Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why doesn't Screen Australia engage in online dialogue with filmmakers?

In many Encore online dialogues and debates questions arise that are directed at Screen Australia. Sometimes these questions are quite explicit, sometimes implicit. Either way, these questions are a plea to Screen Australia to engage with the film community. No one from Screen Australia ever responds to these questions or takes part in  dialogue with filmmakers @ Encore online. Until recently I thought that, as public servants, Screen Australia employees must be prohibited from engaging in such dialogue and debate. Then I read the Australian Pubic Service Code of Conduct and discovered that the reverse is the case. From the Code of Conduct:
“Some Australian Public Service employees, as part of their normal duties, provide comment to the media and the public about agency activities. Sometimes they are required to defend agencies against criticism, such as about a lack of probity or competence.”
Criticism of Screen Australia’s lack of competence and probity are rife @ Encore online. Why does Screen Australia never defend itself, answer its critics?
More from the Code of Conduct:
“The term ‘public comment’ is used broadly, and includes comment made…during radio or television interviews, on the Internet (including social websites and blogs), in letters to the press or books or notices, or in other ways where the comment is intended for the community at large. Web 2.0 provides public servants with unprecedented opportunities to open up government decision making and implementation to contributions from the community. In a professional and respectful manner, APS employees should engage in robust policy conversations.”
Most Encore online ‘policy conversations’ tend to be ‘robust’ and yet Screen Australia refuses to take part in them. Why?
“Equally, as citizens, APS employees should also embrace the opportunity to add to the mix of opinions contributing to sound, sustainable policies and service delivery approaches. APS employees need to ensure that they fully understand the APS Values and Code of Conduct and how they apply to official or personal communications. If in doubt, they should stop and think about whether to comment and what to say, consult their agency’s policies, seek advice from someone in authority in their agency, or consult the Ethics Advisory Service in the Australian Public Service Commission.”
Perhaps Screen Australia is exempt from the APS Code of Conduct? If not, how about engaging in dialogue and debate online with the film industry, Screen Australia? Q & A, here @ Encore? Please accept this as an open invitation. First question, for the Hon Simon Crean: Is Screen Australia exempt from the APS Code of Conduct? Question for Ruth Harley: Have you instructed Martha Coleman not to engage in dialogue online with the film community? Question for Martha Coleman: Will you, in the interests of transparency and accountability, respond to the various questions that are put to you @Encore online in the future?
I sent this article to Mr Crean, Ruth Harley and Martha Coleman with the following note:

“I have written an opinion piece that I hope Encore online may publish. It speaks for itself. If any of you would like to comment on it in its present form, such comment will be incorporated into the body of the piece.” 

I am awaiting responses.

Encore declined to publish this piece.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I haven't the response you await, but do hope you get it.