told they were not to fraternise.

And they were asked to agree not to go to the media on issues without official permission.

"Having said that I've made it very, very clear that I believe this young woman did the right thing when she went into the public arena.

"These were such serious issues they required public attention to be drawn to them."


Thank God for Stephen Smith. What a decent man.


Mr Smith said his preliminary advice was that the woman’s guilty plea would be reviewed by a legal officer or a commanding officer.

Mr Smith said the decision to persist with the hearing could be deemed "completely stupid".

"I very strongly believe that the holding of such a hearing today, in the aftermath of these events, is not only inappropriate, insensitive and wrong - it's almost certainly faulty at law," Mr Smith said.


But relations between Defence Minister Stephen Smith and senior ADF officers have soured.

Australia Defence Association executive director Neil James says the ADFA commandant has become a scapegoat and he deserves to be supported by Smith and not publicly criticised by the minister.

Neil James says the filming of the s_x involved cadets who had only been at ADFA for about 10 weeks.

"The real issues here about s_xual norms and social media are surely more general ones in the wider Australian society from which our defence force is necessarily recruited and which it generally reflects.


A former officer at the Australian Defence Force Academy has come forward with allegations of a history of predatory s_xual behaviour and cover-ups at the ADF Academy. 

"I had a cadet in my actual division who was actually stalking and harassing another first-year female," the ex officer said today.

"I asked for action to be taken against him in the way of formal charges. They wouldn't do it."


Victorian workers are going to be protected from workplace bullying. When will Anna Bligh do something to protect Queensland classroom teachers - and other Queensland public servants - from workplace abuse?

5 April 2011

Brodie Panlock was 19 when she jumped to her death from a building in 2006 after being bullied at a Hawthorn cafe.

Her co-workers abused her, spat on her, poured beer over her and held her down while she was doused in cooking oil.

When Brodie first attempted suicide she was mocked for failing, then offered rat poison.

The owner, manager, chef and a waiter at the restaurant where Ms Panlock worked were charged with workplace offences rather than assault or criminal offences.

They were convicted under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and fined a total of $337,000, but didn't face jail sentences.


Cabinet yesterday approved the Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Bill, which is likely to be introduced to Parliament this week.

"Brodie's Law" will add serious workplace and cyber bullying to Crimes Act provisions already governing stalking.

Bullies will face up to 10 years' jail.

"Victorian families are entitled to be confident that their children starting out in the workforce are protected from falling victim to serious bullying," Attorney-General Robert Clark said.


How confident can the parents of young Queensland teachers be that their children will be provided with decent accommodation and protected from abuse?

Come on, Anna Bligh!

You know that Queensland classroom teachers are being abused at work!

You have known since at least June 2002.

When are you going to do something about the situation?


We question the integrity of a public institution when patronage and personal favour rule over conscience and conviction.

Many have concluded that the present state of the New South Wales Labor Party reflects a form of moral corruption within its ranks: namely, an amorality that leads factional powerbrokers to regard public office as merely a vehicle for power, if not also personal enrichment.

"Corruption" strictly means those instances when a public official acts dishonestly, breaches the public trust or abuses a public office for private gain.

But there may be question marks over the integrity of a public institution when patronage and personal favour rule over conscience and conviction.

The term "corruption" encompasses all behaviour that undermines the disposition of office holders to act with the right motivation.

According to Machiavelli, a healthy political city-state is characterised by civic virtue.

Political actors "subordinate all of their advantage to the common good".

By contrast, in corrupt cities, citizens and politicians regard the political arena as merely a means for gaining prestige and power.


Hello, Queensland public service!

Are you ready for change?

Did Julie Grantham have the guts to tell Queensland principals to stop falsifying the records of classroom teachers?

18 February 2011
Every Queensland state school principal has been "invited" to Brisbane at the end of this month.

Education Queensland director-general Julie Grantham has told staff the principals conference on February 28 and March 1 will focus on key issues including "the future direction of Queensland education".

Almost all Queensland state school principals will be attending the conference.

Education sources say "rumours are rife" about the reason for the meeting.

Let's hope that Julie Graham had the guts and integrity to tell principals to -

  • Read the Department of Education policies.
  • Follow the policies.
  • Stop falsifying teachers' official records.
  • Stop abusing the Managing Unsatisfactory Performance process to 'payback' classroom teachers who report child abuse or who try to deal with behaviour problems.

Whistleblowers find that they are unemployable.

20 February 2011

Simon Illingworth was once hunted by bent cops and career criminals.

Now he spends his days with wife Sarah and two pre-school children on a farm overlooking the Southern Ocean at Port Campbell.

He tends his lucrative crops of garlic with such varieties as Cuban, Spanish and French designed to tempt the foodies, not supermarket chains, and a small herd of Friesian heifers on 20ha.

It was a forced career change.

"As a whistleblower I was unemployable, ... so I had to be self-employed," he said.

As a police ethical standards department investigator, he went public with allegations of police corruption after command allegedly refused to back anti-corruption officers.

In May 2004, after 17 years in Victoria Police, Mr Illingworth appeared on television on the ABC's Australian Story, exposing the gangland killers and the corrupt police brotherhood that covered for them.

It came at huge personal cost.

He was bashed and threatened by his fellow officers.

Victoria Police offered him a $250,000 payout if he would sign a contract pledging never to speak ill of the police or former chief commissioner Christine Nixon.

The money was very tempting; his career was in tatters.

"But I wouldn't be bought," he said.

"What was disappointing was there were not enough people to stand up for what we should have striven for."

There has been an erosion of respect for authority. We need to pay police and teachers a lot more. And to re-think our approach to discipline.

At the centre of this shameful trend, police believe, is a gradual "erosion of respect" for authority in sections of the community.

The Sunday Telegraph last week spoke to police officers of varying ranks and ages, who openly expressed their disgust and frustration at how they were treated.

The reasons police give for the breakdown of respect include poor schooling and bad parenting, aggravated by alcohol.


As a former officer I can tell you this has been esculating for the last 5 to 10 years.

There is little respect, mainly from youth, who have been given no boundries and never been told NO!

  • John of Newcastle, Reader's Comment 11 of 90
All started years ago when the schools did not, or were not allowed, to show children that there were consequences to their actions.
We are now reaping the products of the cotton wool generation.
  • Bob, Reader's Comment 15 of 90
Gone are the days teachers could give out the cuts. Gone are the days when parents could actually discipline their children. Let's all mourn the death of common sense.
  • Still Needed, Reader's Comment 23 of 90
We shall reap as we shall sow. Blind Freddy could see this was going to happen. The education system and the judiciary have failed us. Coupled with feral parents and weak politicians what did you expect was going to happen.
  • One Who Knows of Sydney, Reader's Comment 42 of 90
It's the tabloid 'gansta' culture that causes much of this dismal attitude toward police officers. Add to this a gutful of booze and a brain full of other chemicals and you have a recipe for disaster.
Lack of a decent education and generic poverty don't help matters either. Police and Teachers should be paid a lot more. A tradesman can earn a 100k for building houses while police and teachers are paid peanuts to try and build a civil society - let's get our priorities straight!
I say we pull a billion dollars out of our defence budget and channel it towards more police resources and a higher standard of education in our poorer suburbs.
  • Bobq of Queensland, Reader's Comment 71 of 90


Brian Martin : a lot of whistleblowers don't think of themselves as whistleblowers. They think of themselves as workers who are doing their job properly.

22 May 2010 (a bit late but I missed it at the time!)

Brian Martin: ... This could be anyone going about doing their job.

It could be a teacher, or an auditor, or a person in the police, and they are doing what they think is the right thing in their job.

It might be ... saying here's a problem that we've got in the organisation.

They don't see anything that they're doing as special, and suddenly they come under attack.

And so it's very hard to know what to make of that because a lot of whistleblowers don't think of themselves as whistleblowers, they think of themselves as workers who are conscientious, doing their job.

Natasha Mitchell: So they're just not prepared for the reality and the psychological impact that comes with being a whistleblower.

Brian Martin: That's right.

And part of the psychological impact arises from the fact that they don't understand why it is happening and why they are being targeted, why all the people are doing these terrible things to them when they are trying to do the right thing by others.

So it's a total disconfirmation of their own sense of the world, the world -

- in many cases people who encounter this, they believe the system works, they believe that there's justice and that the processes in society or within their organisation where they're employed or in the wider society are providing justice.

And suddenly their entire world has turned on its head because there's a gross injustice being done and they can't see any way out of it.

Brian Martin: Alford—you've described his book—he tells about how whistleblowers want to tell their story over and over.

Alford describes this constant repeating of the story as an attempt to find meaning, but the trouble is the meaning is not compatible with the original idea of the world as a just place.

And so it's a struggle to find something, some outcome from this and looking for somebody to provide the justice, and the trouble is there isn't any institutionalised way to get that.

Brian Martin is so right.

But we all think that our case is different.

And that we will be able to get justice.

And our lives are wasted away waiting, waiting, waiting for justice.

Meanwhile, the public servants snigger at us, swap jobs, promote each other and give each other special awards.

Robina Cosser : When you realise that something is 'going on'.


You become aware that something is 'going on' in The Department ...


On Line Opinion have published Robina Cosser's article about the whistleblowing experience - "Blowing The Whistle Into An Empty Room" :


Jennifer Wilson has also posted the article  - on her No Place For Sheep blog.

Well worth reading in full -

First Senior Sergeant Mick Isles was humiliated, then his son Steven was driven out of work. And the police commissioner cannot be found guilty because he is not (technically) a public servant. That's how the law works.

5 January 2011

Public servants found guilty of abusing an office of authority face up to three years' imprisonment.

But it seems that some public servants are more equal than others.

Senior Sergeant Mick Isles went missing in September 2009, three days after returning to work at Ayr police station, south of Townsville, following a year-long absence while he was under investigation over allegations of misconduct and corruption.
Mick Isles was cleared of the allegations - but he felt humilitated.
Steven Isles, a constable with the NT police since 2003, made a formal complaint to Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC), alleging he'd been targeted and slandered by senior police since speaking out over the treatment of his father.
Magistrate Sue Oliver of the Darwin Magistrates Court determined on Wednesday 5 January that police commissioners could not be found guilty of committing a crime contrary to section 82 of the Criminal Code because they are not technically employed in the public service.
So former NT police officer Steven Isles's private prosecution against Mr McRoberts on the charge of abusing an office of authority was dismissed due to this technicality.

"There is simply no prospect that the present charge could be found proved, whatever might be the factual evidence of an arbitrary act sought to be relied upon," Ms Oliver said.

Again it seems that the systemic problems begin with the Ministers rather than the public servants - but what can be done about the inappropriate awards and promotions that have been given to public servants who 'go along with' abuse?

31 December 2010

According to the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission's report following its inquiry into the so-called sports rorts affair, a senior public servant, who made an anonymous submission to the inquiry, said the Queensland public service had been improperly politicised.

''I have witnessed occasions where staff have been either moved sidewards or sacked because of conflict between that staff member and the office of a minister,'' he said.

Another senior public servant, according to the report, shared what he said was a standing ''joke'' in the public service: ''When they introduced Senior Executive Service contracts, the first people to go were Mr Frank and Mr Fearless.''

Could this be the reason our Cabinet ministers are stumbling from one crisis to another?

The CMC report noted: ''The number of senior public officials who requested anonymity for their submissions to this inquiry also underlines that this fear exists in the public sector community.''

So public servants say they are frightened to give frank and fearless advice for fear of reprisals.

And the fear goes to the very top.


This article interests me because it seems to suggest that the CMC are functioning better with their 'new broom'.

It also suggests that the systemic problems begin with the politicians rather than the senior public servants.

But there still seems to be a problem with senior public servants - because a number of them seem to be promoted - and given various Awards - because they were willing to "go along with' abuse, even the abuse of their fellow union members.

Schools selecting their own staff - how would this affect classroom teachers?

31 December 2010
The Federal Government today announced  a plan to give principals greater control in running schools.
The plan would hand responsibility for budgets and hiring teachers to principals and school councils while holding them accountable for student performance.

Queensland Secondary Principals Association president Norm Fuller said he was worried that schools in remote areas would struggle to attract quality teachers

The Queensland teacher transfer system ensures teachers rotate through remote areas.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Steve Ryan said the plan would be a "disaster".

Queensland Association of State School Principals president Norm Hart said the plan could increase school administration costs and might force primary schools to close.

"If primary schools are given responsibility for human resources they could quite easily have more administrative staff than teaching staff," he said.

Schools in remote communities would have difficulty attracting teachers - they would have to offer teachers huge salaries and really good accommodation. They would probably also value and support their teachers more because they would have such difficulty getting them and they would know that they would lose the teachers if the teachers were not happy. So this could be good for teachers.

I would think that schools in popular areas would have lots of applicants and that they would select less experienced teachers because they would be cheaper.  And that this would affect the standard of education available at these popular schools.

And teachers would know that after about five years in the job they would find it very difficult to find work in a popular area because their salary would be too high. So they would then be forced to take a position in a remote school for the rest of their teaching career. I would think that this situation would discourage people from taking up a career in teaching.

The new policy would mean that a classroom teacher could escape from a school with a bully principal - this is not easy under the current transfer system. And, if a principal was a bully, he or she would find it difficult to attract and keep staff, so it might improve the behaviour of these problem principals.

Where does the workplace abuse in the Queensland public service begin? With the Queensland Government Ministers. Robert Schwarten shows hundreds of guests how Queensland Government Ministers treat senior public servants.

Queensland Information Technology Minister Robert Schwarten's department is negotiating with Community Safety director-general Jim McGowan's agency about rolling out a new payroll system for thousands of staff in corrective and emergency services in the next few years.

Government sources say Mr McGowan has been adamant he will not impose the new bungled payroll system on his 10,000 staff unless it is working properly.

The Sunday Mail understands Robert Schwarten publicly humiliated Mr McGowan in an expletive-laden tirade at Premier Anna Bligh's Christmas drinks.

It is believed Mr Schwarten physically pulled Mr McGowan aside at the drinks and swore in full view of some of the hundreds of guests while the public servant remained silent.


"In case no one realises it - McGowan and Schwarten both used to work for the Queensland Teachers Union." Jeff Scanlan of Alexandra Hills, Readers Comment 90 out of 100.


Schwarto: Minister for Poor Behaviour, Patrick Lion, 25 December 2011, The Sunday Mail :


This is an interesting example of the way in which work as a QTU organiser can lead to work in the senior Queensland public service or as a Local Member or even Minister.

You have to wonder if this situation leads to a conflict of interest.

Does it affect the advice that QTU organisers give members?

Does it affect their willingness to 'go in to bat' for members?

And QTU members might wonder - was Mr McGowan really the sort of person that they would want representing them?

How are QTU organisers selected?

Dr Brian Martin says : Leaking is safer than whistleblowing - because the laws that are supposed to protect whistleblowers don't work.

14 December 2010

Leaking is the unauthorised disclosure of information outside official channels,

Whistleblowing is the disclosure of perceived wrongdoing for the purpose of trying to get the issue addressed.


Professor A.J. Brown of Griffith Law School says -

''As long as you leave the (whistleblowing) rules in a draconian state then the average public servant who is trying to get wrongdoing addressed doesn't have an avenue and is more likely to feel the only route they have is the brown paper envelope, or the modern-day equivalent, a WikiLeaks drop.''

''Governments need clear and simple laws that say to whistleblowers and publishers, 'If it's wrongdoing, and that's what you're trying to get addressed, then you're covered by the system, otherwise you do it at your own risk,''' he said.


Yes, governments need these laws, AJ.

But governments also need to demonstrate that they expect these laws to be observed.

Because, if the laws are not observed, you don't have any laws.


Dr Brian Martin, national vice-president of Whistleblowers Australia, says -

''There's legal protection for whistleblowers on paper but it doesn't work.

Even where we've had laws for a long time we continue to talk to whistleblowers who've suffered reprisals," said Brian Martin.

"In general leaking is safer for employees than whistleblowing and it also has a better chance of success.''

Dr Brian Martin : Whistleblowers trust the system - and the system fails them. That's why we need WikiLeaks.

Whistleblowers trust the system - and they pay the penalty.
Over the past 20 years Dr Brian Martin has talked to hundreds of whistleblowers.
He has found that their stories are remarkably similar: they regularly encounter petty harassment, ostracism, reprimands, referrals to psychiatrists, demotion, punitive transfers and dismissal.
It is hard to find stories of whistleblowers who were successful in stimulating needed change.
Their sagas are heartbreaking.
Many of them naively believed that by providing information to managers or outside agencies, problems would be addressed.
Their faith in the system is destroyed when, rather than their claims being investigated, they themselves become the focus of attention.
Rather than speaking out and suffering the consequences, it is often safer to be a leaker.
So we need WikiLeaks.
It's safer to Wiki than to whistle out loud, Brian Martin, Vice President, Whistleblowers Australia, The Newcastle Herald : 10 December 2010 
False hope for whistleblowers, Brian Martin, On Line Opinion, 6 December 2010 :

Peter Bennett says : Employers don't fix problems, they fix the person who is talking about the problems.

10 December 2010

Peter Bennett is a former national president of Whistleblowers Australia.

He says that most people who think about blowing the whistle change their mind very quickly because they’re afraid of the consequences.

“The easiest way to fix the problem is not to fix what has been discovered but to get rid of the whistleblower.”

And that’s what they do.

 “One of the tactics used by employers is they try to discredit them, so they send them off for medical assessments to see if they’re crazy, they isolate them, they send them off to do other jobs, they penalise them, they change their shifts, and they put them into a bad work situation,” he says.

Dr Kim Sawyer says: There has never been a prosecution for retaliation against a whistleblower in Australia. Retaliation is as virulent in Australia today as it was 20 years ago.

8 December 2010

Kim Sawyer says :

There has never been a prosecution for retaliation against a whistleblower in Australia.

The invisible hand of retaliation is as virulent in Australia today as it was 20 years ago; but there are still no prosecutions.

The best protection for a whistleblower remains anonymity.  

WikiLeaks is a logical response when "good" governments do nothing to protect whistleblowers.


And whistleblowers recognise the smear tactic. 

To smear is the tactic of digression, to focus on the informant, not the information.

WikiLeaks has made the unfair game that is whistleblowing a fairer game.


A new levelling in leakiing, Dr Kim Sawyer, honorary fellow at the School of Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry at the University of Melbourne, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 December 2010 :


Which Queensland Members of Parliament support Queensland whistleblower nurses and teachers?

Monday 29 November 2010

Queensland independent MP Rob Messenger often speaks out in support of whistleblower nurse Toni Hoffman and the Bundaberg Hospital nurses and patients.


And Ros Bates, ex-nurse and Liberal National Member for Mudgeeraba, often speaks out in support of Queensland whistleblower nurses.


And Dr Bruce Flegg, opposition spokesperson on education, has spoken out in support of whistleblower Queensland classroom teachers.


Dr Flegg has also spoken out in protest at the abuse of Section 85 Compulsory Psychiatric Assessments to devastate the lives and careers of whistleblower Queensland public servants.


Queensland whistleblowers very much appreciate the support of these Local Members.


Rob Messenger was given a warm welcome to the Whistleblowers Australia conference this weekend.

Mr Messenger told the WBA conference that he plans to meet with the Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) head next month.

Mr Messenger said that jailed former Labor MP Gordon Nuttall has given him specific details of corrupt activities in the Queensland Government.

Mr Messenger says that Mr Nuttall's evidence is "thin", but he is still calling for a royal commission into the issue, saying Mr Nuttall's allegations should not be dismissed.

Ros Bates wants bullied Gold Coast nurses to contact her. When will accountability become part of the culture of the Queensland public service?

15 November 2010

Nurse Sue Dale worked at the Gold Coast Hospital for 10 years and claims for the past two years she has been verbally bullied by two supervisors while working in the hospital's emergency department.

Ms Dale says executive director of nursing Ged Williams wrote to her "basically admitting guilt that management had been unprofessional and hadn't followed proper procedures," she said.

" [he] wrote in the letter that his advice was to 'let it go' "

Ged Williams suggested Ms Dale now look for a job elsewhere as it would be inappropriate for her to return to work with her negative feelings towards the hospital.


"It's not good enough in the sense that the people who have done the bullying and put me out of a job are still in their positions," Sue Dale said.

"He can say let it go and that I will get another position but how do I get another position?


This is the problem for bullied Queensland public servnats.

They can't find another job because they can't get a reference from the bullies.


"And these people are still laughing and defaming me."


Gold Coast State MP Ros Bates, the Member for Mudgeeraba, is a registered nurse and former senior health executive.

Sue Dale " is one of 20 nurses from the Gold Coast, from either Gold Coast hospital, Robina or Logan who've contacted me with similar issues," Ros Bates said.

"I think certainly within all of Queensland Health that endemic culture of bullying and intimidation remains the same."

Ros Bates said it was up to Queensland Health to find Ms Dale a position in a safe environment.


Ros Bates says she would like to hear from any nurses experiencing bullying.

She is compiling a dossier of complaints from Gold Coast nurses.


Queensland Nurses Union assistant secretary Beth Mohle said the levels of both physical and verbal violence against nurses in the workplace were concerning.


You can read a copy of Ged Williams's letter to Sue Dale on Karen Smith's Silence Is Not Golden website :

One of the Reader's Comments on this story is interesting :

Years ago intelligent, astute and passionate Queenslanders moved South to avoid bullying on a grand scale.

They found government oppressive and wrong, and today the lingering, overbearing and unjust ghost of Queensland's appalling past is well and truely alive.

For God's sake, when will accountability become embedded as a cultural feature of being a Queenslander?

For Queensland Health - obviously never.

Only overseas recruiting will save Queensland Health.

Bruce Flegg : we need warning stickers to identify the asbestos sites in Queensland schools.

12 November 2010

"Nobody should be expected to work in potentially contaminated workplaces," Mr Flegg said.

Atherton State High School teachers are concerned about asbestos dust which was recently discovered in classrooms and a staff room.

Education Queensland regional director Clive Dixon says asbestos labels are not necessary.

Queensland Police Union says that Queensland Police officers are afraid to report poor professional behaviour because the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission 'leaks'.

A Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) report has found the ethics of Queensland police officers may be eroded within a year of them joining the service.

CMC Assistant Commissioner Warren Strange says the results show a marked difference after one year on the beat.


But Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers says he understands some officers' concerns about reporting improper behaviour.

"They do not have confidence in the CMC to report things - they have no faith that they will be protected and that is the real concern," he said.

"The CMC and the hierarchy of the police service have got questions to answer here ...

... people feel they'll be bullied by senior management and / or the CMC because of the leaks from the CMC ...

... that is a very big issue ..." 

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission is randomly destroying people's lives. There is no hope of justice.

30 October 2010

"They ( the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ) have been an organisation randomly destroying peoples' lives and careers as they try to justify its existence,'' Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said.

I agree with Ian Leavers.

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission has failed Queensland teachers.

The CMC's 'devolution strategy' is a dismal failure.

And the Queensland Teachers' Union needs to speak up about this issue.

Well done, Andrew Wilkie - there is almost certainly unanimous support for his private member's bill paving the way for tougher legislation to protect Australian whistleblowers.

25 October 2010

Australia is on the verge of passing laws which would allow journalists to protect the confidentiality of their sources, while paving the way for tougher legislation to protect whistleblowers.

The laws are being debated in the House of Representatives, but there is almost certainly unanimous support for the private member's bill introduced by former whistleblower Mr Andrew Wilkie.

The independent MP from Tasmania says the law is based on the premise that every member of the community has a fundamental right to free speech.

"Whistleblowers are an essential safeguard of the public interest which needs to be recognised as such," Mr Wilkie said.

Mr Wilkie says the almost certainly unanimous support for the bill is an encouraging sign for Australian democracy.

"This is I think a tremendous situation we have here where the members of the government the opposition and the crossbenches are all working cooperatively to progress a bill which is genuinely in the public interest .

The bill is expected to pass early next year.

Queensland Health used a 'performance management policy' to humiliate an employee and to avoid dealing with the serious issues that she had raised.

24 October 2010

A 33-year-old Queensland doctor was charged last month with the alleged sexual assault of a staffer.

The Sunday Mail understands the alleged victim has since made an official grievance and a Workcover Claim.

The worker alleged Queensland Health should have provided her with a proper return-to-work plan and allowed her temporary secondment or to be stood down with full pay.

But instead she was bullied under a 'performance improvement plan'.

Mudgeeraba MP Ros Bates, a registered nurse, said the latest incident added to several complaints made to her office by Gold Coast Queensland Health employees about bullying in the workplace.

Ros Bates told State Parliament the performance management policy was being used to humiliate, punish and belittle the employee so Queensland Health could avoid addressing a serious issue.

Don Brown, Queensland Workplace Rights Ombudsman : upper level managers are reluctant to deal with bully bosses.

2 October 2010

Queensland Workplace Rights Ombudsman Don Brown said workplace bullying was a spreading cancer that was destroying the health of Queensland workers, sapping their morale and undermining respect for senior management.

Don Brown is a 30-year industrial relations professional who has been ombudsman for more than three years.

His office received 370 calls about bullying and harassment this quarter alone.

Other agencies, like Workplace Health and Safety, also field complaints.

Bullied workers experience so much stress and nausea they often cannot sleep at night, have health problems and even commit suicide, Mr Brown said.

Despite anti-bullying training, a slew of policies and procedures, and HR staff, upper level managers in many Queensland organisations 'turn a blind eye' to workplace abuse.

They won't "walk the walk" on bullying complaints for fear of offending or embarrassing bully bosses.


And what does the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC )  do when a valid case of bullying, harrasment, corruption, missconduct is given to them?

They just hand it back to the same corrupt bullying government managers to "investigate" which is another word for cover up.

How many whistleblowers has the CMC failed?

Most likely all of them.

Many of the other Reader's comments on this article tell stories of workplace bullying in the Queensland public service.

Are Queensland CMC officers too scared to speak out? Are Queensland CMC jobs given to 'mates' who help to cover things up? Is this process called 'merit selection' in Queensland?

2 October 2010
The Queensland CMC has an endemic culture of bullying and has for a decade.
In 2005 the most senior legal role in crime was filled by three different people all of whom successively resigned due to ongoing bullying from their boss.
The bullying was reported and covered up and nothing was done about it.
Jobs were also being filled for mates who helped cover things up - and without merit.
Staff who remained were too scared to make statements and also left over the following years.
The HR department was totally incompetent and also particiapted.
When asked about external training and development they said, "Why should we? Staff just leave anyway".
Martin Moynihan was a good appointment but under labor the CMC was a grossly underfunded and highly dysfunctional place.
Labor preferred that as it protected them from unwanted scrutiny.
Martin Moynihan is trying to clean the place up and get it functioning properly and they will destroy him for it.
Typical QLD and Labor corruption from Capt Bligh and Co.
Please QLD get rid of them enough is enough!!!

David Whyte, whistleblower, says Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson should hang his head in shame.

2 September 2010

Mr David Whyte, 48, a former Burleigh Heads police detective, lodged a complaint about police corruption on the Gold Coast in September 2006.

Mr Whyte alleges that he exposed a "major corruption scandal " involving "dodgy" search warrants.

A police spokeswoman yesterday said Mr Whyte's allegations had not been substantiated by a police Ethical Standards investigation.


The Queensland CMC 'devolution policy' isn't working.

Police cannot investigate police.


Mr Whyte alleges that he was then set up by `grubby coppers'.

He was accused of  stalking his elderly neighbour.

Mr Whyte was stood down from his detective senior constable position in 2007 when charges were laid against him.

After a three-year ordeal, a Southport District Court jury took just 27 minutes to vindicate Mr Whyte on charges of stalking.

The neighbour admitted in court that he had initiated the feud.

``I would just like to thank the members of the jury who are decent members of the community unlike the grubby cops,'' Mr Whyte said.

``The cops that have been involved in this case are an absolute disgrace to their uniform and an absolute disgrace to themselves and their families.

``It shows just how far grubby corrupt cops will go to attack a whistleblower and to protect their grubby mates.''

Mr Whyte was adamant he would never return to the police service.

''I think the cops that have been involved in this are an absolute disgrace to the uniform,'' he said.

''(Bob) Atkinson is a disgrace because he hasn't stood up to these people publicly and he should hang his head in shame.''

Whyte will return to court later this month to pursue a $1 million-plus compensation claim against the Queensland Police Service.


David Whyte was fortunate because he had the legal skills needed to defend himself in court.

Queensland classroom teachers are much more vulnerable to workplace abuse because they do not have the legal skills needed to defend themselves in court.

Senior Queensland public servants seem to have a common policy of refusing to respond to complaints.

Sergeant Russell Pike, 44, former officer in charge of Whitsunday police station, said that after Whitsundays senior constable Benjamin Price assaulted tourist Renee Toms in the Airlie Beach watchhouse in January 2008, he and two junior officers filed a report of 'excessive force that amounted to serious misconduct' against senior constable Price.

The three police officers expected that their report would be investigated.

But nothing was done.

Then senior constable Price handcuffed Timothy Steele, punched and kneed him, rammed a fire hose into his mouth and turned on the water.

Constable Bree Sonter filed a complaint which eventually led to charges being laid.

It is understood Bree Sonter felt under enormous pressure to drop her allegations.

Had she done so, one wonders what further violence Price would have perpetrated.


Although four police complained, it is alleged several others who witnessed these assaults did not.


Queensland Police this week said that any officers who did not report the assaults might face disciplinary action.

Russell Pike claimed the QPS was focusing unfairly on junior officers.

"It is now all too easy to publicly threaten (officers) and spread innuendo," he said.

"In January 2008, I personally made recommendations that Price be withdrawn from active duty until the investigation was conducted," Mr Pike said.

"The recommendations were ignored."

"What more could we do?"


The case raises issues which should alarm us all, for they point to a culture, the existence of which has been denied for decades, and it is the culture of silence.

Senior police were told about Price's behaviour, but they did nothing.

A slightly built woman had been bashed by a heavily built police officer and nothing was done.

They did not even ask to see the video.


Because of a culture of protecting wrongdoers within the police service?

It was a sin of omission, one that could have been seen as silent approval of Benjamin Price's behaviour.

This silent approval could also have been seen as a message to other serving police that it was fruitless to complain about blatant breaches of the law and disciplinary code because nothing would be done.

Education Queensland senior officers also seem to do nothing when they are told about corruption.

In fact, they seem to celebrate corruption with awards and special ceremonies.

I also worry about the message that this sends to corrupt school principals - "ignore our official polices, there are no real rules, we don't care what you do to classroom teachers. We will lose the complaints. We will use an Aboriginal employee or an outside company to conduct a faux investigation. And we will celebrate any complaints by holding an award ceremony for you in the Parliament House Annex."

Constable Bree Sonter will now need to be protected for the rest of her Queensland police career.

17 August 2010

Bad Apple Bully ex-cop Benjamin Thomas Price, 33, of Airlie Beach police station, has cost taxpayers more than $1 million in secret payouts to three bashed tourist victims in a case of police brutality branded by senior officers as "one of the worst ever seen".

His admission of guilt comes after female police whistleblower Constable Bree Sonter, yesterday hailed as a hero, broke ranks and filed a complaint against her former patrol partner two years ago.

Deputy Commissioner Ian Stewart praised female officer Bree Sonter for her "integrity and courage".

Deputy Commissioner Ian Stuart must put in place processes that will protect Bree Sonter from 'payback' for the rest of her Queensland police career, and that will demonstrate the regard that he has for her integrity and courage.

This policewoman must not suffer.


Having worked in a remote area, I have the highest regard for the courage and integrity of Queensland police officers.

The actions of this one Bad Apple Bully police officer have -

  • had a significant mental and physical impact on his victims.
  • brought discredit on the Queensland police service. 
  • cost the Queensland taxpayer -  we will all have to pay compensation to his victims.

You wonder how somebody so disturbed could ever have been selected to be a policeman, and how the Queensland police selection processes can be improved.


Similarly, Education Queensland selection processes need to be improved to 'weed out' principals with disturbed personalities.

And the Labor party may need to consider - do we attract people with disturbed personalities to our party?

People who are 'good haters'.

Does their disturbed behaviour seem normal in a Labor party context?

Are they - and other Queensland public servants with compromised moral values, who 'turn a blind eye' to incompetence and corruption - given Queensland public service promotions that they do not deserve?

Is this the cause of the systemic failure / incompetence / corruption that is destroying the mental and physical health of so many Queensland classroom teachers?

The Queensland government is in crisis.

6 August 2010

Our Queensland governance infrastructure : our parliamentary institutions, election processes, the public service, the judiciary system ... our political parties and the way that we develop and deliver policy - are in crisis.

They do not work any more.

They are ... manipulated by whoever is in power to maintain office rather than to reflect democratic will or to be accountable to the electorate.

There is a crisis of talent among our elected officials.

There is a crisis of credibility among our public servants.

The Queensland public service has grown too much and has become increasingly politicised during the past two decades.

It has abandoned any semblence of independence.

The quality of its advice has declined.

It has become too responsive to the whims of elected officials.

Queensland needs a new public service that is re-professionalised and insulated from political interference.

  • It's our system that is stuffed, Professor Scott Prasser, executive director of the Public Policy Institute of the Australian Catholic University, p. 35, The Courier-Mail, 6 August 2010.

Bruce Flegg questions Julie Grantham about the Asbestolux that has been found in Queensland schools.

Shadow education minister Bruce Flegg has wrung from the Queensland Education Department an admission that Asbestolux has been found in many Queensland schools.

Asbestolux boards are soft and crumble to the touch.

Fibres can be released with only minimal disturbance.

The Queensland Government was warned of the Asbestolux problem in December 2007.

Queensland parents have been denied the right to know about this threat to their children's safety.

Parents seem to have been denied this right either through political deviousness or through departmental arrogance.


Bruce Flegg was able to question Education Department director-general Julie Grantham about Asbestoslux during the parliamentary Estimates hearings.

The Estimates hearings have demonstrated that the Queensland government parliamentary committee system is in dire need of reform.

There is limited opportunity for Opposition MPs to question ministers.

The Clerk of the Parliament, Neil Laurie, says the parliamentary committee system is defective in terms of its ability to scrutinise government.

There is no right to regularly question key public service chiefs such as Julie Grantham, the director-general of education, without prior ministerial approval.

These public servants run departments spending billions of taxpayer dollars.

Their performance has enormous impact on the daily lives of Queenslanders, yet they are protected from proper parliamentary scrutiny.


Labor MP Judy Spence is chairing a special review of the parliamentary committee syatem.

  • System fails to scrutinise government, Editorial, p.40, The Courier-Mail  : 23 July 2010
  • Kids' lives put at risk, Editorial, p. 52, The Sunday Mail, 25 July 2010
  • Asbestos 'cover-up' : New threat hits schools, David Murray, p.17, The Sunday Mail : 25 July 2010.

AJ Brown thinks he sees change but all I can see in Queensland are shiny new brochures. We need total cultural change in the Queensland public service. Only then will it be safe for Queensland teachers to engage in professional discussion.

16 July 2010

There is a need to recognise that public employers are under a duty of care to support and protect their employees, as a condition of providing them with a safe and healthy workplace, and recognising employees' duty to report wrongdoing.

Studies led by AJ Brown of Griffith University have revealed that hundreds of agencies are not recognising and supporting their whistleblowers.

In many cases, this is despite being under statutory obligations for years to develop effective procedures and systems.

Now Queensland and most Australian governments are developing new public integrity systems to guard against official wrongdoing and ensure it is flushed out.

Sadly, I see no evidence to support this statement.

New shiny Queensland public service brochures may have been produced, but nothing seems to have changed.

And the Bad Apples do not read the brochures or follow the official polices.

The Bad Apples have their own informal 'kill the messenger' policies.

The need is not for shiny brochures to encourage Queensland whistleblowers to speak out - the need is for a 100% change in the Queensland public service 'kill the messenger' culture.

Only then will it be safe for whistleblowers to speak out - and safe for Queensland classroom teachers to engage in simple professional discussion.

Only then will change be possible - only then will anything improve.

We know from experience that a whistleblower's reasonable concerns sometimes still have to end up in the public domain before effective action is taken.

The whistleblower should also able to claim legal protection against penalisation or damage to their career, if forced to go beyond official channels.

The position announced in March by federal cabinet and Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig means that federal public servants who blow the whistle on a serious matter of wrongdoing, which is not dealt with in a timely and adequate way within the public sector, will still be protected.

Legal protection will extend to a whistleblower who goes outside official channels only if they reveal "no more information than is reasonably necessary" to ensure the matter is acted on.

And the court or tribunal deciding their claim must be satisfied that the public interest in disclosure outweighs countervailing public interest factors.

Make what sense you can of that.

To me the emphasis seems to be on frightening whistleblowers with these incomprehensible rules.

The federal government has now done the heavy lifting in finding a practical new blueprint for this element of whistleblower protection.

Australians can look forward to state governments following suit, and reshaping their whistleblowing laws to make them actually work.

Did you find any evidence that any government really wants the whistleblowing laws to work, AJ?

Because nothing seems to be working in Queensland.

Gary Barnes confirms that the Northern Territory - and all other states - compile secret 'dirt files' on blacklisted teachers.

16 July 2010

The Northern Territory Education Department has dirt files on a blacklist of teachers it has banned.

Dr Robert Bartholomew claims that he and his wife simply asked - on behalf of the aboriginal school community - if their NT school was safe.

They had found a health inspector's report calling for immediate testing of the school grounds for apparent asbestos.

Dr Bartholomew claims that the NT government refused to tell them if the school was safe.

And that he and his wife were blacklisted.

The Northern Territory News has obtained the Department's recently created policy on how bureaucrats should officially manage the NT teachers' blacklist.

Called Teachers Unsuitable for Further Employment, the policy explains how the "database" contains "relevant details about the person", including information on why they have been marked as unsuitable.

"A person listed on the database will not be offered employment with the department as a teacher on either a temporary or permanent basis," it states.

The policy is not on the department's website, unlike the other policies.


Gary Barnes used to be a senior executive in Education Queensland.

Now he is chief executive of the Northern Territory Education Department Department.

Gary Barnes said in a statement that all other jurisdictions - and I can only presume that he includes the Queensland Department of Education - had similar practices in relation to hiring former employees.

The readers' comments on this article are interesting.

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission is now 'a farce and a shambles'.

6 July 2010

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission is now "a farce and a shambles".

That is the view of the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties president Michael Cope and Opposition police spokesman Vaughan Johnson, who said the CMC's structure had failed and needed a complete revamp.

"People have lost complete confidence in the process and they have reason to," Mr Cope told The Courier-Mail.

Ombudsman Don Brown urges the Queensland government to give employees the right to request compulsory mediation with bully bosses.

6 July 2010

In just the first three months of this year, more than 360 people complained about workplace bullying to Queensland ombudsman Don Brown.

Some of the bullying was so severe complainants said they had considered self-harm or suicide, Mr Brown said.

Mr Brown said even more concerning was the reluctance of management to intervene.

Some workers claimed they had been fired or given fewer hours after reporting the alleged bullying.

Mr Brown has urged the Queensland government to change workplace safety laws.

In his latest quarterly report due to be tabled in Parliament shortly, Mr Brown said employees should be given the right to request compulsory mediation with their bosses to resolve workplace bullying.

"I don't think it would make much difference to the overall incidence of bullying [but] it would guarantee that person who felt they were being bullied had access to air their grievances in a compulsory conference chaired by a commissioner," Mr Brown said.


Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Ron Monaghan said bullying was an ongoing issue across the state.

"I think there's been a growing awareness for at least the last three to four years that we have to address this," Mr Monaghan said.

"People ... do not go to work to be injured, to be bullied."

Toni Hoffman says that whistleblowing is not easy - it destroys the whistleblower, their co-workers and their organisation.

30 June 2010

In Brisbane, Annie Guest reports.

ANNIE GUEST: When Jayant Patel arrived in Bundaberg on April Fool's Day in 2003, his history of grossly negligent practice in the United States wasn't known to Australian authorities, his co-workers, or his patients.

At least three of them died because of this and one is maimed for life.

There's been several inquiries, procedural changes and at least $16 million spent to stop it happening again.

So could it?

ANNIE GUEST: Tony Morris QC led the first judicial inquiry, until it was abandoned over concerns of bias.

He welcomes efforts to improve the system, but remains concerned that public health is run as a business, rather than a community service citing this example from the Patel saga.

TONY MORRIS: Part of it was also just simple cost cutting, ... I mean, one of the things that is very apparent is that were highly trained competent Australian educated surgeons who were willing to go to Bundaberg to take this position, but it was cheaper and easier to get Jayant Patel.

ANNIE GUEST: Another who is concerned not enough has changed is the nurse who blew the whistle on Patel, Toni Hoffman.

TONI HOFFMAN: Not for whistleblower doctors, I don't believe.

There is a culture of protecting colleagues.

ANNIE GUEST: Now you were the nurse who blew the whistle on Patel. Is it any easier for nurses to blow the whistle now?

TONI HOFFMAN: I don't think it's any easier.

I think that it's still something that is very difficult.

It destroys the person who's doing it, the organisation that they work for, their fellow co-workers; it shouldn't ever have to come to that.

ANNIE GUEST: Toni Hoffman says she's still recovering from her experience as a whistleblower, which she says has had a profound effect on her life.

Something very odd seems to be going on at the Queensland CMC.

25 June 2010

Martin Moynihan was one of three people who selected Warren Strange as the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission's Assistant Commissioner of Misconduct ahead of directors Helen Couper and Russell Pearce.

Deputy Police Commissioner Ian Stewart and CMC Commissioner Ann Gummow were also on the interview panel.


Gary Long SC's appointment as the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee's commissioner means he will now be investigating complaints against the CMC and its staff.

Gary Long approved the Palm Island police report, which was later panned by the CMC as biased and lacking in detail.

CMC director of misconduct investigations, Russell Pearce, now faces investigation by Mr Long.

Three senior Queensland Crime and Misconduct commission officers have now been stood down.

23 June 2010

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission has now stood down three senior CMC officers, all of whom are now facing investigation.

The CMC director of misconduct investigations, Russell Peace, was stood down yesterday on full pay.

Mr Pearce was informed of his stand-down by letter but given no further explanation by his employer nor by CMC chairman Martin Moynihan.

The CMC has revealed it has asked the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee to investigate Russell Pearce over the allegedly unauthorised release of information.

But the PCMC are useless - they will just send the complaint to the CMC and allow the CMC to investigate themselves.

Mr Pearce is the second CMC director to be stood down by new chairperson Martin Moynihan since he took over the position in February.

CMC Director of Research Dr Margot Legosz and her deputy Angela Carr have also been stood down on full pay.

Queensland Police Service - are Queensland police officers properly trained? Are they being bullied into bending the law?

Shine Lawyers are acting for former Queensland police officer Lee Scutts, who is seeking almost $2.3 million in compensation for the under-resourcing, inadequate training and bullying that he alleges that he experienced in the Queensland Police Service.

Mr Scutts alleges that he became a target for bullying after refusing orders from bosses to bend laws on handling child abuse investigations.

He was medically retired in 2008, after 17 years in the service.

Documents filed in support of his claim raise questions about the training and support given to Queensland police, and the standards of investigations as a result.

The Queensland Police Service denies the allegations and says it will defend the case.

  • Service hit by more allegations, David Murray, p. 12, The Sunday Mail, 20 June 2010.

Rational Avoidance of Accountability : Mark Lauchs.

"Governments will endeavour to balance a public perception of being accountable with an actual unaccountable regime."

Mark Lauchs, p. 304, Rational Avoidance of Accountabilty, Law, QUT :

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission "devolution strategy" seems to facilitate systemic corruption.

17 June 2010

Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission chairman Martin Moynihan has released a "bombshell" report, critical of a Queensland police investigation and the "internal review" of the investigation.

But Martin Moynihan and the CMC must accept some responsibility themselves for the dismal failure of their "devolution" strategy.

Education Queensland Ethical Standards Department "internal reviews" and "independent investigations" also fail to establish the facts.

They are shameful.

And I have found no other Queensland Government department that is willing to investigate corruption.

The CMC systemic "devolution" strategy seems to facilitate this systemic corruption.

The investigations suggested there was a belief within the Queensland Police Service that the best way to protect the reputation of the QPS was for police to turn “a blind eye to to actions of their colleagues which are substandard”.


This "blind eye and deaf ear"policy seems to be common to the whole of the Queensland public service, including the CMC.

”The investigations were characterised by double standards and an unwillingness to publicly acknowledge failings,” Mr Moynihan said.


The grounds cited for disciplinary action in the draft CMC report include

  • "negligence,
  • carelessness or indolence in the discharge of their duties;
  • misconduct, including failure to meet the standards the community would reasonably expect ... ".

These qualities seem to be required of all Queensland public service "investigators".

So why are the CMC picking on the police?

The CMC need to look at their own "devolution policy".

It isn't working.

Robyn Davies of Trilby Misso : "Bullied workers think that because they have right on their side, that will be enough".

5 June 2010
As a managing lawyer at Trilby Misso, it's part of Robyn Davies' job to monitor calls to the law firm about workplace stress claims and psychological injuries.

"Many people who phone keep trying to cope but the longer they do, the worse their symptoms get until they reach the stage where they are suffering severe anxiety that requires medical intervention, " Davies says

Davies says those that have suffered an injury due to workplace bullying can make a claim through WorkCover Queensland or make a common law claim by approaching a law firm.

To ensure a case is successful, she advises those encountering bullying to act immediately by keeping diary notes including the names of anyone who witnessed the events.

"The average employee does not know what they need to prove a claim."

They think because they have right on their side that that will be enough," Davies says.

Trilby Misso has won a number of bullying claims.

"Workplace bullying is a major occupational health and safety issue but some employers just don't get it," Davies says.

"All employers have a duty of care to their employees to provide a safe workplace."


Write it down and get on the phone : 

Did NSW Premier Kristina Keneally compile a 'dirt file' on a whistleblower?

6 June 2010

The Sunday Telegraph reveals that the New South Wales Ombudsman has begun an inquiry into claims Premier Ms Keneally and her office breached the State's whistleblower laws by compiling a "dirt file" on a whistleblower who exposed corruption by Penrith MP Karyn Paluzzano.

The inquiry by the Ombudsman's Office focuses on statements made by Ms Keneally's office following revelations Tim Horan, a staffer in Ms Paluzzano's office, had made a complaint about Ms Paluzzano to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

The Ombudsman's Office is examining whether the Premier's office was in possession of a dirt file on Mr Horan.

Under the State's Protected Disclosures Act, it is illegal to persecute whistleblowers.

This situation interests me because I "whistleblew" to Anna Bligh in June 2002 that Queensland teachers were being bullied into ill health and out of work - and in 2004 I discovered that my Education Queensland official records had been extensively falsified.

This article suggests to me that the falsified records may not only have been placed on my file to conceal the abuse - they may also have been "payback" for my whistleblowing.

And that the Queensland Ombudsman may have a responsibility to investigate this situation.


Kristina Keneally grim as claims reveal 'she broke law with dirt file', Linda Silmalis, The Sunday Telegraph 6 June 2010 :

Claims inquiry launched into whistleblower case, ABC News 6 June 2010 :


6 June 2010

Last night "Underbelly" portrayed a corrupt NSW policeman as a "good mate" to his police informer friend.

And it made the point that, in an environment in which the courts seem to be failing, the informal policies adopted by the corrupt NSW police may actually be a better option.

I can appreciate this point.

But when the corruption affects you personally - when a corrupt "mob" turn on you and fabricate allegations against you, and when the corrupt system will not allow you to establish your innocence - well, then you see the situation differently.

"Underbelly" pointed out that the corrupt policeman only served three years in jail.
While the policeman who turned informer lost his wife, his children, his friends and his job and his future.
And that fifteen years later the informer was still lost.
Even I found myself thinking that the police informer would have been better off if he had stayed corrupt.
On Tuesday we will watch "Australian Druglords" and then "Australian Families of Crime".
Are we celebrating the corruption in this criminal colony?
5 June 2010
Government corruption will always be with us.
There will always be people driven by the pursuit of profit and/or power, who believe that the end justifies the means and that the rules do not apply to them.
Corruption damages the reputation of all those in government, including the un-corrupt.
Where it is allowed to occur, particularly at the highest levels, it conveys the message that it is acceptable to behave dishonestly, in breach of the trust owed to the people who placed them in power and in contempt of the rights of others.

And corruption thrives on secrecy.


Queensland Police Union : shoddy investigations have become the norm from the CMC. The organisation is destroying people's lives.

The Queensland Police Union ( QPU ) has had a gutful of the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

"Shoddy investigations and reports full of hyperbole have become the norm from an organisation hellbent on justifying its own existence."

"We have arrived at a position where it is now a rogue organisation, randomly destroying people's lives," said Mr Leavers.


Poor timing for cop and CMC fight, Peter Cameron, , 2 June 2010 :

Brisbane School of Distance Education has brilliant OP results.

31 May 2010

The Brisbane School of Distance Education had the third highest percentage of OP1-5 students in Queensland.

Brisbane Grammar School and Brisbane Boys College had the highest percentage of OP1-5 students.

This seems to suggest that attending a state school school in Queensland will depress your academic potential - that you will do better if you study at home.


29 May 2010

The Queensland Police Union has slammed the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ).
Union president Ian Leavers said it was quite clear the CMC was "insistent in destroying decent people".

"The CMC ... are failing Queenslanders every day."

Di Kelly says : If your supervisor is bullying you, all of the research says - get out. The bullying is not going to stop.

26 May 2010

University of Wollongong Associate Professor in Employment Relations Di Kelly says a lot of workplace bullying falls under the category of abuse.

"If the one person who is making your life miserable is your supervisor then you've got to move to a different workplace (because) there's not a lot of opportunity to stop that bullying," Kelly says.

"All the literature says get out - I've been trying to find a solution for years."

Editor's comment : I totally agree.

But it is so difficult for a Queensland classroom teacher to get away from a bully principal.

And if the principal puts you on Managing Unsatisfactory performance ( MUP ), they have got you trapped - you will not be allowed to escape from the school till the bully / OP19  principal agrees that you have "improved".

24 May 2010
There are 51,000 unflued gas heaters in NSW public schools.
New South Wales Education Minister Verity Firth was warned by her department more than a year ago that these unflued gas heaters were giving off indoor air pollution at "levels over that considered safe for human exposure".
The Sydney Morning Herald says a ministerial briefing note it obtained, the accuracy of which was endorsed by senior bureaucrats, contradicts many of the public statements Ms Firth has since made about the health impacts of the heaters.
Ms Firth's spokeswoman said that, contrary to the information given to the minister by NSW Health last year, the heaters were safe if used when doors and windows were open.
But what twit would use a heater when the doors and windows were open?
24 May 2010

The Grattan Institute report, What Teachers Want: Better Teacher Management, which surveyed teachers and principals in 23 countries, said teacher evaluation and development in Australia is among the worst in the developed world.

Australia is ranked fourth-last for identifying teacher quality.

"An effective system would include peer review, ...

But the problem that we have in Australia is that the entry qualifications to education courses in Australian unis have now fallen so low that your "peers' are not your peers.

An OP2 teacher can't be evaluated by on OP19 teacher.

They are not peers.

The OP2 teachers in the system would be forced to work at an OP19 standard.

... the direct appraisal of teaching, and teachers' ability to identify and then address each student's learning needs,'' the report's author, Dr Ben Jensen, an education analyst at the Grattan Institute said.

Opposition spokesman on education Christopher Pyne said a Coalition government would move quickly to give school principals the autonomy granted their peers in non-government schools, with the power to hire and fire and to pay staff based on performance.

But will a Coalition government -

  • set minimum standards for entry to Australian university education courses
  • improve the principal selection process
  • weed out the incompetent and / or psychopathic principals?

If they don't, the situation will become even more dysfunctional because incompetents reward and promote incompetents.

Because psychopaths reward and promote the gullible, the unintelligent and the easily manipulated.

"Teachers prefer to work with peers or their grade group in a collaborative environment in evaluating and assessing their teaching programs, and what's lacking in schools is the space, time and respect for teachers to do so,"  Federal president of the Australian Education Union, Angelo Gavrielatos said.

Actually it can be very draining trying to work with an OP19 teacher.

You cannot really communicate.

24 May 2010
The Queensland Government will not reveal how many staff successfully sued Education Queensland in the past five years, the associated legal costs or the current number of lawsuits.


19 May 2010

Skills Australia warned recently that poor adult literacy and numeracy threatened to undermine the nation's long-term productivity goals.

 $661 million in funding was allocated in the budget to boost adult literacy and numeracy.

So teacher trainees who go into adult or vocational education are likely to encounter strong employment demand.

Are you concerned about the abuse of psychiatric assessments to intimidate and silence workplace critics?

23 May 2010

Are you concerned about the abuse of psychiatric assessments to intimidate and silence workplace critics?

Me too!

This new website may be of interest  -

Ethical and Human Rights Considerations in Medical and Psychological Testing :


Queensland public service mates are being asked to investigate their mates. It is not working. They can't do it.

15 May 2010

When public service mates investigate public service mates you risk a "perception of collusion".

For example, mates may tip off their mate about crucial witness accounts.

Mates may collude with mates concerning their evidence.

Their main concern may be to "cover for" their mate and themselves.

This corrupts the evidence.

The Queensland public service practice of mates investigating mates is unsatisfactory, inappropriate and undermines the credibility of any "investigation".

And ...

If a public service abuser were to admit at the start all the facts as he or she knew them, perhaps their colleagues would not think that they had to lie to protect their mate.

But if somebody really is a psychopath, can they really understand that they are lying?

My bully continually changed her "story" and I had the impression that she considered what she was saying at each moment to be true.

She just seemed to invent a new "truth" whenever you pointed out that her story did not make sense.

And the fact that her new story was not the same as her "truth' of the day before did not seem to worry her.

The Queensland CMC needs to be properly resourced and empowered to investigate complaints concerning Queensland public service departments.

Corrupt and incompetent public servants must be weeded out of the Queensland public service.

  • Mulrunji tip-off spoils case, Jamie Walker, P. 2 The Nation, The Weekend Australian.
  • Colluders should be weeded out : Doomadgee lawyer, Tony Koch and Jared Owens, P. 2 The Nation, The Weekend Australian.
  • Breach of trust felt by every citizen, Tony Koch Comment, P. 2 The Nation, The Weekend Australian.  


14 May 2010

TERRY O'GORMAN: ... there's only one conclusion and that is that the concept of Queensland (public servants) investigating Queensland (public servants from the same department) is broken.

The whole model needs rejuvenation, the whole model needs to be turned on its head and something much more effective has to be produced.

... the CMC's got some questions to answer.

Why has the CMC sat back for almost six years and allowed this farcical situation to develop?

... and indeed the ... Parliamentary Committee ( PCMC ) that is supposed to oversight the CMC.

It doesn't work either.

And if there's one outstanding reason why it doesn't work in our view it's become the captive of the CMC.

It's captive of the body that it's supposed to supervise.

JESSICA van VONDEREN: The (Queensland public service department) says it ... has already made some changes to operational procedures.

They always say that, Jessica.

And nothing ever changes.


14 May 2010

QLS Government Lawyers Conference 2010, Sebel and Citigate Hotel, King George Square, Brisbane.

10.20 - 11.15am

Julie Kinross, Queensland Information Commissioner.


Lemm Ex, Principal Privacy Officer, Office of the Information Commissioner, Queensland.


Helen Couper, Director Integrity Services, Crime and Misconduct commission.

... And nothing ever changes.


5 May 2010

David Reid, An employee at Australia's only nuclear facility alleges that serious breaches of safety have occurred at the Lucas Heights reactor.

And his views have been backed up by a confidential report by ARPANSA, the organization that regulates the nuclear industry in Australia.

But the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, or ANSTO, which operates the reactor, maintains the facility has a strong culture of safety.

JOHN THOMPSON: For the man who raised the safety issues in the first place and his family, it's been a bittersweet experience.

DAVID REID: I wish I hadn't opened me big mouth.

4 May 2010

Earlier today Jennifer Launt, one of NSW Parliamentary Secretary Karyn Paluzzano's senior staffers, admitted she and another staffer Kerrie Donlan had incorrectly and fraudulently filled out sitting day relief entitlement forms during a period in 2006 and ‘07.

She blamed the scam on whistleblower Tim Horan.

“I think he was the author of the scheme,” she told the commission.

“When we were looking through the forms in the last month or so, we saw a few forms that looked like Tim Horan had signed Karyn Paluzzano’s signature.” 



19 April 2010

The Courier-Mail revealed last year a Queensland Department of Premier and Cabinet ( DPC ) system in which Anna Bligh's ministerial staff were told about and invited to discuss applications with Right To Information decision-makers in her department after receiving weekly status reports outlining future decisions.

And The Courier-Mail has learnt that the DPC has now told independent Right To Information units in other departments to produce fortnightly reports detailing the names of applicants and what potentially embarrassing information they are seeking.

The new Queensland Right to Information plan extends the DPC "invitation to discuss" exercise to reporting to an outside organisation – DPC and the Premier's own office – about applications from individuals, industry groups, media organisations and the Opposition.

The plan allegedly breaches applicant confidentiality and privacy rights and risks political interference before decision-makers decide to block or approve access to material.

Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek described the new Queensland Right To Information plan as "intrusion, manipulation and political interference".


13 April 2010

The Bligh Government is working with key education stakeholders to set up the Queensland Education Leadership Institute  ( QELI ) by July this year.

"The aim of QELI is to develop leadership in schools by offering targeted professional development to principals as well as teachers with leadership aspirations.

"Principals and teachers in regional and remote parts of Queensland will be able to access programs online."

Greg McMahon is the Secretary of the Queensland Whistleblowers Action Group ( WAG ) .

Greg McMahon is concerned about the Griffith University "Whistle While You Work" report into whistleblowing in Australia.

The 13 organisations who funded this research were all "watchdog" organisations like the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission

These organisations are part of the problem.

Greg is concerned that the report did not investigate the systemic problems that facilitate the abuse of whistleblowers.

He says that there is a need for the watchdog organisations to be investigated.

Or there will be no systemic change.

Greg has spoken about his concerns on ABC radio :

21 March 2010  

Scientists have shown that children - and, presumably, teachers, nurses, paramedics, police, etc. - who are bullied are more likely to have cognitive deficits.

They score lower on tests that measure verbal memory and executive function, a set of skills needed to focus on a task and get the job done.

Mental-health problems, such as depression, are also more common.

Animal studies have shown that chronic high levels of stress can kill brain cells.

Bullied classroom teachers cannot operate effectively because so much of their time and energy is drained away, dealing with the workplace abuse.


15 March 2010

Previous research has focused on what psychopaths tend to lack -

  • fear,
  • empathy
  • and the ability to maintain normal relationships.

But a team led by Joshua Buckholtz of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, examined what there is too much of - 

  • impulsiveness
  • and an extreme attraction to risk-taking and rewards.

The new data suggests psychopaths "have such a strong draw to reward - to the carrot - that it overwhelms the sense of risk or concern about the stick"


4 December 2010

A Bundaberg nurse, Christine Cameron, claims that the Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) is amateurish and inept.

She claims that the CMC failed in its duty by flick-passing her complaints to other agencies for investigation.

These investigations led to "fabrications" and a "whitewash", she said in statements tabled in Parliament.

Cameron, 48, said she was dumbfounded to discover most of the complaints she listed in official incident reports weren't investigated at all.

"When I rang the CMC in January, they told me the case was now in the hands of Steve Hardy, the director of the (Queensland Health) Ethical Standards Unit," she said.

The Ethical Standards unit then referred the complaints back to district health manager Kevin Hegarty.

A review of the hospital's emergency department was done by Prince Charles Hospital's executive director of medical services, Dr Stephen Ayre.

"Queensland Health is essentially investigating itself," AMA Queensland president Dr Chris Davis warned.

"The ESU said the claims were unsubstantiated," Ms Cameron said.

"I'm dumbfounded.

How could they get away with it?

"We are asked to report incidents but I quickly realised the official policy is to cover things up."

Cameron's allegations are contained in statements tabled in the House by Rob Messenger (LNP, Burnett).

Messenger backed Cameron's call for a royal commission, saying the investigations lacked integrity.

"At the very least, this is unethical behaviour.

At worst, this is corruption and cronyism in the Labor Party," he said.


27 February 2010

Victorian government media adviser Peta Duke has been "redeployed" after a document was inadvertently sent to the ABC.

The document said that the Victorian Labor government would "consult" with the community - over plans to develop a hotel - then block the proposal and say that it did so because "it listened to community views".

The document seems to suggest that all Labor government "community consultation" is a sham.

  • 'Sham' media staffer moved, AAP, P.6, The Nation, The Weekend Australian, 27-28 February, 2010.


17 February 2010
Former Queensland director-general Scott Flavell said senior public servants now felt compelled to follow inappropriate orders because they can be easily sacked with little compensation.

Mr Flavell said the introduction of three-year contracts with limited termination compensation was discouraging "frank and fearless" advice.


12 February 2010

Why don't people just leave a toxic workplace?

In the case of Queensland teachers, it is because they are trapped at their school, especially if they are working in a remote area.

The problem is that most employers don't -

  • truly educate their staff to identify bullying,
  • provide systemic solutions to rectify the causes,
  • develop interventions
  • and empower victims to create ways to block bullying behaviours.

Most policies are superficial, formed without -

  • adequate staff collaboration,
  • regular monitoring,
  • comprehensive training programs,
  • meaningful consequences
  • or conciliatory, restorative dispute-resolution processes.

This is true.

And any "new" Education Queensland polices often seem to be created by the people causing the problem.

Most victims of bullying don't understand that they are being bullied until they are injured.

Their spirit is broken, their good name trampled on; they are humiliated in front of peers.

Their fight/flight instinct is paralysed and they become stuck in time, obsessing over what is occurring but unable to take action.


10 February 2010

This week's ruling by Melbourne Magistrate Peter Lauritsen - imposing $335,000 in fines on the staff of a cafe for workplace bullying - sends an unambiguous message about the serious nature of workplace abuse.
Last month a draft report of the Productivity Commission found that 2.5 million Australians experienced some aspect of bullying during their working lives.
9 February 2010

Fines were the justice system's maximum sanctions under Victoria's Occupational Health and Safety Act against the workplace bullying that took place in a suburban Melbourne cafe.

Despite what many wished, a prison term was not available.

''The nights we find really hard,'' Brodie's mother, Rae Panlock, 54, told The Age.

''Once the lights are off and you lie there … and think about all those things.

''I knew she was tired and working hard, so we'd send her home with extra food and vitamins, but she didn't like to the talk too much about the cafe towards the end."

"It just breaks my heart to think what she would have gone through …''

She hopes similar victims of workplace bullying find help, and prays they have someone like Michael O'Grady, the WorkSafe investigator whose dedication to Brodie's case assembled such a water-tight prosecution, alongside.

''I don't think the world's a great place to be at the moment,'' Rae says.

8 February 2010

A young waitress, Brodie Rae Constance Panlock, 19, killed herself in September 2006 after being subjected to relentless workplace bullying.

Three of Brodie's workmates, Nicholas Smallwood, 26, now of Queensland, Rhys MacAlpine, 28, of Kooyong, and Gabriel Toomey, 23, of Melbourne, all pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons.

The cafe's owner Marc Luis Da Cruz pleaded guilty to two charges, including failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment.

They were all convicted and fined a total of $335,000.

Magistrate Peter Lauritsen said there was a "poisonous atmosphere" among the staff at the Hawthorn cafe.

Brodie Panlock's father Damien Panlock said the law should be changed to include a custodial sentence for workplace bullies.

5 February 2010

The article below was actually published in The Cairns Post on November 14 2009. I read it today and thought that the article and the comments were very interesting.

Former Cairns police officer Rosario Russo, 43, who retired from the Queensland Police service in January 2009, claims he suffered a mental and physical breakdown following years of job-related stress, bullying and threats from his fellow officers.

He claims that his colleagues tried to drive him out of the force by issuing him an improper search warrant for stealing property, a charge for which he was later cleared.

He said the ordeal drove him to consider taking his own life.

The Weekend Post has been in contact with current serving officers who tell their own stories of bullying in the ranks.

And The Weekend Post has become aware of a report that links a large majority of police officer suicides to workplace bullying.

Queensland Police Union spokesman Ross Mussgrove said "undoubtedly" bullying occurred within a police officer's workplace.

The Reader's Comments on this article, especially those by Alison Alloway of Cairns, Dr Robert Lewis of Cairns and Jack Scagnetti suggest that there is a high level of awareness of public service workplace bullying in Cains.


4 February 2010

Anna Bligh has dismissed suggestions the Queensland CMC "watchdog" is toothless because it allows agencies like police and Education Queensland to investigate themselves.

It's toothless, Anna.

4 February 2010

There will be continuing revelations about corruption in Queensland until the power to initiate investigations is restored to the CMC and it is properly resourced.


31 December 2009

Robert Needham, outgoing chairman of Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) said the the practice of Queensland police men and women relying on the Queensland police union to provide their legal defence compelled officers to join the union.

Even if they had little real interest in union affairs.

Mr Needham makes o good point here.

And his comment could also apply to the Queensland Teachers' Union ( QTU ), or any other Queensland public service union. 

Mr Needham said parliament should consider establishing a defence fund for police officers - and teachers and other public servants - who were under investigation or facing complaints.

Mr Needham said that a huge percentage of Queensland police - and teachers and other public servants - did not vote in union elections.

"That shows that there is (sic) a lot of people in there who are not really interested in union affairs, and clearly they are there because of the chance that if there is an allegation against them, they need to turn to the union to be represented.'

And then they find that they are refused any legal advice, and that they are exposed to abuse.

This situation gives the unions too much power.

And it exposes Queensland classroom teachers to workplace abuse.

Mr Needham said he has been pushing for all public sector unions ...  to introduce a code of conduct to help promote integrity and honesty.

Mr Needham, to promote integrity and honesty in Queensland schools, or anywhere else in the Queensland public service, you need to PROMOTE public servants who act with integrity and honesty.

At the moment Queensland public servants who demonstrate any integrity and honesty are being attacked and driven out of work.

You need to totally reform the Queensland public service promotion system - and to weed out the Labor brown-nosers, the lazy charming smilers, the incompetents, the illiterates and the psychopaths.

  • Push for code of conduct for Queensland police, Michael McKenna, The Australian.


19 December 2009

Yesterday Martin Moynihan  - a former Supreme Court judge - was appointed to replace Robert Needham as Chairman of the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) for the next two years.

During 2009 the CMC investigated 80 cases, compared with the usual average of about 110 cases.

Because Mr Needham claimed to believe that the public service had "matured".

And Mr Needham had increasingly referred misconduct complaints back to Queensland public service departments, allowing the Queensland public servants to investigate themselves - and to find no evidence of their own misconduct.

Judge Moynihan said yesterday that he was aware of suggestions that some Queensland public service departments may be less "mature" than Mr Needham claimed to believe.

"I think it needs to be looked at," Judge Moynihan said of the "just let them investigate themselves and find no evidence of their own misconduct" Queensland CMC "devolution process".

  • New CMC boss Martin Moynihan to target government departments, Patrick Lion, The Courier-Mail.


30 November 2009

Queensland Education Minister Geoff Wilson said any allegation about the bullying of Education Queensland whistleblowers would be treated "extremely seriously".

"I urge (Opposition education spokesman) Dr Flegg to provide any evidence he has about these issues to Education Queensland for investigation as a matter of priority," Mr Wilson said.

Mr Wilson said his department encouraged staff to come forward with their concerns.

Mr Wilson, your staff seem to be afraid to tell you the truth!

On 4 September this year Robina Cosser sent an official submission to Anna Bligh and her "Round Table" concerning workplace bullying in Queensland schools.

Hasn't Anna Bligh discussed the submission with you yet?

When Robina first asked for the workplace bullying to be investigated in December 2000, she was threatened five times that "action would be taken" against her if she contined to complain.

Robina Cosser was certainly not "encouraged to come forward with her concerns".

The CMC and Education Queensland refused to investigate her complaint till 2006 - after Robina had discovered that her Education Queensland "offical records" had been extensively falsified.

And even in 2006 the "Independent Investigator" was only allowed to interview two of the bullies and to phone another bully.

And he was only allowed to copy down exactly what these bullies told him, even if it was obviously untrue. 

Mr Wilson, why don't you know these facts?

A copy of Robina's submission to Anna Bligh concerning the corruption / failure of the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) / Education Queensland "investigation process" can be found on Anna Bligh's website :

Mr Wilson, don't just passively wait for your staff to tell you about the bullying - they are too afraid to tell you the truth!

You need to set an example for your staff - read Robina Cosser's submission and find out the facts!

  • Qld teachers complain of bullying, AAP, The Brisbane Times, 30 November 2009 

Gary Long : Queensland's new Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Commissioner.

9 December 2009

Gary Long SC has been appointed as the Queensland Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Commissioner.

He replaces Alan MacSporran, who, we are now told, has been doing the job for the past five years. 

Who knew that?

Who knew anything about Alan MacSporran?

What exactly has Alan MacSporran been doing for the past five years?

When I complained to the PCMC about the  CMC / Education Queensland faux "investigation process", what exactly did Alan MacSporran do?

Gary Long will assume the part-time position on January 10.

PCMC chairman Paul Hoolihan, the member for Keppel, said Mr Long was unanimously supported by the bipartisan committee.

The parliamentary commissioner is a focal figure in the review and oversight of the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

The parliamentary commissioner is charged with the responsibility of handling and investigating complaints against the alleged actions of the corruption watchdog and its officials.

Now they tell us.

They have been keeping this a big secret.

Complaints are referred to the commissioner by the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee.

This is not exactly true, according to my understanding of the situation.

The PCMC do not actually read complaints about the CMC.

Their office staff send complaints about the CMC directly to the CMC.

The PCMC allow the CMC to investigate themselves.

Then, based on the CMC's investigation into the CMC, the PCMC make their decision to do something about your complaint or to do nothing about your complaint.

At every stage of the CMC / Education Queensland faux "investigation process" the public servants that you have complained about are allowed to investigate themselves.

The Bligh Labor Government holds a 4-3 advantage in that committee room.

But under the Crime and Misconduct Act, the decision to refer a matter onwards for investigation by the commissioner must be made on bipartisan terms, with at least one non-government member acquiescing.

Twenty-seven such complaints against the CMC or CMC officers were lodged in the 2008/09 financial year, according to the PCMC annual report released last month.

  • Long time coming for new anti-corruption commissioner, Chris Barrett, The Brisbane Times 


8 December 2009

In February 2009, former Bundaberg Hospital nurse Christine Cameron raised over 100 complaints about patient treatment and the manipulation of records at Bundaberg Hospital.

"The Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) didn't investigate, they handed it back to Queensland Health, and you can't have a department investigate itself and come up with an unbiased report," Ms Cameron said.

"... They don't want anyone to know and they don't want to investigate it and don't want to sort it out."

Mrs Cameron says an interim report provided to her by the Department's ethical standards unit was biased.

"I asked them on the first day would they come back and check things with me and they never did," she said.

"They did just the initial interviews and that was it."

This is why the Queensland CMC "devolution strategy" is a dismal failure.

Queensland government department / CMC "investigations" seem to consist of simply copying down any silly excuse, even if it is obviously untrue.

Then the departmental / CMC"investigation" is declared "finalised" and the complainant is not allowed to tell the "investigator", the Department and the CMC that they have been fooled with lies that could easily be disproved.

The purpose of a Queensland CMC / departmental investigation seems to be to find no evidence of the corruption / misconduct and to declare the investigation "finalised".

"They've never come back to me to check things so I could say, 'well, that's wrong - I've got documented evidence against it'."

But Queensland Health District director Kevin Hegarty says Queensland Health did "act on the allegations".

  • Qld Health accused of Bundaberg hospital cover-up, Kallee Buchanan, ABC News


Wednesday 2 December, 2009

Karen Smith appeared on SBS TV at 8:30pm in Law and Disorder.

Go Karen!  - A real Australian Hero. 
Monday 30 November 2009

New figures released by the Queensland Government showed the number of formal complaints of bullying and aggressive behaviour by teachers against other teachers had increased by more than 40 per cent over the past two years.

  • In 2007, 26 teachers made formal complaints to the education department about other teachers.
  • The number rose to 30 in 2008.
  • And there have been 37 complaints so far in 2009.

Opposition education spokesman Bruce Flegg said he had been approached by a number of teachers concerned about being told by other teachers to keep quiet about school problems.

"There's pressure to cover up those sorts of events, but teachers in those schools want the root causes to be addressed," Dr Flegg said.

"I don't think there is any doubt whistleblowers are being bullied.

"The agenda is about controlling the public relations rather than fixing the problems."

Dr Flegg said it was a systemic problem that required government action. 

  • Teachers bullied to keep quiet on problem schools, AAP (Isn't there any Queensland Newspaper Reporter with the guts to write about this issue under their own name?) 


Monday 16 November, 2009

Last week, Education Minister Julia Gillard convened a national conference in Canberra involving 150 school leaders from around Australia.

Although her focus was on selling the Government's education revolution, it quickly became apparent that principals had other, more immediate and pressing things on their collective mind.

Foremost was classroom misbehaviour.

The reality is that spending billions on school buildings and trying to attract quality graduates to teaching is useless if teachers cannot teach because of disruptive children who refuse to learn. 

The real issue confronting Australian schools, which politicians are ignoring, involves rude, disengaged and violent students.

The result?

New teachers are quitting in droves, older teachers are retiring early and stress-related claims are on the increase.

  • New teachers say classroom violence their biggest concern, Kevin Donnelly, director of the Melbourne-based Education Standards Institute, The Courier-Mail.


13 November, 2009

Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard yesterday launched a strong attack on critics of the government's plans to publish school test results, accusing them of focusing on non-academic skills and wanting to produce "happy, illiterate, innumerate children".

Ms Gillard said "I don't believe our aim is to have schools full of happy, illiterate, innumerate children."

  • Testing foes want happy, uneducated kids: Gillard, Natasha Bita, The Australian

The Queensland Police Union stand up and fight for bullied union members.

October 17, 2009 (and earlier report on 12 October 2009)

Sergeant Robbie Munn is a 30-year veteran police officer who has exposed cronyism and corruption in the police force.

The police force claims that Sergeant Munn requires psychiatric help.

And he has been ordered off work even though his doctor says he is fit for duty.

Queensland Police Union general secretary Mick Barnes said Sgt Munn was a victim of "bastardisation" in the force.

Police work is very stressful and most police officers will tell you the best therapy they get comes from chatting to their workmates.

So -  "When the police department turns on you ... it's sort of like being rejected by a parent," one officer said.


Senior Sergeant Mick Isles is another highly respected police officer.

He was in charge of Ayr police station, in north Queensland.

His "treatment" by the Queensland police began with his very public arrest at a charity event last August.

Senior Sergeant Isles was off work for 13 months on stress leave.

First the Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) and then the police ethical standards command investigated allegations of wrongdoing.

Senior Sergeant Isles was fully exonerated.

He returned to work on September 21 2009.

But he was still feeling humiliated by the lengthy investigation that was well known around town and the police service.

Exactly what has happened to Sen Sgt Isles is unknown.

An extensive search south of Ayr located his vehicle but no sign of the 58-year-old.

Steven Isles, his son, has begun a crusade of sorts against what he describes as a culture of victimisation within the Queensland Police Service ( QPS ) and the CMC.

Steven Isles has been inundated with support from dozens of serving and former officers from Cairns to South-East Queensland.

Many agreed to be interviewed by The Brisbane Times, though they declined to be named for fear of recrimination.

All were scathing in their criticisms of the treatment of Sen Sgt Isles.

Other police officers raised concerns of bullying within the police service.

"It was so blatantly obvious that they didn't like you and they came after you," one officer said. 

Steven Isles is going to make sure his father's case won't be forgotten.

"We are here to fight this culture, we want to make sure that no employee is treated like this again."

  • AAP Police whistleblower sent home, told to see psychiatrist, Tuck Thompson, The Courier-Mail, 12 October, 2009 
  • Shadow over the thin blue line, Evan Schwarten, The Brisbane Times, 17 October 2009

The Queensland Ombudsman : Response to Anna Bligh's "Integrity Review".

16 October, 2009

3.3 Whistleblowing

" ... The Whistleblowers Protection Act 1994 (WPA) ... makes each public sector agency responsible for receiving public interest disclosures about the conduct of its officers, managing the disclosure process, and taking steps to protect its officers from reprisals.

In my view, this current system is seriously flawed.

A decentralised whistleblowing model whereby the recognition, investigation and resolution of a public interest disclosure (PID) can be handled totally within the agency whose officers are the subject of the PID, without any measure of external oversight (unless it involves official misconduct), does not represent best practice in this area and does not provide whistleblowers with an adequate level of protection."

The Ombudsman suggests that -

  • When an agency receive a disclosure (PID) they send the disclosures involving official misconduct to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) and all other disclosures to the Ombudsman.
  • Then the Ombudsman would either investigate the disclosure or refer it back to the agency to conduct the investigation. The Ombudsman would be empowered to monitor, take over or review the investigation.

But handing investigations back to agencies and allowing them to investigate themselves is useless.

The ombudsman strongly suspects that there is significant underreporting of PIDs of maladministration.

For example, in the 2007-8 financial year Education Queensland reported that they had received no PID's of maladministration.

They probably "lost" them.

There may be some confusion in agencies about terms such as 'maladministration'.

The Ombudsman recommends that the CMC and the Ombudsman share responsibility for supervising agencies in this manner so that the purposes of the Whistleblower Protection Act are not defeated by -

  • misinterpretations
  • inconsistent approaches
  • inadequate investigations
  • or lack of commitment.

The CMC and the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Commission ( PCMC ) support this idea.

In the 7th PCMC's Three Year Review of the CMC ( tabled 20 April 2009), the PCMC called for the Queensland government to undertake a complete review of the Whistleblower Protection Act.

(In about 2006) a Directive was issued requiring all agencies under the Public Service Act to implement internal complaints systems that complied with recognised standards for complaint handling.

Education Queensland must have lost their Directive.

The Ombudsman then developed a State-wide project to provide training to agencies on understanding and applying the principles of effective complaints management.

But I have seen no evidence of any change.

They attend your training courses and nothing changes.

The Ombudsman wants to develop a training program designed to assist agency staff to understand the principles of whistleblowing.

Training is a cop-out.

It is easier and nicer to "train" people than to actually deal with their corruption.

Training is not the answer.

Nobody cares.

Accountability is the answer.

Show corrupt public servants that you are willing to hold them accountable.

Train and test and hold accountable.



The Ombudsman is another enthusiast for Claytons apologies - the apology you get when nothing actually changes.

He suggests that any type of Departmental apology be "protected".

At the conclusion of an investigation the Ombudsman often recommends that the relevant head of a department apologise to a complainant who has suffered some detriment as a result of the agency's defective administrative action.

The CMC chair supports the Ombudsman's idea that legislative change should provide that an apology by an agency regaring a decision or action affecting an individual does not constitute an admission of liability and will not be relevant to a determination of fault or liability.

So the Government department that has harmed you will say that they are sorry that they have harmed you - because they know that if they say "sorry" it will calm you down - but their "sorry" is a "protected sorry" - they are not going to do anything to correct the harm that they have done you.

What kind of Claytons sorry is that?

If you are really sorry, you want to correct the harm that you have done.

For example, if a "decision" to punish a teacher was made in breach of several Departmental policies - and if this abusive document was then placed on the teachers' official record - this document will continue to damage that teachers' professional reputation long after your Claytons "sorry".

There is a need to correct the document - to annotate all copies of the document to say that the decision was made in breach of Departmental policies and it has been withdrawn.

Scott Patterson, former senior Queensland state government policy adviser : sacked for "refusing to lie to the CMC".

4 October, 2009

Scott Patterson is a former senior Queensland state government policy adviser.

In late 2000 Mr Patterson told senior figures that he would not lie to the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ).

Mr Patterson said that he was the only office member not interviewed by the CMC during a "probe".

Mr Patterson claims that he was then sidelined and sacked in late 2001.

"I didn't trust the CMC then and I don't trust them now," the former Labor Party member said.

"It seems there is an intimate connection between the CMC and the government."

Mr Patterson said that his experience was not an isolated incident among ministerial staff.

Another former ministerial staffer, Jacqueline King, recently claimed that she was sacked after raising concerns about jailed former minister Gordon Nuttall in 2002.

  • Ministerial adviser sacked after 'refusing to lie' to CMC, Steven Wardill, The Courier-Mail

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) : the CMC submission to Anna Bligh's integrity and accountability review.

1 October, 2009

Recommendation # 4 - Ethics education

The CMC recommends that ethics education programs include adequate attention to ... conflicts of interest which disadvantage or cause a detriment. ...


Recommendation # 25 - Codes of Conduct


The CMC recommends that all agencies seek to find ways to improve the working effectiveness of their codes, through training, regular updates, effective consultation and public commitment to ethical conduct.

Recommendation # 26 - Role of the Public Service Commission

The CMC recommends that the Public Service Commission take a more active role in the oversight of the conduct and actions of government agencies.


The CMC seem to be lobbying for the Public Service Commission to take over responsibility for investigating Queensland public service corruption.



... when an official's actions and decisions are open to scrutiny, not only by their superiors, peers and official oversight agencies, but also by the media and the general public, ... opportunity is severely limited and the risk of detection rises.

Accordingly, to minimise the risk of corruption, every strategy to increase the transparency of government should be explored and, wherever practicable, implemented without delay.

The principle of transparency applies to all aspects of public administration, and relies upon :

  1. systems and processes which can be understood by the uninitiated
  2. communication in plain language and using the minimum of jargon and obscure expression
  3. ...
  4. independent, merit based and and evidence-based processes for making decisions
  5. publication of sound, fair and eqitable reasons for decisions which are made
  6. ...
  7. ...
  8. rigorous processes at all levels to ensure that and conflict of interest, pecuniary or non-pecuniary, is openly declared and appropriately managed.


Prevention is undoubtedly better than cure. Effective management of misconduct and complaints alleging misconduct shows both employees and the community that such matters are dealt with honestly, fairly and openly. Openness about the way inappropriate conduct is addressed and managed can be an effective deterrent.

The CMC's devolution strategy is a key change-maker. It is targeted towards an evolution of management attitude,

I have seen no evidence of any such evolution of management attitude.

"Devolution" - i.e. allowing Queensland Public Service Departments to investigate themselves -  does not seem to be working.


... and the changes to organisational culture which flow from it.

Organisations come to appreciate that complaints, and even identified instances of misconduct, are learning experiences, opportunities to discover ways to do the job better.

At the moment they seem to be learning that they can delay an investigation for years and then produce a report full of absolute gibberish.

And that the gibberish will be "accepted" by the CMC.


Agencies are encouraged in the development and monitoring of processes which ensure that misconduct is effectively prevented.

On the rare occasions that it does occur, the processes and monitoring are desgned to address the issues effectively, and to use each instance constructively for the ongoing improvement of the organisation.

Can the CMC nominate one Queensland government department in which this golden dream has been achieved?


An agency which cannot learn from the abuses which sometimes occur is an agency which cannot improve.

So what exactly did Education Queensland learn from their abuse of me?

"We can get away with it if we delay the investigation for years and then all tell the investigator that we can't remember what we did or why we did it?"


Ethics education (Green Paper question # 4)

A range of miscellaneous issues ... tend to slip from the forefront of consciousness in the ethical decision-making process ...

  1. In identifying possible conflicts of interest, there are a range of non-pecuniary interests which are of considerable relevance. Membership of community groups (eg. branches of certain political parties) ... social networks (family, friends, campaign managers, wives of workmates) - all are susceptible to being perceived as influencing an official position or decision. Education about the perception of these non-pecuniary ties is important to ensure that appropriate conflict of interest declarations are made by officials.
  2. Conflict of interest is not limited to an opportunity to seek an advantage for oneself or others. It also includes opportunities to harm, disadvantage or cause a detriment to persons or organisations. Targets of disadvantage can (include people with) ... professional differences, personal disputes and political, professional or cultural rivalries. It is important that all definitions and education programs include this aspect. ...


Responsibility for dealing with complaints

The CMC strongly opposes the suggestion that it takes sole responsibility for dealing with complaints, for two principal reasons-

  1. external complaint management will not lead to positive cultural or systemic change within the Queensland public sector.
  2. it would mean more than doubling the CMC's budget and operational capacity.

Devolution is about strengthening public sector agencies integrity, accountability and misconduct resistance.

In my experience it is about turning a blind eye to the corruption.

It is about accepting "outcomes" that are falsified gibberish.

It does not mean that the CMC ... will stop holding agencies accountable for the way in which they deal with complaints of misconduct.

In my experience, the CMC does not "hold agencies accountable".

The CMC accepts gibberish.

The CMC will also continue to take a lead role in building the capacity of agencies to prevent and deal with misconduct.

In my experience, the CMC have a very, very long way to go with this.

Education Queensland, for example, seems to take no interest in preventing or dealing with misconduct.

Misconduct / corruption/ professional negligence / incompetence / workplace abuse etc. seem to be systemic.

This is the problem.

So long as an agency relies upon the ever-present oversight agency to deal with complaints, it will be unable as an organisation to accept responsibility and embrace accountability in its own right.

Poor performance and misconduct will continue to be perceived as the oversight body's problem, and standards will not improve.

Only when an agency takes responsibility for its own culture of integrity, and extends that responsibility downwards from the senior management to line managers and individual employees, will it fully appreciate that ethical behaviour is integral to its operations.

OK, we understand the theory.

But do the CMC understand that it is not happening?

Leaving public service Departments to investigate themselves is not working!

Because the corruption / negligence / abuse is systemic.

Managers must embrace complaints about misconduct as a positive learning opportunity, a tool for them to address any inappropriate conduct of an employee and any systemic issues, control failures, policy and procedural deficiencies, poor workplace culture and standards ...

But, in my experience, they don't.

Queensland public service Departments "lose" complaints and produce falsified "final outcomes" that are full of gibberish.

How can Departments learn from complaints if the CMC accept their gibberish?



... in a New South Wales case ... the court awarded $664,270 in damages to a police officer on the grounds that his employer had breached its duty of care to the officer.

In order to encourage public officers to disclose corruption and misconduct of which they become aware, it is necessary not only to promise protection and to take active steps to provide that protection, but also to ensure that there is an adequate system of compensation should that protection, for whatever reason, fail.


Offence of misconduct in public office (Green Paper questions # 31, 32)

Effective prevention and minimisation of misconduct depends in aprt on potential offenders knowing that there is a real and potent punishment in store for wrong-doers.

... there is no doubt at all that if there is no penalty for particular misconduct, many people would feel that there is no reason not to engage in it.


Deliberate failure and wilful neglect.

... a man was violently assaulted by a number of men who beat and kicked him to death.

(An Engish police) constable took no steps to intevene inthe assault and when it was over merely drove away. He was charged with the common law offence of misconduct in public office. Lord Widgery, in delivering the decision of the Court of Appeal, said :

The allegation made was not of mere non-feasance but of deliberate failure and wilful neglect. This involves an element of culpability which is not restricted to corruption or dishonesty but which must be of such a degree that the misconduct impugned is calculated to injure the public interest so as to call for condemnation and ppunishment. ...

A Queensland public servant was asked to "review" a teacher's complaint that she was being bullied. All but the first page of her complaint had been "lost". But a mass of falsified documents had been placed in  the teacher's official file to create the false impression that they had been discussed with her during the process of her Stage 1 Grievance. The public servant was instructed to base his "review" on the falsified "records" and not to "consider" the teacher's response to the falsified "records".

So what should the "reviewer" do?



While it is true that an apology does not fix a problem, experience shows that it is a powerful signal that the gravity of the issue is appreciated, and that the feelings of the aggrieved person are accorded proper respect. An apology undoubtedly provides satisfaction to many complainants ...

...complainants quickly (and justly) become resentful of a government culture which denies imperfection and will not genuinely engage with them.

An apology is a good start, but if the Department really regret the error they should "put it right".

For example, if an irrational and unjust decision to put a teacher into a punishment program has been placed on that teacher's official record - in breach of several Departmental policies - that teacher will have to declare that detrimental decision to all future employers.

The unjust decision should be withdrawn.

I understand that the actual document cannot be destroyed, but all copies of the document could be annotated to say that the decision has been withdrawn.

Then the professional harm to the teacher would be minimised.


Trade Unions and the QTU in particular.

The CMC also notes that trade unions which have coverage over government employees do not generally have codes of conduct or other ethical frameworks which govern their actions or set standards for their behaviour or provide them with guidance when ethical dilemmas arise.

While the members of these organisations are bound by the relevant agency Code of Conduct, paid officials of the unions are not.

A considerable number of unions have members who are employed in the public sector and the conduct of those unions and the decisions made by them have a considerable impact on the conduct and behaviour of public officials.

It is acknowleged that no power exists or should exist to enable the government to regulate the conduct or action of such bodies.

However, it would be adventageous to the relationship between these bodies and the government and its agencies that the unions should voluntarily develop ethical frameworks.

Voluntary codes or ethical frameworks could provide useful assistance and guidelines, especially in dealing with grievances, disputes and disciplinary matters where the interests of one member may be in conflict with the interests of another, or with the interests of the majority of members in the workplace or in general.

In particular, guidelines are desirable to ensure that the union's duty to support and protect a member accused of misconduct should not lead it to sacrifice the interests of other members affected by the alleged misconduct.

One of the interests commonly endangered in this way is the members' wish to be perceived by the public as honest and ethical.

While support should certainly be provided to members as a right, partisan, energetic and vocal defence of members who are proven to be dishonets or unethical can severely damage the public perception of the ethical conduct of all members.


Strengthening Codes (green paper questions # 2, 35)

The CMC, in its regular dealings with agencies, has identified a general need for agencies to place a greater emphasis on training and education.

Staff (and especially senior staff) need to be regularly reminded about their obligations.

It is equally important that the agency be visibly committed to ethical conduct, and placing a high priority on Code updates and awareness is a crucial part of this.

The CMC has recently received information that ministerial staff frequently avoid Code of Conduct training (which is provided to them by Ministerial Services).

Given the key exposure of staff in these positions, coupled with the fact that they are frequently political rather than public service appointees, it is vital that Code of Conduct and ethical decision-making training be compulsory within a short time (no more than three months) of commencement, and that strong measures (suspension of salary, termination of contract) be in place to enforce this.

Similar concerns are heard from time to time from other agencies, especially in regard to senior management and other high level staff, who often claim to be 'too busy' to attend.

This sends a very poor message to less elevated staff about the ethical commitment and standards of management and of the organisation as a whole.

All agencies are encouraged to put in place strict attendance requirements, as the effectiveness of codes of conduct is heavily dependent on the commitment of the agency's senior management.


Neil Laurie, Clerk of Queensland Parliament : submission to Anna Bligh's integrity review.

The Clerk of the Queensland Parliament - Neil Laurie's - response to Anna Bligh's "integrity review" has been published.

Mr Laurie writes :


"I believe that the root problem lies in institutional weakness.

This is turn leads inevitably to -

  • lack of transparency,
  • an absence of fear of detection or enforcement,
  • poor leadership in ethics and integrity
  • and, most importantly, the growth of a culture that either accepts, ignores or is fearful of reporting unethical conduct.

... I would strongly recommend compulsory, certified ethical training in the public sector, requiring refreshment of certification every few years for every public officer.

The more senior the officer, the more regular the refreshment.

Education should include study of "real life" past unethical conduct.

Hopefully this will not only reinforce ethical behaviour, but provide identifiers as to unethical behaviour and the deterent effect if those case studies include those 'caught in the act'.


Editor : I agree 100 per cent with everything Mr Laurie has said so far.

But then he says -


... Many self labelled 'whistleblowers' are not in fact whistleblowers,


What evidence do you have to support that statement, Mr Laurie?


... but rather are either opportunists or persons themselves the subject of allegations of misconduct or poor performance ...


Mr Laurie, are you aware that whistleblowers - or even Queensland teachers who try to discuss professional issues such as the unsupervised groups of children who are roaming about the school disrupting the other classes - seem to be put into punishment programs to "pay them back"?


... and who attempt to use the status of whistleblower as protection.

But there are also many genuine people who feel conflicted with knowledge or suspicion that activities are taking place which are not within the public interest.

The amount of courage it takes to stand up and do the right thing in the face of authority and power cannot be understated.


I am not sure that you are right about that, Mr Laurie.

If you have very little experience of corruption it takes very little courage to expose corruption.

You think you are just doing the obvious thing.

I think that is why 'outsiders' from overseas or interstate are at risk in Queensland.

They have no experience of corruption and so, when 'outsiders' experience corruption in Queensland they try to deal with the corruption in what they think is the normal manner, expecting that they will be supported.

While people who have long experience of corruption - most Queenslanders - just seem to concentrate on 'not knowing'. 'not understanding' and 'losing' evidence.



... The risk, if not the actuality, is that the public service no longer gives full and frank advice or that such advice is 'filtered'.

It is understandable that Ministers will want to work with Directors-Generals that they know and trust.

However, the perception is that as the years progress, the number of officers with political allegiances / connections increases. ...  

Editor : to find Mr Laurie's submission, click the link above, then on 81-100, then look for Clerk of Parliament, near the bottom of the list.

29 September 2009

On 1 January 2002 the fight against public service corruption and misconduct in Queensland was lost - when Peter Beattie reduced the CJC to 'capacity building'.

If Tony Fitzgerald is right about corruption in Queensland, we are dealing nothing less than a serious failure of the democratic process and everything on which our society is built.

The Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) was supposed to receive and investigate complaints, institute proactive intelligence-driven investigations of official misconduct including corruption, and to provide research and corruption prevention reports and recommendations.

The CJC was largely successful, probably too successful for political comfort.

But Peter Beattie - the first chairman of the Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee - sowed the seeds for the CJC's destruction with a "behind-closed-doors" review.

This resulted in a merger of the CJC with the Queensland Crime Commission to create the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

That was on January 1, 2002.


On that date the aggressive fight against corruption and official misconduct previously conducted by the CJC was replaced by a relatively benign regime of so-called "capacity building" within departments and public-sector organisations.


And public servants investigated public servants.

And today Queensland public servants are allowed to investigate themselves - and to "find no evidence of" their own misconduct.

And the Labor Government has made it legal for ministers to lie before the Queensland Parliament.

The weakness, the relative impotence of the CMC, is tacitly acknowledged by chairman Robert Needham every time he warns of dangers that seem beyond his control.

Peter Beattie cannot credibly deny the consequences that are part of Anna Bligh's inheritance.

It's time for the Bligh Labor Government to forget the handwringing, admit its errors and fix a problem that is staring us in the face.



  • Return to the dark side, Terry Sweetman, The Courier-Mail, 31 July 2009

In 2001 Peter Beattie gutted the CJC.

Tony Koch raises some very significant issues in The Australian today -


Can Queensland  public servants effectively investigate their own?

There are calls by legal representatives and civil liberties lawyer Terry O'Gorman for the reinstatement of a dedicated investigative team within the CMC to handle all complaints.

At present 98% of complaints to the CMC are handed back to the government department involved.

The system does not work.

It was set up to fail.

The original CJC's brief was to investigate corruption in the public service - and the police and politicians.

But in January 2002, under Premier Peter Beattie, the CJC was amalgamated with the Crime Commission to become the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

Peter Beattie's Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 required the CMC to hand complaints over to the relevant departments to be dealt with if the complaint was not considered to be "serious".

This handing-over process was termed "building the the capacity of agencies to prevent and deal with cases of misconduct effectively and appropriately".

The CMC was also given the responsibility to promote public confidence in the integrity of agencies (departments) in the way misconduct was handled.

Does that mean that CMC officers are required to lie?

Before January 2002 the CMC had been expected to fight corruption and misconduct aggressively.

But after January 2002 the CMC was relegated to a benign regime of public service "capacity building".

Obviously, when an in-house investigator reports to a senior manager, the senior manager may not welcome a rigorous investigation that results in adverse findings about their own conduct.

It is now clear that Peter Beattie's post January 2002 public service "capacity building" experiment has failed.

And that Anna Bligh's government must make a sincere effort to root out the corruption in the Queensland public service.


  • The secret police, Tony Koch, The Australian, 25 July 2009

In 2009 Anna Bligh assured us that there were No More Bad Apples


Was the front page headline in the Courier-Mail today.


  • No More Bad Apples : Bligh : Premier forced to defend Labor integrity, Steven Wardill, State Political Reporter, p.1 and p.7, The Courier-Mail, Thursday 16 July, 2009

In 2009 John-Paul Langbroek said there might be more Bad Apples in the Labor barrel.

Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek said that voters couldn't be sure there weren't "more bad apples" in the Bligh government.



Govt goes after Nuttall's super, property, AAP, The Brisbane Times, 17 July 2009

In 2009 Queensland Integrity Commissioner Gary Crooke warned that MP's were thumbing their noses at conflict-of-interest issues.

Outgoing Queensland Integrity Commissioner Gary Crooke, QC, warns that MPs are thumbing their noses at conflict-of-interest criticisms.

Mr Crooke said he was often aware of politicians and senior public servants who did not seek the Integrity Commissioner's advice because they believed in their own ethical standards.

"... There a developing tendency in public administration for people to say: 'If we just do it and tough it out people will forget about it'," he said.



MPs thumb noses at ethics, says Gary Crooke, QC, Steven Wardill, additional reporting by Rosemary Odgers and Patrick Lion, The Courier-Mail, 4 July 2009

In 2009 Anna Bligh announced the formation of an Institute of Educational Leadership for Queensland school principals and teachers who wanted to become principals.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced the formation of an Institute of Education Leadership - only the second in Australia - to resource principals and senior teachers wishing to become principals.



  • Bligh ticks spelling tests for teachers, Ken Vernon, The Gold Coast News, 1 July 2009

In 2009 Right to Information (RTI) is introduced to Queensland : all information released to applicants was to be published online.

The Right to Information Bill will be introduced to Queensland parliament this week.

One provision of the new laws seems to be intended to discourage Freedom of Information applicants.

Information released to applicants will be published online within 24 hours of its release to the journalist or outlet that paid for the application.



  • Govt to overhaul freedom of information laws , AAP, The Brisbane Times, 18 May 2009

In May 2009 the Queensland Department of Education knew that classroom teachers were being bullied at 'alarming levels'.

Australian school principals or other school executives are bullying classroom teachers at alarming levels, Professor Deidre Duncan of the Australian Catholic University and Dan Riley of the University of New England have found.

In a national online survey of more than 800 teachers, 99.6 per cent said they had experienced bullying in the workplace.

State school principals received the worst rating for bullying.

"In government schools, the principal receives a significantly higher nomination as a frequent or persistent bully than found in independent or Catholic schools," Professor Duncan said.

Teachers also reported being bullied by parents.

Education Minister Geoff Wilson said the research was a concern and he would ask his department to look into it.



Teachers are 'worst school bullies', Elizabeth Allen and Tanya Chilcott, The Courier-Mail, 13 May 2009

In 2009 a UNE study revealed that almost all Australian teachers had been bullied at work.

A University of New England study has revealed that almost all Australian school teachers have been bullied in the workplace, often by senior staff or the principal.

"The survey's findings are highly disturbing, as zero tolerance to any form of bullying is the expected norm in Australian schools," Dr Dan Riley from the University of New England, in northern NSW, said. 

"The report reveals that the most persistent bullies were identified as the school executive staff and then the principal and that the typical victim is a teacher," Dr Riley said.
  • Almost all school teachers have been bullied, AAP, The Courier-Mail, 4 May 2009

In 2009 Ray Halligan said that the Queensland PCMC system - that allows party politics to throw out complaints concerning official misconduct - was wrong.

Ray Halligan is the  chair of Joint Standing Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission in Western Australia (WA), the WA version of the Queensland Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee (PCMC).

Mr Halligan says that the Queensland system that allows party politics to throw out complaints concerning official misconduct is "totally and utterly wrong".

In Queensland, the government holds a majority on the PCMC.

This allows Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee decisions on complaints concerning official misconduct and corruption to be made on a political basis.



  • Queensland loophole 'totally and utterly wrong': WA watchdog chair, Chris Barrett, Brisbane Times, 28 April 2009





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