Monday, April 23, 2012

letter to member of Screen Australia Board

Yet another attempt to get someone within the Screen Australia hierarchy to pay appropriate attention to a complaint made 17 months ago - this time to a member of the Screen Australia Board:

16th April 2012

Dear (Board Member)

A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from Ruth Harley that is a barely veiled threat to sue me for defamation. Copy enclosed. The issue, in a nutshell: a series of Screen Australia common and garden cockups which, rather than admitting to and rectifying, SA tried to make me responsible for – despite all the evidence pointing to Screen Australia as the perpetrator. The straw that broke the camel’s back was Fiona Cameron writing me a letter, in Nov. 2010, in which she claimed that I had placed on record, in correspondence with Screen Australia, statements suggestive of both stupidity and corrupt intentions on my part. When I asked Fiona to produce the correspondence (which I claimed did not exist) she refused to do so. When I asked Ruth Harley and Glen Boreham to ask Fiona to produce the correspondence or apologize, they ignored me. When I wrote to Simon Crean he got a spin doctor to write me a nonsense letter of the kind that spin doctors specialize in.

Over a period of 16 months Fiona (with Ruth and Glen Boreham’s blessing) has not produced the ‘smoking gun’ – the correspondence upon which her support from Ross Mathews and Claire Jager rests. She can’t produce it because it doesn’t exist. An apology is in order – not a threat to sue me for pursuing the (admittedly) drastic option of publishing my correspondence with Ruth, Prime Minister Gillard and others on the internet. That I should have to go to such lengths is, of course, absurd. However, given that Screen Australia has no functioning complaints process (which should be of concern to the Board), I have been left with little choice if I am to achieve a just outcome to this dispute.

If you have any influence at all, can you please ask Ruth Harley and Fiona Cameron to either produce the correspondence or apologize and set the record straight so that the matter can be put to rest. It is a waste of the time, energy and resources of so many people, including my own and the quicker it is brought to its natural conclusion the better.

The dispute, running 16 months now, would never have been necessary if the cockup was acknowledged as such when it occurred and rectified immediately. This was the option open to Ross Mathews. He chose not to take it. It was the option open to Fiona Cameron. She chose not to take it. Similarly with Ruth Harley and Glen Boreham. As a matter of principle, it seems, the entire Screen Australia hierarchy protects the cockups of those further down the bureaucratic chain and hopes that filmmakers with genuine grievances will give up in frustration if they are ignored and lied to often enough.

When I get an apology, I will accept it graciously – as long as the Screen Australia files are corrected to reflect the facts and not the spin that has been perpetrated in this dispute.

best wishes

James Ricketson

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